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Topic: Audio Book Recomendations

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Subject: Audio Book Recomendations
Date Posted: 2/4/2013 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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I'm listening to my first audio book, and much to my surprise, I am enjoying it!  I'm listening to Code Name Verity, and I love hearing it.  I think it makes the book come alive with all the languages and accents (English, German, French, Scottish, etc.).  The narrators do a wonderful job. 

I've got a couple of credits at Audible, and I'm wondering what I should get.  I'm guessing that not all books are well suited to being listened to rather than read, and I'm sure the narrator is extremely important.  For example, I was looking at a Kate Morton book on Audible, and a reviewer commented that there was much too much detail in the book which made listening to it difficult.  If there is a lot of irrelevant detail in a book, you can skim over it.  You can't do that with an audio book. 

So, which books have you really enjoyed listening to and which ones were not so good in audio format (as in, which books were actually good books, just not really suited to listening to rather than reading)? 

I doubt I'll buy more audio books as they are expensive, but my library has a decent selection so I will probably listen to books from time to time.  Works great when I'm knitting!

Last Edited on: 2/6/13 9:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/4/2013 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,438
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Linda enjoys listening to books during the drive to & from her house to mine. One I know that she really enjoyed listening to was The Guernsey Potato Peel book (I never can get that title exactly right, so I'm not going to try). She has also enjoyed listening to some books she has read before ... particularly Cornwell's Uhtred books. Also, if you have not already read it, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett is wonderful on audio.

I-tunes has a nice selection of audio books and if you do some digging you can find some that aren't outrageously expensive.



Date Posted: 2/4/2013 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Yes, I second The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society. I read it before I listened to it -- loved both print and audio versions. I'm fairly picky about what I listen to -- as you indicated, Shelley, some books just lend themselves better to audio than others. Some of my favorite audios:

Doc by Mary Russell (narrated by Mark Bramhall) -- LOVED this!

The Black Tower by Bayard (narrated by Simon Vance) -- splendid!

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (narrated by Katherine Kellgren) -- this is the first in a YA historical fiction series; I love listening to these.

The Flavia de Luce series by Bradley (narrated by Jayne Entwistle) -- another series superbly read by the narrator.

I'll be back with more...

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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I second Doc by Mary Doria Russell and the Flavia de Luce books by Bradley - and anything narrated by Simon Vance.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand was fantastic!

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Yep -- I second Unbroken.

I particularly enjoy listening to memoirs on audio, so if you like memoirs, try Angela's Ashes, A Girl Named Zippy, or All Over But the Shoutin' -- these were all worth listening to. And you can't go wrong with the Bill Bryson books -- LOVED listening to A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country. I also loved Simon Vance's renditions of Larsson's Millenium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc.) and thought these were as good, if not better, than the print versions. I also really liked Simon's narration of The Portrait by Iain Pears -- a combination of one of my favorite authors with one of my favorite narrators.

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I love audio books. My favorites are:

The Help
The Kitchen House
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (series)
The Thirteenth Tale
Before I Go to Sleep
Alas, Babylon
The Snow Child

I could go on and on . . .

Last Edited on: 2/4/13 3:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/4/2013 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Second or thirding the Flavia de Luce books...that narrator has it spot on....and the Millineum Trilogy (although the first was much better than the other two).

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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>>anything narrated by Simon Vance<< Me too. If SV is the narrator, I'll look twice. I loved The Historian in the audiobook version. The Kitchen House is fabulous in audio. I listened to Cutting for Stone in audio and really enjoyed it.
Date Posted: 2/5/2013 1:04 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,570
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I enjoyed Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran, My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera, The Maid by Kimberly Cutter, The Velva Jean series by Jennifer Niven, The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew, City of Women by David R. Gillham, Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady, Caleb's Crossing and Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and The Master's Muse by Varley O'Connor.

Even though I didn't care overly much for The White Forest by Adam McOmber, it was read well, as was Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan. That book just frustrated me to death! Poor Helen!

Some non-historicals I really liked - The Hunger Games series, So Much for That by Lionel Shriver, The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce and The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Oh...and I meant to mention that Wolf Hall didn't work for me on audio - I gave it up after the first disc, but I enjoyed reading it. Also, Sleeping with the Enemy, Coco Chanel's Secret War (non-fiction) by Hal Vaughn was incredibly difficult on audio, due to trying to keep the German and French names straight when just listening to them, not seeing them. Reading was much easier.

Last Edited on: 2/5/13 1:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2013 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,727
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I'm late to this party, and everyone has already named my favorite audio books!  I fourth or fifth all these selections!  cheeky

Date Posted: 2/5/2013 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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Thanks, guys!  You've got a lot of great suggestions!  Keep them coming, though! 

Date Posted: 2/6/2013 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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I'm almost done with Code Name Verity on audio (which, BTW, is a fabulous book and a terrific one to listen to - as I mentioned previously,l the accents and languages are so much better heard than read), and I think I've decided on Unbroken for my next Audible credit.  I've wishlisted some of the other books suggested here, but Unbroken is new and the reviews are all great.  My library has The Ballad of Tom Dooley on audio, so I think I will give that one a listen too after I finish Unbroken.  We shall see where things take me after that.  I would love it if people would continue to post here on what is great on audio and what is not so great. 

Last Edited on: 2/6/13 9:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2013 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,133
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Last Edited on: 9/29/13 9:54 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2013 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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Unbroken is not new. It's been out for over 2 years.
Date Posted: 2/6/2013 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,570
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I get all of my audios through the library. I use them when I'm on the treadmill...it's the only way I can get through the session. I'm not an exercise person, and having a book to follow really, really helps with motivation. If an audio doesn't grab me by the 2nd disc, it won't get me on the machine and doesn't do the job!


I just finished The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay during yesterday's session...this one was also pretty good!

Date Posted: 2/6/2013 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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You can't go wrong with Simon Vance.   He is the BEST narrator, hands down, IMO.  


Simon Vance: 

Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian

Dance To the Music of Time series by Anthony Powell

Barsetshire Chronicles by Anthony Trollope (I'm only part way throuhg this series, but it is excellent.)

Anything historical fiction narrated by Simon Vance 


Kate Reading:

 Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters

Into The Wilderness series by Sara Donati (part way through)


Juiette Stevenson:

She does a lot of classics like Austen and Bronte


James Marsters:

Harry dresden series


John Lee:

He narrates a lot of books.  The ones I have been listening to are Dewey Lambdin series about Alan Lewrie and his naval adventures.


Date Posted: 2/6/2013 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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The narrator will make or break the audio book.  I am much, much more likely to try a new book if it is done by my favorite narrators- Simon Vance, Kate Reading (Johanna Ward), James Marsters, Juliet Stevenson and John Lee.

Oh!  And how could I forget Davina Porter??  She does the Outlander books and a lot of Marion Chesney (MC Beaton books.)

Date Posted: 2/6/2013 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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Donna - Hmm.  I wonder where I got the idea it was new? Maybe because there are over 1500 wishers for the hardcover version and over 350 for the paperback!  I maybe assumed that anything with that many wishers had to be pretty new. 

Nnot a big deal. It's new to me. I had never heard of it until someone mentioned it in this thread.  Well, thank you for pointing it out anyway.

Last Edited on: 2/6/13 12:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2013 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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A great reader of an audiobook makes the book magic!  My favorites are:

  • Laurie King's Mary Russell series - read by Jenny Sterlin
  • Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series - read by Barbara Rosenblatt.  She is excellent at vocalizing each character, especially when Ramses is a child!
  • Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - ready by Lisette (her 1st name).  The audiobooks are charming.