The Great American Read discussion

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The list, other books, movies > Which audio books are good on this list

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message 1: by KP (last edited Jun 11, 2018 11:31PM) (new)

KP | 26 comments Did anyone listen to Owen meany on audio?

I need an audio book for a long trip. Can you recommend one that will keep me alert?


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) The Martian is an exciting and greatly narrated book. It's funny and nail-biting! Ready Player One kept me interested too (although you have to be okay with 80s nostalgia dumps). It involves a quest, so that keeps you going.


message 3: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Just stumbled on this article on the USA Today feed:

New study finds that audiobooks elicit stronger emotional response than movies, TV
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2...


message 4: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (last edited Jun 22, 2018 09:42AM) (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "Just stumbled on this article on the USA Today feed:

New study finds that audiobooks elicit stronger emotional response than movies, TV
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2......"


That's an interesting discovery!

I'm also interested in what books from the list are good audiobooks. I've not tried audiobooks and am interested to explore the medium.


message 5: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "Just stumbled on this article on the USA Today feed:

New study finds that audiobooks elicit stronger emotional response than movies, TV
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2......"


I believe it! Excellent article! Of course, it was funded by audible, and I wonder if they helped select the best audio books. I often both read and listen to a books and I find that I notice different things using each method. The only thing bad about audio books is that I'm missing out on modern music because I never listen to the radio in the car anymore.


message 6: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Kgrinch wrote: "Did anyone listen to Owen meany on audio?

I need an audio book for a long trip. Can you recommend one that will keep me alert?"


I bought the Kindle version & the audible was super-cheap so I got it as well. I read faster than audiobooks usually, but it's a decent audiobook. The reader is good, doesn't do awful voices (though he does enough Owen to make it clear that Owen's voice is....special.) I can't vouch for the whole thing, but I listened to about an hour of it, and I thought it was a good audiobook.


message 7: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 22, 2018 05:30PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I'm also interested in what books from the list are good audiobooks. I've not tried audiobooks and am interested to explore the medium.

Joy, if you go to audible.com you can read reviews on the books AND the voice performances. You can also listen to samples there, and often on this site too. I would expect that all the books on this list would have audio versions, and the older classics might have many different versions in libraries.

Here are some notes:

Their Eyes Were Watching God -Audio is the only option for me with this book. The characters have strong country drawls and the author spells the words as they sound, not as they are normally spelled. I tried to read it in the library and I felt like a child learning to sound out words. The audio sample with Ruby Dee sounds really good. I love her voice.

1984 - There are many audio versions of this book, with American and British voices, and with multiple voices. Mark Young's (American) voice is very strong and intense, which fits the book really well. This gives the immersive experience the article mentioned. (I listened to this on the way to a meeting, and I had to shake off the book before I joined the group.) It wasn't exactly pleasant, but neither is the book. It wouldn't put me to sleep like some might.

A Prayer for Owen Meany. I read the first three chapters, and I started listening to the audio last night. Owen's voice was much worse (in my head) when I was reading, especially when he screamed. I was curious how he'd sound in the audio. I was relieved that Irving didn't make Owen's voice too harsh because I like to listen when I'm getting ready for bed.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I heard two versions - I have an older CD from the library voiced by Carrington MacDuffie in my car. As soon as it started in my car, I felt a surge of happiness. Her voice is very warm and it fits the book very well I think. The Brooklyn accents of the boys sound a little funny, but they always do on TV too. This is my personal favorite.

The newer version on Audible is voiced by the actress Kate Burton. If I started with this one it would have been perfectly fine. She's clear, professional, and brisk, and her Brooklyn accents are subtle, not overdone. It might be the better choice, but compared to the other, her voice seems cold to me. (It probably doesn't help that I recognized the voice as the actress who played a cold woman on a TV shows I used to watch.) I might return it if I can't warm up to her, even though I like having it on my phone.


message 8: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Also, you can find some really good ones.

Dune for instance, has a full cast and music and sound effects to increase the tension.

Audible has a lot of special ones they've produced with celebrity narrators.


message 9: by Ella (last edited Jun 22, 2018 03:00PM) (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments OK - Back - I just listened to more of my Owen Meany -- it's the "from Audible ONLY" version voiced by "Joe Barrett" but you'd never know that from looking at the picture of a huge John Irving (face and his name down the side - which is better than some audio covers where you have to know the author by osmosis.) Anyway, I listened to the Christmas pageant scene -- and it is HILARIOUS. I cried real tears from laughing so hard and I had to pull the car over for like 10 mins.

PS - I'd already read this and laughed from reading it, but the audio timing is priceless. From that scene and some other skipping to key points, I'd say it's worthwhile.


message 10: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kgrinch wrote: "Did anyone listen to Owen meany on audio?

I need an audio book for a long trip. Can you recommend one that will keep me alert?"


Yes, I think Owen Meany is a good choice for a long trip. You don't want a voice that's too soothing.

Ready Player One is voiced by Wil Wheaton, and he gives it a lot of energy.

The Help has a whole cast of voices (including the actress Octavia Spenser), which always make things more interesting.

I like mysteries and thrillers (pages turners) for long trips. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie might be good in the car. It's voiced by a British performer (which some people love, but some don't.)


message 11: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "I'm also interested in what books from the list are good audiobooks. I've not tried audiobooks and am interested to explore the medium.

Joy, if you go to audible.com you can read revi..."


Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! At least I have a good place to start exploring!


message 12: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "OK - Back - I just listened to more of my Owen Meany -- it's the "from Audible ONLY" version voiced by "Joe Barrett" but you'd never know that from looking at the picture of a huge John Irving (fac..."

Thanks Ella! Ah, I got fooled by that picture! I really thought I read that he voiced it. I have the CD box in front of me, and yep it says Joe Barrett too. I have the audible also - I wonder how it's different from the CDs. My kindle expired and my large print book has been "in transit" for 5 days. I like listening, but like you, I can read faster.


message 13: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Ella wrote: "OK - Back - I just listened to more of my Owen Meany -- it's the "from Audible ONLY" version voiced by "Joe Barrett" but you'd never know that from looking at the picture of a huge John Irving (fac..."

I can't wait to get to that part!


message 14: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) NancyJ wrote: "Kgrinch wrote: "Did anyone listen to Owen meany on audio?

I need an audio book for a long trip. Can you recommend one that will keep me alert?"

Yes, I think Owen Meany is a good choice for a long..."


Wil Wheaton has made quite a career doing audio work.

Agatha Christie done by anyone other than a Brit? No. Thank. You.

Did you know quite a lot of AC audiobooks are narrated by the actor who played Captain Hastings opposite David Suchet as Poirot?


message 15: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments NancyJ wrote: " I have the audible also - I wonder how it's different from the CDs."

I wonder if it IS different. I mean - sounds like the same thing, so why on earth does the audible one say "audible exclusive" and "only on audible..." Maybe it's the only streaming one or something silly like that.

Yeah - even if you read the whole thing, the scenes where they're setting up and performing the pageant are SO FUNNY. Oh my gosh - I haven't laughed so hard in ages.


Kirsten wrote: 3 interesting & excellent points

I actually was never a sci-fi fan as a kid, so I have come to know Will Wheaton purely from audiobooks and a couple early episodes of The Big Bang Theory (before I cut the cord & forgot to ever watch again.)

I cannot stand when British books are voiced by non-Brits. At least the ones we're culturally mandated to see and hear in British. I read a few Poirot books earlier this year (I keep meaning to start from the beginning..) and I noticed myself sort of - thinking with a British accent. I'm sure it would sound terrible, but it worked in my head. And of course, Poirot gets a sort of bad French-ish accent in my readings (this is why I'll never be asked to voice an audiobook.)

I didn't know about the actor. What fascinates me often is how some audiobook narrators are getting massively famous for their reading. I find I like the ones who read more than overact. I usually like an author reading his own work, in all but a couple cases, even when it sounds less exciting - they know their work and it flows well, nuances are handled beautifully, etc. Different readers can really change a book, I've noticed, which is why I like to have a written copy handy (especially when I get suspicious about mistakes or strangely flowing sentences.)


message 16: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 68 comments NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "I'm also interested in what books from the list are good audiobooks. I've not tried audiobooks and am interested to explore the medium.

Joy, if you go to audible.com you can read revi..."


I'm reading Their Eyes Were Watching God right now on audio and following along with a free ebook. You are right Nancy. The audible is SO GOOD! The narrator, Ruby Dee, is AMAZING! I usually use audio books in conjunction with a hard copy or electronic book (especially long books). I don't like to listen to audio if I'm sitting still, mostly because it takes a lot longer. When I get a really good one like this, I read and listen at the same time if I'm sitting.

I'm glad that I had noticed a common thread among friends reviews of this book. It seemed those who didn't read via audio hated it because of the dialect and those who went the audio route loved it. As I'm following along, it doesn't seem like the dialect would cause a lot of trouble, but it must.

The next time I read this book, I'm going to buy it on Kindle so I can highlight line after line of it's beautiful language. I'm loving this so much that I don't want it to end.


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 68 comments Ella wrote: "NancyJ wrote: " I have the audible also - I wonder how it's different from the CDs."

I wonder if it IS different. I mean - sounds like the same thing, so why on earth does the audible one say "aud..."


This Ruby Dee from my previous post, deserves to be famous (I don't know if she is). I like her so much that I put a bunch of books she reads on my wish list.


message 18: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 68 comments I listened to The Picture of Dorian Gray on audio read by Michael Page and it was outstanding. He was great at bringing out the humor and horror.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is such a good book. It's jaw-droppingly wonderful.


message 19: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Sue wrote: "This Ruby Dee from my previous post, deserves to be famous (I don't know if she is). I like her so much that I put a bunch of books she reads on my wish list."

I like her a lot too, and now I'm going to have to get a copy of Their eyes ni audio form. I read it in school and HATED it, but I loved a reread earlier this year. I knew to look out for dialogue & what I did to help me get used to it was read aloud in the beginning every time there was dialect. It helped me to sound out all the words (obviously I couldn't do this in public, or rather I chose not to.) If I'd not done that, I doubt I would've grasped the book as much as I did, but luckily my library seems to have a copy of the audio, so I'm going to borrow it.


message 20: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 68 comments Ella wrote: "Sue wrote: "This Ruby Dee from my previous post, deserves to be famous (I don't know if she is). I like her so much that I put a bunch of books she reads on my wish list."

I like her a lot too, an..."


I got mine from the Library. I had listened to a sample on audible and it didn't sound like a good recording (sounded fuzzy) but my library download is perfect.

After my post I looked her up to see if she was famous, and she is! I've seen her in lots of movies but didn't know it (A few Spike Lee films among others). I guess she's was playwright, journalist and civil rights activist too. Unfortunately she passed away in 2014 so we won't be getting any new ones from her.

I think it's good that you read it aloud. That's probably why it doesn't seem hard to me, because I heard it aloud first. I bet you would love this audio production. It's so good!


message 21: by Parker (new)

Parker | 204 comments Sue wrote: "Ella wrote: "Sue wrote: "This Ruby Dee from my previous post, deserves to be famous (I don't know if she is). I like her so much that I put a bunch of books she reads on my wish list."

I like her ..."


She was also married to the actor Ossie Davis. They're as legendary as Bogie and Bacall and Tracy and Hepburn. I think they both were on Broadway as well.


message 22: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Parker wrote: "She was also married to the actor Ossie Davis. ."
..."


I wondered if this was that Ruby Dee - thanks! With no picture, I didn't want to assume. I honestly was a bit afraid to ask b/c I wondered if she was still alive (now that I'm old, everyone who was alive before me is suspect...)


message 23: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 26, 2018 02:15PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
RUBY DEE (1922-2014)
Yes, she was a wonderful actress and I really love her voice. I remembered her from Raisin in the Sun, but I know I saw her in a lot of other roles when she was much older. She has 113 film/tv credits, and a ton of rewards, so you've probably seen her in something too. She was still working at the age of 90! I think I would recognize her voice, even if I couldn't recognize her face: Here are some pictures at various ages.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002039/m...

Here are some highlights from her Wikipedia page.

Ruby Dee (October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014) was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of "Ruth Younger" in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961). Her other notable film roles include The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), and Do the Right Thing (1989).

For her performance as Mahalee Lucas in American Gangster (2007), she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

She was a Grammy, Emmy, Obie and Drama Desk winner. She was also a National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honors and Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award recipient.

She was married to Ossie Davis, with whom she frequently performed, until his death in 2005.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002039/m...


message 24: by Erin (new)

Erin (erin814) | 20 comments I'm listening to Their Eyes Were Watching God this week, while we're on vacation. It's excellent.


message 25: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathy1015) | 54 comments I'm listing to Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton and it's fabulous. May be the best audio book I've ever heard -


message 26: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Cathy wrote: "I'm listing to Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton and it's fabulous. May be the best audio book I've ever heard -"

I've heard this before, and I have always loved Thandie Newton's ability with accents, so I might have to see if I can find this one. I don't know if I'd want to read it with my eyes again, but my ears might like a shot.


message 27: by Kim (new)

Kim (skullfullofbooks) To Kill a Mockingbird was a great audiobook. I got Moby Dick in audiobook form and it was one of the most engrossing audiobook narrations I have heard in a long time. The narrator won an award for it, which was well deserved! I listened to Ghost and that was a cute, shorter audiobook. I attempted Foundation but I think that's one that I need to read instead.

Many of my books are consumed in audiobook format, borrowed from Overdrive in my library. For drives I like a fun, silly audiobook. Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, Tim Dorsey, and Terry Pratchett get my vote.


message 28: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Kim wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird was a great audiobook. I got Moby Dick in audiobook form and it was one of the most engrossing audiobook narrations I have heard in a long time. The narrator won an award for ..."

I can understand, Kim. Having a tearjerker would be bad. It would be hard to see the road between the tears.


message 29: by Kim (new)

Kim (skullfullofbooks) Kirsten wrote: "I can understand, Kim. Having a tearjerker would be bad. It would be hard to see the road between the tears."

I may have missed a few turns while driving and a book throws in a major twist or a heartbreak. It's hard to be gripped by a story and navigate.


message 30: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) It would be also be hard to explain to the highway patrolman why you caused a pile-up while listening to Where The Red Fern Grows.


message 31: by Kim (new)

Kim (skullfullofbooks) "I'll roll my window down once this chapter is finished, officer." Probably would not go over very well.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be a good listen as well. I have to try to get my hands on the audiobook from the library for a re-read.


message 32: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Kim wrote: ""I'll roll my window down once this chapter is finished, officer." Probably would not go over very well.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be a good listen as well. I have to try to get my ha..."


ROFL!!


message 33: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 28 comments I'm not sure if it's available for audiobook download but the radio play of Anne of Green Gables was one of my favourite things to listen to as a child


message 34: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Cathy wrote: "I'm listing to Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton and it's fabulous. May be the best audio book I've ever heard -"

That's a great recommendation. I like her voice, and I love that book!


message 35: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jess wrote: "I'm not sure if it's available for audiobook download but the radio play of Anne of Green Gables was one of my favourite things to listen to as a child"

If not online, it might be in the library.

(Psst...so far Anne of Green Gables is leading in the children's book poll.)


message 36: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "Kim wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird was a great audiobook. I got Moby Dick in audiobook form and it was one of the most engrossing audiobook narrations I have heard in a long time. The narrator won a..."

I got my husband A Dog's Purpose for a long trip and he accused me of trying to kill him. LOL. He loved the book. Books about animals are about the only thing that will bring tears to his eyes. I never read it myself, but I loved the movie. Very touching.


message 37: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 28 comments NancyJ wrote: "Jess wrote: "I'm not sure if it's available for audiobook download but the radio play of Anne of Green Gables was one of my favourite things to listen to as a child"

If not online, it ..."


I didn't think it would be. I think it was made in the 90s for CBC perhaps? I had it on cassette tape.


message 38: by Meg (new)

Meg | 2 comments The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is brilliant on audio. The reader captures him perfectly.


message 39: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) NancyJ wrote: "Kirsten wrote: "Kim wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird was a great audiobook. I got Moby Dick in audiobook form and it was one of the most engrossing audiobook narrations I have heard in a long time. Th..."

Was he driving? That would be dangerous!


message 40: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) My problem with Anne of Green Gables was that the book turned out to be so close to the original miniseries that it wasn't as fun for me. I really didn't like the next few in the series, so I gave up reading more.


message 41: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 68 comments Kim wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird was a great audiobook. I got Moby Dick in audiobook form and it was one of the most engrossing audiobook narrations I have heard in a long time. The narrator won an award for ..."

Dang, I missed this before. I hope you see this Kim. Who was the narrator you loved for Moby Dick. I think that is one I'd like to do via audio.


message 42: by Allegra (new)

Allegra | 11 comments I'm guessing the original car trip is long over (@Kgrinch did you have fun?) but if you're heading out again, I'll confirm The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. My library's edition was read by Stephen Frye, so that added another level of fun to the re-read.


message 43: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "Was he driving? That would be dangerous!
.."


That was his point too! I felt bad, but not too bad. He's a good driver so I wasn't worried. Selfishly, I was proud that I was able to choose a book for him that touched him. (I like to make sure he reads once in a while, and help him stay in touch with his emotional side. In return, he likes to get me to spend more time outside and take more walks.)


message 44: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "My problem with Anne of Green Gables was that the book turned out to be so close to the original miniseries that it wasn't as fun for me. I really didn't like the next few in the series, so I gave ..."

That shows they did a good job with the miniseries. Do you think it was also because you read it as an adult?


message 45: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Meg wrote: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is brilliant on audio. The reader captures him perfectly."

I'd love to revisit this book.


message 46: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) I had seen the miniseries probably at least 10 times. It's a credit to the show that it so closely matched! I like some aspects of Anne with and E. How do the rest of you feel about it?


message 47: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jul 25, 2018 07:08PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "I had seen the miniseries probably at least 10 times. It's a credit to the show that it so closely matched! I like some aspects of Anne with and E. How do the rest of you feel about it?"

Oh I should record it. I never read the books, and I'm not sure I will at this age. Let me know if you think the show would be a good enough substitute. I loved Little Women (and all her books) as a girl, but I know I couldn't read it now.


message 48: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Heads up - if you order the audio book of Their Eyes were Watching God, check on the audio performer/narrator. My library has two different versions - The Ruby Dee version (discussed above) sounds really good to me, I didn't listen to the other one.


message 49: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) I did the audio book of three of the Anne books and was okay with the reader. I think if you do the miniseries (from the 80s) it's better than reading/ listening to the books. I think Anne with and E on Netflix is also worth watching. It isn't as matched directly with the book. The miniseries follows the first book very closely but improves upon the other books, in my opinion. But you may be right that it's one of those situations that advanced age makes one enjoy it less. :) I listened to the books for the first time in my early 40s.


message 50: by Mandy (new)

Mandy | 41 comments I’ve heard there is a new Anne of Green Gables audiobook only available on Audible read by Rachel McAdams. I don’t have an Audible subscription but that sounds like a good way to hear the original stories! I’ve been enjoying the Anne with an E series. Once they covered the basic story they have had some new and interesting storylines. Recommend!


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