LISTENING TO SHORTS
by Steve Steinbock
It’s summer. Or at least that’s how it feels here in Maine. Time to put on your shorts, and put some shorts in your ears.
I’ve written about audiobooks more than once in past installments of “Bandersnatches.” I’m doing it again today. In fact, there’s enough to say on the subject that I’ll return with more next week.
I got my hands on a copy of the newest MWA anthology (Blue Religion, edited by Michael Connelly), adapted by Tantor Media on CD. It contains some great stories, each highlighting the inner life of police officers and detectives. The narrators are very good, and the production quality is high.
There is one rather large complaint I have against this audio-anthology, however. It doesn’t have a table of contents.
I don’t know about you, but when I first open a short story collection, and on multiple occasions while reading it, I turn to the table of contents. This gives me an overview of the collection, a list of authors, and the page numbers. Duh.
But by and large, audiobooks don’t have Tables of Contents.
I’ve culled fourteen short story audiobooks from my shelves, and stacked them right here beside my computer. Most of them have a listing of stories and authors. In one case the listing is incomplete, and in the case of two of the anthologies, there is no listing at all of the stories. Also, as I look at the stack, exactly one half of the audiobooks were published by companies that are no longer in business (Dove and DH Audio). With the exception of The Blue Religion, all of them are on cassette.
I didn’t pick any single-author collections, which is unfortunate. Simon and Schuster has published stories from Jeffery Deaver’s “Twisted” collections, and they are, in my opinion, some of the best modern crime stories around. Naxos Audiobooks has published some wonderful collections of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and to my knowledge, Naxos is the only publisher around that provides detailed liner notes including a complete table of contents referenced to CD tracks. Why don’t they all do this?
Three of the audiobooks on my desk are single-stories. Three of the audiobooks include two stories each. The rest are large multi-author anthologies. I’ll be back next week to tell you about some of them. Meanwhile, you can tell me what you’ve been listening to.