What a pleasant surprise to see the continuing coverage of audiobooks by the New York Times. It’s about time journalists caught on to their popularity! Readers had the pleasure of encountering two pieces on audiobooks in the past week alone. The first was a blog post by John Schwartz, who’s practically a beat writer these days when it comes to covering the audiobook publishing industry. He describes Billy Crystal’s live reading at NYU of selections from his forthcoming book, Still Foolin’ Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Memoir is a natural fit for the audiobook genre, and Crystal plans to include portions of the live reading in the book’s audio version. It’s particularly noteworthy for Crystal’s display of raw emotion in an otherwise scripted performance.
The second feature appears in the paper’s “Business Day: Media & Advertising” section instead of “Books,” which comes as no surprise since audiobooks are frequently thought of in commercial rather than literary terms. Good news for aspiring narrators: a growing number are able to make a living this way thanks to rising sales figures. For example, Gabra Zackman has recorded over 200 books. Prestigious institutions like Juilliard and Yale have even begun offering audio narration workshops.
The article also points out that Nicole Kidman recently recorded Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. You can watch a video of her reading the novel here.