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Caravanfan's avatar

Who is your favorite audiobook narrator?

Asked by Caravanfan (13390points) January 31st, 2019

My two favorite at the moment are Mary Robinette Kowel and Ray Porter.

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28 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

When I listen to books (a rare occurrence for a number of reasons) I tend to enjoy the the ones read by the author, as they know where to inflect and stress.

zenvelo's avatar

I had a record with Jimmy Stewart reading “Winnie-the-Pooh”.

Stewart’s rendering of ”...where he lived under the name of Sanders” carried as much gravity as when he was in a Hitchcock film.

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor I went to a panel at WorldCon where they discussed exactly that. And the opinions were mixed. Some of the narrators felt that having an author read their own audiobook would be like having a playwright acting their own part on stage. They are different skills.

Mary Robinette Kowel is an exception. She is an author AND a voice actor so she does read her own.

Darth_Algar's avatar

None. I hate audiobooks.

canidmajor's avatar

@Caravanfan, I don’t doubt that at all, I have been fortunate when I have listened to “read by author” books. It is a specialized skill, I used to do some reading-onto-tape for my mother and other visually impaired friends; it was challenging.

And lucky you going to WorldCon. I miss my con days, Westercon was the biggest one I did.

rebbel's avatar

So far I’ve heard the voices of Stephen Fry, Neil de Grasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan.
Fry’s on number one.

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor I have ComicCon tickets this summer. I can’t wait.

zenvelo's avatar

@rebbel Does Stephen Fry read with a Fry voice ?

filmfann's avatar

I don’t listen to audio books, but if I did, I would want the author if it was non-fiction, or someone more animated if it were fiction.
I am a Harry Potter fan, and I have heard Jim Dale did a wonderful job with the narration.

seawulf575's avatar

Angela Dawe read a couple of books by Bob Mayer and Jennifer Crusie and did a great job. Lenny Henry read Anasi Boys by Neil Gaiman and was great.
David Aaron Baker read several of the Odd Thomas books (by Dean Koontz) and always did a wonderful job.

rebbel's avatar

@zenvelo Yes.
And no.

ragingloli's avatar

Stephen Hawking.

gorillapaws's avatar

I really enjoyed Frank Muller’s narration of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series. I often enjoy hearing the author’s voice when it’s nonfiction.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws I REALLY tried to read that. I just couldn’t make my way through the first book. Even King has said that he didn’t like how the first book was written (it was early in his career) but it was just a slog for me.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan The first book was MUCH easier to read when you’re in middle school and all of the adult themes are tantalizing. When I read it as an adult, I get the joy from the nostalgia and appreciate it as an early example of King’s style. It’s pretty short, so an audiobook might be the best approach if you ever wanted to take another crack at it. IMO books 3, 4, “Wind Through the Keyhole”, and 5 were the best. The world building was so well done. The universe takes place in a world that has “moved on.” It’s post-apocalyptic in a way, but not like a Mad Max hellscape (though there’s some of that), more like how Rome must have looked after people forgot how to build aqueducts, roads and bridges.

rockfan's avatar

The only audiobook I’ve ever really liked is the Steve Jobs biography read by Dylan Baker

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan Do you have any sci-fi or fantasy audiobooks that you’d recommend?

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws Oh my goodness yes, tons. How much time do you have? I’m not going to link to the books below because you can check Amazon and google as well as anybody, but it will be enough. A lot of these are Ray Porter reading because I love Ray Porter, but it’s not exclusively him. Various genres.

Okay, here we go
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowel (read by the author). This is an alternate history of the 1960s about a woman who becomes the first woman astronaut. This is a two book series (more coming) and there is a short story that goes along with it.

Seveneves by Neil Stephenson. Multiple readers. This is an absolutely epic (meaning very long) book about post-apocalyptic Earth and a civilization that develops in a ring around the Earth.

Ready Player One by Ernest Kline ready by Wil Wheaton. This was made into a kind of a sucky movie by Speilberg. Post-global warming wrecked Earth book about people living mostly in a videogame Oasis. Read if you like 80’s gaming and movie trivia

The Martian by Andy Weir (can’t remember the reader). You probably saw the movie. Astronaut stranded on Mars.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (can’t remember the reader). Far in the future caste society with Reds at the bottom and Golds at the top. You can guess from the title what might happen. Multiple ongoing book series

Bobiverse trilogy by Dennis Taylor (Ray Porter). Fun trilogy about a guy named Bob who uploads his brain to a computer and then gets uploaded to a ship. Then he clones himself and makes a fleet of Bobs. Antics happen.

Nocturnal by Scott Sigler (Ray Porter). Urban cop fantasy in San Francisco about a secret underground mutant/alien society.

Infected trilogy by Scott Sigler (read by the author). Aliens invade the world and infect people. Horror/sci fi

GFL series by Scott Sigler—starts with The Rookie (read by Sigler). Ongoing. Fun series far in the future about a football league whose players are of different alien races. It’s YA

Sigler has other books that I like, but I’m a big Sigler fan.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (can’t remember the reader). Fantastic hard science fiction book far in the future about humanity’s fight for survival on a terraformed planet after humanity has been nearly wiped out.

Hero of Thera by Eric Nylund. Niche genre called LitRPG. What would happen if you are stuck and become your video game character. YA

World War Z by Max Brooks (Multiple readers, but special because Max’s dad is Mel and Mel got a bunch of his friends like Alan Alda to read on it). Zombie book

Joe Ledger Novels by Jonathan Maberry (he’s up to 10 books). Action-shoot-em-up horror sci/fi. Joe Ledger is a secret agent in a secret government agency whose job is to clamp down on supernatural horrors like zombies, vampires, aliens, robots, etc.

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (he’s finished the second book but we’re all waiting for the third). Straight up fantasy, but intelligent fantasy.

This should get you started. Let me know if you find one that you like.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan Thanks for taking the time to put together that list. I just bought “Seveneves.” I’m looking forward to it.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws That book took me weeks to finish on audiobook. I hope you enjoy it. If you’ve never read Stephenson before he takes a LONG time to get into the story and he spends a lot of time on the physics and technology regarding the Ring. Personally, I love that stuff, but it’s not a story that hops along.

MarcusReturns's avatar

I prefer audiobooks to be read by the author too, in all honesty I absolutely love listening to Stephen Fry, author of quite a few books, but surprisingly too, Kevin Hart was actually quite a good reader.

gorillapaws's avatar

I just finished “Seveneves.” It was incredible. I highly recommend it to any hard science fiction fan. The audiobook was very well done.

Caravanfan's avatar

You finished already? It’s 30 hours long! It took me a month! I loved the book

If you like Stephenson’s style he co-wrote a book with Nicole Galland I quite enjoyed in audiobook format called the Rise and Fall of Dodo. I forgot to put it in my list above.

I would go with Children of Time next though.

gorillapaws's avatar

I practically ignored my wife for a week and stayed up to crazy hours at night.

Are you a fan of “The Expanse” tv series? It’s based on a book series: of the same name. I’ve heard that this is one of those rare instances where the show is better than the novels, but I thought I’d pass it on. They’re available as audiobooks.

I just started “Children of Time.”

Caravanfan's avatar

Of course I’m a fan of the Expanse! (Grade A sci fi geek here). I like both the books and the shows. This is one series I haven’t done audiobooks on.

Children of Time has a sequel coming out in May, I believe.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan I just finished “Children of Time.” I took my time with this one. I enjoyed it, and thought the author did a good job of narrating from the perspective of the spiders, helping the reader experience the world through their perspective. I also thought he handled the ending well.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws I’m glad you enjoyed it! The sequel is coming out on May 14, called Children of Ruin.

I just finished an epic 3 book series starting with Fear the Sky by Stephen Moss. It’s a speculative hard science fiction story about an alien invasion. It isn’t as polished as Children of Time and could have used a better editor, but I enjoyed it. I just started another series by David Weber starting with Armageddon Reef. I listened to the first one years ago on a backpacking trip, and I gave up on the series after book 3 or 4, but I’m going to give it another go.

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