Courtesy of the ever-wonderful Lainey, this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is Top 5 Favourite Audiobooks. Enter the problem – I don’t think I’ve even listened to more than five full audiobooks, let alone have five favourites out of those. However, I’ve been wanting to discuss audiobooks for a while so now seemed like the perfect opportunity and I have refashioned this week’s topic into my Top 5 Experiences With Audiobooks.
1) The Harry Potter series audiobooks, as read by Stephen Fry, are wonderful for serial HP re-readers, like myself, as it allows you to experience the book in a different format than you normally would, breaking up any sense of monotony from reading. Although I’m aware Jim Dale’s audiobooks exist for me it will always be Stephen Fry who wins out and I believe Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone audiobook is potentially the very first audiobook I ever listened to.
2) I got an Audible trial purely to use the free credit to buy JG Ballard’s High Rise, as read by Tom Hiddleston, who will play the titular character Robert Laing in the upcoming film directed by Ben Wheatley (a film I am highly anticipating, no surprises there). I had already read the book a couple of times because it was on a syllabus at university but I wanted to hear the oh so dramatic and disgusting story play out as read in that beautifully precise voice. (I will never apologise for working in reasons to listen to a bit of Hiddleston.) High Rise retains the top spot for one of the most intriguing and disturbing opening lines I have ever read/heard: “As he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”
3) Neil Gaiman audiobooks. Neil Gaiman audiobooks are a godsend because his voice is wonderful, truly. What is better than an author reading their own stories aloud? Nothing, that’s what. It’s a well-established fact that the likes of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please are fun reads, but they become downright hilarious when you hear the same lovely ladies doing what they do best by reading their audiobooks – it’s like they are telling you the anecdotes themselves, it adds a level of intimacy between “reader” and author which enriches the whole experience. So to hear Neil Gaiman read aloud his beautifully-crafted, whimsical prose style is a wonderful experience.
4) I decided I wanted to re-read A Series of Unfortunate Events, a series from childhood that I only have sporadic volumes of, not the full series. Naturally, I wanted to start with the first book, The Bad Beginning, and when I didn’t have it to hand I searched hopefully for it on YouTube. Who would’ve thought that the entire audiobook would be there? Read wonderfully by Tim Curry, no less, and it is an engaging audiobook which I highly recommend, along with the others which are read no less brilliantly by a certain Daniel Handler… (he does a great Count Olaf voice)
5) This year I read and loved The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. When I decided I wanted to re-read it to keep me sane during the final stretch of my dissertation writing, I couldn’t get to a library to get a physical copy of it. The audiobook once again came to the rescue, and whilst the narrator’s voice grated on me at first, largely due to my own unfamiliarity with Will Patton’s accent, I had to admit it vaguely fit with the location of the narrative. The Raven Boys takes place in Henrietta, Virginia, whilst Patton is apparently from South Carolina, so it’s in the vicinity…kind of. (I say this in only the ignorant way a non-American could ever consider two states to be neighbours in the same way as English counties are!) I assume this was perhaps partly why the choice was made to cast him as the narrator, but I could be entirely wrong, and indeed all that matters is that the tone of this audiobook is perfect for this bizarre urban fantasy novel – I highly recommend it!
So those were my Top 5 Experiences With Audiobooks! Like I said, a tad of a tweak of this week’s theme but, as someone who isn’t a big audiobook listener, it was a necessary tweak for me and one which I wanted to discuss.
So, does anyone else not really listen to audiobooks much? Or are you a big audiobook fan? What are your favourites? Do you have any recommendations specifically geared towards only occasional listeners like me? Let’s talk audiobooks!