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Audible.com is going Hollywood, enlisting a roster of A-list stars to record a new line of audiobooks drawn from famous works of literature.
Kate Winslet, whose reading of Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin was the first audiobook in the new series to be recorded, said of the experience: “You use a different part of your brain and it keeps your creative juices flowing. It is challenging, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun as well. As a listener, being able to tune out and be taken into another world, an atmosphere, an environment that is being created entirely for you by somebody else’s voice is really a wonderful, magical thing.”
Other stars who’ve signed up to read great books include Nicole Kidman, who won an Oscar for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours and who will be reading Woolf’s To the Lighthouse; Anne Hathaway, who is lending her voice to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; and Dustin Hoffman, who will read Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There.
The first of the new productions will be released early next year by Audible.com, which invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997. This year, the company said, downloads by Audible members are up more than 40% year-over-year, with individual members downloading an average of more than 18 books over the course of a year.
Other actors slated to perform in the new series and the books they will read are Kim Basinger (The Awakening by Kate Chopin); Annette Bening (Mrs. Dalloway by Woolf); Jennifer Connelly (The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles); Colin Firth (The End of the Affair by Graham Greene); Samuel L. Jackson (A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes); Meg Ryan (The Human Comedy by William Saroyan); Susan Sarandon (The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers); and Naomi Watts (Summer by Edith Wharton).
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