Monday, October 16, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks: Audio Books

While it took me a little while to get into audio books I can now admit that I'm fully in love.  They're a fantastic way to get a little extra reading in and they make tasks that I've found incredibly tedious so much more pleasant.  I thought I'd share some of my favorites and not so favorites over the past few years.

Audio Book Wins

1.  In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware read by Imogen Church - I think I would have enjoyed reading both this book and Ware's 2nd book, The Woman in Cabin 10 but Church's narration really took this book up to another level.  I know I can't have been holding my breath for the entire thing but it felt like it!  

2.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows read by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills - This was the first book I listened to that had multiple narrators and it was absolutely wonderful.  This book is told in a series of letters and the different voices brought it completely to life.  

3.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming read by David Tennant - I think I would have enjoyed this book in print because the story is such fun but Tennant's reading made it spectacular.  The man could probably read me a grocery list and I would sit at rapt attention but throw in an adventure story written by the creator of James Bond and it's pure magic.

4.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton - I don't think I would have gotten through this one if it wasn't for Wheaton's narration.  I'm glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it.

5.  Bossypants by Tina Fey - I actually read this one first and was kind of meh on it.  I mean it was funny but it wasn't as funny as I wanted it to be.  Then I saw the audio copy was available at my library's digital site and so on a whim I gave it a try.  It was 100 times better in audio.  There were parts were I laughed until I cried. 

Audio Book Losses

1.  Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty read by Cassandra Campbell - Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators and when I saw she was reading this Middle Grade fiction that was high on my TBR list I was really excited.   Except I didn't end up really liking it.  While I love Campbell's voice something about it just didn't work for me with this story.  I'd like to continue the series but I think I'll be reading instead of listening.

2.  Faithful by Alice Hoffman read by Amber Tamblyn - I didn't dislike the audio and I really loved the book but it took me a little while to get into and I think part of my problem was with Tamblyn's narration.  While I think her voice was perfect for the main character her pacing was very slow.  Once I increased my speed to 1.25 I ended up loving the book much better.

3.  Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon  read by Bahni Turpin and Robbie Daymond - Now part of the problem here is that this book didn't really work for me (I know, I know, please don't throw anything at me) but I did have some issues with the narration that didn't help.  I love Bahni Turpin's voice but found it too old for the teenage main character.  As well it drove me crazy that Daymond's voice was used in the IMs but Turpin did a male voice when the boy talked in conversation.  This drove me crazy!  

Now I know plenty of people who loved all three of these in audio book format so I know this is purely personal preference.  Are you an audio book lover?  Any books or narrators work for you or really don't?


  1. I would imagine Ready Player One would be a fun audio, with Wil Wheaton narrating. Chitty chitty Bang Bang too!

  2. I love audiobooks, too! Ready Player One seems to be one everybody's favorite list... will need to give it a try.

  3. You have some great choices there, but for the life of me, I can't get into audio reads at all, and they often put me asleep. lol Hugs and Happy Monday! RO

  4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a book? Damn, if Tennant's reading it I'm on board, I love his Doctor Who novel audiobooks :) Although I still haven't got the hang of listening to audio without zoning out or getting distracted lol

    I really liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book and it sounds like it translates really well to audio, I might have to check that one out too!

  5. I couldn't agree more with you on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. David Tennant made it so much fun. He also narrates the How to Train Your Dragon books. You should look into that one. A good narrator makes everything better.

  6. We share a lot of favorites on audio!! I loved In a Dark, Dark Wood, RPO, Bossypants and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I did like Faithful a lot too though. Great picks!

  7. I find myself speeding up my audiobooks more often than not these days!

  8. Thérèse Plummer, Pearl Hewitt and Elizabeth Klett are a few of my favorite audiobook narrators. Audiobook narrators can make or break a book for sure. There was one book that I was trying to get into but kept putting down. Then I downloaded the audio version and wound up loving it. But there have been a few other books with narrators I couldn’t take so I didn’t finish the book.
    There are a few great actors and actresses that do a splendid job narrating books. Thandy Newton does an amazing job narrating Jane Eyre.
    I have to check out some of your mentions above.

  9. Oh, and I loved Cassandra Campbell’s voice for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Perfection. But I didn’t much care for her part in The Help. Sometimes the voice doesn’t suit every character. My experience has been the same with Bahni Turpin. Great voice for some characters, not so great for others.
    And yes, I love audiobooks!!

  10. I love audiobooks. I find I can get so many more books read each month by listening when doing mundane chores around the house, as well as on my walks. I have In a Dark Dark Wood as a potential library download, now I'm definitely going to listen as opposed to read.

  11. I enjoy audiobooks, but I'm not yet at the love 'em stage. I have a feeling it's coming though. :-) Ready Player One is one I probably wouldn't have liked much in print either, but I loved the audio. And I really enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood in audio. I also really liked the audio of Bossypants. I don't generally enjoy reading celebrity memoirs, but I'm finding if they come in audio version (and are on the humorous side), I enjoy them quite a bit. Great list, Katherine!

  12. The first four books on your list are on my tbr, so maybe I wil check out the audiobooks. My sister said our library system has really kicked up their audio offerings, plus, I guess now anyone with a NYS library card can access the NYPL's ebooks and audios. I need to get our information updated with an internet usage code.

    I was the same about audiobooks. My sister pestered me for years to start using them and now I love them. :)