Friday, 23 August 2013

Climb Every Montaigne....

Paul Kent, author of 'Montaigne - and the way we live now' (published by Creative Content this month), answers the question: Why Montaigne?

Since writing my somewhat personal take on the work of the mighty Michel de Montaigne, several friends have asked me why. Not why I wrote the book so much as “Why Montaigne?” Why choose him out of all the other philosophers I could have written about?

Well, here’s why. IMHO, of all the great thinkers, certainly in the Western tradition, none is more appropriate for a 21st-century audience. There, I’ve said it.

Philosophy, when most of us think about it at all, is too often viewed as something too difficult or abstruse for the modern age: its reputation isn’t helped by comments like this one from Karl Marx, who judged it to be “To the real world what masturbation is to sex”. Which is, of course, utter tripe, because philosophy lies at the heart of everything we are, whether we acknowledge it or not. Our personal philosophies are continuously (and often unconsciously) moulded by countless factors in our past and present that influence and ultimately govern how we think, feel and behave. Yes, in the real world. 

Montaigne’s essays, all 107 of them, constitute the story of one man’s philosophy, written simply and directly for anyone to understand. As we read we can almost see him thinking, so we not only get the philosophy, but the process that grows and shapes it as well. It’s a process which is influenced by Montaigne’s onboard sanity, affability and, most importantly of all, balance. For he weighs everything carefully, sifting the knowledge and wisdom in an ongoing process of trying to understand who and what he is. And by leading from the front, he actually encourages us to do some thinking of our own. 

If a philosopher is traditionally viewed as “someone with a problem for every solution”, Montaigne is the exact opposite; the Essays don’t tell us what to think, but quietly urge us how to think – and think well. There’s not many other philosophers you can say that about! - Paul Kent

The second book in Paul Kent's philosophy series, 'Voltaire - the last happy writer', publishes in September.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Edinburgh August....

We hope you're lucky enough to be enjoying the shows at the Edinburgh Festival this month - if not, feast  your ears on this clip of a reading from Robert Burns, who was considered by many to be the national poet of Scotland....

The reader is the fantastic David Rintoul. 

We're proud to publish this title in audio!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Audio book directing

In a recent interview with Elaine Aldred of Strange Alliances, the question of audiobook narrators and home studios came up. Here's what audio producer Ali Muirden replied when asked if the quality was the same as using a professional studio:

No it isn’t. There’s no way the stuff at home can have the same quality of sound as using a high-tech studio, which has soundproofing and all the editing equipment. I can see why people do it, because it’s a cost-effective way of recording. I know I would say that because I am a producer and I use a professional studio. But I do think it is difficult for the actor, as much for the sound issue, to have no one to help them while they’re recording. It puts a big strain on them when they haven’t got anybody helping them.

If you record on your own, it’s difficult to pick up small mistakes or problems with the way you’re working. If you’re an actor who’s completely engaged in the piece that you’re reading, then it’s very difficult to hear the small things that your producer might pick up. There are many times when I’ve pointed something out to an actor and they say, ‘Did I do that?’

Also I find that a lot of actors I work with are really appreciative of the help you give them, because they want to do a great job and they don’t want to listen to it later and think, ‘Oh no, why did I put the intonation there?’ It’s nice to have a couple of pairs of extra ears during the recording, to pick up all the little things that might get missed. So having a recording professionally produced does take a lot of pressure off the reader.

Do you agree? Do you think a producer is important when recording an audio book?

Photo by puuikibeach