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Hearing voices – audiobooks for  multi-taskers

  Those who read via audiobooks have no trouble expressing what makes an audiobook a wonderful listening experience. First, we need a term clarification. Readers are people who read or listen to books. But the people who record the books for us to listen to are called narrators. Since narrators are also characters in books, this can get confusing, but today, think of narrators as those voices we hear driving down the road, reading us a story.

  Apparently, people fall into two categories I hadn’t considered before:  those who fall asleep reading traditional books and those who fall asleep listening to audiobooks. Drivers beware which category you fall into.

  Like many things, our opinions are crafted by experience. Library Director Mary Chasseur says, 𠇊uthors who read their own books are the worst.”  Many agree with that. But friend Drea, who listens three hours a day while commuting, says, 𠇊uthors reading their own books are just the best.” Her example is Mel Robbins’ Five Second Rule.

  One thing everyone says is that listening to the Harry Potter books is a great experience. I thought, well, we’ve come to agreement on this. However, when I looked up the Harry Potter narrator, I found that two people have narrated all seven books, and I have no idea which narrator people thought was so wonderful. It might be both.

  Instead, I found a fascinating look into the world of audio narration. According to the Book Riot site: “Laertes had Hamlet. The Yankees have the Red Sox. When it comes to audiobooks, the most epic rivalry is Stephen Fry vs. Jim Dale. Both have narrated all seven Harry Potter books, both are beloved British actors, and both have been trolled by angry YouTube commenters.” Passions run high when it comes to favorites.

  Both readers and critics agree that good actors make good narrators. Sandra Masud, a longtime dedicated audio reader, delineates what makes a great narrator. “The best narrators can do both male and female voices, and it doesn’t sound weird. They do great accents and manage to differentiate characters so they don’t all sound alike. Good acting is important to good narrating.” She has both bad and good examples. 𠇎lizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love isn’t a good narrator at all. Arte Johnson narrates Carl Hiassan’s Bad Monkey very well.”

  Phoebe Lutz, not normally an audiobook fan, thought Trevor Noah did a wonderful job narrating his own book, Born a Crime. Other readers recommend The Outlander Series, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, and David Baldacci’s books. Carol Lenard says she will read anything narrated by Joe Montagne, which includes Jeffrey Deaver and Robert Parker books. 

  If you are new to audiobooks, I strongly suggest you check reviews specific to the audio version. If you start with a bad narrator, you might give up the whole enterprise of book listening. I picked up a 𠇋ook on tape” long ago on a cross-country drive with an awful narrator (who was also the author). We pulled over to a rest area just so I could throw it away. I couldn’t be in the same car one more mile with it. But now I think I’m ready to try audiobooks again. For anyone with vision difficulties, they are also a wonderful alternative.

  If you really get into audiobooks, there are on-line newsletters and sites to follow, and fan bases for the best narrators.

  And if you need some assistance in downloading audiobooks? You know where to go.

  See you at the Library!


  Upcoming Events:  Solar Eclipse Party Monday, August 21, from noon-3pm. Story Time with a Police Officer Wednesday, August 30, from 10:30�:30pm. (This one will be so much fun.) Check our website, FB, and Twitter.


(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News