Friday, June 1, 2012

June is Audiobook Month, you say?

That's the scuttlebutt, at least. I have a love/hate relationship with audiobooks. As a librarian with a 40 minute commute, they're a great way to fit EVEN MORE books into my busy life.

However, as someone who is... kind of picky about the narration of audiobooks, I'd say I'm less than 50% on being able to actually finish an audiobook. There are a few reasons for this.

A) A voice that grates. Obviously, this is different for everyone, but there are definitely narrators that, as soon as the first chapter starts, I know without a doubt I will not be able to listen to hours of this voice. Frustrating, but at least it's something I realize quickly.

B) Weird reading styles - again, completely personal. Sometimes, I'll be listening to a book, and the way words in the sentences are stressed just seems completely WRONG to me - like the narrator is giving no thought to the context of the sentence, and it drives me nuts.

C) Or, the book is too intense. I know, this seems ridiculous, but books that are especially suspenseful or gross I just cannot handle in audiobook format. The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey - amazing book, but I could not handle listening to it. I need to be able to focus enough to drive, and the audiobook made me want to hide my eyes and shiver. Not good on the road.

My absolute favorite audiobook of all time? Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones, read by Jenny Sterlin. Perfect, amazing, wonderful. If you ever have a long car ride, or a long but monotonous craft project, it will carry you away and leave you absolutely in love.


  1. Though I've read Howl's Moving Castle (loved it!), I never listened to the audiobook. I should try that. :)

    I love audiobooks, but I do tend to prefer listening to them if the novel is told from a first-person POV. For some reason, it makes certain narrators seem less annoying. I think if I attribute the voice to the character, I'm more forgiving. But I totally understand what you mean by a grating voice. There are some people that should just not narrate books. Period.

  2. See, even if I try and just attribute it to the character I get too annoyed.

    What makes me feel the worst is when I can't stand a book that is read by the author. Sorry author! I'm sure it's very good, but it turns out that writing and narrating are 2 VERY DIFFERENT talents! It is so rare an author works as an audio narrator for me...

    1. Don't feel bad, I agree! There are very few authors that can make it as narrators. Seeing an author as the narrator is one thing that will put me off immediately.