Episode 52: Audiobook Creator Paul Gewuerz

Welcome to this week’s dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm. Have you ever wondered who narrates your audiobooks? Well, today we get to talk to Paul Gewuerz about his experience doing just that. Then, a few years ago, Paul took his experience as a freelance audiobook narrator to start telling personalized stories through his business Made To Order Audio. We talked about audiobook narration, character voicing, telling stories, what non-fiction and historical fiction have to teach us, and what Paul enjoys listening to while renovating their 100-year-old home into an Airbnb. 

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Books and things Paul mentioned 

 The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loeper

ACX.com (owned by Amazon, where you can do freelance audiobook recording) 

We talked about the books Paul has narrated that are on on Audible - e.g. a thriller versus an informational one. 

While we were talking about voice acting and audiobook narration, Paul mentioned the actor who read the Harry Potter series, Jim Dale, who did over 200 distinct voices over the 7-book series. He holds several awards for his performances in these books, including a Guiness Record for the most voices in an audiobook, 134! 

 Paul was currently listening to (and really enjoying) Deep Work by Cal Newport, which is about creating ways to deeply focus when living in a world of distraction. 

He recently read The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  "A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives" (According to the Bookshop.org description). Paul found the observations in this book to be very enlightening when it comes to the pandemic we've experienced in 2020-2021. 

Paul loves Kurt Vonnegut's work, especially Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five. 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a book that Paul tries to read once a year. He finds the message very profound and applicable. 

I mentioned Tolkien and Lewis in connection with The Rabbit Room and Andrew Peterson, and Paul mentioned that he's a big Tolkien fan and especially enjoyed re-reading The Hobbit as a kid. He also read Narnia and enjoyed them as a kid, and is now considering giving them a re-read because "those were good." 

Books Laura Recommended to Paul

Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson - a book on creativity and making that I think Paul would really enjoy due to his occupations and his interest in non-fiction. 

The Space Trilogy (or the Ransom Trilogy depending on who you ask) by C.S. Lewis: Out of The Silent PlanetPerelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Paul was familiar with Narnia but not with this series of works, and I think he might find it fascinating. I am also seriously overdue for a re-read of this series myself, especially since my sister's an author in a new book about the series coming out this year: A Compass for Deep Heaven

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, which apparently Paul's wife has been telling him to read Brene's work for a long time :) But I think this book in particular speaks to the current political and social situation, without being a "political book." Since that stuff seems to interest Paul (like his enjoyment of The Black Swan) I thought he might enjoy this book. 

I mentioned how I really appreciate Brene Brown's backing up of her message with research and statistics, which lead me to talking about the studies Gretchen Rubin did with her Four Tendencies book, which I also really enjoyed. 

When Paul was looking for some historical fiction recommendations, I mentioned Susan Meissner's The Last Year of the War (German and Japanese families in detainment camp in Texas at end of WWII), A Fall of Marigolds (A woman in post 9/11 New York and 1911 Ellis Island nurse with an unlikely connection) and The Nature of Fragile Things (All is not as it seems for an Irish mail-order bride in 1906 San Francisco)  

I also recommended Lovely War by Julie Berry ...again! I can't stop talking about this book, friends! 

After Paul talking about how Alexander Hamilton was more consistently anti-slavery than his contemporaries, and how looking at the dysfunction of Early America makes him think, "we got through that so we can get through this too," I thought he might appreciate either Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi.  or Stamped: The Remix, which was adapted and narrated by Jason Reynolds. Reynolds explains in the introduction to the Remix that this isn't a History book, it's a Present book, which I thought was insightful and fascinating. 

Books Paul Recommends

The War God Trilogy by Graham Hancock (Starts with Nights of the Witch) - Paul enjoyed and recommends this historical fiction that centers around the clash of two empires and the armies of Cortez and Montezuma. Upon further review, this might be to violent/gory/scary for my tastes, but Paul says they're really interesting. 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - the true story of Louis Zamperini is compelling, amazing, heartbreaking and hopeful. Paul hasn't read Seabiscuit yet, so I recommended that one to him. 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow - Paul really enjoyed this "landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation." Apparently the audiobook was 35 hours, so if you're looking to get your money's worth out of your next audible credit, this is a good candidate!

With lots of literary love from my library to yours! 



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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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