What fictional public domain book would be good for a voice-actress to do?
February 4, 2004 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of producing an unabridged audio book (more for the experience than for money). I have a wonderful voice-actress who is up for it. Now I need to choose a book. I'd like it to be fiction and something in public domain (i.e. a classic). What would you like to hear that hasn't been recorded already (or that's been done badly)?
posted by grumblebee to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
How are you sure it isn't being recorded? The Library of Congress records EVERYTHING from what I have been told. My wife works for a nonprofit that records textbooks for blind and dyslexic students, and she says that nearly everything is being recorded.
posted by terrapin at 9:43 AM on February 4, 2004

Anything read aloud by Arthur C. Clarke is just awful. The writing isn't bad, but Clarke's delivery is.
posted by interrobang at 10:36 AM on February 4, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, but Clarke's novels are not in public domain. Thanks, anyway, though.
posted by grumblebee at 10:39 AM on February 4, 2004

James Branch Cabell's Jurgen? I love that book. Might not be so appropriate for a woman to read, tho...
posted by alex_reno at 10:45 AM on February 4, 2004

what about old local newspapers, written histories or works of fiction from around where you live that would fill more of a regional niche? something like that might be worth checking into with a local library/university/etc
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 11:01 AM on February 4, 2004

Response by poster: alex_reno, thanks for alerting me to the existance of James Branch Cabell. I've never heard of him before, but you got me googling, and now I'm really interested. I'll have to try to find a copy of Jurgen. I wonder, though, if his stuff in in public domain. He was lived until 1955.
posted by grumblebee at 11:59 AM on February 4, 2004

Anything by Oscar Wilde would be a good idea, in my opinion. Though I'm sure it's all been audio-booked already, as most classics have. The only full length novel by Wilde is ofcourse The Picture of Dorian Gray, but if you wanted to start small (which might be wise), something like The Importance of Being Earnest (a play that reads like a short story) might be rather fun.
posted by fvw at 12:01 PM on February 4, 2004

Response by poster: Just found Jurgen at the Gutenberg project website, so I guess that answers my question. Cool. Even if I don't do an audio book, I really look forward to reading him. For anyone else who is interested, check out this page: http://users.aol.com/s6sj7gt/mikecab.htm.

Having read no Cabell, he sounds a little like Nabokov -- at least in relation to their shared love of anagrams and wordplay burried within fiction.
posted by grumblebee at 12:02 PM on February 4, 2004

The New York public library has a decent search for "talking books"
(they use the overly cute names of PAWS, CATNYP and LEO, awww!)
There might be better ones, and a lot of local libraries
have their own recording of local readers, but it might
give you a few ideas.
posted by milovoo at 12:14 PM on February 4, 2004

I don't know what's already been done, but Russian novels are wonderful to read aloud. Master and Margarita? Also Edgar A. Poe is wonderful to hear when read by a great actor.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:39 PM on February 4, 2004

Great fodder for a talented voice actress:
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin.
Also has lots of ingredients for a 'hit' -- lesser known book by well-loved author, great story, wonderful language, plus there is a persistent rumor that Miramax (or possibly Granada TV) has been trying to make a film from it.
posted by anastasiav at 2:36 PM on February 4, 2004

Shame you don't have a voice actor, because Eastern Standard Tribe (or Down and Out...) would be a perfect Novel to convert to this format. You probably couldn't sell it, but I'm guessing that enough Geeks are mad enough about Creative Commons to donate money to you, and I think it'd get you lots of exposure. Tie it in with one of the new peer-to-peer download services, and I think you'll have a hit.

You could be known as the person who put EST on every iPod in the world.
posted by seanyboy at 12:15 AM on February 5, 2004

In fact, tell me if you'll do this, because if you're not interested, then I may know a man who is.
posted by seanyboy at 12:17 AM on February 5, 2004

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