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Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,213
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

I've been an avid reader for decades. Still, I'm sort of a latecomer to audio books. 

 

I only listen to them while I'm in my car; they have definitely made driving a more pleasurable activity.

 

Here's the type of audio book I really love: those wherein the reader has an accent.

 

The Miss Julia books read with that hint of a Southern drawl are especially wonderful. Sophie Kinsella's books are outrageously funny when read with a witty British style. I savor the French (Quebec) accent found in the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny.

 

It's also a treat when the narrator is an exceptional reader: Rob Lowe's second autobigraphy, Love Life, is a perfect example of this. Lowe is so exquisite; so very approachable: a sincere delight.

 

What do some of you think about audio versions?

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,450
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

I'm trying to train myself to listen, though I still get distracted since I like to knit while listening.  However, to answer the question, one audio book I've always enjoyed is Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice, read by Leo McKern.  If you've followed PBS programming for a long time, you'll recognize this book as having once been offered on Masterpiece Theater.  I think it ran about 6-8 weeks, & I really loved that.  And, Leo McKearn was the star of the PBS series Rumpole of the Bailey.

 

I recently took advantage of an offer through my Amazon Prime membership to get 3 free audio books from Audible.com, but haven't yet listened to my first book.  Hopefully I'll get to that soon, but then I have lots of unread books still sitting on my shelves right now, too!Woman LOL

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,831
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

 

I've yet to try audio books, I like music while I'm driving. There's that and my dislike of "expressive" reading. I have disliked it since I was a child in kindergarden; voices for animals, creaky voices for old people and witches, hate it.

That's why I haven't ventured into audio books.

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,955
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

WOW-have you tried any nostalgia radio recordings? The best actors of Hollywood's Golden Age doing Hemingway, Fred Pohl, the CBS Experimental Theatre on Air?

 

Fabulous!!!!!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,866
Registered: ‎06-09-2014

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

I get distracted too and much prefer the old fashioned paper turning.  I actually bought a book I ended up loving in April and people raved about the audio version so much that I ordered that as my first free trial book from audible.  It was done by the author herself who is also an actress and has done many award winning audiobooks or so I hear so I know she's not an amateur at it.  People seem to really like her presentations.    

 

I read the book in one sitting but I have yet to finish the whole audio version.  Either I'm just not an audio book person or I like reading way too much.  To me, curling up with a good book is just that.  It's one of the few things I refuse to multitask on.  If I had a long commute, which I currently don't, maybe I'd be more into it.          

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎10-05-2012

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

My suggestion for audio books: Anything narrated by Bronson Pinchot! I was not a fan of Perfect Stragers but discovered BP on the Bronson Pinchot Project (renovation on his properties in Harford, PA). He is extremely intelligent and a great voice actor. You want accents? He's got 'em! And he's narrated a ton of books. Just search for his name on Amazon or Audiblebooks.com for a list. Sometimes it's just nice to have someone read to you!

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,153
Registered: ‎05-22-2012

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

I have 4 examples of books where the audio version is better:

 

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler: Amy is a wonderful comedic writer AND actress, so when she reads her own memoir, it's well done She also brings in special guests to read with her - her parents, Seth Meyers, and Parks and Rec co-creator, Michael Schur. She also makes a lot of funny jokes about the cave/room in which she is recording and how she brought Seth Meyers in to read so she could take a nap. The last chapter is read live at a theater full of members of the current Upright Citizen's Brigade, the comedy troupe she co-founded. I'm sure the book is also fantastic, but it misses those extra touches.

 

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes: This is a memoir Elwes wrote about the making of The Pricess Bride, including how he was cast, how it became a cult classic, and bits about cast reunions. Cary already has that wonderful voice, but here's the best part - he got his cast and crew mates to write and record their own memories. As the book goes along, Cary tells a story from his point of view, then director Rob Reiner comes in and shares his memory of the event. Stories are shared by all suriving cast members, but unfortunately Fred Savage and Mandy Patinkin did not participate in the reading. (Sad, because I adore Mandy Patinkin.) But you do hear the memories of Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Robin Wright, and Christopher Guest read by the actors/producers themselves. It's not the greatest book ever written, but if you love The Princess Bride, this book is a great companion and the audio book is a treasure.

 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green. This book is about two teenagers who lead very different lives and are both named Will Grayson. Chapters alternate between the different Wills and the book has two narrators, one for each Will. They each bring a different voice and attitiude to their own Will and I found the separate narrators really helped set the tone and help me keep them distinct in my mind. But the BEST part is that a key point in the story is a musical written by one of the characters that both Wills know. The character writes, directs, and stars in a musical and the actors they chose to narrate the book wrote actual music for the lyrics from the book and perform parts of the musical! I recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson to many people, but I always tell them to get the audio book if they are able. 

 

Blindness, by Jose Saramago: The author has made the stylistic choice to use no quotation marks for his dialogue. I downloaded a sample for my Kindle and found it very difficult to read because of the missing quotation marks. The opening scene alone has 4 or 5 different people talking and it was confusing. I wanted very badly to read the book, but didn't think I could cope without the quotation marks. I pulled up a sample on Audible and found the narrator to be quite good and made the decision to purchase the audio version instead of the Kindle or paper version.

 

Before I buy a book from Amazon, I usually read a sample. I always listen to the sample audio on Audible before I spend a credit on a book there. Sometimes a narrator can also ruin a good book and there have been quite a few I've passed up and downloaded the Kindle version instead.

 

I've always read more than one book at a time and now it's easier when one is an audio book because it's harder to get them confused. I listen to the audio books while I drive, shower, cook, or clean. I read the Kindle books in bed, when I wait  at the doctor or in line anywhere, when I go out to eat by myself, or when I just want to sit and read.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,605
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

The Help is so good. Read by several different readers. The best audio book ever.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,213
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

Oh, I love A Town Like Alice. I will order the audio version through the library. Thanks for the tip, VCamp2748!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 19,283
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: BOOKS: when an audio book is better!

The reader of the "Murder She Wrote" series sounds so much like Angela Lansbury. I sometimes think I listening to the TV show.