26 June 2012

Yackety-yak: The Essentials of Audiobook Reviews


Today's Listen Up! Audiobook Week discussion is the essentials of audiobook reviews. For me it is alll about the narrator and pace of the story. Did the story flow? Did you like the narrator? But the most important thing I want to know in an audiobook review, is if the narrator was good enough that you will seek them out again.
So tell me what you like to see in an audiobook review? Is there something specific about the narrator that you want to know? Is there certain things that make you love or hate a narrator?

59 comments :

  1. It's hard to pinpoint why some narrators work and others don't - I just know when it happens.

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    1. So I'm curious, which narrators do you not dig? :)

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  2. I agree the narrator is key-voice inflection and fluency. Only listened to a few but enjoyed them both.

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  3. I like for them to not just read but to feel the book. I've heard books read that are very monotone & I just can't get into those!

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  4. The narrator has to make the book come alive rather than just read the words...and he/she has to be able to make the voices at least somewhat distinct.

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    1. Come alive! Perfect way to put it. The best narrators begin to feel like friends and make it so you can easily pick out the characters.

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  5. I'm amazed at how some narrators can change their voices to represent male and females, but I totally expect it or you would get lost. I expect the same variety and pacing I put into reading to my grandchildren. ;)

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    1. Yes I know what you mean. Some narrators are SOOOO good at it. I'm with you, it helps to have some consistent slight differences in the voices. GREAT point.

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  6. I want to know how the narrator and production affected your enjoyment of the book.

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  7. I don't listen to audio books very often, only when I go on an extended trip. So I like to know if the narrator is expressive but I also like to know if the story has an element of excitement that keeps you thinking ahead. I hate when I get a story that is a snoozer. The purpose is to keep me awake.

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    1. Yes! I know what you mean. When I'm feeling like that I lean to mysteries. It keeps me guessing and itching for more and more.

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  8. I have tried soooo hard to get into audiobooks, but alas, I cannot. It never fails when I get an audiobook, and I'm super excited to get into it...then the narrator just annoys and distracts me to no end. I hate when they try to do accents, or deepen their voice for a character. I know you have to do that, but it gets on my nerves. I think I will just stick to reading it to myself. But I'm glad that you enjoy them! :)

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    1. Well yah that is so totally understandable.
      I'm super curious, would you mind telling me which books you've tried on audio?

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    2. I have tried a bunch from the library, but the most recent one was Jessica Rules the Darkside by Beth Fantasky. Every time the narrator did Lucius' voice, it drove me crazy. It was deep and with an accent. It was just weird to me. And the one before that was Pretties by Scott Westerfeld.

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    3. Right on. Thanks for answering. I haven't tried either of those so I'm not familiar with their audio versions. I'll have to look into them.

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  9. I want to know whether the narrator's voice is pleasing to listen to for long periods of time. The narrators that I disliked had voices that bugged me. Whether they were too smoky or seemed too old for the character. It made me aware that I was listening and took me out of the story.

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    1. Ok. That makes sense. I can see how certain voices can get old after a long period of time. And some narrators are soooo good at voices while others really aren't. Thanks for chiming in with such great feedback. :)

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  10. My problem is that I just don't like audio...at all.

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    1. Awwww it's ok. Different strokes for different folks :)

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  11. You know in an audio review (and yep I don't follow my own wants) I look for pacing, style, and if they fit the characters. I don't care about length of book or any of that. I look for narrator name because I do have my favorites :)

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    1. Fitting the character seems to be a big one for most folks. I'm not sure why but that one isn't a deal breaker for me. Pacing and style does matter to me too. So who are your favorite narrators?

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  12. Hmm...I've heard the same from other audiobook fans...the narrator can make or break a book's success.

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  13. The narrator plays a very important role in my liking an audiobook... If the voice is easy to my ears... Reading is appropriate, etc. Like I tend to avoid anything read by Christine McMurdo-Wallis and sought books read by Therese Plummer. Pacing doesn't really matter to me, it's how the narrator reads that is more important in my opinion.

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    1. Right on. I haven't had the importunity to try either but I will keep their names in mind. :)

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  14. I agree, I want someone who has the ability to match their tone to the scene. No monotone, please. Also, I want to know if they do character voices. I feel like that's probably more of a kids book type of thing (i.e. Jim Dale's fabulous narration of Harry Potter). Still, I want to be prepared if there are going to be crazy character changes in terms of voice.

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    1. I agree on no monotone. And you make a good point about character changes. Do they sound smooth or overdone? I will keep that in mind. :)

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  15. I agree. I'm such a bad audiobook listener (my mind wanders) and the narrator/pace will really make or break a book for me so that info is what I look for in a review. I recently listened to Bronson Pinchot read The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and he was phenomenal. I will definitely seek him out again.

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    1. Exactly! I want flow baby. :) As for THGTSYK, that's what I like to hear.

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  16. Luke Daniels is my top favorite narrator. I love his voice. Super sexy.

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    1. I'm off to look him up.
      Oooo he did Unwind.
      I'm so adding this to my TBL.
      Thanks for the recommendation.

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    2. Super sexy voice? Missie sure does know how to sell an audiobook :)

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  17. Great points! When I find a narrator I like I will listen to anything they read, so I like what you said about including a note in reviews of whether you would seek out the reader again.

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  18. Hmm... it's tough to say. A monotone narrator is off-putting, but so is an overly/unnaturally dramatic one (if that makes sense). I like when emotions come across in the reading, but it seems like many narrators try to force it. It also helps when there's consistency with the voice changes for different characters.

    I recently listened to Ender's Game and the narrators did a wonderful job with the pacing of the story and with their carefully placed speech and articulation. The fact that it has more than one narrator definitely helped bring the story to life. :)

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    1. True. True.

      That is one I would love to try on audio.
      Is it a full cast audio?
      I'm off to look it up.

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  19. I have a hard time listening to audiobooks. The narrator often distracts me from the story.

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  20. Guilty admission: I RARELY listen to audiobooks. My kids do, my husband does, and I've no idea what's wrong with me that I just can't! I think I just get too easily distracted and end up missing parts of the story as I'm all "Ooh look! Pretty! Shiny! Squirrel!" every few minutes. However, when I HAVE listened to them, I prefer my narrators to have a sexy British accent. Is that unbelievably shallow of me or what? ;0)

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    1. I love that you prefer sexy British accents. That's so funny and cool. Totally not shallow at all. ;)

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  21. I've only listened to a handful of audiobooks but the voice of the narrator is most important to me. If I don't like the voice then I have a hard time listening and enjoying the story.

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  22. I like to know if the voices fit the characters, if the reader over accentuates or over dramatizes things. Also, I like to know how many hours the book is, along with how many parts it has. It would be nice to know if it was easy to listen too or if something about the reader grated on your nerves. Plus, its always interesting to hear what place published it i.e.: The Reading Library does a great deal of the audio books out there. Oh, yeah its nice to know where it was purchased and how much. Lastly, if the book has any music or instrumentals in it, because those always seem to cause me to jump if I'm not expecting them, like in the audio version of Matched.

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    1. You like to know the parts? Interesting. I never make note of that. I will have to consider that one.

      And good point about musical instruments.

      I'm beginning to see the difference between publishers so I definitely see your point there too.

      Thanks for all the awesome feedback! :D

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  23. Ya know... I have never listened to an audio book.... I might have to give it a try....
    Hope you had an awesome vacation!
    ~Liz

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    1. Yay! I hope you do. Do you garden? That would be a great time to try it.

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  24. Audiobook narrators are so tricky. They can have a gorgeous voice but if their interpretation of the novel or voice doesn't match the listener's preconceived ideas, the listener is going to struggle. I fell asleep to Simon Vance narrating a novel - beautiful voice but the story was so boring that it was more like a lullaby than the telling of a story, so I know I have to be careful about the audiobooks narrated by him that I choose. Others love him and will listen to him narrate a shopping list. To each his own.

    I agree though that judgment of the narrators are the most important part of audiobook reviews. You cannot have one without the other, IMO.

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    1. True true!
      It is definitely a matter of finding the right marriage and making sure it works for you.

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  25. Every audiobook I have tried hasn't worked for me for a umber reasons: time to listen, my ability to tune out, possible narrator issues. But I still keep trying to find that one that will click for me.

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    1. Maybe something thrilling? Something you can't tune away from.

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  26. I'm not good with audiobooks, I just can't get my mind round sitting and listening, and if I listen and do an activity I get distracted.

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    1. I think maybe you need the same thing Jenny (the comment before you does) a thriller or mystery that's sooo exciting you can't get pulled away. :) Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  27. the narrator is definitely an important part of audiobooks. i really don't listen to them though.

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  28. I like your reviews! I think you cover everything :)

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  29. For me the narrator is important and Jennifer Ikeda is one of my favorite narrators. She does a great job with the YA novels I have listened to. I think the only thing I look for about the narrator in a review is that it wasn't a bad experience.

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    1. O I haven't tried her work yet.
      I have to look her up.

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