Monday, June 3, 2013

Spoken Silverman

Last week I mentioned that I'm listening to The Secret Life of Houdini audiobook in my car. Until now, I've never paid much attention to Houdini audiobooks. But I've discovered this is a wonderful way to groove on the Houdini story and even catch a few factoids that slip past in reading (like this).

However, Secret Life is only available in an abridged audio edition, and the editors can't resist including all the book's lapses into dramatic narrative...which drive me nuts! Give me the facts, ma'am. Just the facts. (Does anyone still get that reference?) But it is what it is, and jumping between this and Penn Jillette's latest podcast makes L.A. traffic trouble me not!

Now I've tracked down another Houdini audiobook, Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss by Kenneth Silverman. For me, Silverman is the Holy Text. It's the best, most accurate Houdini biography ever written. And best of all, this audiobook, released by Books on Tape in 1997 and read by Lloyd James, is unabridged! Fourteen 1 1/2-hour cassettes making a whopping 21 hours. Oh baby.


I contacted the publisher to see if the book was available on CD or mp3, but they informed that that they no longer hold the rights. So now I just need to find a (affordable) way to transfer these 14 cassettes to a playable format. Any tips?

UPDATE: I've now finished the Kalush audiobook. Listening to the details of Houdini death is really an intense experience, somehow more intense than reading it. The Kalush book definitely has the best, most detailed chapter on Houdini's death and it's riveting. I'd recommend the audiobook for this experience alone.

7 comments:

  1. I can recommend using a free program called Audacity. Naturally, you'll also need a cassette player, a computer, and a cord to connect the two.

    There are a few spots on the Web that will walk you through the process. For example, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/convert-lps-audio-cassettes-to-mp3-in-5-easy-steps/ .

    I admit that I've never performed this particular operation, but I have used Audacity quite a bit. It comes in handy for, say, recording and editing from a microphone or virtually any sound that plays on your computer (including Web stuff).

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    1. Thanks Tim. I was searching around and I've seen Audacity mentioned several times. There are some casette to USB converters on Amazon that use Audacity as software. That's probably what I'm going to do.

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  2. John, I've got a device that allows you to connect a cassette player to your computer, but I don't have it in front of me to give you the name of it. It works perfectly though. Send me an email to remind me and hopefully I will have found it by then.

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  3. Not sure but this might be quicker. I haven't had a good look yet. Will let you know.

    http://audiobooksworld.co.uk/Houdini/p14720/

    Cheers
    Narinder

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    1. Thanks Narinder. I tried some of these links, but none of them worked. Some are a way to bait you into creating an account. They list any book. Doesn't mean it's actually there.

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  4. Aaah, sorry about that... Just had a look. Well it will have to be the long way,but well worth it. :-)
    Cheers
    Narinder

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