Thursday, June 9, 2011

Audiobook Week: Audiobooks for the Uninitiated

Celebrating Audiobooks Week with Devourer of Books:

Whether you just started listening or have a long history with audiobooks, you probably have some suggestions for those new to audio whether for narrators, titles, or ways to experience the medium. Write a post, make a list, get creative.

Oh, “get creative” always makes me seize up! I used to say that I could enjoy some narrators even if they were reading the phone book. I wonder, though, if I’ve listened to so many books that this is no longer the case. I mean, I love Jim Dale and his work on the Harry Potter books, but now I often hear Harry Potter characters when Mr. Dale reads other books. And Katherine Kellgren’s (just today named Booklist's Voice of Choice 2011) Bloody Jacks are bloody marvelous, but I’ve not really liked some of the other books I’ve heard her read (A and B). And I’ve heard nothing but great things about Simon Vance, but I was underwhelmed by the Dragon Tattoo (the story, first and foremost … but also because I’d seen the movie first!), and the other book I listened to him read. I’m still searching for that Simon Vance book that speaks to me. But I know it’s out there!

So all this negativity is leading … where? In choosing audiobooks, I’d still start with the book. Most important question: Is this a story that you want to read? If that’s the case, listening to it can be a sublime experience. (It can also be just dreadful … but let’s not talk about bad narrators here.) As you get used to listening, use narrators to expand your horizons – let them do the heavy lifting. Your eyes might shy away from a book that intrigues you, but it’s hefty, overly literary, or in a genre you’re not familiar with. Listening can remove these barriers – you can do all those trivial things that absorb so much of our daily lives and read a book! I’ve never been much of a nonfiction reader, but there’ve been a number of nonfiction books I’ve really enjoyed listening to (there’s this one, but interestingly most are pre-blog, notably: Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Krakatoa and Seabiscuit.

1 comment:

Jen (Devourer of Books) said...

I think that's good advice that often gets lost in audiobook advice. If you aren't at all interested in it in print, don't bother with the audio!