Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audio Book Week 2012: What Makes a Good Narrator

June is Audiobook Month and Jen at Devourer of Books is hosting a special week dedicated to audiobooks this week.

Today's discussion topic is about narrators:  

Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?

Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences: single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc?

I have to say that I don't usually pick an audio book based on the narrator. I pick an audio because the story seems like a good one and I think the audio will hold my attention. Of course, that isn't to say that I ignore the narrator completely. When I pick up an audio, I do look to see who's narrating it and if it's someone I'm familiar with, then I am more likely to go with it. If it's a narrator I'm not familiar with, I really use the story to determine if I will go with it.
As for narrators, I like when they can give all the characters in a story their own unique voice.  I think this is especially important when it is a single narrator. I also like when the narrator uses the appropriate accents - if the story involves people living in the south, I want a good southern accent; if the story involves British people, I want a good British accent. But, I don't want over the top accents. Just enough to make it believable.

I've only listened to a handful of male narrators - one as a single narrator and the others as a cast of multiple narrators. At first, I was sure I would like the single male narrator, but it ended up being fine and an enhanced the listening experience as one of the main characters was a male as in the case of Rescue by Anita Shreve, narrated by Dennis Holland.

When it comes to single vs. multiple narrators, I don't really have a preference. I've listened to both, though the majority have been with single narrators. With the multiple narrators, it seems to work best when there are multiple points of view as each narrator can then take on a different character, as was done with House Rules by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Mark Turetsky, Nicole Poole, Andy Paris, Rich Orlow, and Christopher Evan Welch.

Some favorite narrators:
     Jennifer Van Dyck
     Rosalyn Landor
     Cassandra Campbell
     Kathleen McInerney
     Maggi-Meg Reed
     Carrington MacDuffie
     Kirsten Potter
     CJ Critt

What about you? If you listen to audios, what do you look for in a narrator? Who are your favorites?



  1. Hmm, I will have to try your favorites! here are mine:

  2. I haven't listened to too many full-cast audiobooks but have enjoyed them when I have, especially The Help. House Rules sounds like a good one, and I'll have to keep an eye out for some of your favorite narrators.

    1. I've heard the audio for The Help is phenomenal...I'm hoping to listen to it sometime soon!

      House Rules was great!

  3. The Help is really good on audio. I'll admit I'm not very good at noticing who the narrators are. I think this week is going to make me more aware of that when I'm choosing audiobooks.

    1. I'm thinking the same thing. I know when I pick up an audio and it's by a narrator I've heard before, I'm excited, but I've never picked an audio solely due to the narrator.

  4. I have been seeing the same names pop up as favorites that I have yet to listen to. My audiobook to listen to list has grown so much this week.


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