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Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that authors are now taking a proactive role in developing audio versions of their books, hoping to attract new fans with multivoice interpretations, as opposed to the single-narrator style of yore. Mystery writer Julian Rubenstein enlisted the help of Tommy Ramone and actor Eric Bogosian; hipster idol Sarah Vowell hit up Catherine Keener and Jon Stewart.

Now, thanks to the Johnson County Library, you can hear what all the fuss is about for free —without leaving your house. The library recently started offering downloadable audio books on its Web site. The service allows cardholders to listen anywhere (at home on your computer, in the car or on your iPod) to one of the 4,000 titles it carries in audio format. The checkout period is 14-21 days. See
Starts: July 27. Daily, 2006

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