In 1952, two young New York women, just out of college, started Caedmon records and, in effect, launched the commercial spoken word recording industry. Now a division of HarperAudio, Caedmon is still "putting great voices to great books" and still going strong. Dylan Thomas read five of his poems and A Child's Christmas in Wales for the very first Caedmon recording. It was a smashing success and remains one still. To mark its 50th anniversary, Caedmon has released Dylan Thomas: The Caedmon Collection, introduced by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, which includes the original Caedmon recordings as well as recordings from the BBC and CBC. This spring also sees the re-release of The Arthur Miller Audio Collection (CD only) and a new production of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio read by great authors including Richard Ford, Amy Bloom and Richard Russo, among others. Plans are in the works to reissue the best of the best of the Caedmon backlist every season, with many on redigitalized CDs, and to continue the Caedmon credo with new recordings of contemporary classics. Nikki Giovanni, for example, will record her new book of poetry this December.
If you've caught the Hobbit habit, rest assured that you won't get withdrawal symptoms while waiting for the next blockbuster movie to hit theaters. Highbridge Audio has reissued all three parts of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the Kingon CD for $19.95 each, in fully dramatized American productions, with new packaging by John Howe. And don't forget The Hobbit, the magical prelude to this transcendent trilogy.
Copyright 2002 BookPage Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 January #1
Between the film release of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, this is the season of the magical movie, and this audiobook is an inevitable spinoff. Countless readers have grown up on the adventures of the little furry hobbits who crave good food and a warm bed, but wind up trapped in caves, attacked by spiders and burdened by a dizzying assortment of treacherous adventures. While the stories are quite intricate, the message of good triumphing over evil is always evident. This appealing theme of the downtrodden overcoming obstacles is what keeps listeners' attention. There is so much action on this dramatization that listeners may often feel pulled in many directions. The narrators, including Ray Reinhardt as Bilbo and Bernard Mayes as Gandalf, are engaging, and the sound effects (including noises in the cave or forest, or the hobbits sitting down to a meal) are also quite strong. But those not already familiar with the story may find it difficult to distinguish between the various characters or keep track of all the action. Listeners will probably want to read the book along with listening, or perhaps listen and then watch the movie. The tapes are presented in a rustic-looking wooden box, making this appropriate for gift giving. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.