Elizabeth: I’m Listening

On my evening walk today, I started listening to a new audiobook that finally appeared in my queue from the local library.  I’m not a great fan of audiobooks, but since they are often more readily available at the library than eBooks are, I’ve started to increase my listening.  It’s also much easier to listen to a book while walking than to attempt to read one.

Safer too.

Today’s book is the first book I’ve listened to that is narrated by a female.  My 40-minute walk got me somewhere in the midst of chapter 2 and I’m not completely certain whether we will make it to the end together or not, both because of the narrator’s voice and because everything so far has felt very prologue-ish.

Not that I don’t love a good prologue, but when even I start thinking “when is this story going to start?” there may be a problem.  The book was highly recommended, so I’m soldiering on, but I may wind up switching to the eBook version to finish the story.

We’ll see.

I think I’ve mentioned before now much I’ve enjoyed listening to the first ten Louise Penny Inspector Gamache mysteries over the past few years.  The late Ralph Cosham narrated those first ten books, and I just adore his voice.  With his narrations, I forget someone is reading the story to me and actually feel I’ve fallen into the story.  The narrator who picked up the series after Cosham’s death is apparently a very talented, award-winning actor/narrator, but his narrations don’t send me at all and occasionally descend into nails-on-the-blackboard territory.  Perhaps it is the difference between a narrator who is reading the story and one who is acting the story out a bit.  Or perhaps I just associate the characters which the narration I heard first, in which case no one else is likely to work for me.

I have listened to a number of audiobooks “read by the author” – mainly non-fiction / biography – and for the most part have enjoyed them,  though I will admit there have been times, even (heaven forbid) when listening to Michelle Obama’s book, when I’ve thought “can we pick up the pace here?”  I feel like I get a bit of extra insight when an author reads his/her own book, but that might just be me.  Regardless of who is doing the reading, when listening I seem to have a shorter tolerance for stories that drag on than I do when reading.

Putting aside the slow start to my current audiobook, I’m curious to hear,  from those who actually do enjoy audiobooks, what makes a narrator listen-able and what would make you say thanks, but no thanks.

If you are an audiobook fan, do you have any favorite stories or favorite narrators that you’d recommend or, like our book-rating discussion earlier this week, does it “depend?”

2 thoughts on “Elizabeth: I’m Listening

  1. I have a few audio books. I probably haven’t listened to enough of them to say too much. It is getting harder to read books – they make the font so small and then often have cream pages so they are getting tough for me as my eyes get older. So even though I prefer books have have gone over mostly to ebooks for ease of reading (& storage 😀 ). I started getting some audio books so I could listen while doing other things. I really love to listen to podcasts and audio books while I art. It doubles the pleasure and in a weird way seems to allow me to focus on both a little better in a more relaxed way. I think you are right about story and story pacing issues – they do seem to stick out more in an audio book and it can seem harder to get through because in a real book my eyes and mind will tend skip stuff sometimes to see if it is just a small slow spot – but you don’t usually fast forward the same on an audio.

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