Mad Women by Jane Maas – Audiobook Review

Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond by Jane Maas, narrated by Colleen Marlo
Published in audio by Tantor Audio, published in print by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of Macmillan

If you reviewed an audiobook today, Thursday June 28th please leave your link in the Mr. Linky before midnight Central time (US) and you will be eligible to win a prize.

Synopsis:

America loves Mad Men, but was was it really like to be a woman on Madison Avenue  in the 1960s? Is Peggy’s story accurate? Joan’s? If anyone has the answers, it is Jane Maas. Maas was an advertising copywriter in the 1960s who grew to a great success within the industry, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is (and was).

Thoughts on the story:

Here’s where I admit I never really got into Mad Men. I watched the first season, or most of it, on dvd, but was never really motivated to start the second season. Having watched the first season did give me a bit of background to what Maas discusses in Mad Women, but watching the show is not really a prerequisite to enjoying the book. Maas weaves feminist issues effortlessly together with advertising history and lore in an absolutely fascinating package. There’s quite a bit of sex, drugs, and alcohol in Mad Women, but it is in an attempt to set the scene and explain what was really going on, not in an attempt at being salacious, or gossip-mongering.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Colleen Marlo largely became Maas in her narration, she had the same mix of confidence and knowledge that comes across in Maas’s writing, making them a very good fit, and making the already interesting material all the more compelling.

Overall:

You don’t need to be a fan of Mad Men to find Mad Women intereting, but it will hold a special attraction for fans wondering, “was it really like that?” Although I’m sure it is still fascinating in print, Marlo’s narration is a great experience.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Dive into Audio Giveaway – US-only

Audiobooks are huge in the summer when everyone is heading out on road trips. What better to listen to, then, than audiobooks that are beach/swimming-related? I’ve got a great, watery prize pack for you today (title links go to the book’s page on the publisher’s website):

Skinnydipping by Bethanney Frankel, narrated by January LaVoy  from Simon & Schuster Audio
Island Apart  by Steve Raichlen, narrated by Susan Boyce from AudioGo
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand, narrated by Erin Bennett  from Hachette Audio

This is the third of five Audiobook Week prize pack giveaways, and it is available for listeners with US mailing addresses only. To enter, please fill out the form below by noon Central on Friday, June 29th.

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Mid-Week Meme – Audiobook Week Discussion

If you wrote a post on this or any of my other discussion topics today, Wednesday June 27th please leave your link in the Mr. Linky before midnight Central time (US) and you will be eligible to win a prize.

Here’s something quick and easy for the middle of the week, just a short meme. Just copy and paste to your own post (and, you know, obviously change the answers so they’re yours and not mine).

Current/most recent audiobook:

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, narrated by Simon Vance

Impressions:

This is definitely an audiobook you have to pay attention to, Mantel is a complex writer, but Vance seems to be a perfect fit as narrator, and I’m very much enjoying it.

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

I have listened to a LOT of great audiobooks lately, but there are two that really stand out, and which I can’t seem to stop recommending. The first is A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, narrated by Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall, and Nick Sullivan. The other is also a multi-narrator cast, May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy, narrated by John Keating, Barrie Krinik, Allyson Johnson, and Adam Lazarre White. I don’t necessarily have a preference for multi-narrator casts over single-narrator casts, but I think they have the ability to be all that much more impressive when done very well, and both of these were. Plus, both of these had incredibly engaging plots and wonderful writing. Win-win-win!

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

Two words: DAN STEVENS. Yes, that Dan Stevens, the one who plays Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey. I’m often somewhat hesitant about narrators who are actors, but I’ve found that actors who have performed on stage, not simply in television and movies, tend to make absolutely phenomenal narrators and Stevens is no exception. I listened to him narrate Stef Penney’s The Invisible Ones and he was OMGAMAZING, bringing every single character vividly to life.

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has been in my TBL virtual pile ever since it was released, I’m not exactly sure how I haven’t listened yet – although maybe it was good to step back from the crazy hype this title received last fall. Jim Dale narrates, and he seems to be the perfect complement to Morgenstern’s magical story.

Your audio dream team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):

You know, I think the Best. Pairing. Ever. may have already been made, with Wil Wheaton narrating Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. 80s geek nostalgia plus 80s geek icon (who is even referenced in the text) = amazing.

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Nonfiction Audiobook Giveaway – US-only

Something that I didn’t anticipate when I first started listening to audiobooks was just how well nonfiction can work in audio, everything from semi-technical scientific stuff like The Emperor of All Maladies to memoirs. In honor of Audiobook Week, I have a rather varied prize pack of nonfiction audiobooks for you (title links go to the book’s page on the publisher’s website):

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband  by David Finch, narrated by David Finch  from Tantor Audio  (see my review of the print version)
My Korean Deli: Risking it all for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe,  narrated by  Bronson Pinchot  from Blackstone Audio  (Nominated for the Non-fiction Audie)
The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible by  Matti Friedman, narrated by Simon Vance from Highbridge Audio

This is the second of five Audiobook Week prize pack giveaways, and it is available for listeners with US mailing addresses only. To enter, please fill out the form below by noon Central on Thursday, June 28th.

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So You Want to Review Audiobooks… – Audiobook Week Discussion

If you wrote a post on this or any of my other discussion topics today, Tuesday June 26th please leave your link in the Mr. Linky before midnight Central time (US) and you will be eligible to win a prize.

Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

Like regular book reviews, what is included in audiobook reviews varies from person to person. Some people, for instance, include release date and page number or audiobook length in their reviews. I am personally less interested in that information, so I don’t include it. I do like to know information about the publishers, both print and audio, because I find it tells me quite a lot about the book or audiobook, so I include imprint and publisher information for print editions, and for audiobooks I include all of this information, plus information on who published the audiobook. These pieces of information are definitely personal, and reasonable people can absolutely disagree on what should be included.

What I think is non-negotiable in an audiobook review, though, is some sort of information about the narrator and/or production. Who was the narrator? Did he or she fit the story? Were there studio noises that distracted you? Did the narration pull you farther into the story?

There are two reasons that this sort of information is important. First of all, other people who are considering the audiobook will want to know if the narrator and production were any good. The other reason is that an audio production can seriously influence how you feel about a book. An amazing production can elevate a mediocre book and a bad production can keep you from enjoying a great book. Even the people reading your review who will never listen to an audiobook need to know what you thought about the production, so that they can assess how the production influenced how you felt about the book itself.

Candace from Beth Fish Reads also has a great post about How to Write an Audiobook Review that you should check out if you feel that you need more pointers, or check out the responses of some of your fellow bloggers below.

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