Friday, March 29, 2019

The Friday Five - My Favorite Audio Book Narrators

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic was all about audio books and got me thinking about my favorite narrators.  A great narrator can really take a good audiobook and elevate it straight to amazing and here are five I always look for.

1.  Imogen Church - Church should narrate all thrillers.  Her voice is so flexible that she makes every character sound unique while never sounding overdone and her pacing makes me feel like I"m on the edge of my seat the whole time.  My favorites she's narrated are In a Dark Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 both by Ruth Ware.

2.  Jayne Entwistle - Not only is her name absolutely delightful but her voice lives up to the promise.  I love her narration of the Flavia de Luce series.  I love her ability to clearly portray hidden glee.

3.  Actors - This is more of a broad category than a specific narrator but with few exceptions actors are the narrators of some of my favorite audio books - David Tennant and Kate Winslett are two of my favorite.  They know how to use their voices and I never pass up a chance to listen to a celebrity memoir read by the celebrity.  I've really enjoyed Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Cary Elwes' books especially.

4.  Amanda Ronconi - I love Ronconi's books for funny contemporary romances especially.  She has just the right sound for light and quirky and is always entertaining.

5.  Rosalyn Landor - I always enjoy a book read by Rosalyn Landor though her voice doesn't always jump out at me the way others sometimes do.  What she does beautifully is make the story come alive but in a subtle way.

Who are some of your favorite narrators?


  1. You know... I don't ever pay attention to the name of the narrator unless it's a celebrity, or the author. I should go back through my listened to audiobooks and take note of narrators I have especially liked. 🎧

  2. Way back in the day when audiobooks first started, it seemed like they kept using the same 2-3 people to narrate. Very cool to see that the list is steadily growing these days! Happy Friday! RO

  3. There are some narrators who are amazingly good. I loved Rosalyn Landor's reading of The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. She distinguished between the first-person contemporary narrator (a Canadian much like Kearsley herself) and the third-person narration of the part of the story that takes place in the 18th century. Plus, she did a variety of Scottish and British accents; many readers can't manage more than one Scottish accent, if that.

    Actors as narrators works particularly well if they have a connection to the material -- like Ian Carmichael reading all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. (He played Lord Peter in 5 or 6 TV adaptations of the books.) But I also loved David Tennant reading Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and I can't wait to listen to Eddie Redmayne reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the textbook, not the movie script.)

    Two of my favorite recent audiobooks were read by the author: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, both written and read by Mary Robinette Kowal. In addition to knowing the material and characters from the inside out, she is also a professional audiobook reader, and a good one at that.

    One audio company I really miss is Full Cast Audio. I loved how they would assemble a whole cast to do the individual voices. My favorites are their recordings of some of Tamora Pierce's series, with the author reading the 3rd-person narrative and the cast providing voices. The same company did a fantastic recording of Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free, a YA novel about a young woman in prison by Katherine Karr.

  4. One year I listened to so many audiobooks with bad narrations that I actulally stopped listening to them for a few years. Thankfully when I decided to try them again I loved all the narrators of the books I listened to and haven't stopped listening since. Some are just ok, but only one was so bad I could only listen to about 5 chapters before I couldn't take any more and dnf it.

  5. I still haven't picked up the Woman in cabin 10, people were loving on it or hating it. I'm curious.

    Thanks for the comment about the Earth to the Moon series, That sounds very interesting. Wish I could borrow it from you :-)

  6. Interesting list. I've been having trouble listening to fiction audio books, but I'll have to give these a try.

  7. I'll have to try a Flavia de Luce audiobook one of these days. I love Jim Dale who narrated the HP series. The guy who narrates the Artemis Fowl series is good too as well as Neil Gaiman who I had listened to for his book on the Norse gods.

  8. I don't even have a favorite narrator, which is sad, but I just don't listen to enough audios. I wish I did!!

    Happy Friday :)

  9. I am just embarking on audiobook goodness and I'll endorse your recommendation for David Tennant - I've been enjoying his narration of the How To Train Your Dragon books:)

  10. This is a great list, Katherine. I did the narrators for my TTT and I included Rosalyn Landor, but I haven't listened to any of the others doing audiobooks. I've been meaning to search out more audiobooks based on the the narrators and have made a list! I'm adding your narrators to my list!

  11. Oh, I meant to mention I like your Friday Five that you're doing and I may do something like that. too, when I can. (If you don't mind me piggybacking on your idea!?)