Welcome back to the Audiobooks.com Podcast! This week we have a very different show for you, but one we’ll hope you’ll enjoy as a book lover. To start things off, we discuss some of the audiobooks that were recently released and our interest in them, then get into some of the books we’ve been listening to.
The core of our discussion revolves around some controversies occurring right now in the book industry. Many of the decisions that have been made surrounding these incidents bear a significant impact on the creative side to the business of books and audiobooks, and we wanted to take the time to explore some of these issues. Taking a serious look at them, we believe, makes us better consumers and equips us with the knowledge we need to make informed decisions and support those who need to be supported. Exercising our consumer rights can be the loudest weapon we have against the creative types who are being manipulated by the money-driven machine that fuels them.
ON THE RADAR
Mindy Kaling’s newest book, Why Not Me, was released on September 15, 2015. She reads much of the book herself, but also has other voices making appearances on the audiobook production, including Greg Daniels (known for his work on Saturday Night Live and The Office) and B. J. Novak (writer and fellow co-star on The Office).
Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), which was released in 2011, received mixed responses amongst critics. As her writing style ranges from prose to a more blogging-feel, Mindy herself reads the audiobook, with help from Michael Schur, and brings it to life with a more conversational tone. She covers topics from recounting experiences in Hollywood to childhood memories.
Why Not Me is a collection of humorous essays of Mindy’s mission to find a balance of fulfillment and joy in life, from love to weight loss. And we hear it is one heck of a chuckler!
Also on our radar is a book from singer-songwriter Jewel, entitled Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story. As far as typical celebrity memoirs go, this one is on the longer side. The audiobook is 10 hours and 30 minutes long, but it is read by Jewel herself.
We are familiar with Jewel’s early albums, such as her debut Pieces of You from 1995, but the singer has been releasing albums almost every year or two throughout the 2000s. This memoir isn’t the first publication Jewel has released. She published a book of poetry in 1998 entitled A Night Without Armor, and then an autobiography in 2000 called Chasing Down the Dawn, which chronicled her journey from Alaska to the world’s stage.
Never Broken seems to be Jewel’s second stab at an autobiography, but one that is already being met with great reviews! We’re excited to check it out.
Putting Up Guards
Here at Audiobooks.com, we’re all about supporting the creative geniuses behind the books and materials we enjoy. As consumers, we have the poignant power to show publishing companies our opinions through choosing to purchase, or not purchase, a book or audiobook instead of complaining. However, we’re neither advocating nor supporting a boycott in these situations we bring up, rather we want to bring to light that when the creative process is mistreated by someone intent on making a sell, we have the opportunity to respond to that in kind.
The two controversial situations we examine at length are Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and the late Steig Larsson’s The Girl In the Spider’s Web. While some books are currently receiving heat for their accuracy, such as Wednesday Martin’s The Primates of Park Avenue, these books are brought to our attention because of the publisher’s role in releasing a creative work that the author, arguably, had no say in due to death or mental acuity.
What makes matters difficult for fans, we think, is a desire to respect the creative process of an author while still having an insatiable curiosity to discover what the book holds. Fans of the first three novels released by Steig Larsson under the Millennium Series are no doubt anxious to read the rumored 7 books that remain. Following Larsson’s death in 2004, the hope of reading any further seemed to be dashed.
In that same vein, Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird was an immediate success, winning Lee a Pulitzer. But the reactions by Lee and her family, following the books release, make it difficult to justify reading the book. How much of the book was changed from Lee’s original manuscript? Did she have a say in the changes that were made? Is this book really deserving of Lee’s name under the authorship?
When controversy like this arises, what is your response? Do you find yourself interested to read the final product of a long, legal battle, or do you pass on the newly published work in favor of respect for an author? Or is there an option C? We’d love to hear opinions on this, because we’re at a crossroads over what the right course is to take.
Brian is still making his way through Ready Player One, but we promise that a full review of that audiobook is coming up soon! In the meantime, Addy is still learning Italian, so we may need a translator in an upcoming episode for when she becomes fluent!
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