Audiobooks, who knew!

As everyone in the office can tell you, I’ve been sick this past week, though thoroughly denying it every morning and trying to pretend I can work anyway. Thankfully, I’m better now because even lying in bed all day can get pretty boring after a while. When I’m not in a right enough mind to focus on a screen to watch or a page to read, what else is there to do?

I keep meaning to start in on audiobooks as I think it’s a great way to pass the time hands-free and a nice alternative to listening to music. As a kid, I spent nearly every night being read to sleep by my dad, and I don’t just mean picture books or short stories. I “read” the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy that way! I’ve got a history with listening to long books being read aloud…just not recently, and it’s something I’d like to start getting back into, but I don’t know where to begin!

What kinds of books do you feel work best as an audiobook? Personally, I would think more fantasy, adventure, exciting exploration stories would work well, but I think that’s just because I’m imagining a narrator with an elastic voice (possibly accented) telling a story to children. Have you read any excellent audio adaptations of novels you’d like to recommend?

I’m all ears…literally! (Give me that joke, please, I’ve been sick).

5 Responses to Audiobooks, who knew!

  1. Joelle says:

    Actually, fantasy can go either way. The thing about audio books, and I listen to a lot of them, is that if the book is complicated in any way, it’s hard to backtrack to see what you missed. Linear books are a little easier. Mysteries are not usually very good unless you’re seriously paying attention. For me, I listen to audio while I paint a room or clean or cook so mysteries are out. My mum just listened to The Luminaries and said it was GREAT, but that it was also a bit tough to follow at times. I read it and it was easy to follow.

    Some of my favourite audio books are:
    Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry
    Flipped (MG, forget the author)
    All the Harry Potter books (especially #4 which is hard for me to read because she could’ve cut about 300 pages, but works on audio pretty well)
    A Brief History of Montmaray (YA)
    Non fiction memoirs read by the author – Ellen Degeneres, Steve Marti’s Born Standing Up (outstanding), Stephen Colbert, and I’ve heard Kieth Richards’ audio bio is really good…I think Johnny Dep reads it.
    Some of Meg Cabot’s books are really good on audio – the Mediator series (although, watch out for abridged versions)
    I’m a big fan of the Spellman Files books and first heard it on audio and discovered later it was abridged. If that doesn’t bother you, it was a great one.
    Sara Zarr’s books (read by hear) are all good on audio.

    I could go on and on, but really, I’m supposed to be writing, so I hope that’s got you started!

    My dream is to have one of my books on audio, but so far, no luck!

  2. Joelle says:

    Steve Martin, I mean, not Marti

    Oh, and if you like lighter women’s fiction/romance, Jennifer Crusies’ Welcome to Temptation was good on audio.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I “read” the Lord of the Rings trilogy the same way as a kid! (Along with the Chronicles of Narnia, several of Stephen Lawhead’s books, and several other fantasy series.)

    If you’re interested in a reread of Tolkien, the unabridged books read by Rob Inglis are fantastic. I’ve also been listening to The Children of Hurin just to listen to Christopher Lee’s voice.

    My favorite audiobook discovery this year was The Ghost Bride, read aloud by the author Yangsze Choo, and her reading was flawless.

    I enjoyed Elizabeth Moon’s Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy as audiobooks, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

    In nonfiction, I really enjoyed Alan Titchmarsh’s memoir Nobbut a Lad in audio format. He read it, and his accent gave an already enjoyable story a lot more character.

  4. Kellie says:

    I used to listen to audiobooks all the time. While I was getting my graduate degrees I had to drive an hour and a half to class and it was the best way to pass the time. I have this awful addiction to series, so any time I make recommendations there tend to be more than one book involved. Keeping that in mind, my favorite audiobooks are the Artemis Fowl series. Not only do I love the story, but the reader (Nathaniel Parker) is the best I have heard…ever! As far as I’m concerned, if Nathaniel Parker is reading it I will listen to it; even if I have never heard of the book before.

    I agree with Joelle that it depends on the book as to whether or not it makes a good audiobook. I listened to and actually read both the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games series. I found with those that I enjoyed actually reading them to listening (not that the audio wasn’t good because it was). And I have to admit, some of it was due to that the narrator did not voice a character the way I heard them when I read. May be a bit snobby of me, but I won’t lie about it.

    I have also listened to some Nora Roberts and Kathy Reichs which I enjoyed and probably would have not “read” otherwise. Personally, that is my favorite way to pick out audiobooks. My paper book queue is constantly full so if I’m in the mood for an audiobook I usually go for one that I don’t already have planned to read.

  5. Terri Weiss says:

    Rachel, try ‘Series Of Unfortunate Events,’ narrated by the fabulous Tim Curry. I’m not an audiobook fan in general, but I listened to these with my kids when they were little, and they were truly unforgettable! Between the prose and Mr. Curry, the combo is great! : )

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