What should be my first Audiobook?

Hi. I’ve never listened to an audiobook before, but I’d like to give it a try. I was watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford the other day, and I noticed how much I enjoyed listening to the narrator of that movie. I’d like to listen to an audio book where the reader really brings something to the story, much like how that movie’s narrator did. I’m not too picky about genre, but I think I would like it to be fiction.

And a related question: Is there an unabridged audio book of The Lord of the Rings? If so, how is it?

I have a real liking of the audiobook of Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress …

The guy reading it has the spiffiest loonie accent, a sort of spanish/russian/american blend that matches what I think Mannie sounds like.

Hmmm… Blackstone Audio, read by Lloyd James, I got it on emusic.com.

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry, is my favorite audiobook in the world. Lenny Henry does amazing voices for every character, from the ancient old Floridian women to the weasel-y Brit to the mythical/religious figure Tiger, in ways that I believe and love.

Plus it’s a good book on paper too.

I’ll have to look for that. I like to get audiobooks for long drives or when I have to work by myself. Not to hijack, but is there a good review site for audiobooks? (I usually get them secondhand at HalfPrice books or something.)

Some good books I’ve listened to have had awful readers and mediocre books have been made better.

Anthony Heald http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0372217/ is great reading “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”

There are few more, generally not ‘name’ actors, but character actors that do stage work, some tv and movie work that are great.

David Sedaris reading his own work (often with Amy doing some of the voices) is INCREDIBLE. Funny and moving. (I got the box set for Christmas.)

In my (limited) experience, it tends to be the Brits who do really good audiobook narrations.

A great example of where listening to the audio version is a significant improvement over the print version.

George Guidall is a fantastic narrator - I recommend Tender is the Night or Crime and Punishment.

Well, there’s AudioFile Magazine.

You could also go to audible.com and check out the customer ratings/reviews (similar to Amazon’s) of the audiobooks they offer.

Tim Dorsey’s Torpedo Juice is the best audiobook I’ve ever heard. I can’t remember who narrates it, but he’s very good and adds so much to the experience.

I enjoyed the *Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy *audiobooks.

Also, if you can find it, *The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat * by Susan Fromberg Schaefer is narrated by David Hyde Pierce and he does a fantastic job with it. Unfortunately it’s only available on cassette, though.

The Harry Potter series were quite good too, though they might be a bit young for you.

I can’t second this strongly enough. It’s my go to recommendation for this sort of thing.

This too. I love Sedaris, but his stuff is actually better as audiobook read by him than it is on the page. It comes to life when he reads it in a way it just doesn’t when it isn’t read out loud. I feel the same way about Sarah Vowell’s stuff.

If you can track down the old dove audio versions read by Douglas Adams, I highly recommend them. Also the radio plays are great, but that’s a different thing.

Almost all of the Terry Pratchett on audio book is fantastic, though the woman who did the first two witches books was less good than the other narrators.

I also thought that ***Doublestar ***by Heinlein narration by Llyod James was *significantly *better as an audio book than it was as a regular book. And I enjoyed the heck out of ***Fluke ***and ***Lamb ***(both by Christopher Moore) as audio books. Though I liked Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck (A Love Story) better as regular books.

One more I really liked was a nonfiction book called The Devils Teeth, about great white shark researchers off the coast of California. Fantastic book, and the narrator was equally fantastic.

There are a couple versions of the Lord of the Rings Unabridged that I know of. The one I listened to was dry as toast, but it looks like the version that is readily available these days is one done by an ensemble which might be better.

Yeah, I listen to a lot of audio books.

I’m a bit baffled by the recommendations for Anansi Boys. Perhaps my hearing was off that day, but the guy’s accent was so thick that I could only make out about one word in three. It was very irritating and I finally gave it up. Maybe I’ll give it another go soon; I did just finish listening to another audiobook before starting it and so the voices might have clashed in my head.

For my own recommendations, especially if you’re less concerned about the book and more interested in the reader, Simon Prebble does a wonderful job with Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy (a Nursery Crime tale, good novel in itself).

I have to second the recommendation for George Guidall. He did the narration for the first three books of The Dark Tower series, and he’s easily the single best reader I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately he was in a terrible accident some years back and, though he survived, was and is unable to continue his work. :frowning:

If you like the Harry Potter series, Jim Dale is an excellent reader for those.

When I want lowbrow entertainment, I find that full cast fiction audiobooks are always a lot of fun, as it’s more like listening to a radio dramatization than a book. Redwall and Ai! Pedrito! are the two that come most quickly to mind, but there are others.

Sheesh. Looking at that list, my preferences in audiobooks is a little obvious. :stuck_out_tongue:

Came in here to recommend Jim Dale and Harry Potter.
Another excellent reader, but not quite is Jim Weiss I own most of his work, which is condensed classics. Great narrative and excellent voice. It is for kids from toddlers through adult listening.


On a recent trip to Houston I listened to Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons read by Will Patton. It’s one I was glad I listened to rather than try to read.

Maybe it’s an indication of a man-crush but I would love to hear a book read by Matthew McConaughey.

One more thing: Your local library is a great place to pick up audio books. Just sayin’.

Actually, this wasn’t Guidall. It was Frank Muller, another excellent reader who did a lot of work with Stephen King’s books. Apparently he died in 2008. I didn’t realize this until I looked him up today. :frowning:

Speaking of which: IMO, Stephen King himself is a lousy audiobook reader. I would recommend against anything of his that he reads himself (such as Bag of Bones).


Thank you, I knew that didn’t sound right. I doublechecked the name on Audible before posting, but I must have glanced at a later book and didn’t realize it. Guidall was the replacement reader, and while he was…sufficient, he couldn’t compare to Muller, who is the best audiobook reader I’ve ever heard.

I’ve got to stop posting when I’m half asleep…

Fool, by Christopher Moore and narrated by Euon Morton. The book is hysterical and Morton is almost preternaturally good at doing all the different voices.

I must second (third? fourth?) the recommendation of Frank Muller.

Yes, there is. Rob Inglis reads it cover to cover and chants the songs as well…
This is the complete set, although it’s also available as 3 separate releases.

I’m told it’s very good, and the reviews on that Amazon page agree.

Gonna recommend the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, a magnificent tour de force for actor Roy Dotrice, giving a unique voice to dozens of characters.

There’s also the Dresden Files books, read by James “Spike from Buffy” Marsters.

In any case, avoid any book read by the author. Most can’t act.

Conversely, books read by actors are usually pretty good. Case in point, James Marsters as you mention (although I haven’t listened to those books yet) and John de Lancie (who happily reads many of the Star Trek audiobooks). They’re used to acting and often voice acting, so they typically manage to avoid a dull monotonal performance.

I greatly enjoyed the audio version of Max Brooks World War Z, some incredible voice talent on that one even if it is abridged from the book version.