Todays topic for Audiobook week is a general introduction to our audiobook listening. A lot of questions around my audiobook listening can be found in my answers to last years Audibook Week Meme so I thought I would spend some time today talking about the books I have listened to this year.
I have only listened to 9 audiobooks since last years Audiobook Week (and one in progress). There are many different reasons for this and none of them are particularly good. I wish I had listened to more. I have a tonne of books downloaded I just haven’t really had the time. The books I HAVE listened to have mostly been really good.
First out are two Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Stephen Fry. I adore these books and I adore Fry’s narration. For me they are just perfection. The Harry Potter books, narrated by Stephen Fry, were some of my first ever audiobooks as an adult, and they continue to be books I can go to when I am in need of comfort.
Next we have The Graveyard Book written and narrated by Neil Gaiman. I loved this book but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. There was something very endearing about the characters and the writing was perfect. Gaiman also reads his own book very well. By utilising inflections and accents the different characters become easily identifiable and the story is easier to follow.
Then we have my only non-fiction audiobook of the last twelve months: True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy, narrated by John Bedford Lloyd. The reason I don’t listen to a lot of non-fiction is because, as I note in this review, I like to make notes on non-fiction books. Despite this I really enjoyed this book. I thought it presented a fascinating picture of American politics. The narration was superb. I actually felt as if Kennedy himself was telling me the story while we sat in his home.
The Odyssey by Homer was a book I chose to listen to because that was what the author originally intended. It was the Robert Fagles translation narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. Both the translation and the narration was really well done. I will admit that it took me a while to remember that all the repetitions I heard were there to make it easier for me as a listener to follow the story. Once I realised this I was better able to follow the story. I really quite enjoyed this story.
Room by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Michal Friedman , Ellen Archer , Suzanne Toren , Robert Petkoff was one of my favourite books of the past 12 months. And I am incredibly glad I listened to it. The narrators did such a wonderful job of making the story come to life, I especially enjoyed the voice of Jack. I was a bit sceptical about the child voice but the narrator won me over very quickly (more about this tomorrow).
The Help by Kathryn Stockett, narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer and Cassandra Campbell, was another multiple narrator hit for me. The story was a bit slow getting started but once I got into it I couldn’t stop listening. The multiple narrators here really helped me keep the different stories straight. The story told was a great way of showing history through fiction. I have a feeling that this book will fall in the modern classic category.
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, narrated by Sarita Choudhury and Ajay Naidu, was my one disappointing audiobook this year. Although I have some appreciation of some of the themes in this book, in general I found it to be VERY depressing. The quality of the narration was generally high, until I got to the last story where the narrator for some reason decided to give the Swedish character a German accent. It was BAD and really annoyed me, and as a consequence really took away from my enjoyment of the story.
Overall this year I have mostly listened to my audiobooks when travelling (True Compass), walking or lately, on my iPhone in the car while driving to and from work. The only reason I don’t do more listening while driving is that there are current event radio shows on that I like for most of my commute. I do hope to be doing more listening in the fall when hopefully I can get some consistency in my exercising when my commute goes from 45-55 minutes each way to 5 minutes each way (fingers crossed). As its been this spring the long hours at work coupled with the long commute has made for little listening.