To audio or not?


photo credit: LibAmanda via photopin cc
photo credit: LibAmanda via photopin cc

Heard any good books lately? Perhaps a better questions is whether you’ve heard any bad books lately? Or maybe not that the book is bad, but the narrator ruins the story for you. Ever had that happen? Because I have.

The Emerald Atlas was ruined for me by some of the voices the narrator gave to the characters. If I had read this book for myself, it would have been fine. Ironically, this is the same narrator that read the Harry Potter series and The Night Circus, two of my favorite audio books.

The Princess and Curdie couldn’t finish listening to this one, even though I loved the story, because the narrator lingered on some words words so long that they billowed up as if they were attached to great big balloons. Very distracting. But it was also a free recording through Librivox, so I didn’t lose anything by trying it.

On the flip side (get the audio reference?) there are other books that were wonderful to listen to…

The Last Summer (of You and Me) and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments (#1-3) were great, perhaps better than me reading it to myself because I couldn’t rush through them. And I have fond memories of Rosamund Pilcher’s books read by Lynn Redgrave due to many summers driving with my mom all the way across Texas (literally).

I appreciate Librivox and other places that offer free or inexpensive recordings of classic literature. Many contemporary audio books are crazy expensive. For those, I keep my library card ready. To me, there’s nothing better than audio books for a long drive, or just commuting around town running errands.

What’s your take on audio books? Are there any you love? Hate? Do you have favorite narrators?


6 thoughts on “To audio or not?

  1. The Shack was destroyed for me! This was an Oprah choice book, that I’d heard so much about. I was prepared for an amazing literary experience. But seriously, having a man do three female main character voices (plus one who was a largish black woman, meant to be God) was a stretch for me. We’d taken the audio book with us on a long drive and the rest of the family tuned out after the first couple of chapters. I stuck it out till the end. (not sure why) I totally get what you are saying!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Woah – your page looks different! I like it but is it intentional?

    Anyway, I don’t really listen to audio books but my husband has really gotten into them in the past year & I’ve listened to bits & pieces when we are driving together somewhere and he’s wanting to finish up a chapter or share a bit of the story. Honestly, I crack up sometimes when a deep masculine narrator tries to portray female or child-like tones. But if they handle accents and brogues well, I really enjoy that aspect. The Night Circus was okay in that regard. He’s listened to books that has different people for each voice and others with one narrator acting out all the voices. And some of the books have music between chapters or even actual sound-effects mixed in with the action. It’s interesting.

    Do all audio books do that with the different voices? I was surprised when I first heard it as I always figured an audio book was more like being read to with a normal tone, with maybe a slight tone with the voices.

    But I have a hard time focusing while listening anyway. My father used to read to us weekly and I loved it for the family time but always wanted to read the book to myself afterwards to really soak in the words. I enjoy reading aloud to my husband and daughter but my husband frequently thinks I get a little too caught up in the story and get too loud/excited in my reading. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally intentional. I felt we needed a face lift. Probably one of those things I do to seem productive but should really be doing something else. 😀

      I think a lot of it has to do with whether you lean more to visual or auditory learning. For me, listening to audio books is something to keep me from falling asleep while driving. For the most part, I prefer to read books myself. I like the voices in my head better.

      And yes, a really good narrator will try to give each character a different voice. Jim Dale did absolutely fantastic with the Harry Potter series. He was a spot on Hagrid.


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