May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA - Wednesday (Interview Time!)

Work the Network
(aka interview time!)

Finding out about this Armchair BEA business only this weekend, I did not have sufficient time to sign up for the interview portion of this week's activities. However, in a stroke of luck I can only attribute to the Rapture not commencing on Saturday, I was able to get in contact with another blogger who needed an interview partner via Twitter. Technology is amazing, my friends. The luckiest thing of all? We both LOVE audio books!!! It's how I get most of my reading done, thanks to a job that allows me to listen to my CD player all day long. I also have an hour-long ride to work, so round-trip racks up some serious listening time. But this isn't about me. This BEA blog post is all about Bob Reiss at The Guilded Earlobe. He took some time to answer my interview questions, so please read them and learn a thing or two about audio books if you aren't familiar. See the bottom for all of his contact info. He seems like a super cool guy, so go check out his blog right after this! Then go add all of his recommendations to your TBR list. As an avid audio book listener, I know I will!

really cool image from Bob's blog!

Q01. First of all, what’s your name? Where are you from? Tell me the basics!
A01. My name is Bob Reiss. I live in Bensalem, PA, the home of Ben Franklin, just 5 minutes outside of Northeast Philadelphia. I work at a place called Woods Services, which is a home for men and women with mental and physical handicaps. I have a dog name Munch, named after Richard Belzer’s character from Homicide, and Law&Order:SVU and 2 cats, Cali and Coco. I don't have any kids of my own, but I have 5 wonderful nephews and a beautiful and talented niece.

Q02. How long have you been blogging? What got you started?
A02. I have been Blogging off and on for about 12 years. My blogging career started when I was encouraged by some friends on a forum for the show The Amazing Race, to start a journal about it. My first blog, on the now defunct AOL Journals, was about Survivor and The Amazing Race. I also had a short story blog back then. After that I had a weekly column, for a while, on the website Inside Pulse, which was a General TV Column. My first all purpose blog was called Thistles for Breakfast, where I wrote about books, music and my everyday life. Earlier this year I started my blog The Guilded Earlobe, which focuses on Audiobooks.

Q03. You listen to a lot of audio books. Do you read physical books too?
A03. Yes I do, although not as many as I used to. I usually read books that are out of print and unavailable on audio. I am currently reading The Architect of Sleep by Steven R. Boyett.

Q04. I think you have a lot to choose from, but what is your all time favorite audio book production?
A04. That is amazingly tough. To pick out one production, out of the hundreds I listened to is a task I don’t think I can perform. I will give you a recent favorite though, I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells is simply brilliant and has one of the most devastating endings of any book I have read or listened to. The sad thing is, I almost didn’t listen to it. The first book in the trilogy was nearly ruined by horrible narrator casting. Luckily, Kirby Heyborne took over for book 2 (Mr. Monster) and saved the series for me.

Q05. I know that if I like an author, I will find more books by them. Do you read books by a certain author just because they wrote them?
A05. It depends on the genre, I’m very picky when it comes to genre fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and horror. I usually base my selections on concept, more so then authors, although I do have favorite genre authors that I am more likely than not to read. In mystery/thrillers, I tend to find an author, and read everything they have.

Q06. Since you listen to a lot of audio books, do you have a favorite narrator? And to me this makes a difference: do you have a preference between a male or female narrator?
A06. I would say that I have two favorite narrators, Phil Gigante and Oliver Wyman. Phil is amazing in three of my favorite series, The Hap and Leonard series by Joe R. Lansdale, The Burke series by Andrew Vachss, and The Stainless Steel Rat series by Harry Harrison. Oliver Wyman is always brilliant, and one of the funniest narrators out there. His reading of Tim Dorsey’s Serge novels is simply amazing.

I really don’t have a preference between male and female narrators. For me, it’s more important that they match the story. I tend to listen to more books with male narration than female, but there have been some amazing female performances. Notably, Jessica Almasy in Robert Sawyer’s WWW Trilogy, Anne Flosnick in Nnedi Okafor’s Who Fears Death, and Piper Goodeve in Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel.

Q07. Something else I know I like to do: finding books with a narrator I enjoy. If a narrator you like read a romance novel, would you listen to it?
A07. Probably not. Romance just really isn’t my thing, and while I may love the performance of a narrator, I need to be at least somewhat interested in the source material.

Q08. What audio book would you suggest to someone who has never listened to a book before?
A08. To truly experience how a narrator can totally enhance the experience of a book, I would recommend Gator-A-Go-Go by Tim Dorsey read by Oliver Wyman. That of course, is if someone can deal with all the sex, violence, drug use and hilarity.

Another selection I would recommend, with the caveat that they should listen to the whole series, is Changes by Jim Butcher read by James Marsters.

Q09. Do you ever read the physical book after you’ve listened to it? Or vice-versa?
A09. On a few occasions I have listened to an audiobook after I have read the print copy. Some examples… World War Z by Max Brooks, because of its celebrity cast. I read Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi because I received an ARC, and I just couldn’t wait for the Audio version. Also, I listened to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss in preparation for the release of The Wise Man’s Fear.

Q10. Do you prefer to read the book first or see the movie first?
A10. I always try to read the book first. I would actually like to try reading the book and watching the movie simultaneously, but I am not a speed reader, unfortunately

Q11. Listening to audio books allows me to multitask. Where/how do you usually listen to them? What other hobbies do you have that allow you to listen to books at the same time? Favorite non-book activity?
A11. I usually listed to audiobooks on my Phillip GoGear MP3 player, at work, or while I am doing menial tasks like laundry. I enjoy listening to books while I am walking my dog, since I don’t get the same sort of buzz from sniffing where other dogs did their business.

As far as non-book activities. I watch a lot of TV, preferring to watch full series, instead of waiting week to week. I like spending time with my 5 year old nephew Mathew. He’s an amazing kid, and a great example of what children with autism can do with the proper support. I also spend a lot of time working as a volunteer for a young man who lives at the facility I work at. We enjoy doing arts and crafts, which I am horrible at, and watching Superfriends, GI Joe and Heman.

Q12. This is my most important question: On your contact page, it seems Phil Gigante has contacted you. I just got chills. Can you give him my number? (Haha, just kidding! Allow one geeky girl moment please.) The real question: Do you often get narrators reading your reviews and messaging you?
A12. I have had a few narrators contact me. Phil Gigante, Oliver Wyman and MacLeod Andrew’s all have posted comments on my blog. Twitter is an excellent way to meet narrators. I have received mentions, and nice compliments from narrators like Steven Weber and Anne Flosnick. I have also communicated wit narrators on Facebook, most recently Piper Goodeve, who recently recorded her first novel for audible, Allison Hewitt is Trapped, bu Madeleine Roux.

I was actually surprised by the nice comment I received from Phil Gigante. He’s not on any social media sites. In fact, he was directed to my site by author Andrew Vachss. Sorry, I don’t have his phone number. (Aw darn! Hehe)

Q13. If you didn’t blog about audio books, what do you think you would blog about?
A13. Probably TV. It’s what I comfortable talking about and something I enjoy. Or maybe I will finally write my novel about sentient space monkeys who save the world from Global Warming and then teach us all how to love, and post it in serial form on a blog.

Q14. Your review structure is pretty organized. I personally like consistency, but it ends in the blog world for me. Would you say that you’re an organized person outside of your blog?
A14. I am very organized when it comes to work. Outside of that, I’m a mess. What is the opposite of anal retentive? I prefer my clothes in unorganized piles, rather than placed in the appropriate drawer in my dresser. I refuse to alphabetize any of my CD’s or DVD’s. I find comfort in clutter.

Q15. Give me all your contact links and such so my followers can check out your blog/Twitter/Goodreads/etc!
My Blog: The Guilded Earlobe
Twitter: @guildedearlobe
Goodreads (although I am horrible at updating)
I have yet to start a Facebook page for the blog, but this is something I plan to do in the near future. Thanks Mickey for the awesome questions.

So, I love Phil Gigante as a narrator. I also love James Marsters as an actor. I will definitely have to check out more of their stuff. Thanks so much, Bob, for the amazing answers and recommendations! I really hope everyone has learned something valuable here: audio books are awesome! And so is Bob at The Guilded Earlobe. He volunteers, works with handicapped people, and still has time to write a really great blog for us. Thanks! Happy BEA everyone!


  1. Thanks Mickey for the fun interview. I'm definitely following your blog in order to monitor you're Phil Gigante love. And if you ever decide to do that Zombie challlenge...

  2. I will definitely let you know!! :o) Thanks for participating with me!!

  3. I really enjoyed this review. Audiobooks are still relatively new to me-I had to get over some book snobbery I am NOT proud of!! Silly because now I can't imagime my commute without an audio book playing. Thanks for the recommendations. I'm already a James Marsters fan from Buffy days and I'm on book 4 of the Dresden file. Good call!!

    Izzybella (Quirky Girls Read)

  4. I've tried listening to audiobooks but for some reason, I wasn't able to concentrate on the story so I'm still into ebooks and physical paperbacks and hardcovers. Maybe it takes some getting used to?

  5. I love audiobooks, but I have to like the narrator or it can be excruciating. *L*

    Mickey, my organization ends in the blogging world too. =O)

    Great interview!

  6. Izzybella - What kind of book snobbery? I think I had a bit of that too. It happens. Glad you got over it! I heard JM from Buffy too, and I'm going to finally listen to the Dresden Files because I just found out that he reads those!!!! :o) You like them?

    Chachic - It does take some getting used to, but it's definitely grown on me :o) I still read books, but I have a LOT of time to listen so that's what I do.

    Michelle - You're absolutely right!! Narrators can ruin books. But if you flip that coin, sometimes I listen to books because of the narrator, and they aren't books I might have physically read. Do you agree? :o) And yeah, I need everything consistent and organized here, but my house and car are cluttered to no end, hahaha.

    Thanks everyone!!!

  7. I have a hard time listening to an audiobook. It's not because of book snobbery or because the narrators were terrible. Possibly it's because I was trying to do something that required a little too much concentration than a menial task does. Anyway, I often find that I miss bits, so I have to constantly replay the same thing over and over again, which doesn't bode well for reading enjoyment. Maybe I'll try it again sometime in the future, but for now, I think I'll try and stick with paper copies or eBooks. Thanks for this interview, and for stopping by at mine and Kat's interviews!

  8. What an intriguing interview, Mickey and Bob. I visited your interview of Mickey on your site, Bob, and I wanted to learn more about you. The intriguing title, for one. Duh, yes, of course it would be because of audio books.

    I wish I could enjoy listening to books. Maybe I will try it some time on a road trip. I tend to lose information when listening, while visual images stick with me. Quirky, huh?

  9. If I weren't blogging about books, I'd be blogging about old movies.


Thanks so much for leaving a comment! It means a lot!! Happy Reading!!