Let’s Talk Bookish: The Makings of a Great Audiobook

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.

This weeks topic is: The Makings of a Great Audiobook

It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done a Let’s Talk Bookish discussion post, but incase you haven’t noticed – I love audiobooks! So I have a lot to say on this topic 🙂

Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, what makes a good audiobook? Is it the narrators or does it depend on the genre?

Yes, I do listen to audiobooks – 99% of the reviews on this blog are based on listening to the audiobook! Audiobooks have helped me immensly. I don’t have time to sit and read books very often these days, but I do have a decent length commute on most days, so I listen while I’m driving! With the weather getting warmer, I listen while going for a walk or exercising as well.

A narrator can 100% make or break a book. I’ve put books aside because I just couldn’t stand the narrator and nothing to do with the content of the book. I think that’s also a personal preference. I like narrators with a mid-tone voice, nothing too high for women or too deep for men, so I’m a little picky in that sense. Accents generally don’t bother me and enhance the book for the most part.

What are some of your recommendations for amazing audiobooks?

There are two types of audiobooks that are my all time favorite.

  1. Audiobooks that have full casts. These feel like a real interactive experience and like listening to a podcast (I actually don’t listen to podcasts, but I’m going to assume thats what its like lol.) I always recommend an audiobook with a full cast. Two of my all time favorites are Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Sleeping Giants (Themis Files trilogy) by Sylvain Neuvel. Both of these would not have been the same if I read the words on the page. Please please please listen to these audiobooks.

    Daisy Jones if you like music – the way this story is narrated is like a VH1 Behind The Music type documentary, with each person telling their side of the same story and how everything leads up to the current moment. Hearing everyone speak their parts, to laugh or to cry, really brought this story to life for me.

    Themis Files are told in interviews, transcripts, journal entries and news articles, and the audiobook has a full cast of voices that truly bring this story to life. It truly sounds like a movie! They are sci-fi. But you don’t like sci-fi, you say? These books might change your mind what you think about the genre – if you’re even the least bit curious, give them a shot.
  2. Audiobooks that are narrated by the author. I especially like when memoirs are narrated by the author – I’ve read a handful of memoirs by musicians in the past few years, and hearing the author narrator it means so much more than if it wasn’t them. It’s their life story – they should be reading it in my opinion! Three Pianos by Andrew McMahon, The Storyteller by Dave Grohl (this one hits even harder now, with the recent passing of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins…), and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen are a few that come to mind.

If you don’t listen to audiobooks, why not, and do you ever plan on doing so?

I clearly do listen to a LOT of audiobooks, but I know they don’t work for everyone. Personally I can’t just sit and listen to an audiobook. I need to be doing something else while listening, either reading along physically, driving, exercising or cleaning the house – something easy and mindless that doesn’t require a lot of concentration. I would recommend one of these methods if you’re curious about starting audiobooks. And I would highly recommend an audiobook with a full cast first, since those feel the most immersive. Or – honestly, just pick up an audiobook of any book you want to read! The best place to start is by picking up something you wanted to read anyway – half the motivation is already there.

I’m so grateful my public library has a great selection of audiobooks for free on the Overdrive/Libby websites/apps. Buying audiobooks can quickly get expensive. If your local library doesn’t have a great selection, see if your state has a larger public library you can join – for example, if you’re a New York State resident you can obtain a New York Public Library card by signing up online! A lot of libraries offer free digital services for the state you live in, so its worth looking into.

How about you – how do you feel about audiobooks? Any MUST listen audiobooks?

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