Magnolia’s Favorite Audiobooks

“If I don’t like the [narrator’s] voice, I can’t listen. If I like the voice, I can listen to almost anything!”  — Magnolia Library Patron

image-of-da-vinci-code-audiobook-courtesy-of-incurable-hWhile there’s nothing like sitting down with a good book and thumbing through the pages, sometimes listening to a book read by a really talented narrator can be an even more captivating experience – and it’s a much safer way to read in the car! We recently asked patrons of the Magnolia library to tell us about some of their favorite narrators and the audio books where they feel these narrators have done their best work. If you’d like to listen to a good book but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a list that will get you on your way.

Tip of the Day: Once you find a narrator you like, you can always search for more audio books with the same voice by entering the his or her name as a keyword in the “author” search box of the Seattle Public Library catalog. Not sure what I mean? Just Ask a Librarian!

Alyssa Bresnahan – This prolific narrator of books for children, teens, and adults received AudioFile Magazine’s award for Best Young Adult narration in 2008, for the book Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Titles she’s narrated for adults include The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, which won a Pulitzer prize.

Jonathan Cecil – The son of an English nobleman, Cecil is especially noted for his rendition of the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse. If you enjoy his narration and would like to put a face to the voice, the library also owns several entertaining mystery DVDs in which he appears as an actor.

Jim Dale – This talented singer and image-of-jim-dale-reading-harry-potter-courtesy-of-scott-ablemanactor is best known for his award-winning performance of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The 146 different character voices he created and sustained throughout the Harry Potter saga earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Look for Dale in the library catalog and you’ll find a variety of his audio books and see the man himself in the ABC television series Pushing Daisies.

image-of-kate-flemingKate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) – The winner of a host of awards for narration, Fleming’s favorite projects include Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and The Painted Drum by Louise Eridrich. Fleming is also very fondly remembered in Seattle for volunteering her time to narrate books for the blind at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. She died tragically in her Seattle home as the result of a flash flood during the winter storm of 2006, but her voice lives on.

George Guidall – AudioFile magazine dubbed Guidall Best Voice in image-of-george-guidall-readingMystery & Suspense for 2008. He is a prolific narrator with an unusually broad range, whose work includes Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who mystery series, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb-one of Mr. Guidall’s favorite projects.

Lorelei King – Ms. King as another award winning narrator who received high praise at Magnolia for her performance on several books by Janet Evanovich. Though she is an American actress, King works in London and regularly appears on British TV.

Barbara Rosenblat – This acclaimed narrator is often praised for her compelling characterization, facility with a wide range of accents and dialects, and the ability to narrate almost any genre. At Magnolia, patrons speak most highly of her work on the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman, which they say is a delight.

Patrick Tull – Fans of historical settings and seafaring adventures may really enjoy Tull’s engaging rendition of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey Maturin series. Main characters include a dashing ship’s captain and his surgeon, who moonlights as a philosopher and secret agent. Check it out!

7 thoughts on “Magnolia’s Favorite Audiobooks”

  1. I was not aware that my favorite audiobook reader, who I knew as Anna Fields, had died. She had a lovely voice and was very talented. Thanks for the information.

  2. Oh, Pushing Diasies another show cancelled for no good reason. Bryan Fuller must be cursed Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and now Pushing Diasies…tear.

  3. Occasionally the author herself does the reading for the audio book. The one that comes to mind is Louise Rennison, author of the hilarious Diary of Georgia Nicholson series for teens. Her rendition of current young Brit slang is a lot of fun. One fabulosity is calling the USA, “Hamburger-a-gogo land”.

  4. The fabulous, late Lynne Thigpen was a favorite of mine. She tended to stick to African American Literature. Her rendition of Toni Morrison’s JAZZ is incredible. She was also a fabulous actress and for you fans of geography she was the Chief on the Carmen Sandiego televisoin program. Sadly she passed away in 2003.

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