Monday, October 25, 2010

Reading a book v. audiobooks - a few favorites

Given a choice I will always read a book, but I have become addicted to audiobooks when  I drive.  I don't do a daily communte but do spend 5-6 hours/week in a car.  The addiction started when I drove to Florida two years ago and listened to  What is the What.  W/W was the OneBook OnePhiladelphia selection a few years ago, so there were lots of copies at the library.  I was enchanted with the reader of this novel and ended up with a literary experience that was much different than if I had read this book.  What is the What is the fictionalized, but mostly true story of a Lost Boy of Sudan.  Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s.  The reader of this novel Dion Graham (The Wire, Law and Order) was sensational and for me added a new dimension to the story.   Even though this story, unabridged is 16 hours long I highly recommend, it hooked me on audiobooks.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an audiobook with multiple readers, always a feature to look for when choosing an audiobook.  This is also high on my list, especially recommended for medical professionals.  I wrote a full review of this one, read it here.  Twelve hours and 30 minutes, read by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin.

Nine Dragons is a Michael Connolly/Harry Bosch novel.  I have read a lot of these stories so I wasn't quite prepared for the voice of this character.  It was not what I "heard" when I read the story, but I did enjoy it.  The suspense in the audiobook matched the written word.  It was read by Len Cariou and is 11 hours in length.

Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, Handle with Care - all of these were written by Jodi Picoult and are read by a cast of narrators.  I normally don't read Picoult because of the intense and sometimes horrific things that happen to children in her novels but the audio books were riveting.  Unabridged they are between 10 and 12 hours long.  

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.  This recording is a series of essays each about 30 to 40 minutes long, read by the author.  Sedaris has a droll sense of humour that is not for everybody but I found them funny and engaging and kind of perfect if you have a traveling companion that is not signed on to listen to 10-12 hours of a traditional audiobook. 

Murder on the Links and One Two Buckle Your Shoe   There are a number of BBC full cast dramatizations of Agatha Chrisite novels.  These are two that I have listened to.  They are very different than the unabridged audio books..  They are mostly less than three hours long.  They have casts that number up to 25 actors.  Listening to these books is more like listening to an old time radio show (not that I have first hand experience!) rather than an audio book.  Perfect for light listening.


Julie said...

For some reason, I just can't really get into most audiobooks. I think that if I were driving a lot, that would change. Maybe I just need to expose myself to more of them :)

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Kathy said...

Julie, I agree I would have never started on audiobooks but for the time I have to spend in the car. If you are not driving they are a tremendous time commitment, many are 12-18 hours long. Kathy