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March 29, 2006

Charlton Griffin

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Let me alert visitors and Blowhards to the fact that one of our visitors, Charlton Griffin, is also one of the very, very best audiobook readers there is. Given what a loudmouthed audiobook fan I am, I feel very foolish, because I only recently became aware of Charlton's work. Downside: Damn, what a clueless fool I can be! Upside: A lot to look forward to!

In any case, I recently loved Charlton's brilliant rendition of this collection of Maugham stories, and I'm hoping to get around to his performance of Xenophon soon.

Charlton brings a lot of chops, dignity, and feeling to what he reads. He also has something very rare: a gift for bringing a listener into contact with multiple layers in the work he's presenting -- the words, the sentences, the characters, the story ... He has exquisite but never overbearing taste: There's a lot of lowkey beauty on the surface of his productions, but it's all in the service of taking you further into the material. You can tell that Charlton loves his craft, and also that he loves the books he's reading. The result, as far as I'm concerned, is something rare. These aren't audiobooks to be listened to in reluctant place of the great originals. They're beautiful works of art to be enjoyed ... OK, I'm hesitating but I gotta say it: to be enjoyed in preference to the originals. When I read Maugham on my own, it was a wonderful experience. But listening to Charlton read Maugham was even better.

I encourage audiobook listeners to search out Charlton's work -- and I encourage those who haven't yet got the audiobook bug yet to come to their senses. Charlton isn't just the narrator of these books, by the way. As the sole owner and in-house one-man-band at his boutique publishing company Audio Connoisseur, he also selects, edits, and produces his recordings. Check out Audio Connoisseur's website, and drool over its classy and enticing list. Just think: You could be listening to all that great literature, beautifully presented, as you do your commuting or exercising ... As far as I can tell, Amazon carries nearly all of Audio Connoisseur's titles. You have no excuses not to start indulging and enjoying now.

A quick Google sweep turns up this collection of terrific Amazon reviews by Charlton. I also enjoyed this appreciative and perceptive profile of Charlton. Click on the red "play" button to listen to Charlton's very silky voiceover reel.



UPDATE: A convenient way to avail yourself of Charlton's work is to sign up with Audible, the downloadable-recorded-books website. Nearly all of Charlton's recordings are there to be purchased, and they play very well with iPods.

posted by Michael at March 29, 2006


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