Thoughts about audiobooks...

I have a confession to make.  For as much as I promote reading aloud to children, and for as much as I have read aloud to children, I hated to be read aloud to as a child.  When I discovered that I could read a book to myself, I was in heaven.  It wasn't that I didn't like how people would read books aloud.  It was simply that I couldn't understand or follow what was being read and I was miserable.  I learned quickly to ask for a copy of something or to simply state "Let me read that. You don't have to read that aloud."  Yes, I am a visual learner.  

Consequently, audiobooks were not something that I had ever thought to purchase or listen to.  Even the thought of it made me cringe.  However, I started discovering friends who were avid readers who also listened to audiobooks.  It was one of the ways that they could increase the number of books they read during a year.  So one day I decided to explore this world of audiobooks.

Here is what I learned:

* The narrator can make or break an audiobook.  - A great narrator can take even an okay book and make it fabulous.  The wrong narrator can ruin a book.

* If a book isn't working for you, and the audiobook is read by someone you like.  Give it a try on audio.  The reverse is true too.  If you are listening to an audiobook and not liking it (even with a good narrator), try reading the book.

* Get recommendations from friends as to which narrators that they like.  What works for me may or may not work for you but it is a great place to start.  And websites like even have books rated by narrators.

* For those of us who struggle to grasp auditory information, take a page out of tricks for working with kids with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder.  - You just may need to engage in a simple activity while you attempt to focus on auditory information.  For me this means, I need to clean a closet or wash dishes or walk on a treadmill or drive in a car or even play solitaire when listening to an audiobook.

Who are some of my favorite audiobook narrators?

Jim Dale and Katherine Kellgren are by far my favorite narrators out there.  And fortunately they do a lot of children's and young adult fiction.  I have told friends that I could listen to Jim Dale read the telephone book.  And I one time listened to six hours of an 18 hour audiobook before I abandoned the book all because I just enjoyed listening to Katherine Kellgren despite the fact that the book seemed to have no real direction.
Emerald Atlas - John Stephens, Narrated by Jim Dale
Any other narrators that I have discovered that I like?

I loved David Hyde Pierce's narration of The Phantom Tollbooth.  Jesse Eisenberg is beyond a shadow of a doubt the voice of Cassel (the main character in Holly Black's Curse Workers Series) at least in my mind.  Libba Bray is just as great/funny as a narrator (Beauty Queens) as she is a writer.  Debbie Allen brought Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul to life.  And Nick Podehl (The Knife of Never Letting Go; Will Grayson, Will Grayson) is another fabulous narrator.

Books I will never read aloud to a class because the audiobook is so much better:

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place - Written by Maryrose Wood; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren 

Written by Maryrose Wood; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
The Phantom Tollbooth - Written by Norton Juster; Narrated by David Hyde Pierce

Books I would never have finished this year if it wasn't for the audiobook:

The Night Circus - Written by Erin Morgenstern; Narrated by Jim Dale

So what books do you love on audiobook or who would you recommend as a narrator? 

Share your thoughts in the comment section.  And check out my Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop for a chance to win an audiobook.