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Download The Untold Story of the Talking Book Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Untold Story of the Talking Book, by Matthew  Rubery Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Rubery Narrator: Jim Denison Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Histories of the book often move straight from the codex to the digital screen. Left out of that familiar account is nearly 150 years of audio recordings. Recounting the fascinating history of audio-recorded literature, Matthew Rubery traces the path of innovation from Edison’s recitation of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for his tinfoil phonograph in 1877, to the first novel-length talking books made for blinded World War I veterans, to today’s billion-dollar audiobook industry.

The Untold Story of the Talking Book focuses on the social impact of audiobooks, not just the technological history, in telling a story of surprising and impassioned conflicts: from controversies over which books the Library of Congress selected to become talking books?yes to Kipling, no to Flaubert?to debates about what defines a reader. Delving into the vexed relationship between spoken and printed texts, Rubery argues that storytelling can be just as engaging with the ears as with the eyes, and that audiobooks deserve to be taken seriously. They are not mere derivatives of printed books but their own form of entertainment.

We have come a long way from the era of sound recorded on wax cylinders, when people imagined one day hearing entire novels on mini-phonographs tucked inside their hats. Rubery tells the untold story of this incredible evolution and, in doing so, breaks from convention by treating audiobooks as a distinctively modern art form that has profoundly influenced the way we read.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Provid[es] evidence to ‘move beyond the reductive debate’ on whether audiobooks really count as reading, and establishes the format’s rightful place in the literary family.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Raises fascinating questions about the experience of reading vs. listening.”

    Library Journal

  • “This book is more focused and more thorough than any other in the field…and is likely to stand as the definitive history of audiobooks for some time.”

    James English, University of Pennsylvania

  • “Matthew Rubery has scored a decisive contribution to the history of recorded literature in this magisterially researched and compelling book.”

    Garrett Stewart, University of Iowa

  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick for Fall 2016 
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