Random Acts of Listening: An Audiobook Rave and a Giveaway!
We’re thrilled to kick off a more regular audiobook series here that we’re calling Random Acts of Listening that will feature a mix of audio reviews that we write and behind-the-scenes reviews and audio features from our friends at Listening Library and RH Audio. Today’s guest post comes to us from Ebony, the sales and marketing manager for the Random House Audio Group. She shares one of her favorite new audiobooks, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Please don’t miss details after the post on how you can win a copy of this audio to listen to yourself!
I have always been intimidated by the classics. The anxiety began at an early age when I used to watch my brother effortlessly conquer Verne and Dickens from the hallway near the entrance of his room. See, I wasn’t allowed in; from my brother’s point of view, my ridiculousness was contagious and would’ve polluted his space. Plus, I “ruined” everything. It’s a matter of opinion, really.
Anyway, a few years down the road, I too had my interlude with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Great Expectations, but the relationship with both books was turbulent at best. I realize now that the delivery may have made all the difference. Had I been exposed to James Frain’s recording of Verne’s classic years earlier, I’m sure I wouldn’t have minded playing in the deep end of the ocean.
A brief history of the narrator: The actor has made multiple appearances on a number of television series, movies, and plays, but has done so without being blatantly recognizable. His presence elicits a kind of déjà vu; he maintains a type of celebrity without being overwhelmingly famous. My ears perked up when I was told that James Frain would be adding his British flair to Verne’s classic. Surprisingly, my first thought was Where the Heart Is; the second, True Blood. Although I’m years behind on the HBO cult series (my cheapness won’t allow me to subscribe to the cable network), I know a lot about the mega-hit from what I read in entertainment magazines. Fans will also remember Frain’s starring performance in the Natalie Portman vehicle, Where the Heart Is. These two works so obviously on separate sides of the dramatic spectrum only highlight the diversity of Frain’s resume. It’s funny, so often you hear that the book is better than the movie. I might rework the saying a little to fit the audio format: Frain’s recording of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has found new life on audio.
In addition to Frain’s performance, there is a visual component of this audiobook that makes it incredibly different from any other recording. Listening Library commissioned original artwork for the century-old classic from illustrator Carson Ellis. Children’s books fans have seen her work in The Mysterious Benedict Society (also available on audio from Listening Library) by Trenton Lee Stewart and The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket. Verne’s tale has gotten a retro, yet modern lift; the artwork is almost dreamlike with a young explorer at the bottom of the sea on the hunt for adventure, or maybe a mysteriously large submarine. Reminiscent of what an astronaut would wear in the emptiness of space, the uniform takes on a whole new meaning under water. Even though we humans have populated the Earth for millions of years, the depths of its waters are still unknown. Villain or victim, Captain Nemo definitely understood the thrill of the discovery.
Take a dip in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
If you want to win a copy of this fantastic audio, here is what you need to do:
1. Leave a comment below- what is your favorite audiobook? Or where would you listen to this one if you win?
2. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and come back and leave a second comment about where you shared it for a second chance to win.
We will draw a winner this Friday morning. US residents only, please.