I love Audible and audiobooks! Every day I’m listening to a new chapter in an audiobook using my Audible app, as it’s a great way to be productive while doing chores around the house. Audible also comes in handy while taking a walk, driving, or when you simply want to wind down at the end of the day. You can even get your morning off on the right foot by listening to a newspaper, such as The Wall Street Journal, with Audible. The options are endless, and with the newly launched Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus service Audible has gotten even better.
Audible has consistently raised the bar when it comes to audiobooks. With The 64th Man, the bar has been raised yet again. Starring professional wrestler and actor John Cena, this Audible Original is an excellent, slickly produced, humorous tale about an athlete trying to find himself and his place in the world. Despite being a casual sports fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.
I was impressed by John Cena’s excellent voice over work, and the supporting cast is wonderful too—especially Jane Curtin as Mildred. At a little over five hours in length, this story blows by and it has a satisfying conclusion. While some audiobooks have incorporated sound effects in their production, The 64th Man takes everything to another level. It felt like listening to a movie or TV show, which made for a highly enjoyable and immersive experience. If this is the future of audiobooks, then the future is bright.
Pat Fraley is well known for creating and performing the evil, bodiless Krang on the original animated TV series: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Pat has created voices for over 4,000 characters—placing him in the top 10 of all time to be cast in animated TV shows. His performances and projects across all entertainment mediums garnered him Emmy, Annie, Cleo, and Audie award wins and nominations.
As a teacher, Pat is the architect of voice over instruction. For nearly 50 years, he has guided more performers into meaningful voice over careers than anyone in the history of voice over instruction. He has taught audiobook narration for 20 years. During the past 10 years, Scott Brick, an award-winning audiobook performer, has taught alongside Pat.
I spent 90 minutes speaking with Pat, making this my longest interview ever, and it was a delight. We talked about his impressive and lengthy career, bonded over both of us being teachers, and much more. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did conducting it.
Those who know me well are aware of my love for audiobooks. Like a lot of people, I lead a busy life and being able to listen to a book, as opposed to having to sit down and read it, means I can read a whole lot more. And it means that I can make mundane activities – brushing my teeth, walking to work, getting dressed – more enjoyable and productive. Therefore, the majority of the books I’m going to read this year will be audiobooks.
It’s hard to believe but I read 54 books in 2013. Since I love books in all forms, this includes audiobooks, print books and e-books. You can check out the full list of what I read here. Below are a few of my favorite books, categorized by genre, that I read this year.
Today, the Audible.com Listening Club named me its “Reviewer of the Month” for my blog post about Steven James’ audiobook, Placebo. I’m always honored to receive an award, and this is a great group. If you love audiobooks, make sure to check it out.
Audible is running a sweepstakes where the winner gets:
If you’re a fan of audiobooks this is worth checking out. You can enter the sweepstakes here.
On my lunch break, especially when the weather is nice, I like to take a walk and listen to a chapter or two from an audiobook. This allows me to decompress and exercise at the same time. My usual destination is Rittenhouse Square, the epicenter of social activity in center city Philadelphia. Little did I know that I’d run into one of the most bizarre individuals in the City of Brotherly Love during one of my daily treks last week.
Last Friday I stared at my computer screen, realized it was lunch time and headed for the door. With my earbuds popped in and my iPhone at the ready, I picked up where I left off in the audiobook version of The Da Vinci Code as I took the elevator to the ground floor of the building. I’m revisiting the book in anticipation of Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, and it’s just as good now as it was 10 years ago.
The steel doors opened, I passed the security guard and burst through the front doors onto Broad Street. Passing by a motley crew of University of the Arts students, I approached the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets and gazed up at City Hall – the world’s tallest masonry building. To this day, it still impresses me every time I see it.
Weaving in and out of human traffic, I made my way to Rittenhouse Square in record time. Upon my arrival I turned left and searched for a bench where I could unwind and focus on the story being piped into my ears. As I traversed the curved path I noticed to the right a crazy-looking woman with frizzy hair. I walked forward several benches and found an empty one, seemingly waiting for my behind to rest on it.
I sat down and within two minutes the aforementioned crazy woman left her bench to join me. I ignored her but she started to speak, so I took out my headphones and said, “What?” As I turned toward her I noticed that her skin was weathered and laden with deep-set wrinkles. Her unwieldy mane of hair blew in the air as she said to me with a two-toothed grin, “Can you light this for me? They don’t let me light them.” Bemused and wondering who “they” were, I looked down and saw in her outstretched hands a cigarette and a lighter. Hoping this would convince her to leave me alone, I said, “Sure.”
Assuming everything was done and over with, I put my headphones back in and continued to play my audiobook. Then I realized Frizzy Frannie was still talking to me. I took out my earbuds again and she said, “You’ve got the power! Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire.” While I’m a fan of classic rock, having a gravely-voiced senior citizen who looks like she could give Lindsay Lohan a run for her money isn’t my idea of a good time. Thinking quickly, I acted like I received a phone call I had to take and said, “Excuse me.” To make it convincing, I stood several feet from the bench and said to no one on the other line, “Where are you? I’m in Rittenhouse Square. Yeah, I know where that is. I’ll be there in five minutes.” Then I swiftly walked away, leaving Frizzy Frannie by her lonesome.
Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park that’s regularly inhabited by street musicians, people having picnics and doormen walking dogs. It’s a great place to unwind and soak in a beautiful day in the city. But like any urban oasis, you never know who you’re going to find on the other side of the bench…so have an exit strategy in mind.