Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Audiobook Week 2011: Sound Effects

June is Audiobook Month and Jen at Devourer of Books is hosting a special week dedicated to audiobooks this week. I'm going to participate as much as I can.

Today's discussion topics are about sound effects:
Love them? Hate them? Take them or leave them? How do you feel about sound effects in audiobooks? Alternate suggestions: Single narrator vs. multiple narrators vs. full cast, audio dramatizations, etc.

Having only listened to 12 audio books so far, I am still figuring out what I like and don't like about the way audio books are put together. I haven't really listened to any books that have crazy sound effects. The only one I can think of is Pandora's Daughter by Iris Johansen and read by Jennifer Van Dyck. Whenever the characters were on the phone, the voice would have a different sound to it - kind of like a recording on an answering machine. I found this to be pretty cool, actually. As for other sound effects, for the time being I guess I would have to categorize myself as indifferent if only due to lack of experience with them.

Now, narrators I can speak to. I have listened to both single narrated books and multiple narrated books and have found both to be good experiences. The first two audio books I listened to were single narrators and I thought they adequately handled the different characters. My only issue was that the two books were part of a series and were read by different narrators. I really liked the first one and was so-so about the second one. 

The next book I listened to was with multiple narrators. It was Jodi Picoult's House Rules and if you haven't listened to it yet, I highly recommend it. There were about five narrators - one for each of the main characters of the book and they all did a phenomenal job in telling their character's point of view. Each narrator told the story, including any other voices, for that section of the book, so once you got used to who was who, you always knew who's head you were in.

I haven't had any experience with the author as the narrator and I'm not sure how I feel that. I know I love when authors do readings of their work at author events, but listening to a whole story read by the author - I guess it would depend on how well the author does.



  1. Oh, I HATE when narrators change mid-series!

  2. @Jen (Devourer of Books) I was so bummed. And then, I couldn't find the rest of the series on audio at the library.

  3. I'm with Jen. I hate it when they change narrators mid-series and have dropped a few when they did. It's so hard to get used to the change in voice. The characters just don't sound right any more. They should know better!

  4. I think the more audiobooks you listen to, the easier it is to figure out what works for you. I'm not big on sound effects, but love multiple narrators when it's done well. The Help is my favorite, and Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper was very good, too.

  5. @ Heather: So far, I've only run into that problem once...they have used the same author with the Iris Johansen books and she is fantastic!

    @JoAnn: I read My Sister's Keeper, but think I might want to listen to it as well. I am definitely going to do that with The Help!

  6. I have enjoyed Picoult's work on audio before - will have to look for House Rules.

  7. I do like the distortion on voices when they're on the phone. I guess I don't hate all sound effects. LOL!

  8. @ Carrie K: I've listened to a few of Jodi Picoults books and have found them all to be great!

    @ Literate Housewife: Pandora's Daughter is the only one that has done that but I found it to be really cool!


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