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message 1: by Chrystal714 (new)

Chrystal714 | 15 comments Are there any narrarators you really don't like to listen to? Any you would suggest others avoid?

I have found it is rare that I like a author narrarated book. I do tend to like actor narrarated books.

Steven King, Madaline L'Engal(I know I just misspelled her name) I am thinking there was one other author I didn't like as a narrarator.

I am not particularly fond of Scott Brick either he makes me feel like I am on edge constantly. I remember getting annoyed with Frank Muller as well. I tend to listen for hours at a time. I suppose that could be the problem.

Anyway I was wondering if there any out there you all couldn't stand.


message 2: by William (new)

William | 11 comments Scott Brick was the first to come to mind. He puts too much emotion/energy into it. I think it's almost always a mistake for the author to narrate his own work. A good narrator can make good writing even better.


message 3: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments I find that odd. I truly LOVE Scott Brick. Gabriell Decure (probably butchering the spelling), however, really bugs me. She puts accents places they don't belong and also pronounces things strangely.

I didn't like Farenheit 451 that was author narrated, but I have liked other author narrated books. Orson Scott Card occasionally does his own short stories, and they're GREAT!


message 4: by Stef (new)

Stef (firecat) | 43 comments I sometimes like author-narrated books; they give an extra dimension to the book by telling me more about what the author had in mind. Neil Gaiman is the best author-narrator. I also enjoyed John Crowley reading Aegypt and John McPhee reading Common Carriers. I didn't like John Le Carré reading Single and Single, but I think a lot of that had to do with the book's being abridged. I despise abridged books.

As for readers I don't like, it's interesting. Sometimes a book will have flaws, and a not-great reader will make the book intolerable but a good reader will make it enjoyable.

Likewise, sometimes a reader will have flaws, and a good book will allow me to overlook that, but a not-very-good book will make the flaws intolerable.

Also, some readers I like fine for non-fiction but I don't like them for fiction. (So far I haven't found the reverse to be true for anyone.)

I've found the following readers annoying in at least one case:
William Dufris (too melodramatic)
Bernadette Dunne
Grover Gardner (ok for non-fic, annoying for fic)
Marguerite Gavin (ok if the book is good)
Anna Fields
Shelly Frasier
Walter Covell

Sometimes a reader will become inextricably bound up in a particular author's works for me so I can't listen to anything else by them without thinking of that author. That's happened with Michael Prichard, who does a great job, IMO, with the Nero Wolfe books, but I hear Archie every time I try to listen to him reading something else.

Of the canonical favorite readers, I really have a problem with George Guidall. I will listen to him anyway because he's so famous that he reads a lot of books I want to listen to. But I have to try hard to get past something that sounds to me like mockery in his voice...especially when he's doing female characters.


message 5: by Chrystal714 (new)

Chrystal714 | 15 comments Firecat,

That is so interesting. You mentioned certain readers being tied to a story. I feel like that with George Guidall. I used to listen to books 8 hours a day to make my boring data entry job not make me want to blow my brains out. I listen to most of the "Cat Who" books because I knew they would always be amusing. I liked the characters, although most had no real plot. Anyway he will forever be tied to those books for me. I also always felt he was a little pompus, but it doesn't bother me much.

I also can't listen to Jim Dale with out thinking of Harry Potter. Even when I hear him on pushing up daisy's I automaticaly think of Harry.


message 6: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments Wow Firecat - this is off subject, but I thought I was the only one who used audio books to make data entry go faster. Everyone at work looks at me like I'm crazy. Music is too repetitive for me to make the work go buy much quicker, but other people think that books would be too distracting. I actually have FEWER errors when I'm listening to a book than otherwise because the book keeps my mind from wandering and interfering with the "eyes to finger" momentum.

I'm glad we're now a club!


message 7: by John, Moderator (last edited Apr 01, 2008 07:41PM) (new)

John | 3715 comments If Walter Covell is who I think he is (a/k/a Wolfram Kandinsky), I agree he's dead boring!
I'm a huge fan of the late Anna Fields, but I guess I could see where she could be annoying.
I didn't care for the samples I've heard of Lizette Lecat doing the Precious Ramotswe (Ladies' Detective Agency) series.
However, my alltime WORST narrator would be Lorelei King's reading of the Stephanie Plum series! I loved C. J. Critt's work; Lorelei is downright painful - couldn't pay me to listen to her ever again!


message 8: by Chrystal714 (new)

Chrystal714 | 15 comments Dacia,

Yea people didn't get it with me either. They couldn't argue with the results though. For me the reason it worked so well is that I have A.D.D. I almost always have to do at least 2 things at once in order to keep focus.

I am glad to hear I am not the only one.


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth (bibliocat4) I loved George Guidall reading the Cat Who books also! I read a few myself but didn't enjoy them as much. I didn't like Peter Francis James reading "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume One: The Pox Party". I didn't like the book much either so it is hard to separate the two from each other.


message 10: by Jess (new)

Jess (jessmonster) I might be alone in this, but Jim Dale's voice drives me bonkers. I couldn't stand listening to more than a chapter or two of him reading Harry Potter.

I didn't care for Eric Idle's reading of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it was a bit shrill for me.


message 11: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments Nope, I have to agree with you Jess. Perhaps if I had started "reading" them in audio first, it wouldn't have bothered me so badly. However, I already HAD a definite sense of how things should sound, and he was so "off" that I couldn't stand it!


message 12: by Grumpus, Hearing aide (last edited Apr 21, 2008 10:29AM) (new)

Grumpus | 473 comments I've been following this thread and never thought I'd have a narrator to throw into this discussion.

I found that every narrator does take some getting used to but, James Boles' reading of Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson was so monotone and dry that I could not wait for the book to end. Don't believe me? Listen to a sample here.


message 13: by jody (new)

jody | 2 comments Stephen Hawking - enough said!


message 14: by Jude (last edited Jul 18, 2008 11:22AM) (new)

Jude (jude42) | 29 comments scott brick.

given the awards (which can have served only to have increased his sense of being god's noisy self-important are-you-getting-how-great-i-am-at-this gift to headsets) i am sure we are in a minority but THANK YOU MONKEY MAN!

i was so irritated with the only book i ever sat through with him that i actually wrote to the producers/publishers and inquired as politely as i could about adjusting his meds.


message 15: by Jude (new)

Jude (jude42) | 29 comments chrystal - Frank Muller. wow. i thought i was the only one who dint care for him. i think it's cause he was reading a brilliant and hugely ironic writer and just ironed the first few pages flat.

and ya know once you associate discomfort with a reader it's hard to give em a second chance. whereas with a reader i love and respect, i will follow them into books i would never have read in print.


message 16: by Jude (new)

Jude (jude42) | 29 comments Firecat -

Bernadette Dunne is the reader i gave a second chance to because a friend really liked her. she has done well for me more often than not and when matched well (and only then - like someone's category above) cannot be equalled.

and OMFLOG! you've HEARD Crowley's reading of Aegypt? I read his blog and heard his side of the adventure.Care to post a longer review?

And LeCarre for me is THE writer who can read....

this is a cool thread, yes:> ( i am avoiding work, can you tell?)


message 17: by Jude (last edited Jul 19, 2008 08:27AM) (new)


message 18: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3715 comments I've never ever heard a Scott Brick book, though he's raved about!

Mueller was great for Motherless Brooklyn, but honestly, I recall not liking some of his other stuff; Guidall was great for Hillerman's Navajo police series, but not for other stuff, IMHO.


message 19: by Stef (new)

Stef (firecat) | 43 comments Jude, I read Crowley's blog too and that's what sent me scrambling to find the audiobook of Aegypt. It's available on audible.com. Here's the review I posted on audible.com:

Crowley develops his stories slowly with lots of detail and writes beautifully. His writing and ideas are meant to be savored and pondered. If you like the idea of listening to a 15 hour and 29 minute narrative poem, with another poem inside it, then you might well like this book.

Crowley narrates the book himself, in a flat middle-American voice, with a quirky, slightly self-conscious manner. The narration worked for me. I found his voice easy to listen to, and his reading gave me more insight into what his artistic intentions are. But the narration isn't going to please everybody.


message 20: by Debra (new)

Debra (debralee) | 4 comments Mueller was great, absolutely nailed, Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shouting. I cannot imagine a better narration of it. That is the only one of his narrations that I've listened to, though, so I can't really comment on his overall ability.

Guidall is very good for many books. As John noted, he did a nice job with Tony Hillerman's books. Unfortunately, he absolutely murdered Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series. I will no longer listen to them if he is the narrator.

Bernadette Dunne did a great job with Ruth Reichl's memoirs, especially Garlic and Sapphires. She did a good job with Rose Connor's books. My knock on her is that I hear her characterizations repeated in other books.

What I find interesting is how many narrators are on both the worst and the best list. To each his own, I guess.


message 21: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3715 comments Debra -- I have that repetition trouble with C J Critt. She reused her Stephanie Plum voices for a different series and it threw me big time!


message 22: by Lori (new)

Lori I love Scott Brick's portrayal of John Corey in the Nelson DeMille books. It has made Corey one of my favorite characters of all time. The humor is incredible.


message 23: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments Frank Muller I'm not crazy about.

Still, I can't believe you guys hate Scott Brick so much. He's read wonderfully in everything I've heard him do. Maybe it's because I mostly hear him for Sci-Fi, I don't know, but I like it. I just can't imagine anyone else reading Bean (from Orson Scott Card's Shadow series) nearly as well!


message 24: by julie (new)

julie (maguire708) | 7 comments I just TRIED to start listening to a LibriVox production of Jane Eyre and quit after the THIRD mispronunciation in 5 minutes... Ann Marie Williams ruined it for me... I'm just glad it was a free download and not one I'd paid for!!


message 25: by Katie (new)

Katie | 4 comments Christopher Hurt's reading of The Fountainhead began to make me lose my lunch, though I can't be sure it wasn't the annoyingly bad writing instead. Maybe I hated him for reading the book aloud because the prose was so bad. I'll never be able to scrape from my brain the 1,000 different times he pronounced (long and drawn-out and melodramatic) "insolence." But Ayn Rand wrote that word into her book over and over, so there you go. I guess it was a team effort, with a goal of disaster.


message 26: by Barbara (last edited Jul 26, 2008 05:45AM) (new)

Barbara | 168 comments Oh, how funny, Katie. I love your description. I read The Fountainhead when I was in high school and liked it. My political beliefs are now diametrically opposed to Rand's. In terms of literature, however, I think Rand's writing was more suited to my immature brain back then.


message 27: by Jude (new)

Jude (jude42) | 29 comments katie - great review all 'round of christopher Hurt's reading of The Fountainhead xoxo

just go watch Gary Cooper & the devastating Patricia Neal. it was years before i understood how utterly pornographic it is - everything you never wanted to know about what turns Ayn Rand's on. If you can handle her rape fantasy, the serious as a train wreck campiness might entertain you quite a bit.


message 28: by Katie (new)

Katie | 4 comments I just might add it to my Netflix list. You are the second person to mention how deliciously bad the movie is. Somehow I'm more forgiving of bad movies than I am of bad novels.


message 29: by Jenny (new)

Jenny I had to give up on The Adventures of Augie March
by Saul Bellow read by Tom Parker. The narrator (who I've listened to before, though it must have been under a different name) was way to fast. I couldn't process the information and couldn't imagine putting up with it for 22 hours.


message 30: by Jude (new)

Jude (jude42) | 29 comments Laurence Bouvard (female) reading Every Secret Thing. She is so heavy-handed and corny in her attempt at young, old & any emotional nuance that i have no idea if the story is any good. So i'm just kind of letting it happen cause i'm at work and her lack of talent is almost entertaining. Avoid this reader.


message 31: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (scylla) | 12 comments I enjoy Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books. But then I listened to my first Scarpetta audiobook (The Body Farm), as read by C.J. Critt. With apologies to Ms. Critt--I found her voice and over the top dramatics to be really annoying! I won't listen to another audiobook that she is narrating.


message 32: by Heidi (new)

Heidi | 1546 comments Kate Reading - the narrator for Stephanie Meyers "The Host" book was awful. I couldn't stand her voice and in no way did she sound young enough to be the main character. I can't believe someone mentioned Jim Dale - I love him!


message 33: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3715 comments Jim Dale is another reader I've never experienced - along with Scott Brick.
Kate Reading did a good job with Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil.
I'm a big fan of C. J. Critt, although her stock of voices seems limited, so it's tough to go from series-to-series with her narration without becoming confused!


message 34: by Heidi (new)

Heidi | 1546 comments Perhaps Kate Reading was just not the right person for the Host. It happens.


message 35: by Lara (new)

Lara (LaraSue) | 15 comments I also love Jim Dale and Kate Reading, though I can understand why someone may not like Kate. Her voice took some getting used to for me.

I couldn't stand Flo Gibson. She read a version of Pride and Prejudice, the only one our library had at the time. Her "s" whistled very shrilly. I actually had to turn the treble down on my radio in order to listen to her.


message 36: by Wendy T (new)

Wendy T | 0 comments I finished In the Company of the Courtesan A Novel by Sarah Dunant last night and I started The Husband by Dean Koontz this morning.


message 37: by Hilary (new)

Hilary Lahn | 1 comments For a long business road trip by myself in the car, I'm listening to complete trash: New Moon (Book 2 of the Twilight Series). Despite this being an awful book, the narrator, Ilyana Kadushin, has a whiny, monotonous voice that is making me want to tear my hair out. Double whammy!


message 38: by Amy (new)

Amy | 5 comments John wrote: "If Walter Covell is who I think he is (a/k/a Wolfram Kandinsky), I agree he's dead boring!
I'm a huge fan of the late Anna Fields, but I guess I could see where she could be annoying.
I didn't ca..."


Wow-I have the totally opposite reaction. I find that C.J. Critt sounds that a raspy old smoker, who I find extremely hard to listen to; on the other hand, I love Lorelei King's readings and she's the one of the reasons I've stuck with the series. Also, I found Bernadette Quigley to be downright awful and Robert Forster reading Elmore Leonard is so monotone I couldn't distinguish between the characters.





message 39: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments Hilary - I totally understand about New Moon. The only reason I even got through that book is because I really wanted to read the whole series so I'd know what the fuss was all about. I think the 3rd and 4th books get better.


message 40: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments Wow Heidi, I couldn't disagree more. I LOVED "the Host" and I thought it was even better because Kate read it. I haven't listened to anything by her yet that I haven't liked.


message 41: by Heidi (last edited Oct 14, 2009 07:20PM) (new)

Heidi | 1546 comments Dacia wrote: "Wow Heidi, I couldn't disagree more. I LOVED "the Host" and I thought it was even better because Kate read it. I haven't listened to anything by her yet that I haven't liked. "

You're the second person that said they liked Kate Reading. Maybe it was the story I didn't like and not her :)


message 42: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3715 comments Lara - Flo Gibson is definitely an "acquired taste"!


message 43: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 159 comments Like Lori, I also found Scott Brick's narration of the Nelson DeMille John Corey books perfect for the sarcastic humor. I love Jim Dale's myriad voices for Harry Potter and thought Frank Muller read several of Stephen King's books to perfection. As for authors who narrate their own books, I agree with Stef, Neil Gaiman is one of the best and I always get more out of a Stephen King book that he read himself.
And to further prove the theory that some book narrators make the top and the bottom lists for different readers, I loved Ilyana Kadushin's voice for the first three Twilight books. I read the fourth myself and missed hearing her inflections in my head.


message 44: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 61 comments Jude wrote: "for all you fans:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UO0fz..."


Fascinating. I've never seen a narrator at work. Thanks for the URL


message 45: by Lilly (new)

Lilly (lilshoe) | 2 comments Cathy wrote: "Jude wrote: "for all you fans:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UO0fz..."

Fascinating. I've never seen a narrator at work. Thanks for the URL"


Wow. Fun to see Scott Brick in action. His focus, expression and intensity is impressive. No wonder so many people love listening to Harlan Coban when narrated by Brick. Generally speaking I'm hot and cold on Brick. With the whole swine flu thing going on, I recently re-listened to The Great Influenza by John M. Barry. To be fair, it's not that well written, but about 2/3 into it, I was done with Brick's narration - picked up the book.



message 46: by Wild for Wilde (new)

Wild for Wilde (wildforwilde) | 5 comments My favorite narrator is William Hootkins, his work on the Moby Dick audiotape was amazing. I highly dislike Rachel Leigh Cook's narration of the Devil Wears Prada. She was monotone, boring, and awful. She sounded so bored while reading it, it was like she walked in with no preparation or thought and just started reading.


message 47: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (scylla) | 12 comments Hilary wrote: "For a long business road trip by myself in the car, I'm listening to complete trash: New Moon (Book 2 of the Twilight Series). Despite this being an awful book, the narrator, Ilyana Kadushin, has ..."

Really? I recently listened to all four of the Twilight series audiobooks and thought that Ilyana Kadushin's narration was great (even if the books weren't)! She used different voices and inflections for all of the characters and I thought she was well suited as the narrator/Bella.




message 48: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments I'm listening to "Hearts in Atlantis" right now, and it's bugging me! First of all, I didn't realize that this was actually a 5 stories in 1 book - and there was no indication of the fact that one story had ended and another begun on the CD. Instead, within a period of about 5 seconds (less time than between most chapter breaks) we go from Bobby Garfield holding his mothers hand in a semi sci-fi story told in 3rd person, to a first person narrative about some college kid. YIKES! For about the first 5 minutes I was seriously analyzing the story and trying to figure out how Bobby ended up going to college in MA.

However, I'm not to upset because the first story really wasn't all that great. It may have been better but the narrator (was it Stephen King himself or William hurt, I'm not sure) had this dragging monotone thing going. I would have given up on it if I had had anything else to listen to in the car!


message 49: by Lara (new)

Lara (LaraSue) | 15 comments Dacia wrote: "I'm listening to "Hearts in Atlantis" right now, and it's bugging me! First of all, I didn't realize that this was actually a 5 stories in 1 book - and there was no indication of the fact that one..."

I listened to that one, and parts of the narration kind of dragged a bit in places, and became a little preachy (Author's fault, not narrator's). But, in William Hurt's narration, I could practically hear the spit in his mouth. It wasn't bad, exactly, just a little weird, and almost bad. I thought the book was AMAZING though, in the end, so stick it out. This is also a place where the musical selections helped set the tone beautifully, especially at the end!


message 50: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3715 comments I'm having some trouble hanging in with Dick Hill's reading of Obamanos!. He was okay reading Jack Cafferty's latest book, but he's making the author of this one seem a bit more "self important" than the guy really is I think.


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