Posts Tagged With: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Audiobook Week 2012 – Picky, Picky…

Welcome to Audiobook Week – Day #4 here at Going Public!

**UPDATE ON GIVEAWAY – WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED**

AudiobookWeek2012 pictureRecap: Monday through Friday of this week, I (Xe) will be posting new Going Public content and blog posts 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 all over the cyberverse. For earlier posts, please see below or the “Audiobook Week” posts in the side bar.

For info on the Triple-Threat Giveaway, scroll to the end of this post.

Thursday’s discussion topic: What do you look for in a narrator? 

CONFESSIONS OF A PICKY LISTENER

[Disclaimer: these are my thoughts purely as a listener – NOT a narrator. Just so’s we’re clear :)]

Hello. My name is Xe, and I’m a picky listener. 

It’s true. I’m a terribly picky listener when it comes to audiobooks. I’m a bit merciless really. As a listener, I usually give an audiobook about 15 minutes to engage me. Many would say that is unfair (including me!), but I find that listening, like the way I experience any art – poetry, prose, paintings, music – is a completely intuitive process for me. Let me explain.

Regardless of the artform, when I catch my first glimpse/words/note, it needs to affect me on a visceral level. I literally need to feel it physically. If there is that connection, I’ll keep looking/reading/listening. Does this mean it’s good or bad by anyone else’s standards? No – it’s a very personal assessment on my part.

So how does this translate to a new audiobook, to what I need from the narrator? It means that in the first 30 seconds or so, I need to feel a connection with the narrator’s voice – the way they sound, the way their voice feels in my ears, whether it resonates or clings or grates. This is entirely subjective – there is nothing the narrator can do/not do that will change this impression – nor should they. I’m listening for a connection to who their voice naturally is.

Once that connection is made, I give the narrator about fifteen minutes (I mean, I don’t time it or anything) to move beyond that initial “crush” on their voice. Now we’re into delivery. I want natural. I want conversational. I do not want “staged.” What I originally said (earlier today) is that if I can hear that you’ve done stage acting in your delivery, it will annoy me. But that’s a bit too off-the-cuff and does a disservice to stage actors who transition beautifully to narration. Here’s what I was getting at: I know that narrators are hammered on enunciation and diction, but I don’t want to hear pristine words – I want to hear the story. But although it might put me in the minority – I want to hear it as close the way you normally speak as possible with the text at hand. Be my storyteller, not my actor.

OK, so the delivery is conversational, and the audiobook is still playing. Now what? Ah, now we get to dialog. Can’t tell you how many times I’m grooving on the narration until the narrator gets to the first bit of dialog and…they fall flat. They sound like they are reading it out, or trying to act it out…not LIVING it out. Man, I’m counting on you to be that voice in my head – and the voice in my head that reads books to me while I’m reading the print on the page is really authentic, so you’ve got to really step it up to compete with that print option! Feel it and let it come through so *I* feel it, so I know the characters really care and are really having that moment together.

So if a narrator is unfortunate enough to be spilling into my hyper-critical ears and they’ve made it this far, there is only one other thing I need: I need emotion.  I don’t mean melodrama (because that’s just a cheap trick, like sappy music in subpar movies that makes me cry when the movie doesn’t warrant it), but I do want the overall tone and emotion the author intends to come through in your voice.

Sigh. You see? I’m entirely too picky. But it also means that when I enjoy and audiobook I LOVE it. Not just a little, but enough to make me sit in my car and let the ice cream melt and risk the ire of my waiting family.

But, I readily acknowledge that this doesn’t always serve me. Had I followed this ridiculously picky method, I would never have enjoyed at least half the books my daughter and I listened to over the years. And I wouldnt’ have given one of my very favorites a fair chance and would have missed out on an exceptional moment spent crying on my doorstep because the narrator’s performance was so moving.

So for all that I experience my definition of excellence, I also miss a tremendous amount of it. Hopefully, you are far more forgiving. I think it will serve you far better 🙂

Now coming round to Tuesday’s topic of audiobook reviewing, which dovetails nicely with today’s topic (thank you Jen at Devourer of Books!), the piece I threw out there for practice is now complete. If you’ve listened to it, how did I do? Did you get from it whatever YOU are looking for in a narrator?

For those following along with The Yellow Wallpaper, here is the final installment, as well as the full version for those who want it all in one go.

(If you cannot see this player, please click this link to go directly to the SoundCloud page for The Yellow Wallpaper)

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Part 3 of 3

Full version: 

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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Going Public JIAM Audiopalooza – June 27th!

GOING PUBLIC JIAM AUDIOPALOOZA!

Recap: Monday through Friday this week, I (Xe) will be posting a new Going Public piece. I’m also participating in Audiobook Week, so if you’re looking for those posts, please look for “Audiobook Week” in Recent Posts in the sidebar.

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Part 2 of 3

Read by Xe Sands

(and if you cannot see the player above, you can access it via the SoundCloud page for Part 2 of The Yellow Wallpaper). 

I think I’ve grown a bit angry.

Let me start with this – how the story is generally encapsulated:

“…a woman whose mental illness makes her a prisoner in her own home.”

“…a young wife and mother succumbing to madness “

So why is this a problem? It’s true, right? She is unbalanced. She does descend into madness. But it’s all a question of why, WHY does she “succumb” to madness?

And this is where I grow a bit angry. Most of the dismissive language used in these summaries miss the point: that this story is a treatise on the attitudes toward women’s mental health during this period (written in 1899). The narrator, who we are supposed to believe is unreliable, is actually perfectly coherent and early on in the story, likely a far better judge about what would actually help her. It is the ignorance and arrogance of her husband that is the unreliable narrator, for his filter regarding her condition and what would help it, cannot be trusted to give the reader an accurate picture of what ails his wife. I believe that it is the ignorance and arrogance of her husband that allows the spiral to happen.

Take a look at this bit from the author, “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper.” And tell me if attitudes are really all that different today? All I can say is that it is wonderful that she was able to save herself…and I think she put a hint of that in this story:

“He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.”

Luckily for Gilman, she was able to do what her narrator could not.


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Audiobook Week 2012 – Mid-Week Meme

Welcome to Audiobook Week – Day #3 here at Going Public!

**UPDATE ON GIVEAWAY – WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED**

AudiobookWeek2012 pictureRecap: Monday through Friday of this week, I (Xe) will be posting new Going Public content and blog posts 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 all over the cyberverse. For earlier posts, please scroll down or see the side bar.

Wednesday’s mid-week meme! 

Current/most recent audiobook:


Most recent was actually to one of mine, as I do a full listen before I submit it for publication: Hunting Julian, by Jacqueline Frank.

Most recent recreational listen was The Snowman, by Jo Nesbø, narrated by Robin Sachs.

Impressions:

I’ll skip mine and jump straight to The Snowman. Impressions? I’ll offer this as I experienced it intuitively when I listened:

Intriguing      

Messy

Er, sex? Now?

Oh..oh that’s not good…

Dear god, that’s twisted…

Brilliant

…but twisted

Sweet Bob, this is well-written.

I shouldn’t like Harry, right? Damn, too late.

Thoroughly confused…but I like it.

Whoa…WHOA! Damn.

…and that was just about the story. Sachs’ narration is sheer brilliance in this one. His voice for Harry and the killer in particular, were just perfect. It’s a tricky business to voice a killer without giving away the identity before the author intends it without also cheating. Sachs does this perfectly, so that even when I finally guessed, it was not because of any reveal on his part, other than the author’s intent.

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

My favorite recent listen has to be The Thirteenth Tale. I think I would have found it more tedious in print, but Amato’s pacing and voicing of the main character was so engaging and perfectly matched with the character’s personality that I simply couldn’t stop listening. Tanner’s narration was also good, although I think I was very biased by Amato’s initial voicing of Tanner’s character, which made it difficult to accept Tanner’s delivery once her sections began. But I got over my bias eventually 🙂

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

Two. Bianca Amato and Dan Stevens. I have yet to hear all of The Invisible Ones, but can.not.wait.

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

I’m so very picky about audiobooks (I really am – it’s a bit ridiculous, actually). But after being bludgeoned with good commentary on Wil Wheaton’s narration of Ready Player One, I succumb! I will put this on my TBL!

Your audio dream team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):

At the risk of sounding like a complete fangirl, I will offer this: I think either Robin Sachs alone or a dual narration between him and Bianca Amato of Lady Chatterley’s Lover would be pretty amazing.

And now, for those who are following along with our downward spiraling narrator trapped in that horrid room…

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Part 2 of 3

(and if you cannot see the player above, you can access it via the SoundCloud page for The Yellow Wallpaper). 

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:

Categories: Audiobook Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Going Public JIAM Audiopalooza – June 26th!

GOING PUBLIC JIAM AUDIOPALOOZA!

Recap: Monday through Friday this week, I (Xe) will be posting a new Going Public piece. I’m also participating in Audiobook Week, so if you’re looking for those posts, please look for “Audiobook Week” in Recent Posts in the sidebar.

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Part 1 of 3

Read by Xe Sands

(and if you cannot see the player above, you can access it via the SoundCloud page for The Yellow Wallpaper). 

Recap: several weeks back, I decided I wanted to offer a fresh Going Public piece every day of Audiobook Week, in celebration of JIAM. But just WHAT to offer? I mean, after doing the Lawrence poetry mashups with Robin Sachs…well, where could I possibly go from there?

Originally, I wanted to record The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. Sadly, it is not in the public domain. But then, for some reason, this wonderful, dark, gothic story of a woman’s decent into madness came to mind. Not sure whether to thrilled to have the perfect piece, or somewhat disturbed that a tale of neuroses run wild popped into my mind so easily, but I digress…

I’ve serialized this, almost like an old-time radio program. So grab your favorite beverage, get cozy in your favorite chair, slip on the headphones, and join me as we listen to our narrator tell us her tale…

“I wish I could get well faster.

But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it KNEWwhat a vicious influence it had!”

Categories: Going Public | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Audiobook Week 2012 – Audiobook Reviewing

Welcome to Audiobook Week – Day #2 here at Going Public!

**UPDATE ON GIVEAWAY – WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED**

AudiobookWeek2012 pictureRecap: Monday through Thursday of this week, I (Xe) will be posting new Going Public content and blog posts 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 all over the cyberverse. For Monday’s post, please scroll down, see the side bar, or click HERE.

Tuesday’s discussion topics: Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

Oh here is a topic near and dear to my narrator’s heart! I think I’ll tackle this from the flipside – what a narrator most benefits from when reading a review…and I don’t just mean positive reviews. But before I get to that, I have to offer my thanks to all of you who even bother. You give your time for no other reason than because you wish to share your experience with a book, and I am always grateful that you choose to spend precious time offering your thoughts.

For a rundown of the mechanics of writing an audiobook review, I’ll direct you to two excellent prior posts on this topic, a wonderfully succinct one from reviewer extraordinaire, Beth Fish Reads, and an indepth look at narration as it applies to reviewing from director Paul Alan Ruben.

**UPDATE** Many thanks to Jeff at Audiobook Jukebox (and exceptional site, btw) for this as well: AN AUDIOBOOK LEXICON, written by Mary Burkey, published in AudioFile Magazine.

So the first thing narrators (like authors) must acknowledge is that reviews are not written for them. They are written for other listeners, to give others a feel for what worked/didn’t work in a given audiobook. That said, I believe what I hope to glean from a review is also content that best serves potential listeners.

Because audio can dramatically alter your experience of the read, I’m looking for a separate section specifically on the audio aspects. Within that section, here is what I find most helpful:

  • How did the performance affect your experience of the book. Did it elevate the experience or detract from it? Did I get out of the way of the story and author’s intent, or were you always aware of my presence as narrator?
  • If you enjoyed the narration, what specifically worked for you and why (if you can get specific)? Was there something in particular that stood out positively for you in the performance?
  • If you didn’t enjoy the narration, what specifically detracted – pacing, characterizations, vocal tone, enunciation, etc? Were there specific moments that really pulled you out of the story?
  • Did you feel the delivery and tone matched the nature of the book, matched the emotional content?
  • How was the audio production? Did you hear too much extraneous noise? Breaths bug you too much? Odd changes in volume or “presence” that detracted from your experience?
  • Lastly, it’s also helpful to hear how you listened (your laptop speakers, headphones, MP3 player, etc.).

I suppose that makes it sound like quite a long bit to write, but I don’t think it needs to be.  My goal is to continue honing my performance to deliver a the most immersive and engaging delivery for you that I possibly can…so I appreciate every bit of information you can pass along.

For those who haven’t written an audiobook review but want to give it a try with no risk and minimal time outlay, I’m going to make a cheeky suggestion (I wish I had a British accent…makes saying “cheeky” so much more gratifying). I’m offering the classic gothic short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, in serialized format, today through Thursday, as part of the Going Public celebration of #JIAM2012. It will come in around 35 minutes total. I’m game to be your Guinea pig – use this as your test case. The first installment is below.

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Part 1 of 3

(and if you cannot see the player above, you can access it via the SoundCloud page for The Yellow Wallpaper). 

And if you just want something entertaining to listen to – feel free to just enjoy the story 🙂

Now how about you? How do you feel about reviewing audio – does it present specific challenges that print reviews don’t? Have you ever been contacted by a narrator or author after you’ve reviewed their work, or have either ever commented on one of your reviews? If so, what did you think – was it uncomfortable to be directly engaged by the narrator or author?

And remember – each post you comment on enters you another time in the Triple-Threat Giveaway…

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:

Categories: Audiobook Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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