Who are the best readers?
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1Library_Mole First Message
Simon Prebble seems to be the overall God of audiobook reading. He just sounds so...English.
I haven't heard of Simon Prebble Library_Mole, what books has he narrated?
I think Jim Dale doing the Harry Potter series is amazing!
I have a copy of Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol which I'm saving until December to listen to. I've never heard him read before but I've heard him do the audiobook ads and so far I like the sound of his voice. Can't wait until December!
The Prebster does a lot of English mystery novels...he read Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell and he's also one of the main readers of The Egyptologist, among many, many others. Check his wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Prebble
sandragon, I got Jim Dale's A Christmas Carol last year for Christmas - you're in for a wonderful treat!
Another good narrator is Lisette Lecat who reads the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books - she is lovely to listen to, a very melodic voice.
Ooooo, then I'm a BIG fan of Prebble! I listened to both The Egyptologist and Jonathan Strange, and they were both excellently done!
I also really like Barbara Rosenblat. She is THE voice of Amelia Peabody et al. in the mystery series by Elizabeth Peters. None of the other readers of that series whom I've heard can equal her rendition of every character's voice so clearly and appropriately that you don't even need to be told who's speaking. Amazing!
Prebble's also done Raven's Gate, the first of The Gatekeepers trilogy by Anthony Horowitz. He was great!
I'm a huge fan of Gerard Doyle - he's done quite a bit of children's/YA audiobooks, another great English voice.
Also Nathaniel Parker - he reads the Artemis Fowl series and does fabulous voices. Those are probably my favorite audios.
Jim Dale is amazing, no doubt about it, and I also love Tim Curry reading the Lemony Snicket books. There was a review somewhere that said Curry was born to read these books, and I have to agree. They had the author, Daniel Handler, doing a couple of the books and it was just so bad in comparison to Curry.
Arak ~ Okay, that does it! I have never read an Artemis Fowl novel, but you're about the hundredth, if not millionth, LTer to say they like this series, so ... as soon as NaNoWriMo month is over, I'm going to start on it (on audio, of course, since I will have to knit double time to get all my gifts ready for Christmas)! Thanks also for the tip on Raven's Gate.
Best narration I think I've ever heard was Frank Muller reading Motherless Brooklyn. As the protagonist is a Tourette's patient it's a natural for audio over print.
The first time I tried to listen to the Amelia Peabody books read by Barbara Rosenblat, I didn't like her voice. Then, a year or so later I tried it again, and she rather grew on me. I think that it helped that I could download almost all of the Amelia Peabody books for free from NetLibrary. If you have an mp3 player, you should definitely check whether your local library subscribes to NetLibrary! It really doesn't get better than Barbara doing Schmidt singing country-western songs in Night Train to Memphis. I just listened to the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix read by Tim Curry, and I thought he was very good, although my friend says she doesn't like his voice doing the Lemony Snicket books. I haven't read them, so I can't judge. I also love Ian Carmichael reading Dorothy L. Sayers. He, of course, played Lord Peter in one of the bbc series. I think he is much better as the voice of Lord Peter than the face--a little too stout in my opinion. I guess what I am getting at is different readers are just right for different books. I love listening to audiobooks (as it vastly increases the amount of my life I can spend "reading"), but I can't listen to something if I don't like the reader, or if the reader just doesn't sound right to me.
Kat ~ I definitely agree with you on all counts, except I always loved Rosenblat in everything I heard her read, esp. the Amelia Peabody books. To me, she is the definitive Amelia Peabody ~ strong-willed, opinionated, deeply caring but unwilling to let her softer feelings show (except with her family, of course, esp. Emerson), and British to the core. And all the other voices she does are exactly right. I can hear Emerson's "hmph" and Abdullah's "but Sitt" in my mind and get a mental picture of them though the last one I listened to was weeks ago.
A reader can make or break an audiobook. If the narrator doesn't sound right to me, I have to stop listening.
I'll have to try the others you mentioned, since it seems we have similar tastes in readers. :)
Just completed audiobook The Coffee Trader by David Liss, narrated by John Lee. Don't know what else Lee has done, but this reading was superb in my estimation. Great at accents of Dutch, Portugese Jews, men, women. I found myself trying to talk with a similar accent when I turned the ipod off and had to do things with other people.
Latter half of the 1600s, many Jews having come to Amsterdam for the tolerance granted them. One such person makes grand plans for taking over the newly emerging coffee trade on the Amsterdam stock exchange. Who's crossing, double-crossing, triple-crossing who????
I want to throw in my vote for John Lee as well. He read Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres (fabulous book), and I was so taken by his reading that I bought a couple of audiobooks just because he was reading them. I'm also a fan of Jim Dale.
My favorite narrators are:
David Case AKA Frederick Davidson. He was British and narrated many, many books. I love his renditions of P.G. Wodehouse and John Mortimer (Rumpole).
Jonathan Cecil. British; delightful narrations of P.G. Wodehouse.
Nadia May. British; wonderful narrations of classics like Jane Austen and E.F. Benson.
David Timson. British; narrated Sherlock Holmes stories.
Martin Clifton. British; narrator on Librivox who is very good!
Jeremy Irons reading Lolita is incredible, though his reading makes the book almost more creepy!!!!
For history, Nelson Runger is a fantastic narrator. He is clear, with a nice tone, and actually uses inflection very well to really get the feeling or tone of the scene across. It helps that he's narrated some really interesting accounts, including Washington's Crossing and Truman, both of which I liked, though Truman was a bit long and *very detailed. In any case, in some instances, I've sought out other history books narrated by him, even if I wasn't previously interested in the material.
Simon Prebble, reading god, for anything. (He has narrated gazillions of books.)
Lisette Lecat for the Mma Ramotswe series (Ladies Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith.
Barbara Rosenblatt for Amelia Peabody.
Donada Peters for the Posamunde Pilcher books (and others, like Agatha Raisin!).
The guy who does The Cat Who books and the guy who does the Brother Cadfael books. The guy who did Thale's Folly. One of the guys who does Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves series.
I can't remember their names, darn it...
Here comes the Contrarian - I dislike Lizzette Lecat's reading of the Ramotswe series! I'm a great admirer of Donada Peters (a/k/a Nadia May) for anything except Agatha Raisin.
I've just started The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham, read by Kate Reading. She does a terrific job; however, the voice she uses for the protagoniste's lover sound suspiciously akin to that of Barbara Rosenblat's for Amelia Peabody's husband (Emerson). And, yes, I do agree the Peabody series was brilliant. I've read an awful lot of British audiobooks, but don't think I've heard Simon Prebble read anything yet.
As I've posted elsewhere, my vote for #1 audiobook performance goes to Frank Muller reading Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. He got the Tourette's outbursts letter perfect. My cousin read the print book, and loved it, but I don't think that would be nearly as good.
Runner up would be Richard Poe doing The Ha-Ha by Dave King - the protagonist, Howard, cannot speak (or read or write, though he understands speech), so it's truly an experience being inside his head hearing a narrator in this case!
My niece dislikes Agatha Raisin too. I understand.
Simon Prebble does a nice job on the Dick Francis books he narrates. He has a sort of low key voice that works well with those quiet heroes. He has narrated at least 150 books so you may have heard him at one time or another.
I like Kate Reading. I can't remember which book(s) I've listened to though (I've been listening for years and wish I'd kept a list). I'd be interested in your opinion of the Maugham book too.
There are books I haven't cared much for, but the only recent one that I remember was Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen but this was soooooo loooooonnnnngggg.
I will agree with you about Frank Muller on Motherless Brooklyn, he was masterul as always. His accident was a blow to audiobook lovers everywhere. He narrated Beach Music by Pat Conroy, which was the book that got me hooked on audiobooks.
My current favorite Narrators are Scott Brick, who is great at every book he does (only he is sure doing a lot of them); Roy Dotrice, who does the narration to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, Will Patton, who does most of the James Lee Burke Novels; Michael York, Jay O Sanders, Anne Fields, and David Case.
There are Narrators who seem to be specific to a set of books. Judy Kaye is perfect reading Sue Graftons Alphabet Murder Books. Jim Dale is the voice of Harry Potter.
I am new to LT and glad to find a group of like minded bibliofiles.
I could go on and on about David Case (a/k/a Frederick Davidson), but I'll simply say that he was fantastic. I was fortunate to listen to him do all six of the Barsetshire series - before Booksontape did away with those recordings, as well as his reading of Scoop, etc. His Lily Dale voice was priceless - you can hear poor Trollope in the background groaning: "I can't believe I actually wrote this incredibly sappy ... crud!"
To clarify, I actually like the Agatha Raisin series itself, joining the library queue as soon as each forthcoming installment pops up at Amazon. I liked Mary Peiffer as the original Grafton narrator, but Judy Kaye is pretty good.
Anyone familiar with Flo Gibson's work reading classics? I like her now - looking forward to hearing her forthcoming reading of Armadale -but, her style takes some getting used to.
Garrison Keillor has the most soothing voice. There was a time in my life when listening to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR was the only thing that got me through the week.
I enjoy his books much more when I listen to him rather than reading them myself. It makes a subtle but noticeable difference. My favorite is More News from Lake Wobegon: "(The pontoon boat was) riding so low in the water that to people standing on shore it looked like a genuine miracle."
23 > I remember Flo Gibson. Can't remember the work(s), though. Darn it, I'm going to have to start an I've-read-this list! Like you say, once started, she's a-ok.
Flo has her own company called Audiobook Contractors, Inc. based in Washington, DC. There is an online catalog, but only snail-mail order processing; most of their stuff is only in cassette format. I was thinking of ordering The Eustace Diamonds from them (I've rented before, and they're very nice to work with). I have searched and searched, and it seems that Flo's new recording of Armadale will be the first available audio version of that story. Period.
Okay, I checked. The P.G. Wodehouse reader that I think is SUPERB is Alexander Spencer. He is perfect!
Just finished listening to (all 15 hours of!) The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, read by Barbara Caruso. There's quite a bit of narrative, but Caruso does a great job of getting the reader "into" the character, even though she's still forced to use the same omniscient narrator voice for each point-of-view.
Guidall ... Prebble ... Vance ... Muller. Excellent readers.
I found that Rosalyn Landor did an excellent job with The Mistress of Death
Jeremy Irons with Lolita brought the tale to life.
I listened to Michael York reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and he was excellent - it was like listening to D'Artagnion telling you his own story.
I also listened to him reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and only finished it because HE was so good - I didn't get much out of the book itself!
I interviewed Michael York for a profile article and asked him about all of the audiobooks he has read. He says it's the hardest work he does because you are doing an entire performance by yourself. But he said he loved doing it because it gave him a chance to keep up on his reading.
I thought that was interesting. He was an awesome guy!
My all-time favorite reader is David Case, aka Frederick Davidson. Once a Summer I listen to one of the Flashman books by George Macdonald Fraser as read by Case, and it never fails to amuse me no end. One of the earlier posts lamented his readings being unavailable but many of Case's older things are available at public libraries. If your library lacks something by all means ask for a title through Inter-Library Loan. I get a lot of the Fraser books on cassette that way.
I just finished listening to "A Far Country" by Daniel Mason and the reader is superb. Kate Reading is her name and I don't think I'd encountered her before.
Ditto for Dick Hill.
Also the lake David Dukes - he did a lot of the Robert Parker "Spenser" books and was excellent. Far better than Joe Montagne.
Lorelei King does a great job of the "Sephanie Plum" books by Janet Evanovich.
Richard Thomas and David Ogden Stiers used to do audios as well and both were very good.
Flo Gibson reading Willa Cather's Song of the Lark is outstanding. I agree with the many who have recommended Barbara Rosenblatt - She does the Diane Mott Davidson books (culinary mysteries) too, and they are lots of fun. She does men better than many female narrators, not that I'm knocking the others. George Guidal too. Joe Barrett has just the right tone for Richard Ford's books - jaded but brilliant and still human.
42andrea1303 First Message
Here are my favs:
Jonathan Cecil (PG Wodehouse)
Rob Inglis (The Lord of the Rings)
Martin Jarvis (three men in a boat, others)
Agreed about Alexander Spencer - far superior Wooster than what Cecil can come up with. Sad that he didn't do more.
Simon Prebble is a master. Will listen to him read the phone book to me.
Cannot stand Scott Brick. For my ear he cannot do accents to save his life and his women's voices all sound exactly alike. If he has to do dialogue between two women, the writer better have a lot of character references or you won't be able to tell who is who.
Wish Henry Strozier would do more. Love his voice. He narrated Gorky Park a million years ago, but Frank Muller did the rest of the series, much to my chagrin. Strozier is the voice of Arkady Renko in my head, even as I read the print books.
Muller did a great job with Motherless Brooklyn though. Too bad he's out of commission, but he did a stupid thing and now pays the price.
Love George Guidall and never get tired of his voice. Scott Brick, on the other hand, bores me now. I enjoyed his reading at first, but he makes all books sound too much the same. His reading of The Geographer's Library was quite annoying.
Nice thread. I am always looking for suggestions for great readers.
Forgot about CJ Critt. Female voices sometimes don't stand out, but hers does.
If you like Strozier, try Goodbye to a River.
I've never heard Scott Brick. Flo Gibson takes lots of getting used to with her odd inflection. I haven't listened to the series in a long time, but I recall that Guidall did a good job with Hillerman's series set in Navajo country (Chee/Leaphorn).
Doesn't George Guidall also narrate the Cat Who.. books? If him, he is very good. I've been listening to George Wilson read Carl Hiaasen and he does a very good job.
Just listened to Dick Hill narrate Killing Floor. Awesome. His ability to create whole characters by voice alone is amazing. It was like there were more than one person reading sometimes. I'm really looking forward to listening to more in the Jack Reacher series just because of this narrator.
Jim Dale for Harry Potter. Lisette Lecat (spelling?) for First Ladies Detective Agency series. There are others, but these two come straight to mind.
I'm adding Rosalyn Landor to my list of favorite readers for her job on Mistress of Death by Ariana Franklin. Her delivery is spot-on, and she has the same ability to make the characters come alive that Bookmarque mentioned in her message (#50) about Dick Hill. I too could have sworn that there was more than one person reading.
Besides Barbara Rosenblat, who got me hooked on audiobooks, another favorite narrator of mine is Davina Porter who does the Outlander series.
I am definitely going to have to check out the narrators on the list of whom I have not heard.
BTW - for those who do not know, both Frank Muller and Kate Reading have passed away in the past year or so.
I like lots of the readers already mentioned, but my all-time favorite is Scott Brick. I have been introduced to several authors just because he was reading the audio. I first came to like the way he read books about cocky, wise-ass mavericks beginning with Brian Haig's Sean Drummond, then I began listening to Nelson DeMille (because of Brick) and his John Corey. Since then, I've listened to many authors from several genres, and he always seems just about perfect for each one.
I just listened to "Master and Commander" by Patrick O'Brian narrated by John Lee ... it was absolutely captivating. Lee's voice is strong, filled with warmth and energy and intelligence, and he moves smoothly from character to character, investing each with a distinct personality and emotional life. Although I know NOTHING about the British Royal Navy of 1802, and still less about frigates, brigs, cutters and ships, I fell under the spell of this wonderful novel and its vivid characters. I listened THREE times to the entire 15 hours! It was magical.
I've purchased the next 5 books in the series and listened to two more (several times!) But alas!! John Lee has only narrated the first 6 O'Brian books!! After that, I'll be forced to listen to other readers who I'm convinced won't be able to interpret Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin half as beautifully. So does anyone know how I can get in touch with John Lee and get him back into the recording booth?
And for all of you who love historical novels, I recommend this series with only one caveat: you really do need some familiarity with late 18th and early 19th century England -- not so much the history, but the culture and idioms. If you're the kind of person who reads Dickens for pleasure, or another sprawling novelist of the early 19th century, you will be fine with O'Brian.
And even if you saw the movie with Russell Crowe, don't worry -- the book is all that and a hundred times more in terms of sheer pleasure.
Go to sea with Captain Aubrey and John Lee! It's a marvelous adventure!
Simon Jones -- for his reading of The Bartimaeus Trilogy and his (in my opinion) perfect capturing of Bartimaeus' personality
Anton Lesser -- who read The Ruby in the Smoke and the rest of the Sally Lockhart trilogy, and who also did the best female voices I have ever heard from a male narrator.
And I'll add my voice to the many who like Simon Prebble and Jim Dale.
Michael Kitchen - Well I do not know about best but I have recently discovered that my new favourite actor, Michael Kitchen, is also a fabulous audiobook reader. Thanks to him I've finally come to grips with Wuthering Heights and thanks to his wonderful reading as well I've enjoyed The end of the affair by Graham Greene much more than I would have otherwise.
This discovery has, to a certain extent, rekindled my interest in audiobooks. I have heard good things about Anton Lesser, among others, and will surly try him out!
Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job: HILARIOUS! ... Fisher Stevens narrates and is outstanding. I highly recommend ti
I LOVE the way Susan Eriksen reads the Nora Roberts books. She is great at doing different voices and accents, particularly Irish. Now, I listen to most anything read by Susan Eriksen.
For thrillers, Dick Hill is The Man.
Was it Michael York or Michael Page? I'm looking for a recording by Michael York, and can't find that, but I do find one for Michael Page. Thanks.
I have to vote along with others that my favorites are Barbara Rosenblatt, Davina Porter, Jim Dale, and Jenny Sterlin. Jenny Sterlin does the Laurie R. King Mary Russell series. To hear her Sherlock Holmes, it's just amazing.
I wanted to listen to A Christmas Carol this year instead of the movies, I'm going to have to look for the Jim Dale version because I thought he was tremendous in the Harry Potter series.
The other reader I really like is C.J. Critt. She does the Stephanie Plum series and is great.
My biggest problem is when the men are reading and doing a horrible job with the female voices. Very rarely does a female reader do a horrible job on the male voices but the men have a difficult time with the female voices.
I'm a fan of Frederick Davidson, Simon Vance, Nadia May and Flo Gibson. I think Patrick Tull does good voices, though his pacing is a bit slow for my taste. For the Austen where I didn't have Flo Gibson, I found Juliet Stevenson fine.
I'm amazed that people like Frederick Davidson. I avoid him like the plague ever since I tried listening to him reading
'Stonehenge' by Bernard Cornwell. I tried several times but his voice drove me mad. Audible gave me my money back when I wrote a review of the bit I had listened to about three times.
John Lee reading Tai Pan and Noble House is just brilliant. He does female Chinese voices beautifully as well as Scottish men and others.
I am huge Davidson (a/k/a David Case) fan, too! He nails the satire (sarcasm) of Trollope, Dickens, Waugh, etc. perfectly.
Flo Gibson is an acquired taste, with her somewhat "irregular" pitch/cadence.
I think Juliet Stevenson reading Sense and sensibility was pretty much perfection. You are immediately immersed in the book and entirely forget that someone is reading it to you. (I have a version of Pride and Prejudice read by Irene somebody and it took me a couple of discs to get used to her voice).
I agree with #56 on Anton Lesser being so good on female voices - his reading of Little Dorrit was wonderful.
And I just love Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter books.
>66 Seajack:: Several have mentioned that about Flo Gibson to me, but I liked her from the beginning. Oh well, just weird, I guess. :-D
I'm listening to a LibriVox recording of Mansfield Park just to see what they're like. It will probably be my last. I don't like...but can live with...a new narrator every two chapters. However, while some of the readers are very pleasant, others break sentences at very odd intervals that make it maddening to grasp an entire phrase. Some even seem to lose interest by the end of their "stint" and rush through the ending of a chapter.
>69 TadAD: I tend to listen to only solo LibriVox projects nowadays. I usually preview a chapter or two via the Internet Archive link to get a feel for the accent and reading style. I just finished listening to Mil Nicholson reading Dombey and Son and found it most enjoyable. http://librivox.org/dombey-and-son-by-charles-dickens/
Katherine Kellgren is by far my favorite female narrator - I have never been disappointed by anything I've heard her do and am in constant awe of her ability to navigate various accents and dialects. I think she's at her best with the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer.
I'm another fan of Simon Prebble, as well as Simon Vance, Phil Gigante, Kate Reading, Caroline Lee (The House at Riverton), Christopher Scott, Robin Bailey (A Town Like Alice), Davina Porter (Outlander series), Elizabeth Sastre (Thursday Next series) and currently Donada Peters whose doing a great job with Mary Queen of Scotland by Margaret George.
>70 digifish_books:: Perhaps I should try that. I'm happy to get audio books for free as I go through a number of them because of my commute. Hopefully there are enough single-reader entries where I like the reader's style. There were a couple of chapters of Mansfield Park whose reader I would cheerfully enjoy any day.
I was doing a little research on www.audiofilemagazine.com
and found the ladies of grace adieu is read by Simon Prebble & Davina Porter I will have to find this audiobook!
I normally like Barbara Rosenblat I've listened to all Diane Mott-Davidson books on audio,however I am listening to The Dancing Floor by, Barbara Michaels AKA Elizabeth Peters this is set in England and is supposed to be gothic and her voice just doesn't cut it in this book.
Ian McKellen reading Robert Fagles' The Iliad is incredible.
And yes of course Jim Dale is also awesome.
I just finished Tey's Daughter of Time read by Derek Jacobi. He was excellent.
Just listened to Louis L'Amour's Hondo while on a road trip through Arizona. Perfect! And David Strathairn's reading was superb.
Right now my favorite reader is Nadia May. She reads a lot of Barbara' Tuchman's books. I also a fan of Barbara Tuchman. Unlike many reader's May is really good making voices for characters and is also excellent in her pronunciation of accents.
Bill -- she also reads under the names Wanda McCaddon and Donada Peters, if you're looking for more of her work.
Hello! I just found this group--where have you been hiding??? (just kidding--I try to NOT look for other groups to join).
But I have to add my two cents. I have been listening to the Three Pines mysteries by Louise Penny, and Ralph Cosham is fabulous with those! At this point, I don't want to read any of them, just listen to him reading them.
I agree with Tim Curry being born to read the Lemony Snickett books. And I will read a book that I have no interest in just to listen to George Guidall.
I agree about Katherine Kelgren, though occasionally she reads a book even she can't salvage.
I just discovered Terry Pratchett's books on audio, starting with The Wee Free Men. Stephen Briggs can do ANYTHING! Almost dangerous to drive while listening.
Thanks, 2wonderY! I just checked and my library has a whole bunch of Terry Pratchett on e-audiobooks. I'll just have to have something else to listen to when I go to the gym--weights and laughing do not mix.
I see that you love Wodehouse. I think I'm ready for him. Have you listened to those books?
What with an hour commute each way, and my daliances on LT, much less time nowadays for book-in-hand!
I know I've listened to Wodehouse over the years, but I can't remember which books or readers. I think I'd recommend starting with some of the Bertie and Jeeves short stories.
Just finished somebody owes me money by donald westlake, narrated by steven thorn. he was quite good.
I agree that Jim Dale (Harry Potter), Nathaniel Parker (Artemis Fowl) and Simon Jones (Bartimaeus Trilogy) do marvelous jobs with voices and characterizations. They are among the best in the business. I loved David Ogden Stiers because he is a natural narrator and has the voice for it. And lately I've discovered James Marsters (Dresden Files) who does a marvelous job narrating the Dresden File books. He was Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is a singer/musician and I was both surprised and pleased to hear him read these books. Nice voice.
I must add Bahni Turpin to the list of best narrators she is so great!!
It has to be Stephen Fry for me, every time. He narrated the Harry Potter Audiobooks and has done lots of other stuff. Brilliant.
I've never read an HP book, but if I could get the Stephen Fry audios here in the US, I would.
89> Susie, I just finished listening to The Help. Do you know which character Bahni Turpin read?
I think she was Aibeleen?? but I'm not sure I know Octavia Spencer narrated Minny Jackson and plays her in the movie coming out soon.
Bahni's other credits include:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Kitchen House: A Novel
The True Meaning of Smekday
She has 2 pages on audible the ones above are just ones I've listened to by her, she was so very fantastic as narrator for Smekday it really showed her range!
92, 95> I've listened to all of the HP books by both Jim Dale and Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry is much better. He does read a little slower so they are a little longer, but the acting is superior. Jim Dale does a nice job with character voices, but he sometimes has the wrong emotion. I find that jarring. (For example, he will read a line as happy, and the following description says it was said in horror or sadness, etc.) Anyway, I do recommend either version, but I prefer the Fry.
88> I agree with you about Simon Jones! I love his Bartimaeous books. And it has been a while since I've listened to an Artemis Fowl, but I remember enjoying them. But thanks for the tip on James Marsters. My brother is a big Harry Dresden fan and I've read one book but thought I might read more. I'll try an audio version next. Thanks!
Yeah, I've heard that. Makes me bummed. I guess I'll never 'read' one.
Can you not try and get the Stephen Fry version through an online seller? It wouldn't be cheap tho I suppose to have it shipped out to you. It's a shame cos they are brilliant. I haven't listened to the Jim Dale version but if I ever came across it I would buy it just out of curiosity.
And even though I like S. Fry better, I still enjoyed the Dale versions.
if you have never heard The Book Thief by Mark Zusak read by Alan Corduner, you are missing an amazing, amazing experience. I'm listening for the second time in less than a year and thrilling to it once more. The book is fabulous in any version, but Alan Corduner is just plain awesome. Unfortunately, I don't think he's ever done any other audiobook narrations.
94> Ah! Yes, I enjoyed Smekday enormously. I'll have to try some of her other audio work.
>100 vivienbrenda: Allan Corduner reads the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix, which I enjoyed listening to more than reading. My library catalog lets me put in a reader under the author search, so you might be able to find more that way too. :)
Roy Dotrice does an amazing job reading the Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin. I personally felt connected to the characters more when he read, and couldn't quite get as captivated in the 4th book with John Lee telling the story.
Sir Christopher Lee does a phenomenal job as well, reading JRR Tolkien's The Children of Hurin. He simply has an amazing voice, and it goes well with the dark nature of the story.
And lastly, Rob Inglis reading the Lord of the Rings. I may be a bit biased since its my favorite book ever, and I'd mostly likely put whoever read it on here no matter who it was, but he truly is fantastic.
oooh I can imagine listening to Chris Lee would be amazing. So sonorous. I'm not a Rings reader, but I'd be tempted just to hear him.
Stephen Crossley is quite popular, and I'm enjoying his narration of To a Mountain in Tibet.
I love Karen Savage who reads for LibriVox. Her voice is absolutely beautiful. I would propose marriage to that voice! Here is just an example. http://ia600306.us.archive.org/7/items/dream_within_dream_librivox/dream_within_...
I particularly enjoyed her narration of The Scarlet Pimpernel series and The Little Princes. Here is a list of things she has done if you are interested http://www.karenrsavage.com/librivox.htm#solo
For lovers of audiobooks read by people with British accents:
Stephen Fry: Stunning Harry Potter! Does all the voices!
Stephen Briggs: Terry Pratchett
Celia Imrie: Terry Pratchett
Allan Corduner: Septimus Heap: Magyk
Tony Robinson: Childrens books
I find it very difficult to listen to anything narrated by Americans. Don't get me wrong I have many American friends and I enjoy traveling to America but I love my audiobooks read by British narrators. I find their accent a little clearer to listen to for long periods of time.
Having read it recently, I was wondering if anyone interesting had done an audio version. I'll be sure to check it out; gotta love Jeremy Irons.
>109 shipinabottle: - I'm an American and I generally feel the same way you do! For me it's more about the fact that no one seems to instruct a lot of them on what makes a good reader (I get overly-theatrical and overly-bland way more with American readers).
I love the two main Discworld book readers, Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs.
My favorite reader ever is probably Michael Kramer. He did the first nine Dortmunder books by Donald E. Westlake. He's one of the few male readers whose female characterizations really work, and he has a huge range and never slips up in transitioning between characters.
One I was pleasantly surprised by was Prunella Scales. I listened to her Wives and Daughters and she was really enjoyable (good thing given that the audio book is about 26 hours long!).
109 & 111 - I generally like American narrators (depending on the narrator in question obviously) but only for American books. I can't bear to listen to an American narrator reading Dickens, just in the same way I couldn't listen to a British narrator read the Great Gatsby or Huckleberry Finn, it would just be wrong. Annoyingly you do get a lot of audiobooks of classic British literature read by Americans, I have learnt by experience its always worth googling the narrator before you buy the audiobook!
Being a bit of pedant about these things I also always prefer a book in translation to be read by someone with the accent of the book's original homeland (though with nice clear diction obviously), it just helps to bring you into the culture of the book's characters. Oh and I am British by the way :)
>112 KayEluned: - No doubt! I didn't mean I wanted Brits reading Steinbeck (cringe), I just mean overall I have fewer issues with Brit readers. And YES, I couldn't finish a series because they had this American attempting British accents who was just terrible at it. Not to mention that the books were set in Wales so his really awful cockney accent was quite misplaced. It's not like there's a shortage of real British people who can read! Even a novice would have read better than this guy. Hell, Dick Van Dyke would have been a better choice. You have to wonder what on earth these publishers are thinking (and what the authors are thinking).
>113 mabith: I thought this journal entry by Neil Gaiman was particularly interesting because it shows that sometimes the authors are as surprised and disappointed as we are in the audio versions of their works.
I had suspected that most authors aren't generally very involved in the production of audiobooks, but it hadn't occurred to me that an audiobook could be produced without the author even knowing about it!
>115 SpoonFed: That's horrible that the authors have little/no control! It's always so depressing when a good book is mangled that way. We all know that publishing houses are idiots most of the time, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise.
There's a fantasy series by Juliet Marillier set in Pictish Scotland. The first audio book was wonderful. It had a good Scottish reader with a lovely, clear accent. Juliet Marillier is from Australia and the second book has an Australian reader. I just can not listen to it. It's not that he's even a bad reader, it's just a completely inappropriate choice.
For those of you who enjoy authors reading their own works, I highly recommend Douglas Adams reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He got his break in radio, and then with Mony Python, so he has talent unparalleled by his fellow penmen. He reads all of the Hitchhiker books as well as the Dirk Gently series. Absolutely incredible.
Another talented author-reader is Bill Bryson. My favorite of his is The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.
I have The Restaurant at the End of the Universe narrated by Adams, but it's on TAPE. If I could somehow get them digitally I'd be thrilled, but I haven't found them.
Also on tape is The Little Sister narrated by Ed Bishop. Oh to have that and the other one he did in digital, too. Love the way he portrays Marlowe. Alas, I can't find those either.
I'm sure there are ways of converting tape to digital, none of which are cost efficient. I did a google search and you're right--nowhere did I see the Douglas Adams self-narrated audiobooks for sale. All I saw was a bunch of links to bit torrent sites, which I hear is risky and not advisable. Local libraries often have gems. I've lucked out with a number of audiobooks I couldn't find elsewhere, but were on the shelf at the library.
I have a good friend who feels as you do about Bryson, but I must respectfully disagree. When i saw he read his latest book At Home, I immediately got out the ebook instead.
It's fascinating how different all our reactions are to some narrators. I can't stand Scott Brick, while others adore him. Similarly, I can't stand David Sedaris, and I imagine my complaints about Sedaris are similar you yours about Bryson. Cheers for polite disagreement.
Nick -- you picked a not so great example as I don't care for Sedaris' reading either! I've never heard Scott Brick read anything.
I'm with you nictwisp - cannot stand Scott Brick. I've been so disappointed to see certain books I wanted to listen to until I found they were read by him. Audible lost a sale a few times.
I'm another who will not listen to anything read by Scott Brick. I forced myself to endure the torture of listening to him read The Passage (which I ended up not liking for itself either) and swore I'd never do it again.
I love this thread! I want to thank everyone for helping me find some truly wonderful narrators - especially Simon Prebble. Someone found it peculiar that you would choose a book because of the reader, but it's doubtful I would have discovered Minnette Walters' or Charles Todd's books if I hadn't been sampling Prebble's reading on Audible.com.
My first love was Jim Dale reading HP. I listened to Stephen Fry for a few chapters but I didn't like his delivery. Too slow. Too classically theatrical. (You can find the entire series read by SF on YouTube)
Davina Porter is a good narrator, but I don't like her male voices. She read some of the early Hamish MacBeth series and made poor Hamish sound slow and stupid. She does better in the Outlander series but I still wish they had a man doing the male voices.
Graeme Malcolm took over in the last half of the Hamish MacBeth series and I like him much better. He did a good job on The Light of Day also.
Barbara Rosenblat is wonderful. I think she was born to be Amelia Peabody and does male voices convincingly as well.
Frederick Davidson may not be cut out to do everything, but I loved his performance in Carry on Jeeves. He's a perfect Bertie Wooster.
I stay well away from anything read by Samuel Gillies (He did the early Ian Rutledge books) or Flo Gibson. I think Rob Inglis sounds like a frog, and his voice breaks constantly in Lord of the Rings.
Sorry, couldn't acquire. She sounds like an older woman, and she doesn't project youth, as, say, Jim Dale does. I was listening to Persuasion and found myself visualizing little old grey-haired ladies running around and realized they were supposed to be in their late teens or twenties. No disrespect intended. I understand she did a lot for the business.
I've listened to most of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's novels (Pendergast series) through Audible, and I really enjoy the books narrated by Rene Auberjonois. I love him as a character on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and now I get to listen to him read these wonderful books aloud. He does a good job with voices and accents.
Allan Corduner also narrates The Book Thief by Markus Zusak}}an awesome experience.
I'm not a big fan of Evelyn Waugh, but I found Christian Rodska's narration of the Sword of Honour Trilogy absolutely captivating. He managed a whole range of distinctive (often rather pompous British military/Eton/Oxbridge) voices that helped me to keep track of the characters and made the whole thing a pleasure to listen to. I'm sure it enhanced my enjoyment of what otherwise might not have been such an exciting read. I even found myself missing his hilarious portrayal of Ritchie-Hook and Apthorpe when - not to spoil the plot - they no longer featured. Aside form the narration, I suspect that Waugh's depiction of the hubris and incompetence of those who run the armed forces is as pertinent today as it was when he wrote the books. Highly recommended!
I like Rodska, too. After I stop thinking of him as Falco, I fall into a nice groove with his narration.
Ha, I've had the Rodska/Falco disconnect too. He is good, and it's pretty easy to get out of the Falco mindset.
127 Digfish: Do try West's reading of Beryl Bainbridge's Injury Time. I hadn't realized he's married to Prunella Scales.
if you're a brave man (or a woman, who's into women), try ANYTHING read by Xe Sands. her voice RADIATES erotica.
also, I love peter jones. think the Guide from the radio play version of the hitchhikers' guide, and the reader of the very bloody history of britain
can anyone recommend me some good readers/books for relaxation and sleeping?
Loved Mark Bramhall's narration of Doc by Mary Doria Russell. He really brought the story alive; it was quite entertaining. I've also enjoyed the narration of James Lee Burke's books by both Mark Hammer and Will Patton.
I'm not all that experienced with audiobooks yet, but Josephine Bailey is my absolute favorite reader so far. I just finished her rendition of Pride and Prejudice, and have also listened to her The Secret Garden and the Libba Bray trilogy that starts with A Great and Terrible Beauty.
I was completely stoked to go to Tantor Media's website and find over 450 unabridged audiobooks on CD for $6.99! I ordered a few more narrated by Bailey, and also decided that at that price, I can go exploring for new readers. :-) I mostly ordered classics that I would not otherwise get around to reading. Color me happy!
I like Josephine Bailey too, Amy. Thanks for the note on Tantor Media. I'll have to check out the site.
If anyone is a fan of Agatha Christie, I highly recommend Hugh Fraser reading the Poirot stories.
For fans of Michael York, try the classics The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
I absolutely love Jeff Woodman reading The King of Attolia. He also does The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and The Life of Pi.
I love Dale, Vance and Prebble, too.
Stephen Fry is my favorite legit audio book readers (I have some favorite amateurs over at librivox, that most people wouldn't be familiar with). His recording of Hitchhiker's Guide made that book for me!
As for favorite audio book readers ever, I'd have to say Martin Geeson and Algy Pug over at Librivox. Their voices make me feel like everything is right in the world. Martin Geeson could murder me, and I'd be ok with it so long as he was narrating the event.
Over Christmas I visited with a friend who has reviewed many many audiobooks. He made a face when I mentioned Tantor Media to him -- said that they seem to allow the readers to "self-edit" and that some do not know how to pronounce many words correctly! I hope I won't be disappointed when I start listening to new readers from the big batch I just ordered from them.
143 > "Martin Geeson could murder me, and I'd be ok with it so long as he was narrating the event."
That's HILARIOUS! And awesome! I may have to fiddle around with my MP3 Player and car radio, and see if I can start listening to some Librivox recordings on my drives.
I have two names to add to my list (post #125):
Try British narrator Gavin Menzies reading 1434 about how Chinese sparked European Renaissance.
1 George Guidall for his readings of The Cat Who.. series. He brought Moose County and its assembled eccentrics absolutely alive for this British listener - and made even the last few, sadly inferior, books listenable.
2 Saul Reichlin, warm-voiced narrator of David Hewson's Rome police series. He has the knack of conveying the Italian-ness of the characters with the subtlest inflections.
3 Juliet Stevenson, particularly for her readings of Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf.
George Guidall also did a brilliant job narrating Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series set in the southwestern USA - they're Navajo Tribal Policemen.
Others I've enjoyed recently:
Eoin Colfer reading Benny & Omar and Benny and Babe by Euan Morton (Novels)
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith reading Midnight Riot - Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Urban Fantasy)
Ralph Cosham aka Geoffrey Howard reading My Dog Tulip by J.R. Ackerley (Autobiography/Biography)
I'm done with George Guidall. I used to love him but his sing-songy narration Fallen Angel of latest Daniel Silva thriller annoyed me so much I had to stop listening and actually read the book. I loved listening to Silva novels which had been narrated by several other readers, John Lee among them. Now that's a reader I recommend.
Well, I wouldn't be done with Guidall, if I were you, maybe just done with him and certain genres. A lot of audiobook publishers don't put much work into finding the right reader. They think "Oh, he does a ton of audiobooks and was good on XYZ, so we'll get him," without thinking about whether he's the right fit for the book/genre.
I listened to a book that sprung from a blog by a youngish guy, written in a young, casual style. They got an older man to read it and UGH, drove me crazy because it was such a bad fit. You could tell the guy didn't know what he was talking about part of the time (and that was extra clear on some due to mispronunciations).
These are my favorite narrators so far with the books that made me love them:
Bianca Amato & Jill Tanner (The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield)
Humphrey Bower (Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts)
Scott Brick (In Cold Blood by Truman Capote)
Gerard Doyle (The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville; The Dead Trilogy by Adrian McKinty)
Grover Gardner (A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias)
Bronson Pinchot (Matterhorn: A Novel of Vietnam by Karl Marlantes)
Simon Prebble (1984 by George Orwell)
Sissy Spacek (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)
Simon Vance (The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson)
Jeff Woodman (Life of Pi by Yann Martel)
And, yes, there are book out there by these same narrators that I really can't stand so maybe for me this is about "Best Performances" :-)
155, 156 - I just finished listening to Davina Porter read Believing the Lie and thought she did a wonderful job with all the various voices.
I've yet to listen to a book read by Tim Curry. Need to fix that. I've also heard good things about Benedict Cumberbatch so need to find an audiobook read by him as well.
Excuse my ignorance as I'm new to this, but how do you find books with these specific readers?
Is Audible generally worthwhile? I've been doing some browsing there.
I think the worth of Audible depends a lot on how good the audiobook section (and buyer) at your library is. Having an Audible membership is certainly far cheaper than trying to buy audiobooks, certainly. Beyond the one credit per month the other books come down in price too.
I've known some people who encountered bad recordings there, but they do have a great return policy. I don't actually have a membership, but I've done the free trial a few times. If you go to Amazon and search for an audiobook that's on Audible you should see the link to the free trial there, which gives you two books. What I find worthwhile (and why I keep making non-audio people I know sign up for trials so I can get their free books), is that I can put them on my Kindle or mp3 player and have my place saved. It makes it easier to listen to a book while I'm cooking or cleaning or out of town.
I love this thread and have yet to read all the suggestions but I wanted to add mccleod Andrews to the list because he's awesome. He has so many voices you can get lost in them (or found).
Of the ones I saw listed John Lee is easily one of my favorites, some may say he is very British and perhaps that's a negative to some but when he reads the Ken follett books he has the best accents I've ever heard. From American English to Russian accented English, male or female, he narrations are just perfect in my opinion.
One last reccomendation is more recent to narration, Kate Rudd, I highly recommend listening to her for a moment to get used to her speech. Because she really grows on you and I want her to read more books.
I just finished listening to The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burke which is narrated by Will Patton. I have also listened to a few other audiobooks written by Burke that Patton narrates and I think he is just perfect. His voice is the one I hear in my head when I read a book by Burke, that's how great he is.
Other narrators that I have enjoyed recently are Simon Vance (whose name has been mentioned by numerous others), Bill Bryson reading his own books, Neil Gaiman reading his own books, MacLeod Andrews who read Robbie Robertson's memoir Testimony and Adam Sims who read Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. Also Jayne Entwistle who does the Flavia de Luce books.
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