May 21, 2012

The Joys of Audio: Reading Edition

I've always loved audiobooks. Mom and I used to go 'shopping' for them at the public library; we'd scour the Mystery shelves together, her because she loves mysteries, me because I wanted to love whatever she loved. I discovered some fantastic books this way. At thirteen I got very sick and spent several months chained to a couch, knitting really ugly scarves with my one good eye and listening to audiobooks. My poor eyesight meant I couldn't really read, so it was good to feel that there was still a way for me to ingest stories.

There's nothing like being read to; it makes me feel like a little girl again. I clean to them, drive to them, and sometimes fall asleep to them. A book read really well can make a story come alive. Even so, my audiobook love often strikes me as something of an old lady habit, but more and more books I've read and want to read are being respun into audio, read by interesting people - especially in YA. Here are some of the best audiobooks I've enjoyed in the last few years. I read them all first, and I can tell you that these renditions are well worth taking the time to enjoy.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater (read by Steve West & Fiona Hardingham). I loved this book when I read it, and I loved it even more when listening to it. These readers evoke all the atmosphere and sense of place the book does so well. I liked it so much I listened to it more than a row.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (read by George Guidall). I listened to this before bed (a very relaxing way to wind down) and was completely captivated by this guy's reading voice. It is deep and kind of craggy, perfectly suited to this story.

A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson (read by William Roberts). This book is very funny, but it was William Roberts' rendition of it that made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself. He brings Bill Bryson's dry humor to life and turns interactions between Katz and Bryson into comic gold.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver (read by Jeremy Northam). I feel that I should just be able to say 'Jeremy Northam' and leave it at that...he performs this book so, so well. He takes its creep factor and turns it up several notches (in a very good way). Don't listen to it before bed or on dark car rides, though. Trust me.

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman (read by a long list of great-sounding people). I listened to these on a very, very long car ride. They made me fall in love with Pullman's world all over again.

Current song obsession: "War" by Gossling

1 comment:

  1. Oh my GOD Brad and I listened to American Gods on a long car ride (or 2) and we still joke about it! When something is really long, confusing and strange we'll say "Ammmerican Gods. Chapter 1 million forty three, section 8, page 1,305." That book... man. Mary recommended it and Brad and I were pretty much looking at each other the whole time going Whaaaa? Guy had a great voice though, still in our heads after many years!