Sunday, April 30, 2006

Audiobooks: The fab and the blah

I am absolutely, utterly and unreservedly in love with my iPod! And no, it’s not only because of the porn Harlot send me. A big part of it is that I’m listening to the complete Harry Potter audiobook collection read by the incredibly talented Jim Dale.

I “read” my first audiobook, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, last summer while waiting for the release of book 6 and had mixed feelings about the whole listening to books trend. I found myself spacing out and missing big chunks of chapters, or I would simply wander off around my apartment, then remembering ten minutes later that I was listening to a book and would come back to be completely lost!!! Needless to say, I gave up listening to books—until a couple of weeks ago.

My experience this time around has been totally different. Jim Dale is incredibly captivating and charismatic; his voices are magnificent and the narration is wonderful. I don’t need to be told who is speaking, and it’s very easy to tell who is who when there are multiple characters in one scene (there are over ten characters in most scenes!). It’s all so seamless and perfect. He’s truly a delight to listen to. It’s a whole new experience, like reading entirely new books, even when I’ve read and re-read all the novels in this collection obsessively over the past couple of years.

I think I have been spoiled for any other audiobook reader. *sigh* I got some Nora Roberts books read by Sandra Burr, and it has to be said: listening to this woman is as much fun as watching paint dry. Her voice is very monotonous; you can’t tell which character is which because everyone talks exactly the same! I can’t help but imagine her having awful sex with a 90-year-old impotent geyser while she’s reading these novels out loud—that’s how bored she sounds!

Something similar is happening with Bridget Jones’s Diary read by Tracie Bennett. Hard to say which of these two is worse—not that I’m going to sit around and waste more time pondering it LOL.

So I ask, am I doomed forever? Will I not be able to enjoy another audiobook after Jim Dale has ruined me for every other man, er, reader, I mean? Or will our wonderful readers come to my rescue with fabulous recommendations that I can actually sit down and listen to without gagging?

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20 comment(s):

Anonymous Angela Low said...

I love Jim Dale he is wonderful!!
And of course Harry as well.
Can't wait for the last book.

4/30/2006 06:55:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Oh i LOVE Jim Dale! He's a genius! :P I think no HP fan should be without HP audiobooks read by Jim Dale, because listening to him read HP is another way of discovering Harry's world. I would listen to him for hours and would just be amazed how good he is.

Babe, about those Nora Roberts audios, um... correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those the SAME ones you've sent to me??? And you're pushing me to listen to that crap!!! I knew it!!! Grrrr..

4/30/2006 07:26:00 AM  

Blogger Marg said...

I listened to the Chesapeake Bay trilogy and thought the narrator was very good.

The best audiobooks I have heard are Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, and just recently I listened to one of the Amelia Peabody books as the narrator was fantastic!

The worst one for me...Kathy Bates reading One Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

The best thing about audiobooks is that you can listen while you doing something else. The worst's not all that easy to take a sneak peek at the ending!

4/30/2006 07:46:00 AM  

Anonymous Betsy said...

LIstening to Harry POtter is how I first read them. I was working at a miserable job that allowed me to listen to music or books all day (the only thing that kept many people from going postal there...)
Jim Dale is AMAZING- I find when I am reading the books, I have his character voices going thru my head. I don't know if I would enjoy the books nearly as much if I hadn't listened to them first. And I agree with the Jane Smiley comment- it was HORRID! Another decent one is Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd- I listened to it on the very long drive to the Black Hills last summer- well done.

4/30/2006 11:15:00 AM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

Then under no circumstances must you try the reader of Diana Gabaldon's book! OMG. She totally ruined Jamie for me!

However, John Grisham picks really good readers. I like his reader in Rainmaker, and all his newer books too.

Elizabeth Lowell has a really good reader in THE COLOR OF DEATH....except that the story might drive you up the wall. This reader does a convincing job of sounding like a man...I thought there were two readers in the book.

Jodie Picoult's MY SISTER'S KEEPER has a great reader too...two of them.

Also McCollough's THE THORN BIRDS even though the book is old and long, the reader just takes you right in.

4/30/2006 12:51:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

I could never listen to a book that I haven't read before.

After listening to my one and only audio, MATCH ME IF YOU CAN, SEP, I found (like Trollop) that my mind would wander, Ok since I already read it. And it was excellent. EXCEPT, the voice of Heath and Brodie were too "hick-like". I "heard" them beinging a little more polished in my mind. Similar to what probably happens to a book goes to movie, it alters your perception of it.

Audiobooks are the PERFECT thing to do on an plane trip though.

But for home I enjoy my own version of a book in my mind :)

And why are SOME of them so expensive??

4/30/2006 02:06:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...


The same happens to me, I can only listen to things I've read before, b/c I dont think I'll understand anything at all any other way!!!

This woman that does bridget, she's so Blah!!! So un-bridget like. Hard to listen to when I keep thinking "bridget does not talk like a bored old hag!! lol

And yes, they're so freaking expensive, even just downloading them! And it's so fucking frustrating when the reader is bad :(

The Angels and Demons reader Poe something, sounds ok so far, we'll see.

BTW, my only beef with Jim Dale is his Hermoine. He makes her sound like a whinny little girl :S

4/30/2006 02:44:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Have to ask, has anyone tried Anna Fields? I know i have no right to judge yet LOL as i've yet to hear an audiobook read by her; just can't believe she won "Best Narrator of the Year" over Jim Dale. :S

4/30/2006 04:07:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Oh, Anna Fields apparently also goes by the name Kate Fleming. :P

4/30/2006 04:10:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Harlot, she did MMIYC. I enjoyed it very much, but I have nothing else to compare it to. And, as I said, I wasn't thrilled with her portrayal of Heath and Brodie, but the other characters were very well-done :)

4/30/2006 04:25:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

Serendipity, did you listen to the abridged version of the Outlander books? I've listened to the last Outlander book narrated by Davina Porter and she was good. She has also narrated a couple of Katie Fforde books which were good too!
I have heard that the abridged books are terrible though.

Betsy, not only was it the fact that the reading by Kathy Bates was terrible, but it ended up being an abridged version and there was nothing anywhere to indicate that until I had listened to the whole thing, and then it said that it was an abridgement!

4/30/2006 04:30:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Hotmama, so she's good.. hmm..

Hey, have you read the Harry Potter series? :D Maybe you should try the audiobooks. I still believe Jim Dale is the best LOL :P

5/01/2006 01:13:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

My only audiobooks are the HP ones. No romance novel yet. So, was wondering, how do these readers go with the sex scenes? I mean, do they read everything? Like the moaning and stuff LOL Inquiring mind needs to know. :P

5/01/2006 01:20:00 PM  

Blogger TheNinjaKitten said...

Jim Dale is well and truly excellent, but he's not the only guy who can narrate the hell out of a book. One of the librarian listservs did a roundup of "Better on Audio Book Books"-- I listed the top audio books here...if you're curious about other great narrators, it's a good place to start.

5/01/2006 03:36:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

ohhh listening to Angels and Demons the narrator is very good! :D

5/01/2006 04:00:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...


Tk you for the list :D welcome aboard!

5/01/2006 04:04:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Lol, I wondered myself about how the narrators pull off the sex scene;)

In the one I've listened to, MMIYC, yes, she reads everything. And when the scene starts to "heat" up, she picks up the pace of her recitation, her tone, and it works :D Amazingly !

I really want to hear her do BREATHING ROOM, how she does Ren, speaks italian....but I have to figure out how to get it cheaper than $85!

5/01/2006 09:25:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...


Email me and I'll let you know about getting BR cheaper :P well, I think I can help you get it cheaper. We'll see ;)

5/01/2006 09:45:00 PM  

Blogger La Karibane said...

just wanted to add that my first book by Crusie was Welcome To Temptation in audiobook, K7s actually from Brilliance. It's Aasne Vigeesa and she's great.

All the previous discussions of audiobooks I've read give her name as a good reader.

And the sex scenes are not as gross or embarrassing. They're really good, actually.

5/04/2006 11:07:00 PM  

Blogger Seal&Vito said...

recommend a book for me
whatever it is
im bored

7/24/2006 02:06:00 AM