Friday, May 8, 2015

Brandee's Bookish Babble #2 ~ What Makes Great Audio?

Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) So this is my new discussion meme.


I'm a relative newbie to audiobooks. Currently, I've listened to 4 and I've started my 5th. My first audiobook was a series that was new to me but came highly recommended (in audio) from Berls @Fantasy is More Fun. I listened to it while on vacation, driving around the East coast, so that may have detracted from my enjoyment. While I did like the story and the narrator, I felt like I didn't become invested in it the way I might've had I read it instead.

My second listen was from a series I LOVE. And I really liked the narrator's voice as well. But again, I didn't become as immersed in the story as I thought I should seeing as it was a series I was familiar with.

My third was a game changer for me! It was a new author to me but I loved everything about it.

So this all got me to thinking...what does it take to make a great listen? 

Is it just about a well-written story? Or can a great narrator keep you riveted to your listening device? Or is it some combination of both? Can a narrator's voice turn you off even if it isn't necessarily irritating in any way? Is it all just personal preference???

I still haven't figured it out. I haven't met a narrator yet whose voice reminded me of George Costanza, and therefore made me cringe. But I can tell you that I did download two more books from the narrator of my game changer listen.

What about you? Are you an audio-reader? What makes great audio for you?


  1. Do you know what I find interesting in Audio? The American accent! I listened to one, from both male and female narrators and laughed at them more than anything!! lol

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  2. I think it's a mix for me, Brandee, but just having a great story isn't enough, the narrator has to be awesome as well. And sadly, even my favorite narrator couldn't make me happy listening to a grocery list.
    The very first audio I listened to put me to sleep on a long trans-atlantic flight. And it was one of my favorite books, too, Outlander. The narrator just didn't do it for me, but my was I happy when I arrived in Canada with almost no jet-lag ;)
    Bahni Turpin narrates the Downside Ghosts series, and I'm in love with her voice! Of course, I already love Chess and Terrible, but Turpin just brings them so completely to life, Downside accent and all!
    I tend to take a lot longer time to listen to an audiobook than to read myself, and so, I usually prefer reading to listening. I guess I need to get into the habit of listening to audio when I walk to work, that would help.
    Great post, Brandee!
    Four more days!!! *happy dances* I can't wait! *BIG HUGS*

  3. I can't do audio. Idle hands and all, I'd end up multi tasking and get more focused on what I'm doing than listening. Maybe I can while I do my walks but I don't do much of those either. It took me 4 weeks to finish a 4 hour audio! No Bueno.

  4. I only listened to about 20 books so far, and I really only had one bad experience, which was a mix of bad writing and the absolute worst narrator for it. Otherwise, I love audiobooks, and yes, I believe that the narrator has a lot to do with the enjoyment or lack thereof of a title. A good book narrated by the right person is the perfect companion for gardening, for example :)

  5. Thanks to SYNC, I've gotten hooked on audiobooks. I listen during my commute. I've found that I can't do much else and listen at the same time. I get distracted.

    My favorite books so far? Code Name Verity and The Night Circus (Jim Dale is AMAZING!).

    What makes a good audiobook? A strong narrator and a compelling plot.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

  6. The narrator can make or break an audiobook, definitely. I just started listening to an audiobook for review - and the narrator is AWFUL - sounds like a kid reading aloud in class. Of course the story has to be good too. A boring story even if read well can still make it hard to enjoy the audiobook.

  7. I can't tell you how excites I was to see this question pop up from YOU! Squee! You may not be an audio junkie yet, but its on your horizon ;) I do think narrator preferences are very subjective. Some - like Amanda Ronconi that I recommended - seem to be universally liked, but that sweet spot that really pulls you in - I think you have to find that through trial and error. Keep looking, you'll find more like your game changer one :D See you TOMORROW!!!

  8. I am fairly new also, but as I do with my books on Kindle, I am filling up a nice library from Audible as well. My problem is, I don't work, and don't have that many tasks to take care of where I could listen while I do other stuff. It's hard for me to just sit and listen, with nothing going on with my hands-I am the same way watching television. However, 4 times a year I have a long car drive, and I find them perfect for that. And another however would be that I would have to take a lot more trips to balance out how many I already have to listen to! I too think a narrator can make or break a book no matter how good the story.


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??