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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Audiobook Week 2011: Day 2

Best audiobook narrators; audiobook reviews

Day Two of Audiobook Week at Devourer of Books!  Today, Jen asks us about the sound of audio books...single narrator vs. multiple narrator, sound effects, etc.


The reader of an audiobook makes or breaks the story.  In three years of listening to books, I've realized that even more than author, plot, character, etc., the narrator is the most important factor.  I've had great narrators turn a so-so book into a perfectly wonderful story, and alternately, bad narrators just kill a great book.  I've come to rely on a few narrators who consistently do a good job voicing books, and I'll listen to almost anything they read:

Book cover of The Help by Kathryn StockettI always preferred single narrators, until I listened to The Help, which was without a doubt the single best audiobook I've ever listened to.  It's read by four women - one of whom will be playing one of the largest roles in the movie this summer - and they do a phenomenal job with this book.  If you don't think you like audiobooks, just give this one a shot.

Sound effects

Book cover of The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanI'm ambivalent about sound effects in audiobooks.  If the studio and narrator can make it work without seeming overly dramatic or cheesy, then I'm ok with it.  When used sparingly and appropriately, music can greatly enhance the story.  Case in point: The Graveyard Book, read by Neil Gaiman. Throughout the audio, Gaiman and the producers used music very well and this added to the creep factor.  As I said, though, I think the narrator is the most important factor, and with a great narrator sound effects can be unnecessarily distracting.

How about you?  What are your thoughts on the production values of audiobooks?  Any major pluses or minuses?

If you're interested in participating in Jen's Audiobook Week, or want to read some of the other postings, check them out here.

Audiobook reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm


  1. There were sound effects in The Graveyard Book? I didn't even notice! They must have been particularly well done.

  2. Not so much sound effects, more just a fair amount of music. Creepy music, too, so I kinda liked it.

  3. I can see how well done sound effects could add to the creepyness factor.

  4. I've heard great things about the audio verson of The Help...and even though I read the book last year, I think I am going to listen to it this summer on one of my many trips!

    My answer to today's questions can be found here.

  5. The Help is my favorite audiobook, too! I absolutely agree that the narrator is the most important factor in audiobook enjoyment... Sedaris is awesome.

  6. I've heard such great things about the help!

  7. I'm with Jen. I never noticed the sound effects in The Graveyard Book. Incredible! I guess that is the way sound effects should be.

  8. Sorry, lest anyone get the wrong idea, I don't think there are any sound effects in The Graveyard Book! There is a lot of music, though...I should have been clearer that that's what I was referring to! Must have written too fast - that's just how much I want to write about audio books! ;)

  9. I am not one for author self read book - but The Graveyard Book is a perfect example of what works well in audio..



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