The Sword and Laser discussion

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 77 comments I recently listened to Ready Player One. I thought it was flawed but a lot of fun. However, what really stood out to me was how fun it was to listen to Wil Wheaton's reading. I was glad I didn't "read" it instead (I wish there was a better term to distinguish between visual and audio "reading").

And that suggested a question:

Are there any books you would especially recommend on audio as the BEST choice for "reading" that title?

Any that you would tell friends, "don't get the book in print/kindle, you have to hear this one!"

I'm thinking possibly of Hitchhiker's Guide, although I read it and haven't heard any of the recordings. And in a non-Sword and Laser categories, Steve Martin & Craig Ferguson read their own life stories, and hearing their own voices (and especially Martin acting out his own bits) adds too much to miss with print.

Any other suggestions?


message 2: by Remington (new)

Remington | 38 comments Easy question. 'More Information than you Require' by John Hodgman. He has put so much work into the audio recording that it stands completely separate from the book. It is easily my favorite audio book.


message 3: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles, I suspect it would have been very tedious without Fry's vocal charm.


message 4: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments Orson Scott Card did a terrific job with the Ender's Game series.


message 5: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments Any audio of Stephen King's books is usually great. It pays to be a famous author. You get famous actors and seasoned narrators reading your books.


message 6: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 319 comments H2G2 is a bit of a cheat because it was a radio play first.

(Ditto Metatropolis, which was written specifically as an audiobook. But the first volume is read by the cast of BSG and the second by actors from Star Trek, so even by written-for-audio standards it's pretty fracking awesome.)

The Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian are FANTASTIC on audio. The reader is just spectacular. (And personally I found it much easier to follow along with the sea battles in audio form.)

Tina Fey reading Bossypants and Stephen Colbert reading I Am America, also great.


message 7: by Micah (last edited Feb 22, 2012 07:14AM) (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments The Classic Bram Stoker Dracula. Audio was the only way I could read it. Tried a few times in print and could never get through it. Then found a production on CD at my local library and was totally blown away. They had a whole ensemble cast reading the story and it worked beautifully. I would recommend that audio version to somebody handsdown.

Ryan: You are right about the Steve Martin Book Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life. It truly was great on audio as well. I loved his little banjo solos inbetween chapters. They were a very small thing but I really liked them.


message 8: by Tamahome (new)


message 9: by Jill (new)

Jill Like Jess said Metatropolis and Metatropolis: Cascadia are both excellent audiobooks.

I have to say that the only way I have been able to get through the Wheel of Time series has been in audiobook. I'd also strongly recommend the Stieg Larsson books (the Saul Reichlin versions).


message 10: by Vance (last edited Feb 22, 2012 08:30AM) (new)

Vance | 362 comments There are a few series in which I believe the reader "makes" the audiobook. The Cadfael series A Morbid Taste for Bones and the Maturin-Aubrey series Master and Commander, both read by Patrick Tull. The Cat Who series The Cat Who Could Read Backwards read by the perfect George Guidall is also one I would never have read if he wasn't reading it.

There is one series in which the author was so enamored of the reader's renditions that she says it began to influence how she wrote the later books, with the readers "voice" for the characters in her head. That was the Amelia Peabody series Crocodile on the Sandbank read by Barbara Rosenblat.


message 11: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments Audible just came out with a Dracula audio with great casts featuring Tim Curry, Simon Vance, etc. I'm getting that with my next Audible credit. I can use a revamp of the Dracula tale.

Micah wrote: "The Classic Bram Stoker Dracula. Audio was the only way I could read it. Tried a few times in print and could never get through it. Then found a production on CD at my local library an..."


message 12: by itrooper (last edited Feb 22, 2012 09:04AM) (new)

itrooper | 20 comments I heartily agree that the Patrick O'Brian books are better in audio format with one exception. It's hard to look stuff up and follow along with the story. That is one big advantage to text reading. I am not, nor have I ever been a 19th century sailor so being able to stop and figure out what the heck "Beat to quarters!" means is invaluable. It's not impossible while enjoying the audiobooks it's just more cumbersome.

The audio versions of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series are in my opinion the BEST way to enjoy and absorb them. 2 different narrators are used due to health issues (I think) but both are great.

The audio versions of the "Wheel of Time" series are incredible. I enjoyed them more in audio than in text.

"Shantaram" is another great audiobook, the narrator pours his soul into his work and even after 45+ hours I was still enthralled.

The "The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss are also another great series of audiobooks. I found the narration great.

My favorite narration so far has been the 10th anniversary edition of "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. It's a full cast rendition which usually sucks but this one is done superbly. I also like it when the author reads a forward or introduction which is the case here. For an example of full cast rendition that is horrible look no further than "Star Wars: The National Public Radio Dramatization" or "The Lord of the Rings." While some will point out that these are not really narration and are really BBC/NPR radio dramas so I should cut them some slack, I say but have you listened to them, they are ear poop.

My last point will surely invite criticism. My favorite fantasy series of all time "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin has amazing narration, in fact it's probably the best narration ever done. I can't recommend it, this is a case where it is much easier to follow the plot twists and turns by utilizing text reading. Roy Dotrice is a god among men but I just don't find enough variation in some of his characterizations to keep them all straight. That is probably not his fault however, if you have read even one of the books in this series you know how hard it can be to keep the characters straight.


message 13: by Vance (new)

Vance | 362 comments itrooper wrote: "I heartily agree that the Patrick O'brian books are better in audio format with one exception. It's hard to look stuff up and follow along with the story. That is one big advantage to text readin..."

Ha! I decided early on that I was not going to bother to understand all of the naval lingo and just let that wash over me! Eventually I did come get a general feel for things, but I remain blissfully ignorant overall. :0) BTW, there was a nice companion book to the series with maps, background articles, etc. I never did get that, though.

That brings up another value to listening over reading. When listening to history or historical fiction, I would often have an oversized picture book with maps, art or photographs, battle plans, etc, in front of me as I listened. This was invaluable when plowing through the huge Civil War series by Shelby Foote.


message 14: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments I agree that George R.R. Martin's plot twists and multiple character names would be harder to remember and retain without additional effort. I started it, but decided to go with another book that I was in the mood for. While I was not into The Wise Man's Fear, the narration was great. I also enjoyed Dune with its multiple casts.


message 15: by itrooper (last edited Feb 22, 2012 10:46AM) (new)

itrooper | 20 comments Vance wrote: "itrooper wrote: "I heartily agree that the Patrick O'brian books are better in audio format with one exception. It's hard to look stuff up and follow along with the story. That is one big advanta..."

I tried to get through all three volumes of the Civil War series but it was too dry for me. Which killed me because I think the world of Shelby Foote. He was great in the Ken Burns documentary.

I learned that trying to keep up with all the lingo in PO's books was too monumental of a task. It would require a masters degree in 19th century seamanship and history. I would try to remember small bits from the story and then look them up online. "Spotted Dog" pudding for example was Google worthy. I might still pick up that companion book when I re-listen to the series this spring. I actually gave it as a gift along with CD's of the entire series but I didn't get to spend much time with it.

Here is a great site about "Spotted Dog" http://www.janeausten.co.uk/a-pudding...


message 16: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 319 comments For nostalgia or long car trips with kids, I also highly recommend the semi-dramatized Winnie The Pooh on Audible, co-narrated by Stephen Fry and Judi Dench.


message 17: by Vance (new)

Vance | 362 comments itrooper, that is a great idea about the companion book and a complete re-listen. It has been almost 10 years, so much of it will seem fresh again.


message 18: by AndrewP (last edited Feb 22, 2012 12:11PM) (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments There are a large number of PO's companion books. Is the one you are thinking of A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian? I have this one and it is very useful resource if you are into PO, or any of the other writers in this genre.

Oh yes, and as any Brit will know, 'Spotted Dog' is also known as 'Spotted Dick'... no comment on that :)


message 19: by itrooper (new)

itrooper | 20 comments AndrewP wrote: "There are a large number of PO's companion books. Is the one you are thinking of A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian? I have thi..."

Yes, that's the one! I am going to pick that up. Thanks for the link. I wish there were a Kindle version.


message 20: by Vicky (last edited Feb 22, 2012 08:37PM) (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 52 comments I can't attest to how the compare to their paper companions, but the Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow Sagas are some of my favorite audiobooks of all time. Each book has several narrators that read depending on who's perspective the story is currently being told from.

Though I haven't read much past the Ender Saga (though I do also recommend The Worthing Saga in audio format) in the works of Orson Scott Card he majority of Orson Scott Card's works are narrated by the same general group of people, so I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find a poorly performed audiobook edition of one of his books.

Scott Brick, one of the narrators for the Ender Series, has also narrated audiobook versions of Asimov's Foundation Series and The Dune Series. I haven't listened to either - but I don't expect one would be disappointed.

One (not really S&L) series that I'm extremely glad I started in audiobook form was Outlander. The ability to hear some of the names was great, even though the first two books are 33 and 39 hours each. The first time I saw Laoghaire's name written down I was convinced it was an entirely new character.

Outlander's narrator Davina Porter has also narrated part of The Mists of Avalon.


message 21: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 77 comments itrooper wrote: "AndrewP wrote: "There are a large number of PO's companion books. Is the one you are thinking of [book:A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian|218..."

The same author (who is also O'Brian's biographer) also created an atlas for the series. Having both handy while listening sounds like a fun idea. That said, I found there were a lot of words in the first book alone that I didn't know AND couldn't find in the lexicon.


message 22: by Nicolas (new)

Nicolas (nimoloth) | 26 comments Any Discworld books.

Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs do an amazing job bringing the books and the world to life.
You almost forget it's a one-man performance.


message 23: by Procrastinador (last edited Feb 24, 2012 08:21PM) (new)

Procrastinador Diletante | 104 comments Although it's an abridged version of the book, I think World War Z is an excellent production and it's my favorite audiobook.

André


message 24: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments Anybody who liked the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels on audio will probably like Under Enemy Colors by Sean Thomas Russell. It is read by the same narrator as the Patrick O'Brian books, Simon Vance, who does a brilliant job with the various accents.


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