Audiobook Week 2012: My Audiobook Year

Welcome to Day #1 of Audiobook Week here at Going Public!


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Monday through Thursday of this week, I (Xe) will be posting new Going Public content, blog posts, and a giveaway, in conjunction with the wonderful audiobook promotional effort of Jen at Devourer of Books. Need further info on Audiobook Week? Pop over to here and check out all the wonderful content flowing in from bloggers and listeners all over the cyberverse.

Just looking for the Going Public pieces & write-ups? Look for “Going Public #JIAM Audiopalooza” posts in the sidebar.

Monday’s discussion topics: Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.

It’s the concept of discovery over the past year that I’d like to talk about today, after a smidge of introduction.

I am an audiobook narrator and voice artist, with a passion for first-person and literary fiction, and piercing poetry, so my Audiobook Week posts will be a mash-up of my perspective as a listener and narrator.

have been listening to audiobooks forever, it seems – LOL! My daughter and I began listening to audiobooks years back when we had a long daily commute. We quickly discovered favorites (the narration of Granny Nothing from AudioGO still pops into my mind, along with her hilarious little song) and developed a list of go-to narrators we came to love. We’ve since moved and our commute has ended, so the days of daily listening have sadly passed; however, in the intervening years, I’ve gone pro with my narration, and discovery has taken on a new dimension – especially this past year.

There were many enriching experiences over this past year, but today I’d like to highlight two in particular.  The first was a rediscovery and immersion into poetry, specifically the joy of reading poetry aloud – first, feeling it wash over me during the first read; then feeling it rise up out of a deep, inner place when recording it. Through W. W. Norton’s and Poetry Foundation’s Twitter & Tumblr feeds, and Twitter memes such as #TodaysPoem, my poetry landscape has expanded tremendously this past year, and my love for my college favorites (Lawrence, in particular) has re-emerged and deepened. However professionally produced audio productions of poetry are unfortunately rare.

And while this personal poetry renaissance was happening, I was fortunate to meet the wonderful Robin Sachs. True, I first became aware of Sachs as an actor (Hello. My name is Xe, and I’m a Buffy fangirl). But I actually met Robin as an audiobook narrator.

Putting on my listener hat for a momentIf you haven’t experienced one of Sachs’s narrations, make some room in your to-be-listened pile. Now. He’s an exceptional narrator with a depth and richness to his voice that is hard to match. I’ve listened to several of his narrations and he has made my list of go-to-narrators for the foreseeable future.

But in addition to discovering his work, I’ve been blessed to discover the joy of working with Robin on several projects as well, including two we prepared specifically for the Going Public push in celebration of #JIAM2012. Given the right material, we’ve found that our voices combine to create something that I have to admit is kind of phenomenal.

Take a listen – here’s what we came up with for today (for full background, see this post):

“New Year’s Night” and “Mystery,” by D. H. Lawrence  (read by Robin Sachs & Xe Sands)

(and if you cannot see the player above, please go directly to the SoundCloud page for “New Year’s Night / Mystery”)

Listener hat firmly strapped back on...And in addition to Sachs, I’ve discovered three other narrators who have blown me away with their delivery: Bianca Amato, Dan Stevens, and Bahni Turpin. I’ll offer this caveat though – I haven’t been able to listen to a whole narration by the latter two, but simply cannot wait to remedy that. But Amato? Bliss to listen to.

How about you? What have audiobook discoveries have you made this year? And which of them surprised you most? While you are pondering, let’s chat GIVEAWAY, shall we?

The Triple-threat Giveaway: 1 Audio + 1 Print Book + 1 Custom Piece

Leave a comment on any of my Audiobook Week posts before 8PM PST on Friday, 6/29, and you will be entered to win a gift package including:

  • 1 Audiobook of mine, from either Tantor (Mp3 CDs or digital download) or Iambik (download only)
  • 1 Print book of your choice from the ARCs below**
  • I’ll narrate the poem or short story of your choice (some restrictions on length/content)

…and for each post you comment on, you get your name added into the hat another time. Comment on all five posts, and you’ll have five chances to win! Regrettably, if you are outside the US, I can only offer item #3.

If you’ve got a Twitter handle, please list it in your comment so I can more easily notify you.

Winner will be announced here, and via my and Going Public’s Twitter and Facebook feeds. Winner will have until 5PM PST on Saturday, 6/30 to make their print and audiobook selections (more time can be taken for the custom recorded piece 🙂 ) Please be sure to check one of those sources after the close of the drawing.

**print ARCs to choose from:

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31 thoughts on “Audiobook Week 2012: My Audiobook Year

  1. Shanna Roberson

    Awesome giveaway Xe!!! I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed your readings over the past few years. So lovely!

  2. Thanks so much, Shanna! I really appreciate your support 🙂

  3. The giveaway is not why I’m commenting. I’m here to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed our twitter conversations, and how much communicating with a professional narrator has enriched my audiobook experience! Narrators are as crucial to the appeal of an audiobook as the story itself. If chosen perfectly, it’s a natural symbiosis between the ‘voice’ of the author’s writing and the voice that reads it out lout.
    To me, THE SILENCE OF TREES, written by Valya D. Lupescu, belongs in that category of perfect symbiosis. One of my favorite audiobooks in 2012 so far. Valya wrote a beautiful, haunting book, and your narration carried it straight into my heart and soul.

    Apropos ‘natural symbiosis’ – that audio clip of you and Robin Sachs reading D.H. Lawrence is just beautiful. Robin has a breathtaking voice, and it goes incredibly well with yours.

    • Oh Lucy – your comments have so touched me. Thank you. I feel exactly the same way about connecting with you (and all the listeners out there – mine or otherwise!)…it’s really a triangular journey, isn’t it – Author – Listener – Voice. We’re all in it together, and hearing from listeners about their passions, what moves them (from literature to their children to favorite food!) deepens my relationship with them from the booth to the earbud…and beyond 🙂

      I’m so very glad that you loved THE SILENCE OF TREES as much as I did – truly one of the most moving books I’ve been privileged to narrate.

      As for Robin – oh my yes he does. I just love it. His first line at the beginning of that clip gets me every time I hear it.

      And the giveaway? I’m still putting you in the drawing 🙂

  4. Looking back on my year in audio I’ve discovered many new narrators this year. And the narrator I’ve listened to most is You!

    • My dear Susie – that’s awesome news! Well, at least if you’ve enjoyed it, it is 🙂 I’ve been so fortunate to “meet” you this past year. That one of the other areas of discovery in my personal audiobook year – the wondeful community of bloggers, reviewers and listeners who I’ve been privileged to connect with…and you’ve been just a delight. Thank you for your support, and the amazing support you give to the audiobook industry in general, both personally and as a librarian!

  5. I will be on the look out for the books you have read as I see recomendation after recommendation for them! I listened to Dan Stevens narrate The Invisible Ones and loved it. This year I discovered narrators Barbara Rosenblat and Lorelei King.

    • Ooo – yes, I’m so happy to have discovered Dan Stevens as well! Hoping I win The Invisible Ones in Jen’s giveaway at 🙂
      And thanks for the kind words! If you ever listen to one of my narrations, I’d welcome your thoughts (good/bad/other). And how wonderful that you’ve discovered Rosenblat and King! Two wonderful narrators to be sure. Was privileged to see Barbara perform live at the 2011 Listener Lounge at APAC and she was simply amazing.

  6. Because I listen to so many books every year, I’m always discovering new narrators. One of my favorite audiobooks of the year is Wingshooters, with Canada and The Chaperone coming in right behind.

    • Ooo, I haven’t heard of Wingshooters. I’ll have to look that up! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  7. Gah, I still haven’t listened to Robin Sachs!! What should I start with?

  8. Hi Xe!
    Just stopping by (not stalking by, really!) to read up on your audiobook week post. I love the clip you posted with Robin Sachs. His voice definitely sounds like the yin to your yang. A perfect match! Will you two be doing any full length books?

    Happy AudioBook Week!

    Dorothy – The Alaskan Bookie – Squeak
    Blog ~
    Twitter ~

    • @Dorothy – Hello! So good to see you here! Stalk me anytime, lady 🙂 And I agree – I think Sachs and I complement each other nicely when given the right material. Full-lenth book? Oh my dear, how I WISH! In fact, I’ll be mentioning that in the upcoming interview with PW Audio…

  9. Robin Sachs’ voice gives me goosebumps! I love your voice, too, but in a…. different way. Ahem. lol

    • Hello – thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks again for the interview – that was so fun (and so glad we found a way around the equation!).

      As for Sachs’s voice…in order to preserve the shreds of my professionalism, I must plead the Fifth 🙂

  10. I’ve only recently discovered the joys of poetry. It was sheer torture in high school, but a year or two ago I won a copy of Poetry Speak Who I Am which included an audio CD. Even though it is geared to a younger audience, a whole new world was opened to me.

    Favorite audios this year include You Know When the Men are Gone, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, and You Deserve Nothing (a fabulous multi-narrator performance). Recently finished Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen and absolutely loved it.

    • You know, I’ve felt the same about poetry for a while…until this past year. What a joy to rediscover it! So glad you have as well 🙂
      And those sound like GREAT audiobooks! I’ll have to put them on my TBL. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Pingback: Audiobook Week 2012 – Audiobook Reviewing «

  12. I love getting to see things from both sides this way! And that poetry was so good. I hope to post something for Going Public on Friday. It’s been awhile, but I’m having trouble finding something that I want to read.

    Oh, and the site looks wonderful! Thank you for the shout out 🙂

    • So glad you stopped by! And thanks for the kind words on the poetry. Love the combination of Sachs’s voice and Lawrence.

      I’d love to have you for Going Public again! You ever find something you want to record, I’d welcome hearing it! For this week, if you find something, just shoot me a link to the SoundCloud file by Thursday night and I’ll be sure to include it in the 6/29 post.

  13. Penny K.

    Hi Xe, Caught you giving back again! You are an inspiration to family, friends & those who just meet you via your book narrations or deeds. I loved your narration of Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker series.

    • Ack! Ya caught me! 🙂 Hey, anytime I can give back to a community that does nothing BUT give to me, it is my pleasure. And thanks so much for your kind words, Penny – they mean a lot!

      And wow, the shower? That’s impressive and dedicated! How do you deal with water or steam damage – special speakers? I did use to have a radio for my shower when I was a teen (a MILLION years ago), but the distortion annoyed me. Let me know how it goes once you give it a try – very cool idea! My style is likely too quiet for such a thing, but I’m the rarity. I imagine many books would do just fine if the volume can be adjusted high enough.

  14. Just popped over from The Alaskan Bookie. Enjoyed the poetry clip! I missed it on my earlier visit, somehow. Will try the Nightwalker series on audio. Sounds good!

    • Oh thanks! I’m pretty happy with how that turned out. Check back on Friday – there will be another Sachs/Sands/Lawrence mash-up. And if you listen to the Nightwalkers, let me know what you think!

  15. Late to this party but for being a plebeian when it comes to poetry this was really gorgeous with both of you! Going to go catch up on the rest of your week now…

    • Thanks so much, Brenda! He makes it easy to sound amazing, yk? You simply must listen to something…I’ll come up with some good recs for you.

  16. I’m glad I came back and check, my comment didn’t go through the first time.
    I would love to win anything read by you, poetry you say? why not, sometimes my language limitations scare me from trying poetry, but I imagine that’s an excellent way to enrich your vocabulary, btw, the clip sounded beautiful.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Oh no! So glad you came back too! But the giveaway ended 😦 I’ve got an idea…I’ll email you…

      And thanks for the kind words on the poem. We do work well together 🙂

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