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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Second Chances & Surprises | Audible Ambassador #ad


Hey there! I have some exciting news to share with you, and that is that I've become an Audible Ambassador! That means that once a month, I'll be delving into the world of audiobooks and taking a look at some of the things that make them such a worthwhile addition to your reading routine!
This month, in honor of awards season, we're taking a look at the way audiobook performances can add so much to a story, and which specific audiobooks have had an impact on me.

I'm sure some of you know, my road to audio was a long and bumpy one. I was always enamored with the idea of audiobooks, and wanted to like them, but for the longest time, I just couldn't get into them. I struggled with not being able to see the words before me -- just listening to someone talk meant that, if my mind started to wander (as it does apparently more than I realized...), I couldn't just glance back down and find my spot again. I also struggled with the narration. I already know that I'm very particular about the voices I'm willing to listen to for any extended period (introvert here -- sometimes I just need the voices to shut up), but even beyond that, I was worried that listening to a book cut down on room for my own interpretation; it was someone else's inflection, someone else's stresses and significance. And after a run of bad narration that I struggled to follow or enjoy, I was pretty convinced that audiobooks were not for me.

I'm not sure what convinced me to give them one last try, but whatever it was, I'm glad of it. I don't even remember the name of the next audiobook I listened to, and I honestly couldn't say if the story was all that great, because I don't remember. But the narration! The narration was hilarious and warm and soothing and inviting, all at the same time, and not only did it pull me along and keep me "reading" something I may not have otherwise, it had me actually actively looking for chores to do so that I could keep listening. That is impressive.


Since then, I've stumbled across a number of other audiobooks that have gone beyond just being good versions, to actually adding another layer to the story. Alyssa Goodnight's Austentatious, narrated by Janine Hegarty, took Alyssa's hilarious magical realist take on modern day Jane Austen, and dialed it up a few sassy, funny notches. And something that I thought was going to get to me (one person trying to do different "voices" for each character) actually proved to be one of the book's strongest points!
Similarly, Erin Mallon's narration of Heather Demetrios' Exquisite Captive added layers that I don't think I would have gotten had I just read the book traditionally. Beyond getting to hear how words in this middle eastern-inspired fantasy world are pronounced, the audio just felt so much more . . . immersive. I listened to it while commuting, and again, just didn't want my stop to come up. I was wishing for a longer commute, just like I was looking for chores to do. I didn't want my time with the narration to end.
(And just recently, during the YABT Awards, when I had to read The Wrath & the Dawn / The Rose & the Dagger, everyone kept telling me that they were so much better on audio! So it can clearly make a big difference!)

And I've just barely begun to scratch the surface of the audiobook world!

I know there's plenty more killer narration to be had on Audible (they have an entire section devoted to star-powered listens, after all), and I'm looking forward to digging into it! I know everyone seems to love and recommend the Jim Dale narration of the Harry Potter series, so trust me, it's on my list. (And if you're into the whole "awards season" thing, they even have audiobooks of some of this year's top noms, like Hidden Figures or Lion.)

So, what are some of YOUR favorite audiobooks and/or narrators? And did you ever have an audiobook "aha" moment, where it just clicked as a medium, or made you want to find chores to do, or extend your workout routine, or any other drudgery? ;)

And if you haven't had that aha moment. . . maybe it's time to give audiobooks a second chance? You can start your FREE 30-day trial to audible today, and check out one of the books I've mentioned, or something you've been dying to read!



DISCLAIMER
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

3 comments:

  1. My road to audio books was not an easy transition either. I struggled paying attention and got ahold of some bad narration match-ups for my taste. It was Davina Porter narrating Outlander that finally clicked and allowed me to see a story really could be enhanced by superb narration work. Now I listen to about a book a week while I'm doing chores and it's great.

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  2. Oh and congrats on becoming an Audible Ambassador. :)

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  3. Yes, congratulations, Ambassador Misty! As an avid audiobook listener, I’m delighted to see that one of my favorite bloggers is spreading the word.

    I enjoy both voiced characters and straight readings (aka “unvoiced”), but it’s important that character voicings aren’t distracting or off the mark. I sometimes find it distracting when male narrators do character voices for women—some male narrators do that really well, others don’t. Or when the narrator sounds much older than the character. As the listener, I have to buy into the character’s voice. The Night Circus is the novel whose narration (by Jim Dale) is so masterful that it changed my mind about voiced characters in audiobooks.

    A straight/unvoiced reading with a beautiful or striking voice can take me away and into the story without having to do character voices. As long as the voice is a good match with the material and the reader’s passion for the story comes through, then I’m happy. I’d love to see more variety in the Audible catalog in the form of more straight/unvoiced readings.

    A few more of my favorite listens: The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis, a mind-expanding sci-fi-fantasy in which two 13-year olds crack open the door to another reality while dealing with the complexities of growing up and their budding feelings for each other. The material is a perfect match for Pretty Little Liars’ star Janel Parrish, whose voice is as youthful and fresh as the protagonists. Then there are the Cormoran Strike mysteries (The Cuckoo’s Calling, etc.) by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling, all narrated by Robert Glenister. And anything narrated by the brilliant Juliet Stevenson, but particularly any Jane Austen narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Plus On Writing by Stephen King, an inspiring book about what it takes to be a storyteller, with perfect narration by the author.

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