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Celebrating National Audiobook Month

City Yes! There is such a month, and it's June. I, however, am not celebrating at the moment. The last audiobook I listened to was Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea: The  Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, which was terrific, if extremely disturbing in its description of cannibalism on the high seas. Still: Good book, if you've got a strong stomach, and definitely a worthwhile audiobook if you like your adventure with a side of hubris and marrow-sucking.

But then I moved on to David Grann's bestselling The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, which has been recommended to me by readers I trust. And I can't seem to work up much interest in it. I haven't gotten past the first CD. I don't know whether it's the reader, Mark Deakins, or the material, but I'm stuck.

Tiedupspike A reader, of course, makes all the difference when it comes to audiobooks. Real fans have their favorites; an interesting blog at publishersweekly.com cites the mastery of such famous readers as Jim Dale, who read the Harry Potter books for audio, and Simon Prebble. I heard Prebble on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and he was fantastic.

Do fans follow specific readers? I don't, but this blogger tells us her favorite is a woman named Barbara Rosenblat. She also writes that James Marsters (Spike!) has recorded audiobooks. She doesn't say if he reads in his fake Buffy British accent or in his regular American accent, and believe me, if you're Team Spike, that makes a huge difference.

Anyway, if you've got any audio recommendations, don't hesitate to send them along. Happy listening.


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Maybe this is just applicable for long car trips but I have found that what you want in an audiobook is lots of plot and amusement but not too much that makes you think. Elmore Leonard works well. Nonfiction tends to put me to sleep. I don't think that's the fault of the material, really. I used to love those two-cassette abridged versions of John D. MacDonald novels I would get from the library -- perfect for a run up the Keys and back.


Actually I don't like thrillers on audio; I like to read them. I listen almost exclusively to nonfiction, although some of the novels I've heard - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for example - actually turned out to be pretty good. But I really only want to listen to things I can't get around to reading.

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