Monday, December 7, 2009

Audiobooks or Audio Books

This year I listened to more audiobooks than I ever have. I've been trying to listen to CDs of books that I missed, namely past award winners and those that are perpetually on my TBR pile. YALSA has a new audio book committee (Odyssey) plus the Amazing Audiobooks list, and the industry group has The Audies. (this just in via Fuse #8 - the Grammy's spoken word category!)I have wondered what they do, how they judge what is a really good audio book. I think that after this year of listening I have some idea.

Take for instance the book I'm listening to now.
The Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. I'm such a fan of her stories. This one is another supernatural thriller, but... I didn't realize the main character, Fergus, is 18. She makes him sound like he's 12. I couldn't figure out why he was so obsessed with college exams when he's so young. Now that I know, it's irritating. I have 3 CDs left and it's the strength of the story that's keeping me going. I'm amazed the producers let that happen.

This brings me to the
Neil Gaiman NPR story on audio books as reading. He interviews David Sedaris who hates hates hates when readers use voices for characters. At first I thought, that's true. But then some of my favorites do use voices well, like the Tiffany Aching series read by Stephen Briggs.

Books I've listened to this year:

Scat by Carl Hiaasen read by Ed Asner
Ed Asner? Yes he does different voices and his pre-teen Latina Marta hit my funny bone. I know people who hated this reading. We'll have to wait to see what the Grammy's think. Also, I love the audio coming out the same day as the book. Good plan, producers. Let's do more of that.

Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman read by Joel Johnstone
I listened to this classic on cassette, baby. Old school. And by the 3rd side I realized that it was so so familiar. Because I did listen to it 2 years ago.

The stories about Maine trilogy:

1. The Canning Season by Polly Horvath read by Julie Dretzin
2. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt read by Joel Johnstone
3. Madapple by Christina Meldrum read by Kirsten Potter
If you're going to dare this book, which if it were in bound form I would have chucked against the wall several times so instead I yelled "Arggh!!" in my car like a lunatic, check out the audio. I wouldn't have pronounced the names correctly at all.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt read by Sam Freed

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz read by a full cast
Hello, audiobook perfection

Kit's Wilderness by David Almond read by Charles Keating
Wow, this book was nothing like I thought it was going to be.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks read by Cherry Jones

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher read by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman
Seeing that the book is a guy listening to a recording, worked really well as an audio. And Joel Johnstone is a great reader. If he's reading, I want to listen.

In this advanced day and age and all there are several ways to listen to books. I have not ventured MP3, downloadable or Playaways. I listen in my car on CD and sometimes on cassette if that's my only option.


Patti said...

That is so cool and the only reason I would want a longer commute!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm an avowed audiophile who has wondered the same thing - audiobook or audio book. Personally, I prefer audiobook, but the ever-lurking spellchecker always underlines it.

I'm in the camp that was not fond of Ed Asner's reading of Scat. Overall, I found his reading to be rather dry, a recitation of the words, rather than a telling of the story and I found a few of his vocal characterizations downright grating.

Jenn H. said...

I started listening to audio books when I had that long commute to ASJ. Now I am addicted. Some are really great, while some I stop after the first track.

Oh, and the MP3 discs are nice because you don't have to change discs while driving!

joanna said...

proseandkahn - What are your favorites from this year? I'd love some suggestions. I haven't read anything yet along the lines of a Mock Odyssey and I'd love to hear about what's getting buzz. And your comments about Scat are exactly what others have told me. He did clunk through it, but I was charmed by him. I wonder, though, how the book's target audience feels about it. His Grammy nod is only slightly surprising - it's basically a popularity contest. Someone needs to nominate Joel Johnstone! Ha.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! I didn't see the request for my favorites until today! My favorite audiobooks of 2009 were (in no particular order) Odd and the Frost Giants written and read by Neil Gaiman, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas written by John Coyne, Tamar by Mal Peet, Marcelo in the Real World by Fransisco X. Stork and Unwind by Neal Shusterman. These are some of my favorite audios of 2009. They were not necessarily published in 2009. I listened to an audio of Libba Bray's Going Bovine in the early days of January, 2010 and I LOVED IT!

car audio said...

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