All The News That’s Fit To…Listen To

Hey there audiobook friends,

Whatcha listening to? I’m on a big deadline, so I’m audiobook-less right now, but I have approximately 50 million books I can’t wait to get to them once I meet this deadline. Listen to audiobooks and sleep, that’s all I want to do for like a month (dare to dream, I know). I hope your audiobook lives are all much more exciting than mine is at the moment.

Sponsored by Flatiron Books and The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, THE FACT OF A BODY is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed — but about how we grapple with our own personal histories.

But for now, let’s take a look at some audiobook news:

In West Hartford, January LaVoy visited Hall High School to talk about how students can use their acting skills outside television, movie, and stage acting. Her narrating skills have found their way on to narrator of over 100 audiobooks, so it’s hard to believe that before her first audiobook audition, she’d never even listened to an audiobook. She told the students that this was a blessing in disguise. “I didn’t know how to fail at it. I didn’t know what I was doing. As it turns out, I’m very good at it, which isn’t a surprise because I loved reading as a kid. It’s my job and it’s pretty cool.”

She also had some interesting behind-the-scenes insight into how she narrates books with different voices. Of Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, she says,”Libba’s books, she draws her characters so beautifully. If this guy is saying to this girl, ‘Hey baby vamp,’ I know him. I know who he is. That’s very specific. Once I know who they are, it becomes very easy to replicate the sound I’m going to do for them.”

She also gave the any budding voice actors a tip for auditions. “I make a strong decision about a character, make it quickly, make it confidently, and then do it. If I’m tentative at all, the microphone is a microscope. It also detects hesitation. It detects a lack of confidence. It detects everything.”

Read the full article here.

Bloomberg reports that Spotify is going to offer audiobooks featuring the stories about great albums. According to the article, “the world’s largest streaming-music service cut a deal with Britain’s Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, whose 33 1/3 series also documents the back stories behind David Bowie’s ‘Low’ and Metallica’s ‘Black Album’…Nirvana’s ‘In Utero,’ Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ and Radiohead’s ‘Kid A.’ This sounds pretty freaking cool. I would LOVE if they did one about Graceland…and like every Ani Difranco album from 1990-2001. Just a thought Bloomsbury (*hint hint*).  Full article here.

Remember Audible? Not the audiobook service but the horse. Audible the company (Amazon) didn’t have anything to do with the naming of the horse, but they did promise everyone in America a free audio version of American Pharoah by Joe Drape. While Audible the horse didn’t win, Audible the company is still made good on their promise (yes, sadly past tense, the offer expired yesterday 5/9).

I can’t believe I never knew that Zora Neal Hurston had a book that was previously only available to academics. From NPR, “It’s called ‘Barracoon, and it’s based on a series of conversations that she had with Cudjo Lewis. Lewis came to this country aboard the last ship that brought slaves across the Atlantic…When Zora Neale Hurston first met Cudjo Lewis at his home in Alabama, she called him by his African name, Kossola. Though he was an old man, he was thrilled to hear it again. As one of the last slaves to be brought to this country aboard an illegal vessel, Lewis still had many memories of his life in Africa. Deborah Plant, who edited Barracoon, says that makes the book special because most slave narratives focus on life in this country.”

Listen to the discussion about the book (include an excerpt of the audiobook) here.

Good news for all of us! Apparently listening to audiobooks is good for our mental health. This might be something we all kind of know anecdotally, but makes a point I hadn’t thought to articulate. “American spends 10 hours a day staring at a screen, in the UK the figure is similar. Audio, on the other hand, stimulates a different sense — by using our ears, we can relax our eyes.” I usually talk about how great audiobooks are for one’s commute or doing laundry and walking the dog or whatever, but there’s another delightful aspect to them–-we can listen to them with our goddamn eyes closed. For those of us who feel like we’ve been staring at one screen or another for 5 million years, there is a real pleasure to just listening to an audiobook with eyes closed.

Let me know if I missed any good audiobook news or if you come across audiobook-adjacent stories I should be aware of. You can find me on Twitter at msmacb or at

Until next week,