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Random Acts of Listening: An Audiobook Rave and a Giveaway!

August 3, 2011

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.

image credit IMDB

Thanks, Ebony!

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.

3. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and then let us know which you did for another chance to win!

We will draw a winner this Friday morning. US residents only, please.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 8:38 am

    My favorite audio book is probably Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt.

  2. Angela K Sherrill permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:53 am

    My favorite audiobook is Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. It’s the audiobook that got me hooked. Two new favorite kids audiobooks are Libba Bray reading Beauty Queens and Jack Gantos reading Okay for Now.

    • Angela K Sherrill permalink
      August 3, 2011 9:00 am

      Shared on FB. Liked you on FB. Send me the audiobook already! (Just kidding!)

  3. August 3, 2011 2:04 pm

    Favorite audio book: To Kill a Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek.
    Currenly listening to Borrowers read by Emily Bauer.
    A new HTC phone in my life has encouraged me to be an audio listener.

  4. August 3, 2011 4:17 pm

    My favorite audio book is “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks. I loved the book but the audio book and the cast of characters is amazing – actors like Alan Alda, Jürgen Prochnow, Carl & Rob Reiner. Plus, Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio describing the Battle of Yonkers is mesmerizing.

  5. August 3, 2011 5:31 pm

    Ummm … I think probably The Wish List by Eoin Colfer. Love all the different characters’ accents. And lately most of my audiobook listening has been in the car or on the treadmill. :]

  6. August 3, 2011 5:34 pm

    And I just tweeted about it, too.

  7. August 3, 2011 5:35 pm

    And I followed you on Twitter!

  8. cushyb624 permalink
    August 4, 2011 12:06 am

    I have enjoyed ALL of James Frain’s numerous audiobook performances over the years — he is BRILLIANT!! Can’t wait for this one! Please visit and join

    Facebook Fans of James Frain

    and James Frain Fans Page!

    • August 5, 2011 2:04 pm

      I posted the link to this review/giveaway on both Facebook Fans of James Frain, James Frain Fans Page, and my Facebook wall! Lots of excitement!

  9. Judy permalink
    August 4, 2011 7:45 am

    I don’t have a favorite audiobook because I’m still looking (listening!) for one. This one sounds like it would be great; I’d love to listen to it with my mom who at age 93 can no longer read due to macular degeneration.

  10. Susan permalink
    August 4, 2011 4:53 pm

    My favorite audiobook is Eat, Love, Pray by, Elizabeth Gilbert. She reads the book herself, and I loved listening to it. I even listened to it twice because it was so good!

  11. Susan permalink
    August 4, 2011 4:56 pm

    I shared this on Twitter.

  12. Susan permalink
    August 4, 2011 4:59 pm

    I Like Random Acts of Listening on Facebook.
    Susan Clarke T


  1. Audiobook Giveaway Winner! « Random Acts of Reading

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