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Fiction audiobook recommendations

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Hi folks,
I'm writing a book review article for my local Friends of the Library website and my topic is audiobooks.

I mostly listen to nonfiction, specifically history and biography, so I'm hoping that some of you could provide recommendations for good audiobooks in the fiction category so that I can make a few honorable mentions.

I also hope to give some views on audiobooks as a medium: why they are great, and some of the ways in which they fall short.

Finally, do you call it "reading" and audiobook? "Listening?" Sometimes I seem to call it "reading via audiobook" but that seems a bit clunky.

I'd love to hear your feedback.

Thanks for any help you can give!


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Schanne Atkins I started listening to audiobooks in the 1990's when you rented them on cassette from Books on Tape. The books I remember best are listening as an adult to many of the classics we maybe read in high school and did not understand. I listened to Austen, Dickens, Gaskill, Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also thoroughly enjoyed all of Elizabeth George's books and P.D. James. Many histories and just finished "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough, having listened to all of his other books. I quilt and knit so that I always have an audiobook at hand. I now get audiobooks from the library as well as my subscription to audible.com.


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lasen (blaircaldwell86) I usually just call it reading :) As a stay-at-home mom I listen to audiobook's almost all day long. While cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the children. I started off with mostly non-fiction, but now am listening to mostly fiction.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 19, 2013 01:49PM) (new)

Fiction titles from My Personal Pantheon of All-Time Great Audiobooks (alphabetized by title):

1984 (by George Orwell; narrated by Simon Prebble)
The Ghosts of Belfast (by Stuart Neville; narrated by Gerard Doyle)
A Happy Marriage (by Raphael Yglesias; narrated by Grover Gardner)
Life of Pi (by Yaan Martel; narrated by Jeff Woodman)
MatterhornThe Millennium Trilogy (by Steig Larsson; narrated by Simon Vance)
Shantaram (by Gregory David Roberts; narrated by Humphrey Bower)
The Thirteenth Tale (by Diane Setterfield; narrated by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner)
To Kill a Mockingbird (by Harper Lee; narrated by Sissy Spacek)

Audiobooks enable a person to process more material (i.e. You can listen during activities that disallow reading print, e.g. driving, exercising, playing Angry Birds...,) improve memory (The more you listen, the better your recall becomes as you are not able to"flip back" to a previous page read) and, experience a book on a new interpretative level, especially with material set in different regions and narrated by a person with affinity to the material (e.g. the Dave Robicheaux series narrated by Will Patton. You get a sense of the language and attitudes of the characters more than you would by "just" reading.) The drawbacks are that some material can not be interpreted well aurally (e.g. Wintergirls (by Laurie Halse Anderson comes to mind. It has a lot of strikeouts and special fonts & layouts in the text) and others benefit more from illustrations (e.g. children's books like the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger contain doodles that contribute to the story) and; some books are poorly cast and end up with mis-pronunciations, lack of narrative drive or missing the point (this last point is a very lengthly topic in and of itself.)

You read print books and e-books, listen to audiobooks, and read & listen to hybrid books :-)


message 5: by Angie (last edited Mar 19, 2013 01:39PM) (new)

Angie Audiobooks have come so far since I was first introduced to them on cassette back in the day. My Audible subscription has really allowed me to read while I workout, clean the house and knit. I love it!

Here's three I suggest:
The Help - mulitple narrators for the characters in the book.
The Blood of Flowers - has a wonderful Iranian narrator that really added to my enjoyment of this historical novel.
The Passage - unabridged and 36+ hours, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

You might also want to checkout The Audies, awards for the best audiobooks of the year.

I'm with Amanda, I usually calling it reading as well.


message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Thanks for all of the great insights and recommendations! I think that audiobooks are a real gift for those times when the hands are busy, but the mind is free. And I agree with Tanya/dog eared copy that the narrator can make or break a production. Nothing like being jerked out of a story by a mispronunciation!

Some of these have been on my personal list (To Kill A Mockingbird) but I'll be adding some others to my stack. I'll definitely be checking out the Audies as well.

Thanks so much!


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth My personal favorite audiobook is Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. Gary Sinese is the narrator and is perfect. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, but that is my all time favorite.


message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments I really enjoyed listening to The Hunger Games on Audible. However, by time I got to Mockingjay, the author's pronounciation and emphasis on the MOCK-ing-jaaaay got to be obnoxious since the word was in that particular book so many times.


message 9: by Kats (new)

Kats (kats1) | 134 comments Tanya/dog eared copy wrote: "Fiction titles from My Personal Pantheon of All-Time Great Audiobooks (alphabetized by title):

Life of Pi (by Yaan Martel; narrated by Jeff Woodman)"


I just cannot imagine that the narration by Jeff Woodman is as good as the one by Kerry Shale (both for "Life of Pi").
I really struggled getting into the physical book of Life of Pi, but as soon as I got the audio version narrated by Kerry Shale, I LOVED IT. So much so that I cannot bring myself to wipe if off my iPod, I keep listening to bits and pieces of it, his accents are all brilliant, too. One of the best audio book performances I've ever listened to!


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 20, 2013 10:05AM) (new)

Kats wrote: "Tanya/dog eared copy wrote: "I just cannot imagine that the narration by Jeff Woodman is as good as the one by Kerry Shale (both for "Life of Pi").
I really struggled getting into the physical book of Life of Pi, but as soon as I got the audio version narrated by Kerry Shale, I LOVED IT. So much so that I cannot bring myself to wipe if off my iPod, I keep listening to bits and pieces of it, his accents are all brilliant, too. One of the best audio book performances I've ever listened to! "


Unfortunately, I have no way of debating Jeff Woodman vs Kerry Shale in regard to Life of Pi as I cannot legally obtain Kerry Shale's narration. That's one of the problems with marketplace restrictions and exclusive rights :-/


message 11: by Kats (new)

Kats (kats1) | 134 comments Tanya/dog eared copy wrote: "Unfortunately, I have no way of debating Jeff Woodman vs Kerry Shale in regard to Life of Pi as I cannot legally obtain Kerry Shale's narration. That's one of the problems with marketplace restrictions and exclusive rights :-/"

I find it so bizarre in this day and age, when I can obtain pretty much any product from any continent (if I fork out for postage and Swiss customs), but the download of audio books is so restricted. Bizarre AND annoying!

When I come to the US for Booktopia next month, I hope that I can buy and download into my Audible library some audio books that are not available in Europe, e.g. The Dog Stars Do you think that will work?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Kats wrote: "When I come to the US for Booktopia next month, I hope that I can buy and download into my Audible library some audio books that are not available in Europe, e.g. The Dog Stars Do you think that will work? "

I'll be honest and admit that I don't know for sure. I know of an American ex-pat who was living in Paris who was able to dnload US audible content because his credit card (to which his audible account was billed) was issued in the US; but he couldn't get the UK and other countries' releases. I do not know if that has changed or not. I don't think you can switch to US purchases by just being in the US though. If you can get someone to share their audible account and assign your device to their account that would work. Otherwise, you might be stuck with ordering hard goods :-/


message 13: by Kats (new)

Kats (kats1) | 134 comments Thanks for the feedback - I'll give it a shot and see what happens. Maybe get myself a mailbox and a US credit card whilst I'm there! ;-)


message 14: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments I have just started Ready Player One, narrated by Wil Wheaton, and it is excellent. He sounds like he is having a blast doing it.

I also loved Galore, narrated by John Lee.


message 15: by T.r. (new)

T.r. | 1 comments My recent favourites are ...

Jasper Jones (written by Craig Silvey read by Matt Cowlrick)
Life of Pi

I listen in my car during my commute to work, and Jasper Jones had me laughing out loud - I must have looked crazy to anyone watching!


message 16: by Louise (new)

Louise | 279 comments I listen to a lot of audiobooks while driving (and doing other stuff where reading a book is *really* inconvenient:-D)

The right narrator can turn a good book into an incredible and poetic experience.
I loved Edoardo Ballerini's performance of Beautiful Ruins
and
Craig Wasson reading 11/22/63


message 17: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Kluver (barbinsanramon) | 6 comments Louise wrote: "I listen to a lot of audiobooks while driving (and doing other stuff where reading a book is *really* inconvenient:-D)

The right narrator can turn a good book into an incredible and poetic experie..."


I agree with both of your selections! Both of the narrators made those books even more enjoyable than they already were. I also love George Wilson's narration in any of the Carl Hiassen books - perfect!


message 18: by Jessy (new)

Jessy (jessycfischer) | 25 comments My all time favorite so far is the Harry Potter series. Whenever I am stuck and just can't think of what I want to read next, I will fall back to listening to that until I decide.

Also, Neil Gaiman ones are Great!


message 19: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cindyfried) | 2 comments I love Audible, and have introduced a v. busy friend to it - she says it's the best thing I've ever done for her!

Listening to Wolf Hall at the moment and am transported to Tudor England every time I get in the car - a modern miracle. I've also listened to Dickens, and that can be a most enriching experience. Driving and knitting are perfect for audiobooks - when I've got a good one on the go I seem to want to do more of both.


message 20: by Shannon (new)

Shannon B | 85 comments A Confederacy of Dunces. Genius in a physical book, but the audio takes it to another level of wonderful and halarious!


message 21: by A (new)

A | 14 comments In case anyone is interested I recently found an app, for my smartphone, on the android market called Ambling Books. They have tons of audiobooks to listen to and quite a few that are FREE.

I am currently "reading" The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


message 22: by Sydney (new)

Sydney Young (sydyoung) | 38 comments Stephen King's Guns. Short, sweet and to the point. And good color commentary too. He always delivers!


message 23: by Rhiannon (new)

Rhiannon (raejs) | 23 comments So far this year I've listened to Life of Pi and Beautiful Ruins and loved them both. I thought the stories were narrated excellently.


message 24: by Anne (new)

Anne (audreyanne) | 1 comments Highly recommend Code Name Verity and don't be put off by the YA tag. Also loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette even if you don't "know" Seattle - still universal.


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments I am listening to Ghost Man on Audible and really enjoying it!


message 26: by nancy (new)

nancy (npjacoby) | 261 comments I'm listening to Suspect by Robert Crais and its great...
but Defending Jacob may be my all time favorite audiobook read by Grover Gardner.
Lets just say..you can't go wrong with anything read by Gardner or Simon Vance.
ps. The Chaperone was good too


message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2781 comments Mod
One of the first, if not the first, audiobook that I listened to was Mrs De Winter by Susan Hill. It continues the story of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. I don't remember who read it, but it certainly hooked me on audio books.


message 28: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 279 comments End of the Affair read by Collin Firth is lovely. I've also enjoyed the Ngaio Marsh books read by Benedict Cumberbatch. I could listen to that man read the phone book.


message 29: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten | 4 comments I liked The White Tiger a lot on audiobook. Not sure if I would have really liked reading the book, but listening to it was very entertaining.


message 30: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments I'm currently listening to The Good House audio and it is fantastic, the narrator is perfect, it's cracking me up.


message 31: by Deborah (last edited Mar 28, 2013 06:13PM) (new)

Deborah | 109 comments Marly wrote: "I'm currently listening to The Good House audio and it is fantastic, the narrator is perfect, it's cracking me up."

I listened to that one as well - the narrator was amazing, and it really was a good book, as well as being funny.


message 32: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments Marly wrote: "I'm currently listening to The Good House audio and it is fantastic, the narrator is perfect, it's cracking me up."

Sold me on this one. Just purchased it from Audible!


message 33: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 109 comments Amy wrote: "Marly wrote: "I'm currently listening to The Good House audio and it is fantastic, the narrator is perfect, it's cracking me up."

Sold me on this one. Just purchased it from Audible!"


Enjoy!


message 34: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments You guys are awesome! Thank you, thank you!

I'm writing the article now and I can't wait to include these in a list at the end. I'll be limited to what's available at my library, since that's the reason for the article, but that shouldn't be too bad since my library is great, second in circulation only to New York.

If anyone is interested, I'll post the link to my article after it goes live.

Thanks again everyone, BOTNers to the rescue!


message 35: by Jan (new)

Jan | 100 comments Yes! Please post it after it goes live. I enjoyed reading this string. :-)


message 36: by Beth (new)

Beth | 9 comments I highly recommend James Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, read by Will Patton. I love them.


message 37: by Amy (last edited Apr 01, 2013 08:07AM) (new)

Amy | 463 comments Listening to Ghostman right now. The narrator is good, but the style of writing is perfect to keep my attention!


message 38: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 89 comments I have been listening to audiobooks for two or three years now. I have listened to over 100 books. Yesterday, I finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was one of the best, if mot the best, audiobook I have read. The narration adds so much to the story.


message 39: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Amy wrote: "Marly wrote: "I'm currently listening to The Good House audio and it is fantastic, the narrator is perfect, it's cracking me up."

Sold me on this one. Just purchased it from Audible!"


Me too. I'm very much enjoying it. Thanks for the recommendation!


message 40: by Benita (new)

Benita | 43 comments I am currently listening to The Cousin's War series by Philippa Gregory and I love them. The narrator of this series really adds to the experience. I had not previously read any books by Philippa Gregory and was pleasantly surprised by this series. I have now listened to two of the books and in one the heroine is not a very sympathetic character (the Red Queen) and in the other (Lady of the Rivers)she is. The narrator (Bianca Amato) has done a great job of giving each character a different type of voice. This makes listening to the books a much different experience than reading them. In this case I think listening adds to the experience.

Two other series that I recommend for listeners are the Flavia De Luce series starting with Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I also like to listen to the Lauren Willig "Secret History of the Pink Carnation" series whenever I can get my hands on them. Those books are so much fun and make long car trips go by quickly.

I listen to books in my car and love them. Listening in the car has created many "driveway moments" for me to the point where I feel guilty about all that gas I have wasted with the car idling while I am happily listening. This lead me to start a new habit. Because I often get so wrapped up in them I have now started listening to them in the house while I am knitting. It is a great way to entertain myself without resorting to TV.


message 41: by Benita (new)

Benita | 43 comments I would also second Beth's recommendation for listening to the Dave Robicheaux series and would add that Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series is great listening as well.


message 42: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Sandi wrote: "Yesterday, I finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was one of the best, if mot the be..."

I just finished listening to that one last week! I loved the way that the narrator, as Augustus Waters, said "Hazel Grace." I loved it as a book too, but in the audio version the characters came alive for me in a way that they hadn't on the page.


message 43: by Heather (last edited Apr 04, 2013 11:01AM) (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Benita wrote: " Listening in the car has created many "driveway moments" for me..."

I've had SO many driveway moments. A good one, for me, was Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Edward Herrmann narrated, and his performance + Laura Hillenbrand's outstanding writing = me sitting mesmerized for hours.


message 44: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Dawn wrote: "THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was my first John Green book (pushed into my hands by 14-year-old son) - I loved it! I want to read/listen to more John Green - other books of his on audio that you recommend?"

TFiOS was my first John Green as well. Just to warn you, its a bit different than his others - more serious and moving. But I enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines in paper. I also read Looking for Alaska, and enjoyed the writing, but not the characters as much. On the audiobook for TFiOS, Green said that his favorite audio of his books is Will Grayson, Will Grayson. So I've just picked it up from my library.

If you want to see more of him, he's a famous video blogger on youtube. He does weekly videos with his brother on the Vlogbrothers channel, and educational history and literature videos on the Crash Course channel. And he just started doing weekly list videos for Mental Floss. Suffice to say, I've got a huge nerd-crush on him.


message 45: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lasen (blaircaldwell86) I just finished the audiobook for The Host and it was really good.


message 46: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Thanks again, everyone, for all of your ideas. I've finished with the article, though it might need a few more tweaks.

http://friends-library.org/news/liste...

Let me know what you think!


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