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Your favorite audiobooks?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Doran Gaston
Joined: 07 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: United States, TX

Since we're on the subject of books and reading this week, I thought I would ask other forum readers about audiobooks that they like. I know that some people probably look down on audiobooks a little and see them as a lazy person's way of reading, but weren't stories read out loud before they were ever written down? I read plenty of traditional books, but I enjoy a good audiobook occasionally, particularly a good scary one I can listen to at night in the dark. If the person reading the book is a good actor, that can enhance the experience of a good book or at least make a mediocre one a little more tolerable. Last night, I listened to a tape of Stephen King's story "The Man in the Black Suit" read by John Cullum, who does a great creepy reading of the title character's dialogue.

The local public library has a lot of good stuff on tape that I can record onto my laptop as an mp3, I have a lot of stuff that's probably good that I haven't gotten around to listening to yet. Here's some good audiobooks I've listened to recently:

Tales of Horror and Tales of Mystery & Horror by Edgar Allen Poe read by Christopher Lee: This is a fairly rare, long out-of-print set of tapes I found at the library, and, as you'd expect, Christopher Lee does a wonderful job of reading these stories.

The Edgar Allen Poe audio collection: This is also good, this is a collection of stories available on CD read by Basil Rathbone with a couple read by the great Vincent Price

The Dark Tower V-VII by Stephen King read by George Guidell

The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard read by Tom Wopat, Henry Rollins, and David Straithairn

There are also some good free/CC-licensed audiobooks that can be found online. Escape Pod and PseudoPod are podcasts of CC-licensed science fiction and horror stories (the latter is flagged as an "Adults Only" podcast):

There's also, which has volunteer readings of PD books, stories, and poems, I haven't listened to a lot of stuff on this site yet, but what I've listened to so far is pretty good.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:36 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 22

Oo, I loooooooove audiobooks; have been addicted to them ever since I got an Ipod. Some favs:
Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, read by the English comic actor Lenny Henry.
The English Harry Potter audiobooks, read by Stephen Fry.
Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan, read by Arte Johnson.
Jeffery Eugenides' Middlesex, read by Kristoffer Tabori.
Harold Bloom says that listening to audiobooks isn't really reading. Maybe that's true but it's still a fabulous way to experience literature!
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 10:21 pm Reply with quote
Nom Deguerre
Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2

I love to read printed books, but I also enjoy listening to audiobooks. Since I don't have a lot of free time, and I have an endless list of books I want to read, audiobooks let me squeeze in a few extra books each month.

I've found that good books don't always make good audiobooks; for example, I don't try to listen to intricately plotted mysteries, or books with a huge cast of characters, or books containing lots of technical information, because these types of books are difficult for me to follow in audiobook form. Also, the quality of the narration can make or break an audiobook--I have quit listening to books because the narrator was too flat, or too difficult to listen to, or mispronounced too many words.

Lately I've been listening to the books by Alexander McCall Smith in the #1 Ladies Detective series. The narrator is wonderful, and I enjoy hearing her pronounce the Botswanan (?) names of the characters. If you've never read the books, they are not actually "detective" books, but rather a series of books about the proprietor of a detective agency in Botswana, and everyday life in the little town where she lives. They make for great light reading/listening.
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 22

I completely agree with Nom Deguerre- I too have given up on some audiobooks that I think will make fine reads, but the narration was so flat as to be unlistenable!
I especially wonder why authors are allowed to do their own readings. It's a rare case (Simon Winchester springs to mind as one) of an author who can also read beautifully.
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A little question...
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 28
Location: Spain

ptillen wrote:
I especially wonder why authors are allowed to do their own readings.

Why shouldn't writers be allowed (?) to do their own readings? I mean, what is the reason sustaining that?

It's funny... That's also a statement you hear in academic circles in Spain... And it makes me wonder. Why is it said - as if everybody agreed - that writers' readings of their own work should be left to... somebody else? (Who? Actors and actresses? Other writers? Scholars?)


It's an empirical question!

Here is the new thread:
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Your favorite audiobooks?
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