TSS - What I Learned During Audio Week

I think that Audio Week, hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books, was the first blog event that I participated in every day.  Granted, some of my posts were rather bland (i.e. how to review an audio book) because I just had no answers, but I completed THE WHOLE WEEK.  This, is pretty impressive for me.  I always have good intentions, but they tend to fall short.  (Uh, which is probably why I've always gotten side-tracked during Dewey's Read-a-Thon)

And let me tell you, it was one of the best weeks I spent scouring the blogging world to read the opinions of my fellow book fanatics.  It's only really been this summer since I began devouring audio books and becoming a fan.  I haven't really reviewed all of the ones I've listened to because I've felt sorta sketchy on the whole process.  After all, since listening is definitely a different way of having the story unravel, I knew it was pertinent to share that experience, but I wanted to do so somewhat intelligently.

So, here's some bits of advice that I picked up along the way:

From The Oddiophile: (and BTW, isn't that the coolest name EVER??)

  • Did the narrator clearly differentiate the characters?
  • Were the emotions in the story conveyed to the listener?
  • Did the men sound like dudes, the women like..er, women, and the children childish? Even small pitch changes can accomplish this so I’m not necessarily talking about overall vocal range
  • Were there any sound or production issues like a hiss to the recording? Poor editing where you can hear a splice between sections or a significant change in sound quality? Real-world noise bleeding into the recording? Annoying mouth noises? Rampant mispronunciation?
I love this list and outline.  It easily allows me to mentally go through what I should be paying attention to.  Also, after reading the article that Oddiophile shared, it is apparent that the narrator should incite EMOTION.  Most of us can agree that listening to a book takes longer than if we were to read it ourselves, so there should be a reason why we would choose to listen to it (outside of there's not another audio book to grab in replacement of the current one). 

Not surprisingly, our host, Jen, wrote a great post on what makes a good narrator:

1.  Does the narrator fit the book?
2. Does the narrator express the book authentically.
3. Are the accents and vocal differentiation effective and appropriate?
4. Do you want to sit in your car in the heat after working out just because you can't step away from the audio you're listening too?

I have to admit that I will more than likely NOT review the books that I listened to earlier on.  I don't think that I stayed aware enough with the production to fully develop an opinion.  Also, it's been a couple of months, and I would only vaguely be able to say: eh, this narration was pretty good or meh, I wasn't too impressed

I'm really interested in this new journey of audio books that I've taken on.  It sorta makes me feel like a child again listening to bedtime stories.  *smile*


  1. These are good ways to judge a narrator. I listen to short story podcasts on a regular basis rather than audio books, but a good narrator and good production values matter in the short form just as much in novel length works.

    The one thing I'd add is that a good narrator creates a kind of reading spell. You simply fall into listening and stop thinking about listening. The best narrators can do this even if they break some of the other "rules".

  2. I'm so glad some of the descriptions of what I use to evaluate a narration were of value to you. Thank you so much for including me in this post.

    Learning how to talk about what the narrator brings to the table was definitely a long process for me - as is obvious from some of my earliest attempts at audiobook reviews.

    I have to agree with C.B. James - the best narrator of all is whoever can completely immerse you in the story and it isn't until it's over and you come up for air that you even stop to think about how they accomplished it.

  3. I'm still learning how to review audiobooks. It's hard to describe good narration once you get lost in it.


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