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!


November 2011 wrap up

Wow, here we are already in December, time to look at our statistics, wrap up all our Reading Challenges, and see what else we want to read before the end of the year, and sign up for new fantastic Reading Challenges for 2012!

In November, I read only 5 books, but with a total of 1961 pages, which is a good average for me of 65.36 pages/day; thanks Murakami, I would not have done it without your most amazing 1Q84

Sadly, it looks like I did not finish any non-fiction book this past month, I’m still in the middle of 2.

And I listened to only 1 audiobook, 11:32 hours long, which is an average of 23 mn/day. But I have 2 going on right now…

So here are the novels I read:

1Q84, by Haruki Murakami – 924 p.
In A Strange Room, by Damon Galgut – 207 p.
Departure Lounge, by Chad Taylor – 173 p.
The Broken Teaglass, by Emily Arsenault – 370 p.
The First Rule of Ten, by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay – 287 p. [ebook]

Alas, I only reviewed 1Q84 so far.

The next 2 I read to finish my Europa Challenge, not too great.

As for the last 2, they are mysteries, easy and good. The very last one will be published next year actually, it’s with of a former Buddhist monk who became a detective, with some bits of Buddhist wisdom here and there. Neat actually. So reviews upcoming for all these.

And my favorite is with no doubt, as I give it my 2011 favorite award:


Read my review if you have not done so yet, and run to your library to get the book!


As you know if you follow this blog, my favorite female narrator is Orlagh Cassidy. Even if I had listened to another audiobook this past month, this one would probably have been my favorite anyway:

My review is here


Reading Challenges

2011 Audio Book Challenge – Addicted- Listen to 12 Audio Books: 12/12   DONE!
My Dewey Decimal Challenge – Master Level =4.  26/4!  DONE!
2011 Non-Fiction Challenge – 7-9 books from different categories: Future Jeopardy Champion. 22/9!  DONE!
Europa Challenge – Ami Level =4. 4/4DONE!
Japanese Literature Challenge – 1 book between June 1, 2011 and January 30, 2012: 3/1  DONE!

*** *** ***

I am all covered as for Reading Challenges for 2011, and am in the process of signing for quite a few for 2012 – a post will come soon.

Here are the books I would like to read before the end of this month:

– Saint Gregory Palamas As A Hagiorite [in process]
– Is That A Fish In Your Ear? [in process]
– A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, part 2, maybe [in process]
– The Man In My Basement [in process]
– There But For The – audio [in process]
Heresy – audio [in process]

Then I would like to listen to Heresy’s sequel: Prophecy

And I plan to read these, at least:

– For The King – very good historical novel I believe
– Reamde –trying again this author, they say this book is easier than his other ones
– Books Can Be Deceiving – a good mystery
– To Say Nothing Of The Dog –famous classic science-fiction book

How was your November month?
What do you absolutely want to read before the end of the year?

#83: Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep



Narrator: Orlagh CASSIDY

Audiobook: 11:32 hours

Published by Harper Audio in September 2011


This book counts for

2011 Audio Book Challenge


This is really unusual, but I found this book because I follow a fantastic narrator: Orlagh Cassidy. I enjoyed so much her narration of the Postmistress, that I now keep an eye on her other audiobooks.  This one sounded intriguing. There was unfortunately a bug in the request system at my library, so I had to wait longer than expected, but that was worth the wait.

I enjoyed this book very much. It starts slowly: something happened to Christine, and her memory is damaged. Consequently, she cannot remember anything of her past, not even of what she did the day before. When she goes to sleep, all her previous memories are erased, unless she writes things down in her journal.

Little by little, the story picks on interesting twists and turns, and becomes full of suspense. And once you think you figured out what happened, well you are dead wrong at the next turn!

That was a great thriller, on a gentle tone, I mean, not bloody horrific,  but a psychological thriller.

As usual, Orlagh Cassidy had the perfect tones of voice to translate Christine’s pain as she struggles to recover her past, and to have you suspended waiting for the truth to get revealed. Believe me, it is not what you first expected it would be. A great fun read. I hope Watson will soon write more.

12/8/21 update:
Watson has written at least another book since this one, but the synopsis didn’t grab me, and I was afraid it would be much less good than this one, so I haven’t tried it yet. Have you?


‘As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me …’ Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life. [Goodreads]


S J Watson was born in the Midlands, lives in London and worked in the NHS for a number of years.
In 2009 Watson was accepted into the first Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ Course, a programme that covers all aspects of the novel-writing process. Before I Go to Sleep is the result.
Now sold in over 30 languages around the world, Before I Go To Sleep has been also been acquired for film by Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free, with Rowan Joffe to direct. Filming is scheduled to begin in 2011. [Goodreads]