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Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks

As we continue to explore the world of audiobooks, we bring you our newest feature, “Sounding Off on Audio,” where we interview listeners about their love of audiobooks. Find out what they listen to, who their favorite narrators are, why they enjoy audiobooks, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned listener of audiobooks or have only a passing curiosity, we hope that you find these interviews to be fun and informative --- and perhaps come across a title or two that you can add to your audiobook listening list. Whenever possible, we will try to provide samples for your listening pleasure as well.

A Conversation with Eric P. Rhodes

This week marked a bittersweet end and an exciting new beginning, as we said goodbye to a beloved member of The Book Report Network family. Eric P. Rhodes was the Director of Web Design for our division for the past eight plus years, as well as an all-around great guy (with an all-around great beard). Not one to leave without getting a last word in, Eric was kind enough to share some of his audio insight with us --- including how addictive the instant gratification of downloads can be, and why it’s important to focus when listening…audiobooks can be just as informative as a college course. We already miss Eric; we're even considering finally taking his advice and listening to some self-help books.

A Conversation with Carol Kubala

Carol Kubala is a retired librarian and a longtime fan. She’s also an old hand when it comes to audiobooks --- and has plenty of wisdom to share. Here, Carol lets us in on the secret to great narration, as well as how she designates which audiobooks to listen to and when (hint: thrillers are great for multitasking). She also discusses the valuable and oft-overlooked relationship between audiobooks and exercise.

A Conversation with Bill Bolander

Bill Bolander works in a factory and can fix anything except his difficulties with dyslexia. Listening to audiobooks has opened up a new world of books to him. Now he can discuss books with his bibliophile wife, Linda Johnson, an avid reader who --- not coincidentally --- shared her own thoughts on audiobooks with us a few weeks ago. In this "Sounding Off on Audio" interview, Bill tells us about some of the great books he has listened to. And for all of you biography and history lovers, he has some excellent recommendations!

A Conversation with Frank Cammuso

Frank Cammuso is a former award-winning political cartoonist and a current graphic novel author and illustrator. It may be surprising, then, that someone so visually-oriented is also a longtime audiobook lover. Frank has been listening to audiobooks for so long, in fact, that he still refers to them as “books on tape.” Here, he gives us a straightforward rundown of his audio habits --- including where and when he listens, and why he still prefers CDs over less tangible technology, like an MP3.

A Conversation with Gloria Riffie

Gloria Riffie is another loyal reader who wrote in to tell us how much she loves audiobooks. She has been listening to books for six or seven years now and has a few ideas about what really makes an audiobook experience great. In this “Sounding Off” interview, Gloria talks about how sometimes multiple narrators can be better than one (especially if they can do voices) and an audiobook she listened to that was 29 CDs long --- and worth every minute!

A Conversation with Samantha Adams

Samantha Adams is a former lawyer and self-described “audiobook addict” who has recently rediscovered her love of reading. Sam has been blind for many years, which makes her uniquely sensitive to the experience of listening to a book. Here, she talks about how she listens (the technology has certainly evolved since she started in the late '80s!) and how a good narrator can be the gateway to discovering wonderful new authors. She also opens up --- in lovely detail --- about how the audio experience can be so much richer than simply reading books in print.

A Conversation with Linda Johnson

Linda Johnson is a former newspaper columnist and longtime devotee of Now she works part-time in a small university library and is very active with her local chapter of Friends of the Library. She’s been listening to audiobooks for 15 years now, and has accumulated much audio wisdom through the years. Here, she discusses converting from old technologies to new ones, how listening can be a shared experience --- even when you’re technically listening solo --- and why you should probably not listen to John Waters’ CARSICK in a public place.

A Conversation with Mary Lou Wachsmith

Mary Lou Wachsmith is a lawyer-turned-tutor, whose love of books is in her DNA --- a trait so deep it’s inherited by her sons. She only recently started listening to audiobooks, but she has been a voracious listener since she got hooked a year ago. Self-described as not a great multitasker, Mary Lou doesn’t like to listen while she’s distracted by anything else. Here, she talks about how her love of listening to books was fostered early by radio programs and the children’s story hour at the library, and why a good narrator is absolutely integral to the success of an audiobook.

A Conversation with Deborah Bryson

Deborah Bryson is a loyal reader and lover of all kinds (and formats!) of books. Quilting --- particularly needleturn appliqué and hand quilting --- is her favorite hobby besides reading. Thanks to audiobooks, she is able to do both at once! Here, Deborah sounds off on listening to books while she’s in “that happy stitching place,” how different the experience of listening to a book can be from reading one, and why she’s such a fan of nonfiction audiobooks.  

A Conversation with Melanie Steinberg

This week on “Sounding Off on Audio,” we talk to Melanie Steinberg, who has been editing our Word of Mouth section on Considering she spends approximately 10 hours a week commuting, it comes as no surprise that she loves listening to books in her car. Here, she talks about some of her favorite audiobooks --- including THE GOLDFINCH (narrated by David Pittu), which nearly saved her life one snowy night.