So you want to review audiobooks… -Audiobook Week discussion and giveaway!

Here is the question asked by Jen today:

Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing.
What do you make sure to include?
What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

As for other books, I start with the title and the author; then I include the narrator(s), the length of the audiobook, who published it, and when.

At one point, I used to put here as well who published the print edition, when, and how many pages it is. I have not done so recently. What do you think? Do you think it would be important to insert?

I then insert the picture of the book, and the reading challenges the audiobook fits it.

And my review itself.

As I said yesterday, when I started listening to audiobooks, I did not even mention the narrators. Thanks to my longer experience, and my reading great audiobook reviews, I started paying much more attention to the narrators.

So I usually note what my general impression was, how their tone of voice, the different accents they used helped create a fitting ambiance for the book, etc.

When there are extra audio elements, such as background sounds or music, I also talk about them.

I expect other audiobook reviewers to include these same elements; I like when they give details about the print edition, as I am still better at measuring the length of a book by the number of its pages than by the number of its hours. But this is really personal, and I will probably upgrade one of these days!

I have learned to enjoy so much audiobooks, that I look forward to listening to some particular narrators.

Orlagh Cassidy is definitely my favorite female narrator. Actually, to be honest, I listened to Before I Go To Sleep because she was the narrator!
Otherwise, not even sure I would have bothered approaching this book. And this made me discover a great book! Incidentally, the got the 2011 Prize for Best Voice in Mystery And Suspense.

So maybe you should judge the book by its narrator!!

I have several favorite male narrators. Let me just present my latest discovery: Simon Vance, that I heard for the first time in Bring Up The Bodies. As I explained in my review, I was first disappointed, because I had enjoyed very  very much the narration of  Simon Slater in Wolf Hall. And I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but when you hear one character with one voice, for me, this character is very much associated in my head with that voice, and it can be hard to break the mental association. But Simon Vance was perfect at his job, as I explain in my review.

I am very rarely disappointed by a narrator, I’m not even sure when it was last time; for me, narrators do a great job at enhancing the main characteristics of the book by their oral skills. I especially appreciate when the writer is the narrator of his/her own book, like Simon Winchester in Atlantic.

oops, I already answered some questions for Thursday, but the 2 topics were so close, I could not refrain!

So, I have some questions for you:

  1. At one point, I used to put here as well who published the print edition, when, and how many pages it is. I have not done so recently. What do you think? Do you think it would be important to insert?
  2. Who is your favorite female narrator? give an example of audiobook
  3. Who is your favorite male narrator? give an example of audiobook
  4. I just wrote: “maybe you should judge the book by its narrator”. What do you think?
  5. Do you like when the writer him/herself is the narrator? why? why not?

And I have something for you!

click on the cover to see what it is about

Enter between June 26 and July 1st, midnight, Central time

  1. Please leave your answers to the 5 above questions in a comment, and including your email address = 1 ENTRY
  2. + 1 ENTRY: subscribe to my blog through email – specify if you are already following me
  3. + 2 ENTRIES: tweet or facebook about this giveaway. And give me the url of your tweet. If I have no way to see you did this, I will not give you 2 extra entries.

I will choose the winner with
during the coming week-end.
After having received notice,
you will have 24 hours to confirm.
Otherwise I will pick another winner.

Good luck to everyone!

26 thoughts on “So you want to review audiobooks… -Audiobook Week discussion and giveaway!

  1. I used to never really think about WHO was narrating the audiobooks I listen to, but now I pay more attention – although I still don’t pick books based on who is narrating them (I don’t have a favorite male or female narrator). I don’t really care about the information on page length, or publishers, but others may. Usually, if I read an audiobook review (or even a print one), and it sounds like a book I like – I’ll head to Goodreads or Amazon & read more reviews there – and get the page length info etc. Also, I don’t mind if the writer narrates as well – I suppose it depends on who it is. From what I’ve listened to so far (very limited), Gaiman wrote & narrated Neverwhere – and he did an excellent job.


  2. (1) I put the page numbers just so people get an idea of how long it really is since narrating speed can vary.
    (2) I think Justine Eyre (Bonobo Handshake, Fallen) is my favorite female but I do like Orlagh Cassidy.
    (3) Robertson Dean (America, America)
    (4) Absolutely. A narrator can make or break it.
    (5) It depends. I love Neil Gaiman narrating. And celebrities usually do okay. But some authors should not narrate at all.


  3. You bring up some great points. I think you’re right that when you listen to more and more audiobooks certain things become important regarding the narration and it gets easier to put those things into words. Thanks for sharing your favorite narrators- I’ll have to try out some of their books sometime. Happy listening!


    • Thanks! and I absolutely need to listen to one of your favorites: Ready Player One – but I’m struggling with my ever expanding TBR. I need to create a TBRN: to be read NOW!!! lol


  4. Author as narrator is really tricky. It tends to work best for memoirs, I think, especially those written by comedians, but I have listened to an author-narrated memoir that was just HORRID. Some authors do a great job narrating, I’ve heard that Joshilyn Jackson is one, for instance.


    • Thanks for your input; it seems bloggers do hesitate on that point. Personally, I would naturally think that a writer would be best at conveying the proper emotions for his/her book, BUT this is true that writing and reading are 2 very different skills. It reminds me of quite a few authors I went to listen giving conferences: I loved their books so much, but I was so very disappointed, because these people had absolutely no speaking skill at all, and they were the most boring people I had ever heard!


  5. You bring up a lot of good points. I always include who reads the book, but don’t always do more than that. I think I might include a section called Audio Thoughts to my reviews where I will discuss the narrator.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today and for your suggestions!
    Kristin @ Always With a Book


  6. 1- At one point, I used to put here as well who published the print edition, when, and how many pages it is. I have not done so recently. What do you think? — I don’t think the print edition information is needed when reviewing an audiobook. If you were doing reading in tandem (audio while keeping up in the book) then I could see that.

    2- Who is your favorite female narrator? –Wanda McCaddon. I’ve listened to several she’s narrated and just love them. The first one I listened to that she narrated was Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King.

    3- Who is your favorite male narrator? –I don’t have a favorite yet, but I really enjoyed Steven Kaplan (Legend by Marie Lu) and Jeffrey Cummings (Finnikin of the Rock)

    4- I just wrote: “maybe you should judge the book by its narrator”. What do you think? –Sure! I am more likely to try a book because I know and enjoy the narrator. I might actually try a James Patterson book, just because Matt Bomer is the narrator.

    5- Do you like when the writer him/herself is the narrator?– It depends on the author. I listened to The Cat’s Table, which was narrated by the author. His voice was so quite and monotone that I had trouble focusing on the book, and hearing it, especially in the car with all the road noise. I wouldn’t do that again. But if I came across Simon Schama narrating one of his own books, it would make me more likely to listen to it. He narrated a tv series based off his one book series, and I really enjoyed the sound of his voice.


  7. Great post! To answer your questions,
    1. With an audiobook,I don’t care as much about page count as I do length of production (hours).
    2.Cassandra Campbell (You Know When the Men Are Gone) and Juliet Stevenson (Trespass, North and South) are my current favorite female narrators
    3. Simon Vance (Winter King) current favorite male narrator
    4. Absolutely!
    5. Writers reading there own work can be tricky – love memoir/autobiography read by author. Have also had good experience with T.C. Boyle (Tortilla Curtain) and Alan Bennett (The Clothes They Stood Up In).


  8. Thanks for this post. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I at one point questioned adding information about the print publisher and have decided to keep it. People mentioned that they like to know in case they want to read the book in print. I think including that is personal, though. I certainly wouldn’t distrust someone’s review if it wasn’t there.

    A favorite female narrator is hard for me to nail down. As for my favorite male narrator, it’s Simon Vance. He is why I listened to Bring Up the Bodies in audio instead of reading it in print. I fell in love with his narration with the Dragon Tattoo series. He is the narrator who opened my eyes to the audiobook world.

    I definitely judge a book by its narrator. This isn’t to say I won’t pick an audiobook if I’m unfamiliar with the narrator, but I’ll pick up just about anything if it was narrated by someone I enjoy listening to.

    Author narrators can be touch and go. Julie Andrews did a fine job with her memoir, but I’ve attempted to listen to others that were awful. One novel narrated by the author that I absolutely loved was American Dervish.


  9. To answer your question, I don’t need details on the print edition. Since I’m only audio, I only seek audios details. Great post btw.


  10. Great question!

    1. I think it is your personal preference, I like when i see it on other blogs, yet I do not do it on my own… no idea why.

    2. I am so new to watching narrators, Maggi-Reed is good, I run into her a lot in the audio I listen to

    3. Same as above but like Jim Dale and the narrator in Ravens is awesome too…. Mark B__________.

    4. I would say yes! For sure – it doesn’t make the book bad, but it can make an ausio book bad.

    5. I do like it when the author reads their own books – as long as they have the skills to do so.


  11. Pingback: Listen Up! – Audiobook Week Discussion « Words And Peace

  12. 1. On an audiobook review, I prefer to just see that info. I can look up print edition info myself. Why put you to that extra trouble?
    2. Therese Plummer (Faith by Jennifer Haigh — Great!)
    3. Jonathan Davis (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson — both amazing!)
    4. I think it’s fair to judge an audiobook by the narrator, but can point out if failings seem to be more in the text or the production than in the delivery.
    5. Almost never! Authors should step back and let a pro narrate! (Prime example — The Series of Unfortunate Events books. Compare and contrast Tim Curry’s and author Daniel Handler’s readings.)


  13. Pingback: Audiobook Week recap « Words And Peace

  14. Oops! Forgot that putting email address was part of the entry requirements: Here is mine in spam-resistant format: lacavanaugh AT appleblossom DOT net. Thanks for the giveaway! I am interested in it!


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