Random Musing Post : How important is an audio-book narrator?

Posted July 5, 2014 by Nix in random musing, Random musings / 11 Comments

I’m a fairly new audio-book user. It will never be the way I read for many many reasons; I can’t listen to a book I’ve never read before (concentration issues), the UK market is still pretty crappy (Geo-restrictions… don’t get me started!) and I also have silly memory issues that means that if I don’t listen to the book in one sitting, I may forget minor plot points. That being said, I do enjoy them when I’m not in the mood for reading or am doing something that requires no concentration.

I’m used to book covers, blurbs or even author behavior (sorry, it’s true) either turning me on to or off a book, but now I’m having to deal with a new issue; the narrator.

I have been listening to a fabulous series on audio, enthusiastically downloading the next in the series every time my new credits hit. I’ve even marked a few books on GR as to read as, if I like them, I may download the audio as the narrator really made the books work for me. Then, this month, disaster hit. The narrator for the book I’ve downloaded this month is different and it just isn’t working for me. This is my favorite book in the series, the one that I’ve been looking forward to the most, and I absolutely hate the voice the narrator uses for the hero. I can’t get through it, can’t hear the story beyond the surfer dude accent the narrator is using for the hero that in no way matches what his voice sounded like in my head when I first read the book. There are very mixed reviews for this narrator; it seems some people love her character voices and some people hate her character voice.

I don’t know what to do audio book listeners, because she narrates a few other books that were on my list. I’m not finishing this one, I know that, but do I try other books that she narrates? How important is narrator to you?


11 responses to “Random Musing Post : How important is an audio-book narrator?

  1. The narrator is crucial. It doesn’t matter if it’s my absolute favourite book, if I can’t stand the narrator I can’t listen to it. I always always listen to the sample if it’s a new narrator to me. A couple of times the sample put me off, then other people said “oh it gets better as it goes, trust me” and I give it another go. And sometimes the narrator sounds kind of weird at first, but by twenty minutes in I think they are totally perfect for the story, so I try to keep an open mind. Some of the ones I have, usually very well known and popular books, are narrated by well known actors, , like Michael C Hall, Jake Gyllenhaal and Stephen Fry, and they are of course, excellent. But there are wonderful narrators who are commissioned by smaller publishers and the writers themselves and who do a fantastic job.

    I’ve got a bunch of books from Audible, lots of them Josh Lanyon ones and with several of those books I now can’t read the book without hearing that narrators voice in my head. And if I listen to something long (like King’s The Stand at 48 hours!) everything I read is in that narrator’s voice for a while. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I was like you with only wanting audio of books I’ve already read. But I’ve now done a few where I did the audio first and may or may not have read later.

    And I’ve found I relisten to my favourites a lot. Not always the whole thing, just a favourite chapter maybe, and not always paying as close attention as the first time. In fact sometimes to read me to sleep at night – the Sleep function in the Audible app is the best thing ever!

    • LOL, I do love that sleep function!

      I wanted so much to love it, I listened for over an hour before giving up. I think I’ll do what you suggest and get a sample before I try her with other things …. I really want to listen to another series that she narrates and maybe she won’t do the accent…

  2. barbara

    I’m fairly new to audio books too and find, like you, I do better listening to books I’ve already read. I’m a multi-tasker while listening to audio books, so I often miss parts of the story. This is troublesome, for new-to-me stories. For me, the narrator is a key factor. I always listen to samples before I buy, and have found several of my favorite book series, where I just cannot connect with the narrator. A prime example is the Night Huntress series; the narrator’s Bones is not the Bones in my head and this puts me off. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Night Huntress series on audio so I may try again down the road. The narrator for the Psy-Changeling series is perfect! I’m enjoying this series all over again, this time on audio. Another narrator I love is India Plum; she does the Foreign Affairs series by Lexxie Couper and Marie Carr. I hope to find many more books with her talents. I look forward to discovering more wonderful narrators and audio books.

    I love Kindle’s sleep function; it provides my “read me to sleep” bedtime story. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great post, Nix!

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