Sobol award news — winners to be published

This is from the Hillel Italie at the AP about the novel contest that costs $85 to enter. Note the final quotation from Sobol’s executive vice president ofcontest management, Sue Pollock, : “The Internet has been more difficult to penetrate than we had hoped.”

A division of Simon & Schuster has agreed to publish the top three winners of the Sobol Award, offering advances of up to $100,000 for a controversial new literary contest for agentless writers that also includes a $100,000 first prize.

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Audio Books: A confession


My name is Mike J.

And I’m a fan of audio books.

Now, some people don’t take audio books seriously. True, it isn’t reading, it’s listening. But isn’t that a kind of throwback to pre-literate days of childhood, of being read to by an adult? Or even further back, of an oral tradition that, in the West at least, goes back to Homer?

Of course, if you’ve read my audio books reviews in the Times Union (which should be available here), you’ll know that I’m not listening to classics, but a mix of contemporary fiction and nonfiction. As someone who pretty much reads words all day for a living (as a slot editor and book reviewer) and who has about a 30-minute commute each way, audio books are a good driving distraction, and a way to zone out while I’m at the gym.

Most of the books I’ve listened to have come from the library. For years, it has been my chief enabler. It’s made me a big fan of Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly.

This past year, one of the more delightful surprises was Joshilyn Jackson’s “Between Georgia.”

One I’m looking forward to is the New York State Theatre Institute’s “Sherlock’s Legacy.”

Are there are audio-bibliophiles out there? What are some of your favorites? Next week, I’ll post what I think was the best audio book I listened to this year.