Do audio books make stories better?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Bob Gray, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    I just recently listened to the audio book version of Stephen King's From A Buick 8. I had read it when it first came out and I enjoyed it but not as much as some of his other books but listening to it on audio CD brought a whole new dimension (ha ha) to it. I listened to it in pitch darkness and it was really like watching a movie in my mind. Anyway, I totally love this book now and it has become one of my top favorite King novels.

    My question is, has anyone else ever experienced this with audio books where you weren't originally impressed with a novel and then heard it on audio and it changed your thinking on it completely?
     
  2. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    I love the idea of audio books, and some of them are very well done, but my problem is that when I listen to them, my mind wanders and I end up missing too much.
     
  3. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    I'm an audio book addict. Love em. But the quality of narration is very important to the listening experience, obviously. I have listened to books read by two different narrators, and it can seem as though they are completely different books. In general, though, I like to hear the voices read to me. I am very bad at creating the sounds of the different voices and accents in my own head while reading, so having that extra input makes the book sing to me. A good narrator can definitely improve a book.

    Speaking of narrators -- I am very much looking forward to getting hold of the new recordings of Best Served Cold and The Heroes. The original versions were recorded by Michael Page, who was completely wrong for Abercrombie's work. The new recordings are done by Steven Pacey, who recorded the First Law trilogy -- near or at the top of my all time favorite book/narrator pairings. Unfortunately, right now they are only available in the UK -- but I'm working on it!
     
  4. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    One audiobook that made a story better for me was the John Lee narrated a Feast for Crows. When I originally read the hardcover on it's release date, I didn't enjoy it that much. I think this was because of the absence of some of the main POVs, the inclusion of some new unfamiliar POVs and lands, and the wait and anticipation that I had built up. I had also listened to the audiobooks of the first three books in the series and really enjoyed them and their narration by Roy Dotrice.

    I first listened to the AFFC audiobook a few years after reading the hardcover and I was initially disappointed that there was a new narrator. After a little while though I came to appreciate this narrator's more laid back style and this also made me appreciate the new, slower paced style of this volume that was opening the world up to a wider scope with new viewpoints and lands. I love Roy Dotrice's readings of the first three novels and thought he fit them well, but John Lee was the right guy for the new feel of AFFC and I just don't think I would have ever come to appreciate Brienne's treks through Quiet Isle and Crack Claw Point or Arianne and crews' flight up the river and through the desert quite the same without Lee's style of narration.
     
  5. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

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    I am on record as a huge fan of audible books, but as far is this format making a book better... I'd say IMO it's possible but does not happen very often for me. A good reader can really enhance a book (Roy Dotrice and ASoIaF for me!) and a poor one can really ruin it to some extent.

    Audible books are my choice most of the time because I can enjoy them while traveling no matter if I'm driving or on a plane or boat (where reading a book sometimes makes me feel sick), or while mowing the back field on my tractor. In addition, since I hit my 50's my eyes have not been what they used to be. Wearing glasses or contacts to read has taken much of the joy out of reading for me. On a beach in Jamaica.. I can listen to a book I enjoy while gazing at the beautiful beach and water in front of me! There a many reasons I am an avid user of audible books, but for most part I never expect a book to be 'better' because I listen to it rather than read it.
     
  6. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    So what are some really well done fantasy audiobooks?

    For me, 2 that I felt were extremely well done were American Gods and Sabriel (read by Tim Curry).
     
  7. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    I've only listened to audiobooks twice now, the first one was Stephen King's new story Mile 81. I had obviously never read it so I can't say listening to it was better but as far as From a Buick 8 goes, I definitely was able to enjoy it better. I think sitting in pitch blackness allowed me to 1) not have any distractions, and 2) picture everything in my mind's eye better. It was just an experiment, I'm not sure it would work for everyone.
     
  8. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Here's a list of personal favorites (favorite book/narrator pairings) that I originally put together on another site:

    The First Law trilogy -- by Joe Abercrombie, narrator Steven Pacey
    The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands -- by Richard Morgan, narrator Simon Vance
    The Graveyard Book -- by Neil Gaiman, narrator Neil Gaiman
    Good Omens -- by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett -- I forget the narrator, but he does a fine job
    The Vorkosigan series -- by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrator Grover Gardner
    The Dresden Files series -- by Jim Butcher, narrator James Marsters (note that the first two books are NOT very good, but they improve greatly after that)
    the Harry Potter series -- by JK Rowling, narrator Jim Dale -- some people prefer the Stephen Fry narration, but I like Dale better
    the Joe Pitt series -- by Charlie Huston, narrator Scott Brick -- only if you like noir, many people think these are too dark and violent

    also anything narrated by George Guidall!
     
  9. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    Thanks! George Guidall did American Gods, right?
     
  10. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Yup. :)

    Oh jeez, the system won't let me post unless my answer is more than 10 characters. And now it is!
     
  11. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    One of my favorite all time audiobooks is Children of Hurin by JRR Tolkien because it is read by Christopher Lee. His voice is just so epic and perfect for that Tolkien story.

    Some others that I can remember off the top of my head are: all of the Dying Earth and Lyonesse books by Jack Vance, the Talisman by Steven King and Peter Straub, Black Company by Glenn Cook, and Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson(it was cyberpunk instead of fantasy but the audiobook was really good). As has already been mentioned, the Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks are very good too.
     
  12. Pub

    Pub Registered User

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    Simon Vance and Stephen pacey are very good.

    Others Series i liked and not to mention my favourite author is robert jordan wheel of time. Micheal krmaer and kate redding?? did a great job and the female male combination is great when going to different pov.

    Only downside for me is kramer american accent is quite strong i find ( i suppose it wouldnt bother americans :p)

    Easy way to get through a large series doesnt make them feel so big when you dont read them yourself. Fortunetly i can listen to them at work most of time when welding but sometimes people using metal saw all day makes it impossible
     
  13. lolrus

    lolrus Registered User

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    No, but they make housework more bearable.
     
  14. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    For me it all comes down to the narrator - Listening to Neil Gaiman do Neverwhere - was great. But I've heard other audio books (won't call them out) where the narrator completely ruined it for me.

    My pet peeve..."different voices" for characters and the "woman" always high and lilting - I would prefer a straight read overy a characiture of a character.
     
  15. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    do you mean the same person uses different voices or that it is another person reading altogether?

    On FAB8, different people read certain parts but the way it is done is perfect. There is a narrator who reads the majority of the book but when it gets to the chapters where other characters in the story tell their part of it, it switches to another person. You don't have two different people reading on the same chapter.
     
  16. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Irrelevant factoids:

    Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (get it, "reading"?? I love that) are actually a married couple. I *believe* that both names are pseudonyms. Kate (real name Jennifer Mendenhall) was actually born in the US. I've usually heard her read with a British accent (she spent at least some time growing up in the UK), but she also sometimes reads with an American accent; and although I think Kramer is purely American, I've heard him read with a fairly good British accent (although it tended to come and go a bit). I've never really understood why they didn't at least match accents for the WOT books.

    edited to add -- okay, I looked it up and Michael Kramer also uses the name "Nick Bernard" -- but it looks like Kramer is probably the "real" name and Bernard is the pseudonym....
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  17. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I mean when the same person alters their voice - basically changing the pitch - some can do this well - but when done poorly it really rubs me the wrong way.

    Audio versions of my books will be hitting the market soon March 1st, and I'm dieing to hear wha they will sound like. I didn't get a say over narrartor or whether it would be a straight read or "acted" with voices - but I'm anxious to discover which way it comes out.
     
  18. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    I can tell ya right now, if they're being done professionally they're gonna be acted. I have listened to a LOT of audiobooks, and I think the ONLY ones I've heard read "straight" have been books either read by volunteers (Librivox) or read by the authors (e.g. Zelazny).

    I'm glad to hear you're gonna have audio versions. I'll be looking for em on Audible! Do you know the name of the narrator, by any chance?
     
  19. murf99

    murf99 Registered User

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    Does anyone know if R. Scott Bakker or Chris Wooding has any audiobooks? Can't seem to find any anywhere. Surely they're popular enough?
     
  20. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    There is a recording of Chris Wooding's book Poison, put out by Recorded Books. That's the only one I'm aware of from either author.