You see, it’s not enough to know what the future is. You have to know what it means. – Anathema Device, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
I’ve written previously how I listen to a lot of podcasts. Well, one of the advertisements often given on a podcast these days is an offer for a free audiobook from audible.com when you sign up with a special site or promo code. The problem is I just cannot get into audiobooks. I don’t want to say it’s the readers fault but the reader definitely has something to do with it.
Take the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks by George R.R. Martin, read by Roy Dotrice. He does a unique voice for every character and I do not enjoy a single one of them. When I mentioned this to my brother-in-law he said it was the influence of the show. I gave this some thought and I realized when I read an Eddard Stark chapter I don’t hear Sean Bean as his voice or Peter Dinklage when I read a Tyrion Lannister chapter. Still, Roy Dotrice’s narration for the characters doesn’t match either. I am not criticising his performance at all. From what I can tell it’s superb, but not for me.
You would think it might just for that series because of the varying voices Dotrice uses and the characters being younger than they are on the show. Nope.
Same thing happened to me for many of my favorite series. I’ve tried listening to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Dark Tower by Stephen King and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. All of them read really well by different actors and voice actors but I end up just turning it off.
There are some that have fallen into the yeah, that’s okay but still doesn’t retain my interest which include the fully casted versions of American Gods and World War Z along with The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ll probably keep trying to give them a chance.
There are two that I have enjoyed and they are both read by the author. Maybe that’s the key? I really don’t know. While I’ve heard nothing but praise for the version read by Stephen Fry, the audiobook version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams read by the author is the only one I’ve read all the way through. His comedic delivery, his cadence and that charming British accent matched the reader in my mind with the reader of the audio.
Another one I’ve enjoyed is American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson, also read by the author. What is different about Ferguson’s book, which I highly recommend, is that I only listened to it and never actually read it. Perhaps that’s the key? Maybe I should search out audiobooks of books that I’m slightly interested in or heard great praise about but have no intention of reading (coughTheHungerGamescough). It is definitely something about.
I constantly hear about how great audiobooks are. For those who commute in their car audiobooks are so great. For professional authors who travel a lot audiobooks are a lifesaver. For people living in L.A. who are stuck in traffic for ridiculous amount of time, audiobooks are the only ways left to read. It’s one of those forms of media I keep giving a chance but always going back to reading rather than listening to them. I’ll just have to keep trying.