Last week the New York Times Book Review did a couple of nice features on audiobooks, an under-reviewed genre. The Times stories “Wired for Sound” and “The Mind’s Ear,” got me to thinking about audio.
I’ve always used audiobooks on car trips, where I dug into things I might not otherwise read in a book book, and I’ve enjoyed audiobooks on the treadmill at the Ashland YMCA (though I exercise harder with music than with books or cable news). And when I had eye surgery, I listened to all 10 disks of David Hajdu’s The Ten-Cent Plague, read by Stefan Rudnicki. Perhaps my New Year’s resolution should be to get more systematic about listening to audiobooks.
So seeing the Times pieces and making my pre-resolution, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that two Blackstone audiobooks were nominated for the 2012 Grammy Awards, in the wordy category “Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling).” I had forgotten there was such a category, but I shouldn’t have: Barack Obama won in 2005 and 2008.
The three-hour “Hamlet” performance was produced and directed by Ira Burton and based on the 2010 Oregon Shakespeare Festival production directed by Bill Rauch. It’s part of an OSF-Blackstone collaboration which aims to produce audio versions of all of Shakespeare’s plays over the next 17-25 years. The “Hamlet” audio features almost the entire cast of the OSF 2010 production, including Dan Donohue in the lead. It’s great to see the debut production in the running for a Grammy.
And congratulations too on Blackstone’s nomination for “The Mark of Zorro,” read by Val Kilmer. The winners will be announced at the 54th Grammy Award ceremony on February 12, 2012.