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Audible.com has introduced the A-List Collection, a new line of audio books narrated by Hollywood stars.
The first four books will be available March 8, with another ten planned for later in 2012.
The initial batch includes Samuel L. Jackson performing Chester Himes’ A Rage in Harlem, Anne Hathaway doing the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Kate Winslet’s rendition of Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin and Susan Sarandon performing The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers.
The actors helped chose their own projects. Jackson said he chose the story of a man who falls in love with a woman who is a grifter because it reminded him of when he lived in Harlem. He said he tried to evoke the great radio dramas he listened to as child with his grandfather in his performance.
Hathaway had never read the Wizard of Oz before but when someone suggested it she fell in love in the story and its many different voices. She said she was surprised at how much new she discovered in the book, even though she’s a fan of the classic movie. For her performance, Hathaway imagined reading to her young cousins.
Planned follow ups include Annette Bening performing Mrs. Dalloway, Colin Firth reading The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, Hilary Swank reading Caroline Knapp’s Pack of Two, and Jennifer Connelly reading The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. Audible will release them in four waves, though an exact schedule has not been finalized.
Audible.com CEO Donald Katz said, “Audible has consistently sought to elevate the quality of audio book narration, and we hope this collection will expose an even broader audience to the rich palate of performances that makes listening to audio books so pleasurable.”
Audible.com, which was acquired by Amazon in 2008, is the leading supplier of digital audio books, with downloads increasing 40 percent in 2011 and users averaging eighteen downloads a year.
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