Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Narrated By Edward Hermann

The news that actor Edward Hermann died reminds me of his work in narrating audio books, which was prolific, but it was his narration of E Annie Proulx's Accordian Crimes that really got me hooked on audio books. People who love to read know what it's like getting lost in a good book. When I got into audio books I was driving over the road and couldn't wait to set out at night knowing I had a night-long, interrupted stretch of driving ahead. Nothing but pure pleasure.

For me, the narrator makes or breaks an audio book and I was surprised to discover that actors and actresses are the best narrators and narrate many of the commercially available audio books. Another memorable, surprising narration job was Meredith McRae reading Secret Ceremonies, an expose of a kind of conservative Mormonism. It was written by Deborah Lakke, who had married into a Mormon family that was trying to break her and was virtually holding her prisoner. Meredith McRae was an excellent narrator although she may be best known for playing one of the floozie-type daughters bathing in the water tank on the old TV series Petticoat Junction.

Several times I've promoted the free audio book web site, where volunteers record books that are in the pubic domain, which includes all the classics. Most of those narrators are pretty good and some are exceptional. I looked into doing narration for them and there's quite a process to it. You don't just sign up and start recording, and people will check your recordings out before they are put up on the web site.

In searching for Edward Hermann's narrations to verify this post I notice he's read a number of books by staunchly conservative authors, i.e. Dick Cheney and Ann Rand, and also quite a few by John Updike, the darling of the Liberal East Coast intellectual set. I've never read any of his books but always read the long reviews of them in The Nation, of the type that magazine is so good at. I credit reading their literary criticism over a number of years in helping me develop my analytical tool, particularly in how I read things, how I critique what I read, how I can quickly see where someone is coming from, my ability to find the flaws, be all that what it may.

Meanwhile, On The Same Planet

Edward Hermann acted, and so did Hope Lang and Elvis. I came across this screen shot from Wild In The Country, the Elvis movie they made, which seemed like it needed a caption.

"It does look like a spider Ma'am. I'm keeping an eye on it."

"Where did your face go, Ma'am? Your eyes, your nose, your mouth?"

"If I grab the back of your sweater and twist, can you still breathe alright?"


  1. for a great audio of a great book, try Dreamers of the Day by Maria Doria Russell

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'm downloading it in iTunes now. Damn this technology.