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Hear, Here: Four Audiobooks With A Brand-New Sound

Think a graphic novel is too visual to make a good audiobook? Think again. The audio version of <em>Civil War </em>uses sound effects, music and a full cast to bring the superhero story to life.
Think a graphic novel is too visual to make a good audiobook? Think again. The audio version of <em>Civil War </em>uses sound effects, music and a full cast to bring the superhero story to life.

If your holiday shopping trip includes a stop at the bookstore, you might consider adding audiobooks to your gift list. And this year, as you slip on headphones to sample the offerings, what you hear might surprise you.

According to Robin Whitten, the founder and editor of AudioFilemagazine, the genre has far surpassed the conventions of the taped readings of yore.

An emphasis on theatrical elements, she says, "expands what audio listening can be, so that we can't just think of it as a single narrator who sort of takes you through a literary novel or a fabulous mystery," Whitten says. "Audio publishers are really expanding the envelope in the way they look — with multiple narrators, sound effects and sound design, as well as a single voice just telling you a great story."

Whitten gives NPR's Linda Wertheimer her recommendations for some of the most notable audiobooks released in 2013. On Morning Edition,she talks up a music-filled collection, a superhero story and a compellingly narrated novel; for NPR.org, she includes a book with a bevy of narrators.


"Toshi," fromPete Seeger: The Storm King, produced by Jeff Haynes and published by Hachette Audio. Copyright 2013 by Jeff Haynes, Komunyaka Productions, LLC.

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