Long listensIf ten hours doesn't seem grand enough, tune in to The Century, the 15-hour audio companion to ABC News' T.V. extravaganza (due to air this spring on ABC and the History Channel). It's anchored by Peter Jennings and offers a sweeping retrospective of the sounds of our century, in the voices of the people who shaped it and the people who lived it, including many archival recordings added exclusively for this presentation. One of the first millennia mega-mementos on audio, this will make a nifty gift as we count down to 2000.
While we're into long listens, here are some winners that definitely fall in the not-to-be-missed category. Tom Wolfe's long-awaited, much-heralded A Man in Full (BDD Audio, $27.50, 8.5 hours, 0553478907) is fabulous, and then some, as performed by John Ogden Stiers. Ron Silver reads Philip Roth's new novel, I Married a Communist (Dove Audio, $36, 11 hours, 0787117986) in an excellent unabridged presentation. Every word of Barbara Kingsolver's latest, highly acclaimed, novel, The Poisonwood Bible (Brilliance, $44.95, 16 hours, 1567404081), is read by Dean Robertson. Toni Morrison, who reads as beautifully as she writes, has recorded Beloved (Random House Audiobooks, $39.95, 12.5 hours, 0375404872) in its entirety. All 21 hours of John Steinbeck's great American classic, The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Audiobooks, $49.95, 0140868445), are read by Dylan Baker in a recent release. And, if you don't find vampires a bit too dark for this season of light, you can sink incisors into The Vampire Armand (Random House Audiobooks, $44.95, 16 hours, 0375404341), Anne Rice's latest, dazzling installment of The Vampire Chronicles.
Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.