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Top 5 Audiobook-Celebrity Pairings of 2012

Today we spoke with Robin Whitten, founder and editor of AudioFilemagazine about the best books read by celebrities in 2012.

What really caught our attention was the way celebs and books were matched this year. Turns out, some of the pairings were part of a marketing initiative by,which paid Hollywood A-listers big bucks to raise the profile of this already-exploding genre. But not every actor gets to choose a book to read...some are cast, just as they would be for a commercial or Special Guest Star role in your favorite sitcom.

1. Claire Danes: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

We're not sure if Danes' famous uglycryface will translate to listeners who aren't fans of "Homeland" or "My So-Called Life," but it seems Danes' career playing victims of society's injustices served her well in this performance, which the reviewer called "a consuming listen." Know what would have made it more consuming? A little Jordan Catalano, that's what.

Danes talks about the book for's a-list collection marketing campaign:

2. Johnny Depp: Keith Richards' Life

Depp has famously claimedto have based his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney "Pirates of the Carribbean" franchise on the craggy Rolling Stones guitarist. Now, it seems he's paying Richards backfor stealing his swagger.

Why does Pacey always get the girl?

3. James Van Der Beek: Chomp by Carl Hiaasen Got kids and don't feel like reading to them? How about letting Dawson give it a go? Turns out, he's pretty good at it, at least according to AudioFile's reviewer, who says "Van Der Beek delightfully captures an array of Florida denizens and Hollywood types." Not surprising...he did always want to direct. (Take THAT, Joey Potter!)

J-VDB reads

4. Alan Cumming: Dracula and MacBeth

Why did these reads make the list? Because it's Alan Cumming, that's why. His one-man stagingof MacBeth made him a natural for that book, but check out the contrast between his Scottish brogue and his more staid, British read of Bram Stoker:


5. James Marsters: Carnival of Soulsby Melissa Marr

Marsters can read...even in the day time.

British? No. A great reader? Apparently.

If you were shocked to discover the actor who played Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" wasn't actually British, you might also be surprised to find out Marsters has a thriving career reading books on tape. Marr's paranormal tale seems a natural fit for Marsters, and they have embraced their author-reader pairing, even appearing together at his Montreal Comiccontable this fall.

Rebecca oversees the team that makes NHPR podcasts, including Outside/In and Civics 101. She has previously served as NHPR's Director of Audience & Engagement, Digital Director, and Senior Producer for Word of Mouth.
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