Much has been written about how audio books require the right reader. Just a few weeks ago, A.O. Scott praised a new recording Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, read by Bryan Cranston, arguing that ”Cranston may be the most charismatic embodiment of moral ambiguity we currently possess.” Shortly before he died, Christopher Hitchens praised Martin Jarvis’s deftness with P.G. Wodehouse in Vanity Fair, and wrote that the reader makes one “almost overhear the classic” Right Ho, Jeeves. I have also heard that Will Patton does impressive work with Denis Johnson.
I’ve never been a big fan of audio books. Central to my reading experience is the rustle of pages, the contemplation of the shapes of letters, appreciation of various fonts. I’m a connoisseur of the vestiges of previous readers—coffee stains, marginalia. I’m a dogearer.
Last spring, however, in the hospital, recovering from emergency surgery, I Read More
A Man on Tape: The Full Charm of Michael Prichard Reading Tom Wolfe and Other Adventures in Audiobooks
When I was a kid and my local public library first started stocking audio books—then known as books on tape—I loved the concept, but not for the right reason. I loved it because it felt like cheating. It was like being assigned To Kill a Mockingbird and turning to Gregory Peck instead of Harper Lee. Read More