Friday, June 8, 2012

From Dan Rather to Ryan O'Neal

Journalist Dan Rather has a new memoir out titled RATHER OUTSPOKEN, which he also reads. I interviewed him once and asked about what recording an audiobook was like, and he responded, "It’s important to have a feel for how your writing sounds when read aloud. Doing an audiobook forces you to come to terms with that.” The new book covers his entire career, including his 24 years with the CBS Evening News. He talks about journalism and the free press in this self examination of a career and the state of the media today. Henry A. Crumpton writes THE ART OF INTELLIGENCE: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service, read by David Colacci. The premise is that the military has learned to fight smarter (with smarter bombs, drones, elite forces VS. shock-and-awe-shucks.) Of course you have to wonder when American taxpayers and politicians will learn their lesson about getting involved in more Vietnams. Or building F22 Raptors no one really needs at $412 million each.  Or adding a soccer stadium and a new hospital to Gitmo instead of closing it, thereby raising the cost of keeping each inmate to $800,000 per.  BOTH OF US: My Life with Farrah by Ryan O'Neal is read by Ryan. Co-written by Kent Carroll and Jodee Blanco (author of "Please Stop Laughing at Me.") ME THE PEOPLE: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America is by Kevin Bleyer, also read by the author. Funny stuff from a guy who writes for The Daily Show and Politically Incorrect. (Wonder why Crumpton didn't read his memoir, which is usually the case...maybe Bleyer should ask him?) And, of course, there's the semi-annual fictional offerings from star writers such as John Sandford (STOLEN PREY) and Clive Cussler (THE STORM) in case you like your carnage fictional and thus more entertaining. So what about TOP OF THE ROCK: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must-See TV, by Warren Littlefield, read by Bob Balaban? It's a look behind the curtains of 1993-1998 television programming, including "petty actor jealousies and drug interventions." Question: isn't TV replacing reading enough? Do we really need a book featuring TV obsessions? Answer: yes, because mostly this will attract TV addicts, who need to listen to a TV actor (and producer) read to them about TV, since otherwise they'd be watching TV and only reading TV Guide...and so would never hear about THE NEWLYWEDS by Nell Freudenberger, which is read on audio by Mozhan Marno, about a kind of mail order bride who moves to New York from Bangladesh and back again for reasons I can't tell you.

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