Not all books lend themselves to audio

My personal opinion is that two recent notable books are simply not meant to be listened to: Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” and “Circe” by Madeline Miller. Audible’s rating for the these two narrated versions is quite high. For the former, I had a problem with the switch back and forth between stories which was not signaled by chapter headings. I’m not able to point out a specific problem with the second audiobook. I just decided after listening for a bit that I needed print.

On the other hand, “The House of Broken Angels” by Luis Alberto Urrea is read by its author and is simply marvelous. Part of the reason is the flow of gorgeous language where the exact flow of facts is not critical.

Do you have some top recommendations?

2 thoughts on “Not all books lend themselves to audio

  1. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, narrated by Ruby Dee, is wonderful as an audio book. It’s an example of a story better expressed orally than in print.

    I enjoyed “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, narrated by Jim Dale. This is an example of audio enlivening the story-telling. However, the printed book illuminates by the use of fonts, design, and layout. So, I own both. Jim Dale also narrates the Harry Potter books. Some may find that distracting as his “magical” voice may mix the two worlds for them.

    I appreciate Ian McKellen’s narration of “The Odyssey” and have listened several times as a re-read of Robert Fagle’s translation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I first heard about “Their Eyes Were Watching God” when mentioned by Charlayne Hunter-Gault as a core novel to explain black history in the U.S. Because so much of it was in non-traditional English, having a narrator made it much easier to get into the meat of the book without distraction.

    I’ve not read “The Night Circus.” Will add that to my TBR list. Jim Dale did an amazing job with the Harry Potter series as did Stephen Fry for the U.K. audio. Roy Dotrice did an astounding job with the first books of George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” before he died.

    If you enjoyed Ian McKellen narrating “The Odyssey,” try listening to Derek Jacobi narrate “The Iliad” which is equally impressive.

    So many wonderful audiobooks. But it’s rather like whether you read in Kindle format or on paper. Each has its place. Thank you for commenting.

    Liked by 1 person

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