How I Choose Audiobooks

I think today’s question is supposed to be more how do I choose which type of book to listen to rather than how do I choose which specific book to listen to. Am I right, Jen?

There was once a time when I would tell you that my audiobook choices were mostly nonfiction and rereads. But as I’ve gotten more into audiobooks, my tastes have broadened. Now, I mostly listen to anything in audio because I can get to it faster that way.

While I have gotten less discerning in the genre of book I will listen to, I’ve gotten picker when it comes to narrators. I won’t just listen to any book. If I don’t know the narrator, I check with others to see if anyone else I trust has listened to it. At the very least, I go to Audible and listen to a sample.

And if you are a narrator I love, I will take my chance on a book I’m not to sure about. There are a two author/narrator duos I’ve discovered that stand out because they are not books I would normally read in print.

The first is John Scalzi/Wil Wheaton. I discovered Wil Wheaton’s narration in Ready Player One and I immediately went in search of more books. What I found was John Scalzi, a science fiction author that I would never have picked up in print. But I’m loving this pairing so much.

The second is Jacqueline Winspear/Orlagh Cassidy. I just finished listening the the 7th Maisie Dobbs book (the 5th narrated by Cassidy) and it has become my go-to series when I just want a good audiobook. I’m not a mystery fan but these are just too delightful to miss.

I think I digressed a bit here. Basically, I could just talk about audiobooks all the time. But now I want to hear from you. What types of books to you like to listen to? Are there any author/narrator duos that you adore?

29 thoughts on “How I Choose Audiobooks

  1. Emily June 18, 2013 / 8:59 am

    Completely agree about good narrators. I love Rob Inglis (narrator of Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit) and am going to try out The Wizard of Earthsea books because he narrates them.

    Also – there are some books I’ve wanted to “read” via the audio edition, such as Lean In & Happier at Home, but after listening to the samples on Audible decided I couldn’t stand the narrator, and ended up reading the print edition. For female narrators, they have to be mature sounding-voice – not high pitched. For male narrators (well, both actually), they need to have a good cadence, too many feel like they are reading from a boring textbook instead of an interesting non-fiction title.

    I should write a post for this topic tonight. 🙂

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 9:08 am

      I will have to check Rob Inglis out. I actually did listen to Lean In and thought she was fine. But I often don’t like women narrators (even though I hate saying that).

      Like

  2. Mindy June 18, 2013 / 11:09 am

    I totally agree about Wil Wheaton but I haven’t gotten to Red Shirts yet. I think that will be what I use one of my Audible credits on next month. I really like Davina Porter. she makes the LONG Outlander books go by so well.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:44 pm

      I need to check out the Outlander books. I just heard they’re making it a tv show.

      Like

  3. Lucy @ The Reading Date June 18, 2013 / 11:46 am

    I’m with you regarding narrators- picky but loyal. There have been a lot of new audiobook narrators lately – so then I just have to dive in and take a chance and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Everyone’s loving Redshirts! I need to get my hands on that one.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      There were some people who didn’t love Redshirts, but I found it completely entertaining.

      Like

  4. Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info June 18, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    I can be very picky about narrators too. Some are awesome and can read anything and others have made me pop the book out and read it instead. I need to read Ready Player One–I keep hearing so much about it. A great narrator can make even boring books interesting. 🙂

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      Ready Player One should be on everyone’s list. I don’t think I know anyone who didn’t love it.

      Like

  5. Kyle June 18, 2013 / 1:11 pm

    I totally fell for Nick Podehl while listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go and will try books narrated by him even if I’m unsure of the book itself. I also like Angela Dawe a lot, who narrated A Long, Long Sleep.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:39 pm

      Maybe I should try TKONLG on audio. It’s been sitting on my shelf for YEARS.

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  6. Kristin T. June 18, 2013 / 1:22 pm

    I tend to stick with fiction when it comes to audio – but within fiction, my listening habits run wide – historical fiction, women’s lit, chick lit and even psychological thrillers.

    I’m going to check out that Maisie series – I’ll be looking for a new series to do on audio when I finish Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    ~Kristin @ Always With a Book

    Like

    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:37 pm

      I’ve never tried a Janet Evanovich book. I’m a little scared of the commitment.

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  7. Trish June 18, 2013 / 1:39 pm

    My experience is pretty similar to yours. I started by using the library so my listens were entirely dictated by what was available on digital download (not much). Now that I’m on Audible I have much more freedom to pick and choose what I want and I definitely listen to things that I probably wouldn’t pick up in print. I also have the same “can get to it faster in audio” but I don’t know why this is–it’s not like I listen faster than I read. Hmmm. Yes to non-fiction and re-reads. The one area where I really struggle is classics or more literary titles. They’re too much for me to listen to.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:36 pm

      I like classics in audio actually. A good narrator can make an older book come to life.

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  8. Colleen June 18, 2013 / 4:27 pm

    I am very driven by narrators too – once I find one I like I keep searching them out and go through much if what they have recorded regardless of genre. A bad narrator just ruins the whole experience for me.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:35 pm

      A trusted narrator is such a great way to try new books. It takes out out of your comfort zone while giving you a life line.

      Like

  9. Beth F June 18, 2013 / 5:35 pm

    So many people have recommended Ready Player One over the last year, I really must listen.

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    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      You haven’t read this yet?!

      Like

  10. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing June 18, 2013 / 6:15 pm

    I’ve gotten more and more selective with narrators over the years, too. Audio is the only way to go with Maisie Dobbs!

    Like

    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      Once I started Maisie Dobbs (and got past the changing narrators for the first three books) I didn’t think I could switch to print.

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  11. Faith Hope & Cherrytea June 18, 2013 / 7:48 pm

    Cool to know MS Winspear does her own narrating! I just picked up a Maisie pb at last wk’s 1/2 price book sale. Looking fwd to that read – now I’ll have to check the llibrary for audio ;))
    tHANKS for stopping in at fhc –
    always happy to meet knew book people & book talk !!

    Like

    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:33 pm

      Actually, Orlagh Cassidy narrates all but the first two Maisie books (the first two narrators are perfectly fine).

      Like

  12. Bob June 18, 2013 / 7:54 pm

    I love when authors get invested in their narrators. One of my favorite crime fiction authors Andrew Vachss said that one of the reasons he was comfortable making a publisher switch was that they would continue to use Phil Gigante. My other favorite narrator pairings are probably Tim Dorsey and Oliver Wyman, & Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter.

    Like

    • Michelle June 18, 2013 / 8:33 pm

      I’ve listened to one Tim Dorsey/Oliver Wyman book. I really need to read some more. I love the Florida nonsense.

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  13. Care June 18, 2013 / 8:45 pm

    oh! great suggestion! good to hear the audio is awesome.

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  14. Bella June 18, 2013 / 11:46 pm

    I’m going to have to check out Jacqueline Winspear. I love my mysteries but haven’t listened to any of hers on audio yet.

    I love Scalzi’s books. Wheaton is a excellent narrator!

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  15. Emma @ Words And Peace June 18, 2013 / 11:58 pm

    Whil Wheaton and Orlagh Cassidy: yes I love them very much! I did also choose to listen to Before I Go To Sleep BECAUSE it was narrated by Cassidy, even though I had not even planned to read that book, didn’t think that would be my cup of tea. well, i could not stop cleaning the house that week, to give me extra time to justify my listening to that audiobook!!

    Like

    • Michelle June 19, 2013 / 10:05 pm

      Oh, I’ll have to check that one out. Love her so much.

      Like

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