In Feburary, 2008, I fell in love with Hope Davis. I’d never met her, never seen her, but I was entranced, seduced by her voice. I was listening to the book Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje, and while I love Ondaatje’s writing, the book was much better for the narration by Davis.
These days I tend to listen to a lot of books rather than reading them. I download mp3 books from the library using the Overdrive mechanism, or I borrow CD sets from the library. Then I listen to the books on long car journeys and long hikes – and on long bike rides where one is allowed to ride with earbuds and I judge the situation to be safe 🙂
Having an iPod with room for many books, I’m very selective about what I listen to. I can’t count the number of books I’ve abandoned because I don’t like the narrator’s voice. Some voices just grate on me. I love a mellifluous voice and I love voices that change with the character. Perhaps the most amazing narrator I’ve heard is the Australian actor Humphrey Bower, who narrated the massive tome, Shantaram. I gave up on the book eventually because it didn’t seem to be leading anywhere, but I was in awe of Bower’s varied and perfect accents.
And I abandon books that don’t hold my attention. So my preference tends to be thrillers, although Young Adult books can be wonderful because they have to be good at holding the attention of the reader/listener.
I could name many books that I’ve enjoyed listening to, but instead I’m going to name just two that I’ve listened to this year which I loved and I’d recommend to anyone. I suspect they would also be great reads. Surprisingly, neither is a thriller.
The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee. As it says on Amazon, “The Husband’s Secret is a staggeringly brilliant novel.” Lee’s voice changes beautifully with each character, and makes the book a delight to listen to.
I have hundreds of other books I could recommend as great audio books, but I suspect most people are pretty busy and that even two books might be too many 🙂 If you want more suggestions, ask in the comments section. And if you have audio book recommendations, add them to the comments section. Please don’t add them to Facebook – they get lost too soon.
Links and Other Clicks
Overdrive is a wonderful digital library from which you can borrow audio books, e-books, and videos. It’s is associated with your local library, and not all books are available at all libraries. Here’s a link to the main Overdrive page, from where you can search for books or for libraries. And here’s a link to the page for my local library system, so you can see what it looks like.
Here are links to the Amazon CD version of the various books I’ve mentioned. But I’d treat this as a last resort – hopefully you can download the mp3 files from Overdrive or borrow a CD set from your local library.