Her Bookish Things

Audiobooks

Audiobooks – Yea or Nah?

I’ve seen lots of different opinions on audiobooks – mostly negative. An audiobook/narrator can either enhance your reading experience or ruin it altogether. So, I wanted to throw out my two cents and my personal experience with audiobooks – as well as recommend my favorite ones (and share the ones that didn’t work for me)!

After years of not reading, audiobooks reintroduced me to my love of books. I was working full time a few years ago and I literally had no time to myself. Even my evenings were full of company events/friends/outings/etc. The only down time I had was at work- when I was sketching/drawing. A friend convinced me to give audiobooks a try while I worked. I was skeptical at first. I’m not a multitasker by any means, but somehow this worked for me. I started listening to books not only while I was sketching, but on the car ride to work or during chores. I rekindled my love for reading and I started buying physical copies and ebooks after that. Nowadays, I have a lot more free time and I do prefer physical copies. Though nothing will replace the feeling of a book in your hand, audiobooks can be a convenient and unique way to experience (or re-experience) a story.

Reasons everyone should give audiobooks a try:

  • -Road trips are much more fun.
  • -Chores? Boring? Pfft. Not if you can be totally invested in a story at the same time!
  • -Long day? Tired eyes? Just lay back and throw some headphones on! (I recommend this with a glass of wine, lit candles, and a comfy recliner.)
  • -Commute two work? Why not make it fun?
  • -If you use Audible to get your audiobooks- you can return it with the hit of a button if you don’t like it- no matter the reason or if you’ve already listened to it. They have great customer service too and subscriptions are affordable!
  • -Want to re-read a series but get a new experience? Want to hear how names/locations are pronounced?
  • -Most libraries have all the popular audiobook rentals available at no cost to you!

All that to say, I think you have to be really picky and research the audiobook first. Check on the narrator ratings. Listen to a sample!

My top audiobook recommendations:

Here’s a list of my ALL TIME favorite audiobook experiences. I actually prefer the audio experience over the physical reading experience for these in particular. Trust me, it takes a lot for me to say that.

Shadow and Bone Audiobook
Shadow and Bone Audiobook

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo / narrated by Lauren Fortgang

This is not only one of my all time favorite series, but Lauren Fortgang is seriously amazing. She does the full cast of characters herself – and a particular favorite voice she does is The Darkling. She has him speak so slow and sultry and it works SO well for his character. Not to mention she brings Alina’s personality to life – she sounds so realistic.

The Night Circus Audiobook
The Night Circus Audiobook

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern / narrated by Jim Dale

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter audiobooks- be sure to check out anything Jim Dale narrates. He’s seriously amazing and does so many voices perfectly. He was the perfect choice to narrate ‘The Night Circus’ – a gorgeous, mysterious, and magically driven tale of two dueling lovers.

A Gathering of Shadows AudiobookShades of Magic series by Victoria Schwab / narrated by Steven Crossley, Michael Kramer, and Kate Reading

This is another all time favorite series and the cast was perfect! Steven Crossley narrates the entire first book, then Michael Kramer / Kate Reading teamed up for the second book. The switch of narration was a little unexpected- but I ended up absolutely adoring the new narrators! Both books are a ton of fun and I highly recommend them if you’re into London, magic, and characters with big personalities!

Legend Marie Lu Audiobook

Legend series by Marie Lu / narrated by Stephen Kaplan and Mariel Stern

Legend is one of the few dystopian series I like. Mariel is perfect for June, and don’t even get me started on Steven and how perfect he was for Day. If it weren’t for them, I’m not sure how attached I would have actually gotten to the characters. They brought them to life so well!

The Winner's Curse Audiobook

The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski / narrated by Justine Eyre

The Winner’s Curse series is a gorgeous fantasy that reads much like a historical fiction. I can’t rave enough about Justine’s narration – she brings so much depth and emotion to the characters. Her accent was completely adorable too!

Ready Player One AudiobookReady Player One by Ernest Cline / narrated by Will Wheaton

If you’re even the least bit interested in the 1980’s, general sci-fi, or even video games, give this a go. Ready Player one has it all… action, romance, geekery, and more. Will Wheaton was the perfect choice- he has a ton of personality and he makes the characters so vibrant. I’m excited for the movie – but I can’t see it beating Will Wheaton’s performance!

A few other audiobooks I loved….

Those are my top recommendations- but I loved the audio for ‘The Lunar Chronicles’, ‘The Seven Realms’, ‘The Crown’s Game’, and ‘The Young Elites’!

My top audiobook disappointments:

This hurts me to even list these because I absolutely adore every single book on this list. Unfortunately, the narrators just felt so off and ruined my audio experience. All is not lost though- I recommend picking up the physical copies of these!

Throne of Glass

Unfortunately, the narrator who voices the Throne of Glass series actually turned me off from the series until several years later when I got a physical copy. Her narration made the series feel like a teenage soap opera and I just wasn’t a fan. Now, I LOVE the series to pieces… but I know to steer clear of the audio.

Six of Crows

Let me be clear. I ADORE everything that Leigh Bardugo writes. Six of Crows audio has a full cast and not all the narrators are bad. Lauren Fortgang voices Inej and she does a wonderful job as always. However, I wasn’t a fan of any of the rest of the narrators. Kaz’s narration specifically felt way too animated and fake. Reading was a much better experience for me.

Ember in the Ashes

I actually love the narrator for Elias – but I was so turned off by Laia’s narrator. It almost felt like she was trying too hard and literally every sentence was over acted to sound stressful. I recommend just skipping the audio and let your mind create the voices in the physical copy.

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Have you had an audio experience that you loved or hated? I’d love to hear your recommendations/thoughts!!

 

10 Comments

  1. Reply December 13, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    My favorite audiobooks are The Raven Cycle books just because the narrator is amazing! And yes the Six of Crows audiobook was… not the greatest 🙁

    1. Reply
      herbookishthings
      December 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Yeah it totally took me out of the story! I was so sad too because it was a whole production cast!

  2. Reply December 13, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I have a four hour drive ahead of me this weekend and was trying to decide what audiobook I should try, since I’m not familiar with them. I was thinking about giving the Night Circus a shot since I’ve already read it, and you’ve totally convinced me! You the best.

    1. Reply
      herbookishthings
      December 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Oh yay!! You’ll have to tell me what you think! I’m hoping the audio for Caraval will be good…

  3. Reply
    Lacy
    December 14, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I’ve never tried audiobooks. I can’t stand it when people read books to me. I often read faster than what they can speak. That’s one of the reasons why I hated reading books for class and we had to section them out. I couldn’t stand being forced to section my reading.

    I am thinking about giving it a go. I read to my boyfriend and he seems to enjoy it. I’ll have to look into it further. 😀

    1. Reply
      herbookishthings
      December 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      I can understand that! I have a hard time with audio for other things – but for some reason, audio books just seem to work! I occasionally have to skip back 30 seconds or so if I miss something but it isn’t too bad! Maybe if you find the right narrators!!

  4. Reply December 14, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I’ve listened to both ACOTAR books on audio and while I wasn’t sure about the narrator’s (Jennifer Ikeda) voice at first, it really grew on me. I could have just loved it because I loved ACOMAF so much in general but either way I recommend! On the other side of things I hated the audio of The Darkest Minds. The woman narrating made everything seem overly dramatic and childish almost and made me actually dislike Ruby (which is the complete opposite for me while physically reading the book!)

    1. Reply
      herbookishthings
      December 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      I did try the ACOTAR/ACOMAF audio! I loved how she did Feyre- but I wasn’t a big fan of how she voiced Rhysand. Maybe that is just because no one can do him perfectly. I kinda wish Lauren Forgtgang had narrated it because she did the Darkling’s voice SO well and it is how I picture Rhys speaking!
      I listened to the Darkest Minds audio too- I wasn’t a fan of her voices other than Liam- for some reason that didn’t bother me as much but I totally see where you are coming from!

  5. Reply January 11, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Great post and very valid points to consider. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Audible, I love that I can adjust the narration speed, set a timer in case I fall asleep while listening in bed (a nightly occurrence for this avid listener), and their ‘no questions asked’ return policy seals the deal in my opinion. Although, I agree that nothing can replace the physical copy of a crisp, new book, or beat the ‘Christmas morning’ feeling of seeing my Amazon or Book Outlet box 📦 waiting at my front door, ready to be unboxed, but for all the times when reading isn’t possible, listening to audiobooks is the next best thing, not to mention an excellent way to finish more books from my tbr shelf in a shorter amount of time. The only audiobook I’ve listened to from your recommendations is ‘Ready Player One’ and I LOVED it so I’ll definitely check out the others on your list. One of my all time favorite series on audio is the ‘Outlander’ books by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by Davina Porter who does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life and her Scottish and English accents are perfection!

    1. Reply
      herbookishthings
      January 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Same!! I love that about the narration speed too and it definitely saves me time! Honestly, for my favorite books- I own the audio and the physical copies. No shame in that. But if the narration is good- I really love just having the freedom and flexibility with audiobooks!

      I hope you like some of the recommendations! The Grisha Trilogy is definitely the best narration I’ve heard so far in a books series and I LOVED the Shades of Magic narrators too!

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