All Ears Audiobooks discussion

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General Discussion > What makes a good reader?

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message 1: by Minnie (new)

Minnie | 50 comments My husband and I have just finished listening to David Baldacci's First Family read by Ron McClarty and what a beautiful voice. Clear, good pronunciation clever accents and delicate differentiation between male and female and even children's voices. Sometime ago we listened to Fatal Remedies read by John Nettles, also a lovely voice but he tended to swallow the last portion of his words. Made listening a little difficult.
What then makes a good reader and do you prefer male or female readers?


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Van Tuyl (bobvantuyl) | 1 comments I don't have a preference with respect to gender, but I do appreciate those readers that have several distinct "voices" so that it is easy to distinguish among the various characters of the story. It is an interesting skill staying in character for each person in a discussion. I suppose that the lines of each character could be input separately and combined electronically later, but however they do it when it works it is great!


message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnaweyer) A couple folks here recommended Barbara Rosenblat so when i came across a Vicky Bliss novel she narrated I decided to give it a try. WOW! she's amazing!! I totally loved her ability to do voices, even the men, and her arabic voices were wonderful. Great fun!! I may have to listen to more of her works. I was so amazed at how she could go from one character to another without skipping a beat. that or the sound editor was amazing :) anyway it made the story, which was a typical, average mystery, much more interesting.


message 4: by Minnie (new)

Minnie | 50 comments Donna wrote: "A couple folks here recommended Barbara Rosenblat so when i came across a Vicky Bliss novel she narrated I decided to give it a try. WOW! she's amazing!! I totally loved her ability to do voices..."
How do you track a reader? I think I'd buy a book read by Ron McClarty just because he's so good but how do I find him as a reader?




message 5: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 248 comments Mod
Great topic, Minnie!

I don't know if I prefer men or women but I know I'm having a good audiobook listen when I forget that it is a single narrator reading the book. I love it when I can get lost in an audiobook and it feels like I am eavesdropping on people's lives and conversations. I am amazed at how well the narrators change their voices. It's funny that Donna mentions Barbara Rosenblat. The first narration I ever heard of hers was one of the Amelia Peabody mysteries. I was absolutely certain that she was British from her accent and could not believe that she is an American.

And speaking of narrators, did everyone see the latest copy of Audiofile magazine? Simon Vance received the Golden Voice award - Congratulations Simon! In case people didn't know, both Simon Vance and Scott Brick are members of this group. (Scott also has received the Golden Voice award.)


message 6: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnaweyer) Donna wrote: "How do you track a reader? I think I'd buy a book read by Ron McClarty just because he's so good but how do I find him as a reader?"

i googled his name, Ron McLarty, found his website, ronmclarty.com, and then cruised the site. There's an audio section and his audio book resume is there.

I did essentially the same thing for other readers and it seems to work. Once someone has done a recording of a book it seems to be on their website resume.

donna




message 7: by Minnie (new)

Minnie | 50 comments Thanks Donna. I'm sure if you need to find the answer to all the mysteries of life, there will be an appropriate website!


message 8: by Spuddie (new)

Spuddie | 9 comments Howdy, I'm new to this group, so thought I'd chime in. I have a few favorite readers--I would probably listen to them reciting the dictionary! LOL--and what I do is use the "author alerts" from my library. The reader is usually listed as a secondary author, so I get an e-mail notifying me when that reader has a new audiobook being ordered by the library.

To me, a good reader is able to not only differentiate between many different character's voices, does a plausible job of varying accents, but is able to set the "tone" for a book. Lighthearted? Serious and literary? Casually funny? I've come across a few that, while reading competently, just don't seem to "match" the book itself, if that makes any sense.

I just discovered audiobooks a couple of years ago, so my experience with readers is somewhat limited, but so far my favorite readers are George Guidall, C.J. Critt, Alyssa Bresnahan. I really loved Jesse Bernstein narrating Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" young adult fantasy series though I've listenend to nothing else that he's done. He was perfect for the role!

One thing I have to say is that so far my experience with authors narrating their own work is...don't! So far the great majority of audio books I've DNF'd were those narrated by the author, and their speaking voice was just not up to snuff. In one case, the production itself was sub-par, as the author kept moving away from the microphone or something, as the sound would fade in and out, and there was a lot of background sound--not noise really, just not a "clean" listen. I think unless an author has a really wonderful reading voice and someone to organize a professional production--don't do it!

Cheryl





message 9: by Minnie (new)

Minnie | 50 comments Hi Spuddy
I totally agree on the author no-no, except for Angela's Ashes. I can't remember the author but he read the story extremely well.


message 10: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnaweyer) i'm a fan of Rita Mae Brown and i've listened to a couple of her huntclub mysteries. She narrates them - which, as much as i love her, is a real mistake. In fact during one session she actually misspeaks and then the corrects it. That's fine for a live reading but couldn't a recorded session have a little editing?

Robert Fass did a fantastic job with Ray Bradbury's Farewell Summer. And Mark Honan is amazing on Mr. Timothy. Not only does he handle the voices and tone of the novel, but he's got the various London accents down - no small task. He even has a passible singing voice for the few times there's a chorus or two.

my favorite narrator of all is Lisette Lecat - she does the Ladies No 1 detetive agency series. The books are better because of her. I'd rather listen to them now than read them because of her narration.

great fun!

donna


message 11: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 248 comments Mod
Spuddie wrote: "Howdy, I'm new to this group, so thought I'd chime in. I have a few favorite readers--I would probably listen to them reciting the dictionary! LOL--and what I do is use the "author alerts" from my ..."

Welcome, Spuddie (love your goodreads name!). I totally agree with your comment about how it's not just the narrator's voice over talent, but also their interpretation of the story. I just finished Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. I am a complete Margaret Atwood fan, but I found this book to be so depressing and slow. The book is a retrospective about her life, and there were sad and tough moments. But the narrator, Barbara Caruso, who I usually like, read this with so many pauses and so slowly and morosely that it gave the book an overall heaviness that I don't think added to the story.

Definitely a narrator can make or break a book!



message 12: by Tara (new)

Tara | 20 comments In general I can always know that a good reader will be on a Recorded Books audio - they seem to have a talent for it - Barbara Rosenblat, George Guidall, CJ Critt, Barbara Caruso etc. lots who are mentioned by others. I especially like George Guidall's sense of spaciousness and use of long pauses and Barbara Rosenblat's variety of voices and sense of humor in her voice. I also love Ben Kingsley's reading of Autobiography of a Yogi.

In general I agree with the statement that authors shouldn't be the narrators of their books --I know people don't care for Amy Tan's reading, but I like it.


message 13: by Spuddie (new)

Spuddie | 9 comments Tara, Amy Tan was one of those authors that I could not get through--I listened to the first hour of Saving Fish from Drowning and had to give up. I have the print version so will probably read it--I've loved her written works.

Donna, one of the series I enjoy on audio is Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" cat mysteries--they are way too cozy and not something I'd probably read in print, but Kate Forbes does a wonderful job with the series and I love the audios. I didn't realize that RMB recorded her own Hunt Club series--haven't listened to any of those, and now I probably won't. LOL

Julie, I read Cat's Eye in print and I agree with you, it was really a downer. I find Atwood's stuff to be rather hit or miss with me. A Handmaid's Tale was the first of hers I read and remains my favorite of hers, and in fact one of my all-time favorie books!

Cheryl


message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnaweyer) Tara - you're right about Recorded books. I've yet to find a narrater there i didn't enjoy. They seem to have a consistantly good group of people who work with them. Barbara Rosenblat is amazing!

Cheryl - have you read Atwood's Oryx and Crake? If you liked Handmaid's you might like it too. I haven't read any of her others but these two are in my best of all time list. They both throughly give me the creeps!

Saving fish from Drowning - i wasn't too put off by Amy Tan's narration (although she can't do an accent to save her soul!) but found the story dissapointing after Bonesetter's Daughter - another book I throughly enjoyed.







message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 248 comments Mod
Donna wrote: "...Cheryl - have you read Atwood's Oryx and Crake? If you liked Handmaid's you might like it too. I haven't read any of her others but these two are in my best of all time list. They both throughly give me the creeps! "

I second that recommendation of Oryx and Crake - definitely haunting. If you like that speculative fiction dystopia type of book, then you also might like Never Let Me Go. This book will stay with me for a long time - really enjoyed it and well-narrated by Rosalyn Landor.




message 16: by Spuddie (new)

Spuddie | 9 comments Thanks for the recommendations--I think I have Oryx and Crake here in print (somewhere!) and will move it up my TBR stacks as soon as I find it. LOL

I also loved The Bonesetter's Daughter best among the Amy Tan books I've read.

Cheryl


message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnaweyer) Spuddie wrote: "Thanks for the recommendations--I think I have Oryx and Crake here in print (somewhere!) and will move it up my TBR stacks as soon as I find it. LOL..."

I have a degree in Biology and try to stay up to date on the latest biological happenings. Oryx and Crake is very disturbing when you realize how close to possibility it is.

Speaking of distopian novels - has anyone read The Years of Rice and Salt? I'm just getting going on it and so far so good. Very interesting writing style - sort of an omniscient narrator with a story-telling element. Bet it's great as an audiobook.

Ah hah! another book horder. i have a mere 650 books in a cupboard and on shelves that I HAVEN'T read yet. Other than a few classics I give away the books i've read. No, i haven't purchased these new, I work at a charity booksale where i have access to the first cut of books. Every year they get a hefty check from me as i add to my collection.





message 18: by Spuddie (new)

Spuddie | 9 comments Okay, one definite exception to the "authors shouldn't read their own work" rule is Neil Gaiman. I just finished listening to The Graveyard Book and he is really fantastic!!

Cheryl


message 19: by Lilly (new)

Lilly (lilshoe) | 33 comments Mod
Agreed! Neil Gaiman is simply a bundle of narration talent. The only downside is that his recordings tend to have a wide volume range. Appropriately, he sometimes speaks quite quickly and quietly, such that it's hard to hear what he's saying while on the highway. I experience a similar effect when listening to symphonic music in the car. So I've taken to listening to "wide volume range" narrators in quieter settings.
Lilly


message 20: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 47 comments For me, it depends. I don't mind which gender the reader is, though I generally hope it's consistent with whatever gender a character happens to be. They don't always have to do "voices," though that's wonderful if they can manage it. The main things I hope for are that the reading doesn't sound flat to me, and that if there's humor, that it's done well. For instance, I love The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and I really wanted to hear it as an audiobook. And when I did, the narrator was fine but all the sentences sounded wrong to me. I'm not sure why.


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