Going Public…In Shorts with Arielle DeLisle

spoken freely

June is Audiobook Month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization.

Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.

The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands.  – Mary Freeman

My narrator partner for the Going Public…In Shorts project is Arielle DeLisle.

Thank you, Arielle, for guest posting today!

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I’m honored to participate in “Going Public… In Shorts” with so many other amazing narrators. There’s such a great supportive community among narrators and we’ve donated these recordings in hopes of raising money for the non-profit, Reach Out and Read.

I came to audiobooks through a workshop 4 years ago from Pat Fraley, a simply amazing and generous teacher. For 13 years I worked in radio, doing commercial voiceover and production. I’d always held an interest in voice acting beyond a 30 second spot, and Pat’s workshop turned a spark into a wildfire (and listening to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter series was one heck of an introduction to the art-form at its best!) We say recording audiobooks is a marathon and in 2012 I ran 33 of those long races. I’m being more selective now that my daughter will turn 2 this fall and she’ll get a younger brother or sister (we love surprises!) in late October. She currently requests my bedtime renditions of “Big Red Barn” and “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” My favorite commercially released titles I’ve performed are “The Righteous” series by Michael Wallace and “The Black Stiletto” series by Raymond Benson.

For this project, I chose to narrate Kate Chopin’s “A Pair of Silk Stockings.” It first appears to be about a woman getting sucked into the trap of consumerism and it echoes the over-simplified perceptions of economic issues many people face today. However, because it’s Chopin, the story cuts deeper than that. The main character wants to live with the freedom she once had in simpler times, and is desperately trying to make this one day exist in a bubble as something for herself, in lieu of the frazzled, non-stop life she now lives. I hope you enjoy it and keep listening to the “Going Public… In Shorts” series in honor of June is Audiobook month!

Great choice, Arielle. I loved your performance!

Click here to see Arielle’s Going Public post

 

Audio Briefs

wallflower in bloomSynopsis (publisher):  Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound. Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

My take:  This was an entertaining novel about a rather odd family. The parents are former Dead-heads.  The only son is as described in the synopsis: a New Age guru. He’s the family moneymaker. There are assorted other family members who only make Deirdre feel move inadequate. In fact, Deirdre’s entire family makes her feel that way. 

When the proverbial straw appears in the form of her loser boyfriend’s announcement Deirdre gets drunk and the rest, as they say, is history. One must suspend belief at this point because, as an occasional viewer of Dancing With the Stars, I don’t think this scenario would ever happen. That said, Claire Cook delivers a story that made me laugh. The point is obvious but that’s ok.

I liked the audiobook. Cassandra Campbell’s performance was enjoyable.

art forgerSynopsis (publisher):  On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye. Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting–a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum–in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

My take:  I’m an art lover in the most basic sense. Art Appreciation 101 aside, I have no formal art education or talent – just an eye for what I like. I remember hearing about the Gardener Museum heist when it occurred but quickly forgot about it – I was up to my ears in raising three young children at the time. I liked that it was the basis for Shapiro’s novel.

Claire Roth has a notorious reputation in the art world and has tried to live under the radar for the past few years as a legitimate reproduction artist. When given the chance to reproduce one of the stolen Degas paintings she just can’t say no. She makes her deal with the devil for the chance to show her own work.

I figured out the mystery early on so it’s safe to say most readers will (I’m not a mystery fan). Still, I had my doubts about who was behind it – who in Claire’s world knew what, etc.

I liked the descriptions of the Degas paintings –  I googled a few times to see them.

Xe Sands did a fine job with the narration. Her performance definitely increased my overall enjoyment of the book.

Source:  I bought both audiobooks.

Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Title:  Objects of My Affection

Author:  Jill Smolinski

Narrator:  Xe Sands

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  2012 – Blackstone Audio (9cds – 10.5 hours)

My take:  Organizer Lucy Bloom had to sell her house and most of her possessions in order to pay for her son’s stay at a drug rehab facility. She also broke up with her boyfriend over her son’s behavior. So she’s without a home, son and a relationship – pretty much everything is gone. Her new job is a challenge. She is to organize and clean out a famous artist’s (Marva Meier Rios) home which is filled to the brim with stuff.

Lucy and Marva begin to see segments of their lives in a different way as they help each other figure out how to let go. I was surprised by how much I liked this novel. At times it was deceptively light – I laughed several times – but if you ever saw one of Oprah’s hoarders shows you know there are some deep issues there. Sure the lessons seem obvious but it’s much more than that. These characters are complex and maybe a bit like people we all know. I also enjoyed the supporting characters – Marva’s son Will and Lucy’s ex-boyfriend Daniel to name two.

There are small twists and turns that had me listening way past the point where I’d planned to stop. I kept walking, cleaning, driving… you get the picture. I was pulling for Lucy and Marva right through to the end. I love it when that happens.

There are those things you keep, things you let go of, and it’s often not easy to know the difference.

from Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Xe Sands did a fine job voicing Jill Smolinski’s characters – both male and female. It was so easy to listen to her – again with the walking, cleaning, driving :) She conveyed the emotions of the characters perfectly. This is the first time I’ve listened to Sands read a book and in the future there’ll be no hesitation to grab audiobooks with her name listed as narrator.

I recommend this audiobook to fans of Fiction – women’s or otherwise, Jill Smolinski, and Xe Sands.

Source:  Blackstone Audio; Audio Jukebox

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.