Recommended Listening

Nov 8, 2007

Because I spend so much time in a car or on a plane or in transit of some sort, I "read" most of my books in audio format. And while it lacks the tactile experience of an actual book, it's better than listening to hours of bad music, vitriloic talk radio, or the snoring person sitting next to me on the plane. And also, audio books are kinda fun. Most of the time.

I recently picked up a couple of Robert B. Parker audio books. Mr. Parker, of Spencer for Hire fame, writes two other series which I actually prefer to his Spencer books. Well, I thought I preferred them . . . until I heard them read for me. His constant dialog annotation, "he said/she said" is tolerable in written form, but in audio it's like a constant tapping slowly driving you insane. Every single line of dialog. For hours! Gah. Enjoy the books, but skip the audio version.

Then, there are those works which are simply read, not narrated. There's nothing especially passionate about the reader, who simply does not qualify as a narrator or story-teller of any kind. Just reading in a solid consistent voice. And while these are pleasant, they don't help the listener get truly sucked into a story. You always know there is a stranger just reading a book to you. These are mostly non-fiction, educational titles. Required reading, but certainly not entertaining.

Finally, there are other authors whose audio books are narrated to perfection. The Harry Potter novels come immediately to mind, with Jim Dale's voices and intonations. Just beautifully read. Perfect for long drives, or to help a tired sales rep fall asleep in a strange town. Also, Janet Evanovich's novels, especially those read by Lorelei King, are truly enjoyable. Ms. King creates a voice for each character, but also adds laughter and sighs where appropriate. It's like having your best friend tell you a really great story.

May I encourage you to indulge in a few listening experiences of your own and to share some with the people you love. It's easier than reading aloud on your own and much more fun!

2 Response to "Recommended Listening"

Jeff Says:

The Sun Also Rises is not bad as an audiobook.

knighton Says:

Gah! Nothing personal, but I REALLY dislike Hemingway. I'll never forgive him for having written The Sun Also Rises.

Although, this probably-unfair opinion is based upon a truly horrific high school reading experience. (And a bad grade.) Perhaps I should give the old guy another shot. Any other Hemingway you could recommend?

BTW - you killed your blog. Again. It was on my list of daily reading. Time to start back up.