Sunday Book Club: Audiobooks

Posted June 26, 2016 by meezcarrie in Sunday Book Club / 40 Comments

sunday book club blog

First, a HUGE THANK YOU to my friend Rachel over at BookwormMama for designing my gorgeous new “Sunday Book Club” graphic (in response to my brother’s comment that my previous one looked “creepy”). Doesn’t it look wonderful? I want to sit down in those chairs with y’all and chat books!!

So, let’s do just that!

Today, I want to talk about audiobooks.

Confession: I am not a fan of most audiobooks.  A lot of narrators have inflections that sound odd to me – and not at all the way it sounds in my head when I’m reading the actual book. This becomes irritating very quickly. Also, I typically read faster than they talk so I’m constantly itching to take the book back from them and just do it myself lol.

BUT… I have found a handful of audiobooks that I truly enjoy. The narrators of these books elevate the quality beyond just a token reading of the text and make the experience truly entertaining, almost a form of “radio theater”.

Some of my personal favorites include:

Ok. Now it’s your turn. What are some of YOUR favorite audiobooks? And what makes them your favorites?

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40 responses to “Sunday Book Club: Audiobooks

  1. Anne Rightler

    You are right about reading faster than the narration so I listen to my audiobooks on a higher speed! (If I can) The Harry Potter series is a good one! I enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford series too. John McDonough does a marvelous job narrating those.

    • Carrie

      i will have to check those out! The Mitford series is one I want to read so that may be a good way to start!

  2. oooooooohhhhhhh audio lbooks! This is an industry that sustains me. With a 45 minute commute, it’s the only time I can get any ‘reading’ done. Until the self-driving Google car becomes mainstream, audiobooks will have to do.

    I use to think audiobooks, or “books on tape,” were a cheap production gimmick that placated the modern business person. I was wrong.

    A great audiobook is a gem. And just like a gem, it’s hard to find in the wild. It’s a unique genre of entertainment with its own obstacles. The main obstacle is “is there an audiobook for the book I’m looking for?” If the answer is “yes,” you still have to reserve your enthusiasm. The 2nd obstacle is the narrator. This voice is the voice that will accompany you for the next 7-14 hours. The narrator can take a beloved book and strangle it with a monotone voice, lack of inflection, disinterest in the material or an annoying accent.
    But, should the stars align and you get a great book with a great narrator, then you have something that becomes a part of you in a different way.
    Carrie mentioned the Harry Potter series. Oh my goodness! Since October 2015, I’ve had the entires series on repeat. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through them. I laughed hard, teared up, gasped, and had my eyes widen in shock as I would go about town. Once I went through the drive-thru without ordering anything. I’m not proud of it, but there it is.
    I’m currently going through “A Damsel in Distress” by P.G. Wodehouse read by Frederick Davidson a second time. The book and the narrator both fit the bill as a gem I will have forever.
    I recommend always listening to the audio sampler on, borrow books from library apps such as Hoopla, Overdrive, OneClickDigital and Freegal or dive into the free community of librevox where the regular folk make their own audiobooks.

    • Carrie

      heehee the drive through story still makes me giggle 🙂 I should have had you write this post 😀

  3. I used to listen to a lot of audiobooks while riding the bus to and from work and on long road trips. I 100% agree about the Harry Potter series!! Those audiobooks were amazing! Jim Dale was also the narrator for The Night Circus (which is a spectacular book), so not surprisingly, that audiobook is excellent as well 🙂 I also thought the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness was done really well. Each book adds a new POV character and they used different actors / actresses for each of them, which produced a cool effect (plus they all did a great job and the books are really good!). Oh! And I really enjoyed The Help audiobook, too! Did I mention I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks? 🙂 Thanks for a fun post!

    • Carrie

      Oooo I’ve been wanting to re-read The Help! I will need to look into that audiobook – thanks!

  4. My Favourite audio book so far is by far “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn.

    I am a slower reader so the pace is not an issue for me, the issue for me is getting distracted with something and forgetting to listen, in which case I have to “rewind”..LOL

    • Carrie

      LOL! I get distracted easily with audiobooks too. I will have to recommend that audiobook to Eric so he can “reread” it 🙂

  5. I am JUST getting into audiobooks. LOVE Jim Dale. We recently listened to The Prisoner of Azkaban on a road trip (per your recommendation) and it was fantastic! Also Alan Cummings had me giggling and grinning like a school girl listening to Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (yes I just read the series this year and now I am listening to it.) And I just got the Jane Austen BBC dramatized collection of six books…with Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tenant. Listening while driving makes me zone out though and so that is not good haha! And thanks for the shout out. I had so much fun with it!

  6. Wouldn’t you know that I am blogging on audiobooks for Top 10 Tuesday. I have 20+ recommendations. Voice is so important. My hubs and I love Hugh Fraser who reads many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels. We attempted to listen to another narrator but it was a no go. Hercule was just not Hercule!!

    I love audiobooks I listen while walking or doing chores. Great for road trips too.

  7. I gave audio books a try when we went on our big road trip and I am with you. I would much rather read it myself… even if that means risking carsickness!

  8. Katy C.

    Just bought the BBC Jane Austen Collection after reading the comments! And my library has the Harry Potter books on audio so will definitely have to listen to those!

    I love the Focus on the Family Radio Theater adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia. They are excellent.

    Also, Lynn Austin’s “Wonderland Creek.”

    My main Audible listening has been Georgette Heyer though. I really enjoy her novels and I like listening to them on audiobook so that I not only get all the great accents, I also get the correct pronunciation of British places and French terms! (Things like – Grosvenor Square is not pronounced Grawss-vee-nor and Derbyshire should not be confused the pronunciation of Kentucky Derby or the Shire in Hobbiton….) I have a bunch of favorites but “These Old Shades” and “The Grand Sophy” are definitely two of them.

    • Carrie

      Haha! Yes, the pronunciation help from audiobooks is very nice. Especially with Amish books too. I will for sure have to check out Wonderland Creek since it’s one of my LA books!

  9. Winnie Thomas

    I prefer to just read the books myself. I get too easily distracted by things around me to concentrate. This may be a habit formed by having 5 kids saying, “Mom, mom, mom” all the time when they were growing up, and I was trying to get something done. I sometimes told them I was changing my name and wouldn’t answer until they guessed it! 🙂 I know it would be dangerous for me to listen to them while driving. Like you, Carrie, I would have to turn the speed up on the narration.

  10. Winnie Thomas

    Nope, I made sure it was something they’d never heard before! 🙂 Just clarifying, it would be dangerous to listen to audiobooks while driving (not the kids–I never listened to them while I was driving!) Haha!

  11. Andrea Stephens

    I have an on and off relationship with audio books. I read so much faster than they do is’s sometimes frustrating though. When I had pneumonia late last year I got a 90 day trial of I’ve decided to keep it for a while. We have the Harry Potter books on tape and CD, Jim Dale is amazing. I recently listened to “Pride & Prejudice” read by Rosamund Pike, she played Jane Bennet in the 2005 movie.
    Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer was well done too. Right now, I’m listening to “Jane Eyre” read by Thandie Newton it is so much better than other narrations I’ve heard. It’s been so long since I read the book I couldn’t separate the details from the book and movie versions. I mostly listen while in the kitchen making gallons of iced tea. Normally when I read a book, I don’t put it down unless absolutely necessary. Next up on my list of TBLT is Karen Witemeyer’s “No Other Will Do” I used a credit to get it yesterday 🙂

    • Carrie

      I will definitely have to check out the Karen Witemeyer audiobooks for re-reading purposes. She’s one of my faves!

  12. Okay, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but YOU MUST HEAR RICHARD ARMITAGE READ GEORGETTE HEYER!!!!!!

    There. I’ve said it.

    He’s done only three: Sylvester, The Convenient Marriage and Venetia. I wish he’d read more. I wish he’d read everything. If you can listen to his heroes when they finally bare their hearts and confess their love for the heroines and not need a fainting couch, you’re doing it wrong.

    I’ve enjoyed Hugh Fraser reading Poirot novels. He manages to sound much like David Suchet’s Poinrot (THE Poirot).

    I love audiobooks when I sew and especially when I have a long drive. Not nearly as mindless as radio.

    • Carrie

      Ok…. I am officially using one of my audible credits for a Richard Armitage GH novel. Which one should I get?

      • Sylvester is my favorite, with A Convenient Marriage a close second. I don’t like Venetia as much, but that’s not because of the narration. I think Venetia herself is not as likeable as some of GH’s other heroines, though she has a wonderful younger brother and her love interest is VERY swoony. 😀

        And that’s not at all to say it’s not worth listening to. I keep them all in regular rotation. Just if I had to rank them, I’d put this one a close third.

  13. I have difficulty wth audiobooks because of the constant interruptions, usually by my kids. I have to keep backing up and re-listening. I listened to Tamera Alexander’s To Whisper Her Name on a road trip by myself and loved it though! No interruptions. I have the classic The End of the Affair by Graham Greene read by Colin Firth and hope to listen to that soon. I recently listened to a trio of novellas in which one’s narrator was great, one’s pacing and inflection irritated me, and one drove me nuts because the characters were native Philadelphians with a Southern drawl. All that said, O had a blast listening to my own book on audio. A narrator can either elevate a book by bringing more nuance and character to a story of ruin it by creating annoyances. I get what you say about the reading pace though. I’m a fast reader.

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