Many of us relinquished the pleasure of listening to stories as part of the process of “growing up.” A couple years ago I realized that I could reclaim that delight, and became hooked on audio books. Now, I can’t imagine riding the bus or walking to work without a good story to listen to.
The reader’s voice is so important in audio books. I’ve had to stop listening to otherwise good books because the narrator’s voice grated on me, and conversely some readers have become such valued companions that I’ve branched out of my genre comfort zone to follow a particular reader.
Following, in no particular order, is a list of FAVORITE AUDIO READERS based on an informal poll of Library staff:
Reading his own books, especially Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man. His lilting Irish brogue is so integral to the text, it’s hard to imagine that a anyone reading words on a page could appreciate his genius and side-splitting humor.
She’s a great reader and records a number of contemporary literary African American authors including Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Maya Angelou and Virginia Hamilton.
Reading Elizabeth Berg’s trilogy Joy School, True to Form, & Durable Goods. Jen, a local actress, captures the sweet innocence of a little girl’s voice without the cutesy cliches. From the first sentence, you strike an immediate rapport with her spirited interpretation.
Her greatest talents lie with her ability to do multiple characters and accents flawlessly and with humor! My favorite series read by Rosenblatt is Elizabeth Peters’ mysteries about Victorian Egyptologist, Amelia Peabody.
A very popular reader. For me, it is his way with irony: a voice that says it knows all, but is only telling so much.
Her smooth, intelligent, crisp but warm British voice is remarkably soothing. I really enjoyed Course of Honor by Lindsey Davis, set in ancient Rome as well as two books by Joanne Harris both set in small-town France: Five Quarters of the Orange and Chocolat.
That weathered accent and mild perplexity: the man can read Faulkner. ’nuff said.
I take one of his audio books with me any time I go on a road trip because he’s so terribly funny. Listening to David Sedaris is more hilarious than reading David Sedaris.
You can tell he takes the time to understand each character. And he can be hilarious.
C. J. Critt
Her reading of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich adds a whole new layer of humor to this already screamingly funny plot line – especially when she does Stephanie talking to her pet hamster!
I love Bryson reading any of his own books. We are currently listening to Notes from a Small Island – where he imitates some of the unintelligible accents he encounters in rural British pubs – which is just hysterical.
Dale received many votes! He does a marvelous job reading the Harry Potter series. He has a different voice for each of the many characters, making them seem like real (and interesting) individuals.
A Seattle native whose rich voice and command of British, Indian, and American dialects make any book a pleasure to hear.
He chooses the right books to read. Who else should read Lemony Snicket, really? And he’s wonderful in Garth Nix’s Necromancer series; I could listen to him say “in Death” all day. (The series begins with the book Sabriel and is Young Adult.)
Our favorite of his is A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck which is a children’s book but McLarty also reads a lot of adult books. He really makes the characters come alive.
Finding Audio Books at the Library
In the Library Catalog you can retrieve a list of audio books recorded by a particular reader – just search by the reader’s name in the “Author starts with” field. (For the readers mentioned above, click on their name to link to the Catalog listing.)
The Library offers audio books in a variety of formats – CDs, cassette tapes, digital audio books, and podcasts (the podcasts generally are recordings of author reading events at the Library).
So, who is your favorite audio book reader? Or, are there certain readers you just can’t stand? Let us know!