Tag: audiobooks


My Favorite Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Do you? Audios are great because they don’t tie me down to a book.  I can listen to them while I’m cleaning house, driving the car, gardening, riding my bike, and steaming in the bath. A good narrator can bring life to a story, even more so than if I read it. Here are some of my favorites: The Thursday Murder Club Author: Richard Osman, Narrator: Lesley Manville. Lesley Manville is brilliant at bringing to life several characters “of a certain age,” which I am so I am particular about how we’re presented. She is witty and brings intelligence, compassion, and wisdom to her narration. The story: The club consists of four retired individuals living in a Kent, England, retirement community. They meet weekly to discuss cold cases purloined from the files of a past member, a detective. Meanwhile the developer of the retirement community wants to add additional housing by removing a convent’s burial ground and building on that space he now owns. Everyone else is opposed to it. As the conflict develops, his contractor is murdered. So the Thursday Murder Club are now investigating an open case. Highfire Author: Eoin Colfer, Narrator: Johnny Heller The […]

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A Book By Any Other Name

To Listen or Not to Listen, That is the Question A discussion is happening on Facebook about the role of audiobooks in bringing obscure writers to a broader audience. The original poster asked if people would want an audiobook version of a book that was hard to find in print if it gave them the chance to discover a new-to-them author. Like most topics on social media, the responses were polarized. Several commenters were anti-audiobook, some thought they were only valuable for people whose vision prevented them from reading words on a page. Listening Has Its Benefits Still others thought audiobooks presented a wonderful way to hear stories, harkening back to the days when most stories were transmitted orally. Plus, audiobooks were much safer while driving. And much easier to manage while cooking dinner or doing the laundry. Listening to a story while you work makes the work fly by. A Book by Any Other Name I fell into the “a book is a book, regardless of format” camp. Anything that offers an opportunity to find a new favorite is a good thing. So, whether you read with your eyes, your ears, or both, read on! Your Turn Which side […]

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The Magic of Audiobooks

I’m a new convert to audiobooks, and as all new converts, I’m now a zealot. Oh, sure, years ago there were “books on tape” and then on CD, but it was just somehow not the same.

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Listen Up

Spoken word audio entertainment has surged in popularity. Podcasts such as “Serial” and “S-Town” rack up millions of listens. The audiobook versions of bestsellers are available for download almost as soon as hardcopies hit bookstores and celebrities such as Claire Danes, Gillian Andersen, David Duchovny, and Trevor Noah perform the narration. I asked my fellow MissDemeanors what their favorite podcasts were and who would be their dream narrator for the audio version of their books. Here’s what they had to say. Cate Holahan:Podcast: Roben Farzad, “Full Disclosure”Narrators: Charlize Theron, Amy Adams, or Halle Berry. Paula Munier:This is an interesting question. When I think of my red-haired heroine in A Borrowing of Bones, I think of someone like Jessica Chastain, beautiful and tough and vulnerable at the same time. She also has a great voice. Susan Breen:There’s an Australian true crime podcast that I really like called, “Casefile.” It’s frustrating because I can’t understand what they’re saying half the time and they don’t generally have a resolution, and yet the stories haunt me. For an audio narrator, I’d love to borrow someone from Midsomer Murders. Maybe Cully [Laura Howard]?(Me: I love “Casefile”. It’s on my Stitcher favorites list.) Tracee deHahn:I love TED Talks because they introduce me to things I hadn’t even thought of, or expand on ideas I’m interested in. I’ll stay silent on audio reader… but am open to suggestions. Someone whose voice we love AND who can give the foreign flair? Now that I think about it, Jodie Foster speaks fluent French! Alison von Rosenvinge (D.A. Bartley):Podcasts: “On Being”, “Freakonomics” and “Hidden Brain”. In no particular order and depending on mood.Narrators: I love Patrick Stewart’s voice, but it’s wrong for a Mormon murder in Utah. So, I think I’ll go with Emma Stone because I like the hint of raspiness in her voice.(Me: Patrick Stewart’s voice isn’t wrong for anything.) Michele Dorsey:Podcasts:  I rarely listen to podcasts because if I’m going to listen to something, it’s a book. I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and have favorite narrators. The late Frank Muller was amazing (Listen to him read Prince of Tides and you will hear his voice forever.) and I like Stephen Hoye. I do love TED Talks.Narrators:  Caroline Shaffer did a great job reading No Virgin Island (other than pronouncing Cop-ley Cope-ly which was like hearing fingernails on a blackboard for this Bostonian). Robin Stuart:The podcast I listen to most often has nothing to do with writing but it makes me laugh, “Sarah & Vinnie’s Secret Show”. They’re the morning team on one of my local radio stations. They do The “Secret Show” to be able to talk about all the raunchy stuff they’re not allowed to say on commercial radio.I second Charlize Theron. Viola Davis has a great voice for a thriller. Either of them could make the most innocuous sentence sound sinister and chilling. Alexia Gordon:My favorite podcasts are: “Casefile:True Crime”, “The Trail Went Cold”, and “Disaster Area”– a cheerful little playlist.And I want Thandie Newton and David Suchet to narrate all my books.  

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I Hear You: You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron

  I am a confessed audiobook addict ever since many years ago when I decided to listen to a book on tape while wrapping Christmas gifts. Much as I had wanted to love Maeve Binchy’s books after friends had raved about them, I had been unable to get into them. But when I heard Tara Road read with brogue, I fell in love with Binchy’s story telling and went on to listen to every one of her books. I can still hear the words from Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides read by Frank Muller, “Do it again, Mama.” Muller’s narration is celebrated by Conroy in a comment on Audible where he says about Muller, “He gave me, Pat Conroy, the author, a work of art, and I’ve been grateful ever since.”I’ve been hooked on audiobooks ever since. I used to listen while I was driving home from teaching in the evening and would be so involved in the book I was listening to, my husband would come out to the car to tell me to come in. Now that I can sync audiobooks with written books, I’m in heaven and spend less time in the driveway.            This week I am listening to Hallie Ephron’s latest suspense novel, You’ll Never Know Dear, which is narrated by Amy McFadden. Here’s a description of the plot from Amazon: Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey. Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the doll came home.            Already an Audiofile Earphones Winner, the book grabbed me right away. (Their review called it a “must-listen.” http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/128893/) Unlike in many mysteries where there is predictably a dead body on the first page, Ephron seduces you with suspense, luring you with ordinary events that you know won’t last because something terrible has happened and something even worse is on it’s way. McFadden’s narration conveys a sense of foreboding without overdramatizing. Ephron and McFadden are a powerful duo, complimenting one another, unlike some books where it sounds like the narrator is competing with the author.           I wondered what Hallie thought about listening to someone else read her novel of suspense. “It’s scary listening to someone else read your book because, of course, it’s never the same as the voice you heard in your head when you were writing it. Our narrator, Amy McFadden, did a superb job. Her voice is clear as a bell, and she captured the characters perfectly including their southern accents and edge. I was thrilled.”She should be. The book is terrific with a solid plot and intriguing characters in its own right. Add to it the power of narration and you can’t miss. For me, You’ll Never Know Dear will fill hours while I am driving, walking, doing dishes and laundry, all the while in another world. Here’s a link to an excerpt (the first 5 minutes) from the audio book… https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio_us/youll-never-know-dear-by-hallie-ephron?in=harperaudio_us/sets/williammorrowbooks, if you’d like to join me.  

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Give in to the humbug–once in a while

 Peace. Love. Joy. All words we associate with Christmas, a time of year when millions the world over celebrate the birth of Christ or the arrival of Santa. A time when people look forward to gathering with loved ones to share holiday cheer.  But Christmas isn’t so merry for many. A lot of us suffer from the Christmas blues. I don’t mean clinical depression, a medical illness that demands professional medical attention, or the sadness and grief many feel during the holidays as they remember lost loved ones or deal with family estrangement or cope with being alone and lonely during a time of year second only to Valentine’s Day for its emphasis on being with “someone special.” I mean that blah feeling some of us suffer when all the holly-jolly becomes too much to bear. Joy overload. We hit a wall where we don’t want to hang one more ornament on the tree, put up one more string of lights, or stuff one more stocking. We crave home décor that’s not red, green, plaid, or emblazoned with whimsical woodland creatures. If you’ve ever envisioned hiding the Elf on the Shelf in the garbage disposal—head down—with the switch on—you know what I mean. We conceal these unseasonal thoughts lest friends, family, and co-workers label us socially unacceptable. But sometimes, when we’re all alone and no one, not even the rotund man-child who hangs out in the Arctic playing with elves, is watching we give vent to our inner grinch.  Books often provide an escape from the all-consuming merry brightness of the holiday season. Google “Christmas murder mystery novels” and you’ll find enough tales of holiday homicide to keep you going until Easter. Even icons from the golden age of mystery, like Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, weren’t above killing off a few revelers during fatal festivities. I just listened to Hugh Fraser narrate Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. This was right after I’d listened to Patrick Stewart narrate Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, which, except for the bit at the end, is actually a very dark story. Now that I’ve quieted my bah humbug I can sing along with Christmas carols on the car radio, cry during heartfelt holiday movies, and celebrate the joy of the season that prompts us to be a little bit more generous toward our fellow human beings than we are the other eleven months of the year. And if you really were imagining a certain elfin spy stuffed into an In-sink-erator you’re not alone. “Ways to destroy Elf on the Shelf” generated more than four million results on Google, including a You Tube video and a NSFW Pinterest page. 

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