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Aug 9, 2006, 3:31am Top

I've noticed that many people listen to audiobooks as well as read books. I'd never considered audiobooks as a way of reading before, except as a resource for those who can not physically read a book visually. So I was wondering if all you audiobook users could tell me how you like them, why you like them, why you started using them, etc. As for me, I'm going to check one out of the library and see what the draw is.

Aug 9, 2006, 8:18am Top

I have a 50 minute commute to work each way. It sure beats listening to the (troublesome) news. I am hearing impaired and have difficulty with lyrics to music, but I can find some audiotapes that I can understand clearly.

Be sure you pick ones that (1) have a story in which you're truly interested, and
(2) have a narrator who enhances the reading. If these two items are not in place, you may not enjoy them as much. With an interesting story and a good narrator, they are fantastic.

I borrow mine from the library since they are somewhat pricey to buy. I often have an audiobook in the car with a hard copy of the same book at home so I can continue reading the same book while I'm home sitting or in the car driving.

This week I'm listening to Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. It makes for an interesting read while commuting.

Aug 9, 2006, 8:32am Top

I enjoy road trips quite a bit, mostly during the summer months - so I discovered the wonder of ITunes and Podcasts coupled with a great website called Librivox.org. This site records classic books that you can download for free through music players like ITunes.

Of course none of these books are "new" as they all have copyrights. The recordings from Librivox are things like The Prince and Beyond Good and Evil - all books that are now in the "public domain."

So this way I feel like I'm expanding my "classical" reads while listening to something other than the average radio station.

Edited: Aug 9, 2006, 8:42am Top

I commute to work (a bit shorter at 25 min.) and love the time in my car with my book. I started listening to audiobooks a few years aga when I couldn't get a title I really wanted to read from the library, but the audio version was in. I also listen to auidobooks when I am cleaning or doing other tasks that don't require complete concentration.

I agree with SqueakyChu in the point that the narrator makes all the difference. But I have found that sometimes a book that I have tried reading and haven't really gotten into is so much better on audio ie. Feed by M.T. Anderson.

Another recommendation is to stick to Unabridged recordings because then they are just like the books!

A few of my favorites include My Sister's Keeper, The Kite Runner, The Red Tent, The Tender Bar and the Harry Potter series. I feel the narrators on these really add to the story and make it a fun and enjoyable read.

I would recommend picking up a few audiobooks at your library that way can test out various narrators. Happy reading!! I mean listening...I mean reading!

Aug 9, 2006, 9:29am Top

I started listening to audiobooks when I was little; my dad would check them out of the library to keep my brother and I (and himself) entertained on long road trips.

Nowadays I listen to audiobooks on road trips, on the elliptical at the gym, when I'm doing repetitive labwork, doing the dishes, folding laundry, etc.... really, any time when I'm doing something that requires eyes and hands but not ears or much brainpower. Essentially, it lets me multitask and spend that "extra" time reading.

(I also frequently put on audiobooks of books I've read before as I'm going to bed (so if I fall asleep in the middle I don't miss anything) - it's like having someone read you a bedtime story.)

Obviously, some narrators are better than others, and some books lend themselves to being audiobook-ed more than others, but I've never found a book that was unlistenable due to a bad narrator.

Aug 9, 2006, 10:01am Top

Almost anything else I could add, fyrefly98 has already stated (excellent post, by the way). I primarily listen to audiobooks on long car trips or at the gym.

I primarily get my audiobooks from the library. audible.com also has a great selection and good deals available. One membership is $21 a month and you get two audiobooks each month for that price. They also discount titles for members and usually do introductory offers.

My library also participates in netlibrary.com, which allows you to "check out" audiobooks online by downloading the file. Warning- they do not work with ipods (which is what I use), but you can download them to other portable devices or listen to them off your computer. They have many new titles including the few I just downloaded- Fat Girl and Everything is Illuminated. I highly recommend them.

Lastly, I have listened to a narrator that was so terrible I had to turn it off. Sarah Vowell reading The Partly Cloudly Patriot in her whiny, nasely voice sent shivers up my spine! Listen to a preview if you can (audible.com and netlibrary.com allow this option).

Aug 9, 2006, 2:39pm Top

I agree about the narrators, but I really liked listening to Sarah Vowell read Assassination Vacation. To each his own, I guess!

Aug 10, 2006, 12:43pm Top

I started listening to audiobooks during hours of boring work. It was especially fun to listen to an audiobook as I delivered mail on a cold, quite saturday. At times, I made the most horrible mistakes; being off by one house, or, oh the horror, WRONG STREET. I also discovered how associative the mind is. Walking by one address will make me recall all the different moments in the books that I listened to when passing here before.

You need a book that isn't too complex, one with a relatively straightforward story, or slow pacing. And, as mentioned before, a good narrator really matters.

Last two books I listened to were Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and The Diamond Age, also by Stephenson. In the first, at some point the narrator effortlessly switched between five roles, each a different dialect! In the latter, the subject matter really took on a different dimension, what with the story itself being about a book with a voice...

Anyways, if you do a lot of things that don't require constant attention, I can really recommend audiobooks. Personally, my experience with Audible has been very good. It supports both my PDA and my MP3 player with special software.

Aug 10, 2006, 6:57pm Top

Have loved audiobooks for a long time. The folks at Recorded Books do a good job and have a number of programs for those of us who have long commutes (one hour each way). The narrators are mostly stage actors who really know how to imbue life and character into the work. I just got through with The Thrall's Tale on my way home tonight. Great stuff.

Aug 11, 2006, 3:30pm Top

I find audiobooks a useful supplement to paper books, but I seldom go from beginning to end solely via audio. Usually I get started with audio, then after a while I get impatient and start reading.

Aug 14, 2006, 8:23pm Top

Hi Sandragon; I love to listen to audiobooks because I can read a book during my commute. I have a commute of 75+ minutes each way. Thankfully, my carpool co-driver has a similar taste in books. This allows me to bounce a book up in my list of 'to be read' books rather then wait until I've got the time to read it. You just want to make sure it is a reader that you can deal with. Sometimes the person reading the book doesn't fit with the story. It is neat sometimes when you get to hear the author read it or do an interview near the end.

It is great fun; I hope you enjoy it.


Aug 15, 2006, 5:52am Top

Interesting to see this thread as I am just listening to my first audiobook, it is Storyteller's Daughter by Saira Shah. I feel as though I ought to be doing something with my hands - knitting or writing - at the same time, a strange experience for the book to go in through my ears rather than my eyes. It is a bit like the old days when we used to listen to plays on the radio. I can well imagine that it is the perfect way of passing time on long train journeys (and blotting out the noise of conversations and shreiking children) and when waiting for a flight.

Aug 15, 2006, 7:48am Top

This morning I started Motherless Brooklyn as narrated by Frank Muller. The way he has altered his voice and speech patterns to fit the character's Tourette's disorder is truly exceptional. He made me laugh out loud a couple of times. I have a feeling this is going to be a good one.

Edited: Aug 15, 2006, 11:05am Top

Thanks everyone. I've gotten into my first audiobook, after a few false starts (one story read by a squeaky voiced narrator and the other I found out was abridged after starting it). I'm enjoying Tuck Everlasting, narrated by Peter Thomas. I'm sure others must find it strange for a car to go by with a story blaring out the open window instead of music!

Edited: Aug 15, 2006, 1:43pm Top

"I'm sure others must find it strange for a car to go by with a story blaring out the open window instead of music!"

I think about that all the time when I pull up to stop light or go through a drive through. My husband also gives me a hard time when I pull into the driveway and don't get out of my car right away...because I am at a really good spot!!

Currently listening to Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

16eingang First Message
Edited: Aug 15, 2006, 11:14pm Top

I joined Audible.com in April 2003. Their books are completely and transparently compatible with my MacOS X laptop, iTunes 6, iPod, Nokia Symbian phone, and my Sony PDA. I decided to join after I'd been heavily using my iPod to play BBC radio productions of Tolkein stories and The Little Prince when I was having trouble sleeping. I have really good Etymötic headphones which are easy to sleep in and don't suffer significantly from noise leakage. All of this has made the EinSweetie very happy as my previous technique consisted of waking him up and saying, "I can't sleep. Tell me a story!"

Unlike my EinSweetie, I don't mind re-reading books or watching my favourite movies over, so one of the things that appealed to me was the fact that I could keep and replay the Audible books over and over again. You can either download them to your computer for permanent storage or you can always download them from your own personal Audible library. It's even possible to burn them to CD-ROM if one doesn't have enough hard disk storage available. They seem to have a fairly decent selection, too, although some selections are not available to me because of my geographical location and agreements with the book publishers.

It's a little pricy if you're not going to listen to the programs more than once perhaps. Back when I joined in 2003, they had three methods of purchasing programs: buying them outright, playing $14.95/month; or paying $19.95/month (US dollars). The two monthly plans are month-to-month, so you can stop at any time. Both plans allow you to pick any Audible.com book selection, regardless of the retail price. The $19.95/month plan gives you two selections of your choice. The $14.95 one gives you one book plus one periodical subscription. I'm planning on building up a little library of these things, for filling idle time, for travelling in cars, and for sleeping. I'm still paying $19.95 (US) per month for 2 audiobook credits but that plan no longer exists. It's been replaced with a yearly pre-pay plan with all the credits up front or monthly plans at $14.95 or $22.95 per month. There also seems to be a subscription fee that gives you access to 30% off their content but no book credits.

I started off with an unabridged version of The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson. Since then, I've bought a wide range of audio books and dramatizations:

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, The Twighlight Zone Radio Dramas: Collection 1 by Rod Serling, The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of the 20th Century by Various Authors, Summertide by Charles Sheffield, The Green Mile by Stephen King, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Ringworld by Larry Niven, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Timeline by Michael Crichton, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris, Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, God Save the Sweet Potato Queens by Jill Conner Browne, The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Scientific American, July 2004 by Various Authors, The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection by Edgar Allan Poe, Zombies of the Gene Pool by Sharyn McCrumb, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jennifer Government by Max Barry, The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks, The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches by Robert Stanek, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard P. Feynman, Old Time Radio Shows: With Famous Guest Stars, Collector Series, Volume 1 by Nostalgia Ventures, The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches Book II by Robert Stanek, Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell by Pat Murphy, Ascendant Sun by Catherine Asaro, An Equal Music by Vikram Seth, Transmission by Hari Kunzru, The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy, Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, Earthsearch by James Follett, Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, The Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, September-November 2003 by Various Authors, The Wayne Dyer Audio Collection by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, Birthright: The Book of Man by Mike Resnick, Callahan's Con by Spider Robinson, A History of the Middle Ages by Crane Brinton, John Christopher, and Robert Wolff, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton of the Harvard Nego, The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan, Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker, What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard P. Feynman, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card, Time Enough for Love, Volume 1 by Robert A. Heinlein, Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Volume 1 by Richard P. Feynman, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Mercury by Ben Bova, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, What Just Happened by James Gleick, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Brother Fish by Bryce Courtenay, Bee Season by Myla Goldberg, The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, Labrynth by Kate Mosse, The Rabbi Stories of David Kossoff by David Kossof, Perfect Dark: Initial Vector by Greg Rucka, The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, and Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult.

These are listed in the order I read them (or not). I'm currently working on Titus Groan and today I downloaded My Sister's Keeper and Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult.

Like others, I always pick unabridged content, so I consider listening to these as "reading", especially given the time committment of some of them (30+ hours for at least two of them). When do I listen? At night for 15-30 minutes before I sleep, while on the bus, on airplanes, while power walking, and on trains. I actually acquire the books faster than I read them. I've listened to 43 but have 39 waiting. I must listen faster. (-:

PS: I think I overloaded the "Touchstone" mechanism. Edited to compact my list.

Aug 19, 2006, 10:56am Top

I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I mainly listen on my commute (about 70 minutes each way), but I make it a point to never take the book out of the car. A car book is a car book, and that helps keep the commute interesting.

There are some things that are much better on audio than on the page. For example, I picked up a simply marvelous unabridged version of The Odyssey, read by Ian McKellan. Absolutely brilliant! First, Sir Ian has an amazing voice and was a perfect choice for this work. Second, and even more important, this wasn't a book at all - it was meant to be heard. There are things that I picked up listening to it that I never connected with by reading it in high school or college. It was an entirely new work for me. I highly recommend it.

I also enjoy audiobooks (especially stories I've read before) while I'm doing other things - a jigsaw puzzle, knitting, busywork that I've brought home from the office, laundry, etc. A truly pleasant way to pass the time.

18Booknose First Message
Aug 19, 2006, 11:10pm Top

I also had a long commute to work everyday before I began working from home. I got really bored with the music selection after a while. I used to think audiobooks were sort of like cheating.. I guess I sort of turned my nose up at them for a long time..
Now, I sometimes even miss my commute because I don't get to listen to audiobooks much anymore. I might try them on the computer while I work, I am not sure if it will work though, since what I do requires some concentration.
I completely agree that a narrator can make or break an audiobook.
Good audiobooks, in my opinion, have a narrator that does the voice of each character and can switch back and forth between them seamlessly.
I started out listening to only audiobooks of books that I either did not own in book form, or would not read in book form, because my preference is to actual read books and I didn't want to ruin the pleasure of a book i really wanted to read. I have come across some great authors and books this way. Thereby broadening my reading interests. I've often gone out and bought a book i just finished listening to, so that I can read it. I also listen to books on audio that I have already read to refresh my memory before reading a sequel.

Some of my favorite audiobooks have been:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlo Ruiz Zafon
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty (narrated by the author)
Prep by Curtis Sittenfield
Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah Kate Lynch
The Entire Dark Tower series by Stephen King the first three were exceptional, narrated by Frank Muller who was in a bad motorcycle accident rendering him unable to narrate anymore. I listened to the first three to refresh my memory before reading the newer ones and he really brought the stories to life. I went back and listened to the other ones on audio after reading them because I just LOVE this series so much and though the audios were good I really missed Muller's interpretation of the characters voices.
I don't own an I-pod, and I'm on dial up so I can't download audios anyway. I just rent them from my library and when I deplete their selection, I buy them on ebay, much cheaper than new, sometimes I get good deals on new ones though. I belong to a yahoo book group that does bookboxes and they have a virtual audiobook box that allows me to trade my audiobooks with others saving me a lot of money. Sometimes I sell mine on ebay too, then buy more with the money.

Aug 20, 2006, 12:17am Top

Hi, Booknose ~ I just got Dark Tower III and IV on CD from the library. I'm glad to know you liked them. I used to listen to audiobooks on a CD or cassette player so I could knit while commuting by train to & from work every day (a total of 3 hours), but I recently got an i-Pod. Now I reserve books on CD from the library, and if they come in when I'm reading/listening to something else, I can download them and listen to them at my convenience, plus return the CDs quickly to the library for the next person to listen to! The last audiobook I listened to was Darkly Dreaming Dexter and I'm now on The Fellowship of the Ring. I've also downloaded The Two Towers and The Return of the King, and have Arthur and George and Dreaming the Eagle on the i-Pod, waiting to be listened to. One of my favorite books-on-tape is The Screwtape Letters read by John Cleese ~ he's just magnificent as Screwtape! I also like the Amelia Peabody mysteries on audio because the narrator is simply amazing.

After I've "read" each one, I just delete it from my i-Pod library, plug in the i-Pod, and hey, presto! It's taken off the i-Pod, leaving lots of room for more books-on-tape.

Aug 20, 2006, 2:12am Top

I've just finished Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and loved it! It's not a book I would have read (already have too many to read on my plate) but I was curious about it and this was a great way to 'read' it, while driving to work. I think I may try Stephen King's Dark Tower series this way as I've been curious about that also. I don't like Stephen King's horror and prefer his short stories and novellas but I find I do like being read to. While I wait for that from the library I'm giving Swift as Desire by Laura Esquival a go.

I've also started getting audio stories for my sons from the library and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson was a hit. We played that story along with Julia Donaldson's The Smartest Giant in Town and Michael Palin telling Jack and the Beanstalk on a recent hour long drive and the time passed more quickly than it ever has. I just copied them all onto one CD. My 5 year old didn't once ask 'are we there yet?', my 2 year old fell asleep (lulled by the stories), and my husband and I chuckled the whole way. Imelda Staunton reads the Gruffalo and the Smartest Giant in Town and she does great voices. So does Michael Palin.

I'm definitely in danger of getting hooked on audio books.

Aug 20, 2006, 3:03pm Top

Oh Man Sandragon, Now I'm going to have to go and look for some Children's audiobooks. The Smartest Giant in town is my 2 year old's favourite book at the moment. I have to read it to her at least 2 or 3 times a day. I think I'll let someone else do it for a change!

Aug 20, 2006, 3:13pm Top

That sounds (no pun intended) a good choice LisaLynne: as you say The Odyssey was in the oral tradition. With a fine actor like Ian McKellan reading, I really must try & get it from the library.

Aug 21, 2006, 8:35am Top

I love audio books as well because I am constantly taking and picking up my boys from one practice to another. I enjoyed Life of Pi this way and in all honesty prob would have quit reading it...and now I tell all how much I loved it. I was listening to it because my 18 year old son was reading it for his senior english class and he really enjoyed it also. The reader was very good. Currently I am listening to Back to Wando Passo by David Payne and since it is an audio book, I am not quitting it but it is not so good. I am a southerner and I find the reader does not get the accent at all. I usually listen to audiobooks that are not so hard or even YA titles because I am in and out of the car so much and many of my runs are not long...they are easer to keep up with and I don't stay lost ...either in the book or on the highway.

Aug 21, 2006, 12:28pm Top

sandragon: there are several CDs of Neil Gaiman reading his own work, and the children's books are particularly delightful.

Aug 21, 2006, 1:20pm Top

I find listening to audio books helps me get the housework done! I would far rather clean up my kitchen if I am listening to a book. I loved wide sargasso sea and am currently listening to hideous kinky I use the library for them. it only cost a couple of pouds (I'm from England) and helps make chores a bit easier.

Aug 21, 2006, 3:01pm Top

I started to listen to audiobooks because I was bored at the gym. I found that music wasn't helping me keep my mind content while I was lifting weights or treading the mill so I started listening to Stephen King in audiobooks and I've been a fan of audiobooks ever since.

I find that I get more easily through some books in audio than I would on paper. So books I normally wouldn't read I can finish in audio.

I don't think I'd ever finished "It" if I hadn't been listening to it. And listening to Bag of Bones read by King himself was a great experience.

I like to listen to simpler books in audio though. I'm not sure I'd like listening to something like Laxness, Murakami, Dostojevskij or Tolstoy in audio which I otherwise love to read.

Edited: Aug 21, 2006, 3:57pm Top

I started listening to Stephen King in audiobooks and I've been a fan of audiobooks ever since.

moondust, you've *so* got to listen to Stephen King reading Hearts in Atlantis. I can still hear the 70's guitar music between chapters every time I think of that audio book. Loved it!!!

Edited: Aug 23, 2006, 5:16pm Top

I was going to listen to Swift as Desire by Laura Esquival, but that has been superceded by Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer read by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I'm realling enjoying it. I remember seeing Artemis Fowl in the bookstores and turning my nose up at a story about a 12 year old evil genius. But this is actually quite fun, with all the different voices in the correct accents. I am finding it easier to listen to books I wouldn't try normally. My local library has a bigger collection of audiobooks than I want to listen to since there are books I want to experience as a read first.

Aug 23, 2006, 5:25pm Top

Artemis Fowl on audibooks --- my 10 year old would LOVE them. Our next long car trip is going to be sooo quiet. :-)

Aug 23, 2006, 8:15pm Top

David Sedaris and his sister Amy read some of his books which I think make them even more enjoyable than reading.
Also Bill Bryson reading A Walk in the Woods, The Mother Tongue, and his others. I enjoy laughing to myself during my commute.
Just finished listening toPrep by Curtis Sittenfeld and it was well done.

Aug 23, 2006, 9:42pm Top


I never did think much of David Sedaris' humor while reading his books. HOWEVER, I did think they were quite funny when I heard him read his essays in that squeaky deadpan voice of his on audiotape. That's one instance where listening to audio far exceeded my enjoyment of reading a book!

Have any of you had such an experience?

Aug 24, 2006, 10:29am Top

My son and I are listening to The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein, during the occasional longer drive (about 15 minutes each way once a week to visit his grandmother). I thought about waiting to listen to Artemis Fowl with him but I decided to be selfish. I just can't wait for a weekly listening! I've been listening on my own during my drive to work.

Aug 24, 2006, 11:39am Top

Ha ha You Bad, selfish mother! J/k
Well a long drive for us is when we go to visit my father in law which is about 14 hours drive. (UGGH) So we can probably knock the whole book out in one trip :-)

Aug 24, 2006, 5:01pm Top

>One of my favorite books-on-tape is The Screwtape Letters read by John Cleese ~ he's just magnificent as Screwtape!

I've listened to this and loved it. He's a great Screwtape.

Listening to the book can also add something to the story. For example, I listened to The Known World for my book club and I came away with some very different ideas about the characters than the folks who just read the book.

Currently, I'm listening to The Thin Man. Very pleasant way to pass the drive, when I can't stand to listen to NPR for another minute.

Sep 10, 2006, 2:15pm Top

I like them because I can listen to them while I'm doing other things. (For example, I'm listening to Sophie Kinsella's Can You Keep A Secret? as I type this. I only listen to books I've already read, though; I much prefer actually reading to listening, but I can appreciate how nicely certain books translate to audio.

Sep 13, 2006, 7:55pm Top

Started King Dork today by Frank Portman...will let you know.

Edited: Sep 13, 2006, 11:09pm Top

I've just finished listening to Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer. Not as good as Artemis Fowl but still entertaining.

I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe ages ago, but wanted to reread it and read the rest of the series. Problem is, I keep getting stuck at the part when Beeblebrox shows up. The same thing happened when I first read the book and I had to force myself to continue. Once I did, it was fine. This time, to get myself going, and to keep myself going, I've decided to listen to it, read by Stephen Frye. Hopefully that will help.

Sep 15, 2006, 1:27pm Top

Finished Brave New World (with excellent narrator Michael York) a few days ago.

Currently halfway through Catch-22. The narrator is Jim Weiss, who does a very good job creating distinct voices for each of the large cast of characters. (One of them is too hard on the ears, but he disappeared into a cloud a few chapters ago and hasn't been heard from since.)

Sep 16, 2006, 10:17pm Top

Just for fun, am re"reading" Crocodile on the Sandbank. Picked up Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Rule of Four at the library the other day. Any opinions on which of those I should listen to next?

Sep 16, 2006, 10:44pm Top

The only one of those that I've read in any format is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I'd be curious to know how it translates into audiobook format, since there's a lot in that book that relies on the visual medium.

Sep 17, 2006, 12:40pm Top

I'm currently listening to Anansi Boys; I'm really enjoying it, and would recommend it.

Sep 17, 2006, 2:25pm Top

I listened to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close several months ago, and thought it was great. I've heard about the visuals later, but I didn't think I was missing anything while I listened to it. I still haven't actually flipped through a physical copy, but I remember the narrator saying "black page," "black page" and other such things, and it worked for me.

Sep 17, 2006, 2:30pm Top

Wow, that sounds like it would have been very strange...

The black pages were a part where the grandfather was running out of room to write, and the text started getting smaller and the spacing between letters and words and lines started getting more and more condensed for a few pages, and then the type started being overlaid (like it had been sent through a printer more than once) so at first it you could still make out most of it, then a word or two, and then there were more and more times of overlay until the entire page was nearly black from the text. I wonder at what point the narrator stopped reading vs. when you can still distinguish some words in the printed version.

Sep 17, 2006, 2:39pm Top

Hmmm, I've wanted to read Extremely Loud since it came out but maybe I'll go with Anansi on audio and read Extremely Loud in book form. After that, if I liked it, I can listen to it on audio. (I often do that ~ read and then listen or vice versa. Each medium tends to emphasize different aspects of a book, at least that's what I've found.)

Thanks so much, fyrefly, xicanti and cabegley, for your input!

Sep 17, 2006, 2:57pm Top

I tried Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and just couldn't get through it. I plan to try it at some point in book form, since perhaps the visuals will help.

Sep 17, 2006, 3:12pm Top

Anansi Boys is a great audiobook. I love the way Lenny Henry reads it and brings life to all the characters, but then I've always loved him as a comedian. I can't compare it to many other audiobooks though as I only own 4 and haven't listened to all of them yet.

Sep 18, 2006, 12:50am Top

I really like The Rule of Four on audio. It reminded me of The Da Vinci Code. I am currently reading/listening to The Jester by James Patterson which brings in the historical fiction a little more than the other two, but has a similar flavor.

Sep 18, 2006, 9:17am Top

on a drive to visit family this weekend...my husband and I started listening to To Kill a Mockingbird with Sissy Spacek reading this wonderful novel. After a couple of hours, my seven year old had turned off the gameboy and was sitting in the backseat listening to Scout describe first grade. He liked it as much as we did...just didn't get enough drive time...only got through one CD.

Sep 18, 2006, 6:08pm Top

Stopped at the local library yesterday to return an audiobook and found 3 other audiobooks that I've been wanting to listen to! Of Mice and Men read by Gary Sinese; Pride and Prejudice read by Lindsay Duncan; and The Serpent on the Crown, an Amelia Peabody mystery (I've read them all in book form and am now re-"reading" them on audio) for the times I need something light and fun.

She ~ Thanks so much for your input on The Rule of Four. Since I didn't care for The Da Vinci Code, it might not be for me. I'll give it a try, though ~ you never know!

50vivace160 First Message
Sep 18, 2006, 8:46pm Top

I love audiobooks and I too am a member of Audible.com (actually, I share an account with my mother). I listen to them mostly when I'm cleaning the house (I only listen to them with my iPod) or if I'm in the car alone (plugging my iPod into my car stereo, of course).

My biggest interest in them is that one of my favorite actors, Tim Curry, has read many audiobooks and he does a fantastic job at it. Some of these include (ones that I've listened to so far...) Sabriel, Belladonna, Cry to Heaven, Dangerous Fortune, Night Over Water, Mr. Phillips, and Music of the Spheres.

Recently I've found an interest in Dean Koontz thanks to audiobooks. My mom enjoys his books and has downloaded quite a few from Audible and I've listened to three of them so far: Life Expectancy, Velocity, and Dragon Tears. For some reason though, I'm not sure I can see myself sitting down and reading his novels but I definitely enjoy listening to the audiobooks enough to listen to more in the near future. Currently I'm listening to Bag of Bones by Stephen King.

I do enjoy sitting down with an actual book and reading (there's nothing better than reading a Stephen King novel for hours on end), but only if I have a deep interest in the subject and/or author so audiobooks are great for (but not limited to) all the rest.

Sep 20, 2006, 2:31am Top

I am currently listening to One for the Money by Janet Evanovich and am glad I found it at the library. I own but haven't yet read any of her books so this is an easy way to try out an author. I'm really enjoying her.
Usually I also stick to lighter books- humor, mysteries, etc. so I don't get lost in thought and have to rewind or go back to previous tracks.
I did have a good experience with a classic, Moby Dick. I don't know if I would have noticed the humor and innuendo in the book if the narrator's voice hadn't emphasized it.

Sep 20, 2006, 10:37am Top


I used to read Dean Koontz when I was younger (high school/early university years?) but, lately, when I've tried to reread or read a new novel of his, I can't get into his writing. Which is too bad because I really loved his ideas, especially the ones that had to do with scientific innovations. And reading the blurb about his newer novels intrigue me. There are a few of his stories on audiobooks in the library. I think I'll give his books another try that way.

It'll have to wait a little though. I find my 'To be listened to' pile is growing almost as fast as my TBR pile!

Mar 27, 2007, 2:07am Top

I'm very new to audio books - I only really started listening to them this year. I fill up my ipod with books and listen to them while I walk to and from work (it's about half an hour each way). I've managed to "read" an extra 14 books that way this year so far!

Mar 28, 2007, 9:47am Top

I'm an avid audiobook reader. I still constantly read "real" books too, but realized you can read so many more when you are driving, cleaning, etc.
Over the last few years I've found both good and bad ones, but that's the same with any books.
I agree with David Sedaris being funny when he is reading his work and narrators with great voices enhancing the work.
There are times when I flash back to a scene in a book just by driving past the place I was listening to it.
I'd highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a hard time multi tasking.
I always check them out from the library because I could never afford it otherwise, but have occasionally found one I love for only a few bucks. (like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy read by the author, Douglas Adams)
Anyway, I think audiobooks are brilliant and get through at least one or two a week.
I'm looking forward to checking out a few on here that people have mentioned!

55iluvpeterpan1994 First Message
Mar 28, 2007, 10:34am Top

I think audiobooks give you a scense of what the character might look like. But there are some types of books that should'nt be on audiobooks.

Mar 28, 2007, 10:34am Top

I think audiobooks give you a scense of what the character might look like. But there are some types of books that should'nt be on audiobooks.

Mar 28, 2007, 10:51am Top

>54 bookworm12: There are times when I flash back to a scene in a book just by driving past the place I was listening to it.

I am so glad that this is not just me.

Mar 28, 2007, 11:27pm Top

With very few exceptions, I will only listen to audiobooks if (1) they are not abridged and (2) I've read them at least once.

Most recently, I listened to The Voice From the Edge Vol. 1, a collection of short stories written and narrated by Harlan Ellison. It rather irritated me, to be honest. Most audiobooks have a narrator... well, narrating. They do voice-acting for the characters, but the narrator is done in an even voice. Ellison felt the need to dramatize, often screaming where he felt appropriate, which was not only mildly unnerving, but often made it impossible to understand what he was saying. On top of this, there was background music and sound effects, all of which was both distracting and often made the reading difficult to hear. Most audiobooks do not do this, in my experience.

Edited: Mar 29, 2007, 9:08am Top

>58 stochasticooze:

Harlan Ellison "narrated" the version of A Wizard of Earthsea I listened to and did exactly the same thing. I thought it was obnoxious, and nearly didn't finish the book. I wonder if I would have liked it more if it had been read by a narrator who didn't work himself into a lather during the exciting parts.

Mar 29, 2007, 4:54pm Top

I refuse to read any audiobook that is abridged. That's like skipping through a book and just reading the chapters that look good.
The only thing I don't like about audiobooks is the fact that if you want to write down a quote or something while you're driving it's a little difficult.

Apr 19, 2007, 4:05am Top

I have trouble sleeping at night but don't want turn on the light because that will really keep me awake. I have lots of audiobooks on my iPod which I put into a speaker rack and turn on before turning out the light. It is very restful to lie there in the dark, listening to the narrator reading the stories to me. At the moment my favourite listen is the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody mysteries.

Group: What Are You Reading Now?

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