Author News and Book Reports

Jennifer Egan and Roy Blount, Jr., offer contrasting perspectives on written vs. spoken words
Jennifer Egan and Roy Blount, Jr., offered contrasting perspectives on the transformation of their written words into spoken words, otherwise known as audiobooks, in their Audiobooks Tea panel at BookExpo America 2007. Egan began her reflections on the process of going audio by describing her writing process and the challenges of writing her first novel, the highly acclaimed The Invisible Circus (Nan Talese; December, 1994), which she could barely stand to read back to herself once she had finished the first draft. Her third novel, The Keep (Knopf; August, 2006), was equally difficult for her to read to herself. Egan confessed to 'a strange' relief, however, when The Keep was released in audiobook format (Audio Partners; August, 2006), the first of her novels to be released in audio, and again when she heard her characters' voices in the movie version of The Invisible Circus. In stark contrast, the prolific humorist and author Roy Blount, Jr., gave an unabashed rendering of his latest book Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South (Knopf; May, 2007), which is also out in audiobook cd and downloads (Highbridege Company; May, 2007). A southerner now living in Massachusetts, Blount gave his droll, curmudgeonly take on southern dirt-eaters, and a cutting riff on southerners' belief in 'The Rapture', showing off his considerable talent for delivering a good line and his great voice with its appealing southern drawl underscoring the humor in his words. Blount, who naturally does his own readings in audio form, closed his Audiobook Tea presentation with reflections on the experience of recording audiobooks, hinting that the audio format may be more his metier than the book itself.

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