Intro To Audiobook Month: Narrators, Reviews, and Giveaways

Audio month

June is Audiobook Month.  A time when we celebrate Audiobooks, Narrators, Great Audio, and more.  If you read reviews here at Book Journey you know I listen to A LOT OF AUDIO.  That was not always the case. In fact, there was a time I thought audiobooks were so geeky….

My Aunt and Uncle live in California.  Every spring they bring a large RV back to Minnesota and stay with my other Aunt and Uncle here in Brainerd on their property until October.  For their trek from California to Minnesota…. they listen to audio.  One time I had to get something out of their RV I went in and seen this huge box of audio cassette tapes (bear with me… this was a while ago 😉 ).  UGH I thought, how could you just listen to audio for hours on end?  They must REALLY BE OLD.  (yeah… I am not proud).

About 4 years ago I was offered audiobooks for review.  I thought I would give one a try, and put it in my cars CD player.  My world has never been the same.  I fell in love with a story, and finished a book over the next couple of weeks while driving.  Then I started listening to it while cooking, and cleaning, and mowing, and gardening, and playing scrabble on line…

Note:  All audio is not AWESOME audio

You might be thinking “But Sheila, I tried audio once and I could not get into it.  I can not handle someone reading to me!”

Good audio, as I recently discussed with Narrator Karen White, does not give you the feel that someone is reading to you.  Good audio… makes you forget that… good audio, you never hear the narrator reading, instead you fall into the story, much like when you watch a tv show you do not focus that the actor is acting.

audio narrators
Audio Narrators Luncheon in New York


Please watch this site for June audio book related posts.  For every post you comment on in June that has this audio book symbol:

Audio month

I will put you into a drawing for a $25 book certificate for each comment (Barnes and Noble or Amazon – your choice).  Winner will be drawn in July.

To give you a clue to what has already been posted this month that is audio related (including this one) – here are the links:

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

(Ok.. I have been busy… but lots more to come 😀 )


Do you listen to audio? 

Why or why not?

When did you start if you do?

What do you like most about audio?

97 thoughts on “Intro To Audiobook Month: Narrators, Reviews, and Giveaways

      1. I’ve got 2 in my house on CD, which is easiest for the car, so I’ll probably take both of them, although one would get me most of the way there and back. The two: American Dervish and Darling Jim. Hopefully at least one of them works for me!

        1. I listened to American Dervish and thought it was just ok. That’s why it’s always good to have two 🙂 Or in some cases a cd could be kipping or just stop working. Have fun on your solo road trip 🙂

  1. I love audios. But they are definitely not all created equal. The narrator is make it or break it and I find each listener has different things they prefer in a narrator.

    I’m so jealous that you went to that luncheon. Sounds SO fun.

  2. That’s a great comparison, Sheila. If you are really getting into a story, you forget that you are listening to an audiobook, watching a movie, or reading a novel.

    I’m looking forward to all of your audiobook posts! 🙂

  3. You don’t have to convince me! I love, love, love audio! But you probably already know I’m an avid listener. I found audio five or six years ago – I would listen to short stories or non-fiction while gardening. At first I couldn’t listen in the car. I even took the wrong exit one time because I was concentrating on a book instead of driving! I keep telling people it’s an acquired skill, and listening eventually becomes second nature. Anywho – I’m just finishing up audiobook #30 this year.

  4. Hello Sheila,

    I review a lot of the audiobooks I listen to as well. I’m interested in hearing where you get audiobooks to review? Do you contact the publishers directly?


    1. Evelynne, you can try contacting narrators directly, or the marketing person at the audiobook publisher (which may be a different department than the print publisher). Publishers who only do audio, like Tantor, Blackstone and Recorded Books are ones to check as well.

  5. I think the first audio book I listened to as an adult was the Harry Potter series narrated by Jim Dale which set the bar pretty high.

    I am not a huge fan of audio books though I have found some that I love. Now I am trying to listen to more audio but it depends on the narrator as well as the story. I have a tendency to listen to audio books that I’ve already read in print. If I listen to a book I’ve never read before then I worry that I will miss something while I am driving.

    I think listening to audio books adds to the experience of reading the book. I thought the audio books for the Harry Potter series helped to bring the characters to life even more. Listening to Conor Grennan narrate his adventures in Nepal in Little Princes made his story so much richer because I heard it directly from him.

    Unfortunately sometimes I can love a story but hate the audio book because of the narrator. I tried listening to A Game of Thrones but gave up because the narrator does a terrible job with female voices, especially the young ones. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books but anytime I try to listen to them on audio, I don’t like the narrator. The narrative voice for Poppy in I’ve Got Your Number was so annoying it was like listening to someone slowly drag their nails across a chalkboard 🙂

    If you have any good recommendations for audio books, I’m all ears 🙂

    1. You are so right, it does depend on the narrator and the story – there are so many great audio out there that we will talk about yet 😀 I will have a post coming up hopefully yet this week on great audio suggestions 😉

  6. Audiobooks are my jam. I agree, not all audiobooks are awesome – but when you get into one, it’s like you never want to leave the story. I’m happy I discovered them about a year ago. My fave types of books to listen to are mysteries and YA fantasy.

  7. I would also like to add that I’m a big fan of Whispersync for Voice. I love the chance to add the professional narration for a few dollars extra. It’s awesome to be able to sit down and read the Kindle book when relaxing, then pick up the audiobook when doing chores or travelling or in bed at night.

  8. I enjoy audio books very much. For me the narrator is the key because the wrong narrator can turn a great story into a boring one. This is the year I have vowed to listen to more audio books. Your reviews will make it so much easier for me to choose!

  9. I am in love with audiobooks. I started years ago listening (on cassettes) while on road trips. Somehow I stopped listening for a few years. I returned when I found Outlander on audio and have never looked back. I agree that narrators are key.

  10. I love audiobooks. I started about a year ago when I started working full time and had a 40 minute commute to work. It’s nice to have some quiet time on the way into work, but on the way home, it’s so great to calm down from a rough day by listening to some good audiobooks.
    Happy Audiobook Month!

  11. I LOVE audio for driving, right now I’m listening to The Night Circus to and from work every day. I completely agree that not all narrators are created equal, and you really have to figure out who the best ones are. Hint hint, that would make a great post from you some day 😉

  12. I love audiobooks, I started many years ago, while painting [I’m an artist painting on rocks]. Then I started listening while doing house chores, cleaning, dusting, ironing [yeah, I still iron clothes!!], the dishes [no, I don’t have a dish washer, which is awesome for audiobooks]. I always have an audiobook in process. Right now: All The Light We Cannot See, received from the publisher. The narrator is great, right, it’s just like I was dragged into this story. I have been caught a couple of times with bad narrators. Fortunately there are more awesome narrators than bad ones. even if I don’t subscribe t audible, I can listen to an excerpt of an audio before downloading it form my library or requesting it for review, just to check if the narrator sounds goof and has a pleasant voice.

  13. Good point on the quality of the audio. I normally am ambivalent about audiobooks, because my mind drifts off and I stop paying attention, then I’ve lost my place. The exception was the audio version of “The Fault in Our Stars,” which I listened to on a roadtrip. The narration was fantastic, and I hung onto every word.

  14. I love audio books and I listen whenever I have to do housework (have been known to say that I NEED to do the ironing because I wanted to listen – and I HATE ironing). Moreover, it was a good way of getting my teenage daughter over a reading low to the extend that her favourite christmas present is now the yearly subscription to Audible. But it is really important who the reader is, my favourite is Lorelei King, I just love her (I think) Southern American accent and I get her audio books never mind if I know the author. She can make everything interesting. On the other hand last week I had an audio book where the author did the reading and it was awful. Just because you can write, you can’t necessarily read. Put me right off.

  15. I too love audiobooks and have been listening for years.

    I listen to them when running and working out. Amazingly, looking forward to listening to the book is one of the things that keep me motivated.

    Luckily I have gotten mostly high quality audios.

  16. I love Audio books! I have a long commute each day, and my books are what keep me from dreading the drive. Currently I am listening to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and it is really good!

  17. I love this post, Sheila! I think you make a great analogy between audiobook narration and on camera acting – and as Johnny Heller says, its all acting! you want the actor to disappear and just be swept away by the story, the emotions, the action.
    For those who are newer to audio, besides finding a narrator that works for you (different vocal ranges, pacing, levels of theatricality appeal to different people), I think its important to note that our minds are more visually oriented than aurally oriented these days. But we can increase that connection between our ears and our imaginations! In Shakespeare’s day, they used to talk of going to “hear a play” and they would “hear the news” as well from a bard or a guy on the streetcorner. These days our eyes take in everything first. But its gotta be good for our brains to hook up those dormant senses, right!?

  18. I listen to a lot of audios, probably the majority of my “reading’ is done that way. to be honest, I can deal with most narrators, as long as the story’s good.

    I’m very sad that my player seems to be on it’s last legs. I was hoping it was just the headphones, but alas.

    1. I just had to buy a CD player a few weeks ago. It is funny how it seems so clunky compared to my audio downloads on my phone… hauling it room to room is a pain, but I need it for the CDS 😀

  19. I do listen to audio books while I work out but I came to this decision very reluctantly. I still prefer to read a real live book — LOL, but I have enjoyed quite a few audiobooks in the past year.

  20. I only started listening to audiobooks in the last few years, and I discovered I’m SO picky when it comes to narrators. I mainly listen on my iPod or iPhone, but do use a home CD player once in a while. My favorite times to listen is while on my treadmill or riding the lawn mower, but sometimes I listen while cooking or cleaning.

  21. The one thing I’ve listened to in audio is the Bible—The Word of Promise. Yep, the whole thing because I knew it was the only way I’d “read” it from cover to cover. Just LOVE Louis Gossett Jr. as John. I’ve listened to a few short works by audio and have a couple in iTunes, but haven’t made a habit of it. I rarely do things that will allow me to pay attention to what I’m hearing : / And I don’t think of it for days I clean house ’cause I don’t have an ipod. Things can change, though! lol

      1. Sheila, it’s long (as you know) and a lot of the Old Testament can be rough, I’m not crazy about a few of the actors who were cast, but overall I was grateful to have it. Now I’ve “read” the whole Bible, which was always something I wanted/needed to do. I listened to the majority while driving!

  22. i used to feel the same way about audiobooks, in fact, the first one I was sent to review I didn’t even finish. But fast forward a few years and now I’m hooked. Now with my vision loss I am relying on them more and more. And I LOVE to listen while I cook – I get completely lost in the story!

  23. I lucked out with finding a great audiobook the first time I tried one when I was 19 or 20 – that’s about 10 years ago now. I listened to The Thirteenth Tale and it blew me away. I’m not sure how I finished it, as my drive to work and class was under 20 minutes, but I remember being pulled into the story. I like that audiobooks make menial tasks more fun. I find myself motivated to clean, work out and get mindless processing and cataloging at work done with a good audiobook.

      1. Ooooo…The Thirteenth Tale! One of the few adult novels I’ve read and I LOVED it! I would imagine if the narration is good, it would be a great “listen”! And the cover—the original cover—worth framing, I think 😀

  24. I am a long time fan (20+ yrs) of audiobooks. My husband thought I was crazy when I got a bluetooth speaker for the bathroom so I could listen to books while in the shower. I’ve only found one book that I could not finish because of the narrator…no names because someone else might think they did a great job. GoodReads is a good way to track your audiobooks. Just create an audiobook shelf then sort by date read.

  25. I love listening to audio on my walks. My husband and I like to listen to audio on long car rides, but my daughter doesn’t care for audios in the car, she’d rather listen to music.

  26. I couldn’t agree more, not all narrations are created equal. A fantastic narration … you fall into the world, a poor narration pulls you from the story. Once of the worst I’ve listened to this year was Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Lady of the English, now that’s a fantastic story that should be read because the narrator totally kills it … kills it dead lol

  27. I need to get into audio books more. I have listened to a LOT of children’s books on audio over the years.

  28. I love audio books and I sort of just discovered them four months ago. I immediately got a 1-book-month credit for audible and I spend a lot of time deciding what to use that credit on. I’ve heard some great ones this year: Orphan Train, Kitchen House, Invention of Wings; a few Nora Ephron memoirs. I’m listening to All the Light Cannot See right now and although the book got rave reviews, I’m finding the audio BORING.

  29. I love listening to audio, but it has to really pull me in. If I can’t get into the narrator then I’m not going to be able to listen to several hours of a story, no matter how good that story is!

  30. re- Karen’s comment on ‘hearing’ I think is part of why I am frustrated by narrators who are not age appropriate for main characters.. the voice is wrong. authenticity is missing. so rather than being swept into the story, I’m entirely focused on this major hindrance to ‘hearing’ the story….
    I also appreciate your contact info, Karen , for audio publishers rather than the book pubs – thanks for your involvement in making this month a true resource!
    and Sheila for hosting and posting so much info!

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