Readathon Challenge: Attempting Audiobooks

Hola, Readathoners! What is this, the beginning of hour 11? I’m sadly not with you all right now, although at least if I can’t be Readathoning I can be at a trade show with book people, so there is that.

Anyway, I thought that at this point, when you’re nearly at the midpoint of the Readathon you could use a break for your eyes, maybe get up, do some cleaning, take a walk, something like that. Oh, hmm, except then you wouldn’t be reading.

But wait! What if I told you that you could clean the house, cook a meal, or take a walk, and READ AT THE SAME TIME?!?!? This is all possible with a fabulous thing called…audiobooks!

Normally I would recommend to anyone new to audiobooks (not that I know whether you are or not, since you’re here and I’m not) that they start with audiobooks in a re-read, but you already have a stack of books you want to read, so let’s start there.

The Challenge:

1. Choose a few books from amongst your readation pile, then go to Put one of the titles into the search bar at the top right hand and click ‘go!’ If you didn’t get a result, then your book isn’t available in audio format in the United States or, less likely, it is but Audible doesn’t have it. Repeat the above process until you find a book Audible has.

2. Once you have found a book from your pile on Audible, click the little right-pointing triangle under the cover and next to the word ‘Sample.’ Make sure the sound is on on your computer!

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’ve listened to the samples of 2-3 books.

4. Leave a comment here with the title, author, and narrator of the book you think will make the best audiobook of the ones you sampled. Please specify what it is about the book or the narrator that you think would make this a good one.

5. Consider listening to an audiobook either during this Readathon while you need a break, or in the future!

The Prize:

I will choose one winner, who will select an audiobook from amongst those I have available (open internationally):

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosney, narrated by Simon Vance
C Street by Jeff Sharlet, narrated by Jeremy Guskin (will not be sent out until I have listened)
Demian by Hermann Hesse, narrated by Jeff Woodman
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich, narrated by Lorelei King

This mini-challenge is now closed. The (randomly selected) winner is:

Bonny from The Chirping Wren

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35 comments to Readathon Challenge: Attempting Audiobooks

  • Oh, I LOVE audiobooks! I actually have two I’m listening to for the Readathon already. But I’ll check on my print-format books. Let’s see.

    I think The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, narrated by Campbell Scott, would be awesome! Scott did a great job with Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. The two stories aren’t really similar, but he’s a great narrator. Also, the story (I’m reading it now) is told as a first-person narrative / reflection, which is my favorite format for audiobooks. AND it’s just over 4 hours long, so it would be a good intro for someone just getting into audiobooks!

  • I would say “Take a Chance on Me” by Jill Mansell. Narrated by Annie Aldington. I love British Chick Lit and I love the audiobook of this book because then I get the accent along with all the fun English’s pretty good but just not quite right in my head which makes sense since I’m not British… :)

    The book so far is fantastic so I am sure the audiobook would not disappoint!

  • Im not used to audiobooks… even i had bad experiences before. But audible is kind of good though. They have The silence of the lambs (Which is one of my read-a-thon books) And it was pretty good. I like this of a real-voice-complete reading 😀

  • I have this curious relationship with audiobooks. If I happen to “read” the first book in a series in audio, I tend to need to read the rest of the series in audio instead of in text. I discovered this when, after listening to 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith, I tried to read Espresso Tales in print. I just couldn’t enjoy it, so I ran out and bought the CDs and simply adored the story. So now, there’s a new book in the series, The Importance of Being Seven, so I decided to listen to a sample of that book. Imagine my surprise when, unlike the 5 earlier books, this one was being read by David Rintoul and not by Robert Ian Mackenzie. Oh my! That’s almost as bad as hiring a ghost writer! And, this new reader is going to take me some time to get used to.

    Well, with that surprise, I decided to look at Corduroy Mansions, also by McCall Smith. Well, there are two editions available with two different readers — both unabridged! The first version is read by Andrew Sachs, and I think it is composed of all the podcast chapters which the The Telegraph broadcast as Corduroy Mansions was published in a serialized manner. The other version is read by Simon Prebble and I’m guessing it’s a regular studio production. I listened to a short sample of each and I’m not sure I have a preference.

    Lastly, I decided I’d see whether Davina Porter was reading the newest book in McCall Smith’s Sunday Philosophy Club series: The Charming Quirks of Others. She’s not! This book is being read by Hillary Neville. But, after listening to a sample, I’m feeling much better. I think she’s not going to sound so terribly different from Ms. Porter.

    So, while I’d much prefer to listen to Davina Porter — after all, she is Isabelle Dalhousie in my mind — I think I’ll vote for Hillary Neville as my favorite reader/narrator of all the books I sampled.

  • First of I want to say that I NEVER knew about so thanks for telling me about it because I have now found a new place to hang out..LOL

    I listened to three books and out of the three I listened to I think Dracula: The Un-dead has the better narrator Simon Prebble and sounded like something I could listen to.

    Now I can’t wait till I get paid this coming friday so I can sign up at…LOL

  • 2 of my 6 were available on Audible. I have already read it, but I would have listened to: The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe Narrated by Bernadette Dunne.

    I do like audiobooks for when I knit. I usually like to read my books as I read a lot faster.

  • i finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and it would make an excellent audiobook choice (narrated by Mandy Siegfried).

    the book was excellent and the narration sounds emotional and well matched to the way I imagined Mel’s character.

  • Michael

    No question, Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, narrated by the author, Stever Robbins. I love Stever’s delivery in his podcasts, and enjoy his posts on Facebook and articles. He’s an MIT and Harvard Business grad, and knows from productivity. The print version of his book is on my list, and, aside from his narration skills (there’s a YouTube vid of it, which embarrassess him), I like that the book is fairly short, at just over six hours. I usually don’t do any given task for much longer than that, so prefer books that don’t drag on.

  • They have Graceling, Fire. Both by Kristen Cashore.

    I love Listening to Audio books. I listen while I crochet. I listened last Read-a-thon. But I can read faster then they can read out loud. So I chose not to this time.

    The Help

    * By Kathryn Stockett
    * Narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, Cassandra Campbell
    * Length:18 hrs and 19 mins
    * Release Date:01-28-09

    I would love to hear this one on Audio. Great challenge!

  • I’ve listened to The Reader that someone above is talking about – it’s great! I didn’t realize that he also narrated Oryx and Crake.

    One of the audiobooks I’m listening to for the read-a-thon is In the Land of Believers – I wrote in more detail about this mini-challenge in my central read-a-thon post.

  • Okay, so far of the books I’ve read or are reading, I would say Visions of Sugarplums by Janet Evanovich and ready by Lorelei King is the best of the two, her voice just really fits with the tone of the books I think.

    Here’s my post with links to it and Dead over Heels on Audible: Audio Mini-Challenge

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • Hi, Jen. Sorry you can’t be with us today; but I’m sure you’re enjoying yourself. I would like the unabridged edition of Red River by Lalita Tademy; narrated by Bahni Turpin. I have the hard cover; but after listening to Turpin in The Help, I’d like to listen to this one. Thanks. Can’t wait to see what goodies you bring back from GLIBA!

  • Great challenge! I looked up 4 books and 3 out of the 4 were available. My favorite one is…”How To Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell. It is narrated by David Tennant!!! I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and David Tennant is my favorite doctor (so adorable!). I love all the funny voices he uses in the narration. I’m really tempted to buy it.

    I’ve only listened to one audiobook before, but I try it again in the future. Thanks for an awesome challenge. :)

  • I am not participating in the readathon…not officially anyway.

    I have discovered a real love for audiobooks because you can accomplish all that you outlined while still “reading” a story.

    One audiobook that continues to stand out in my mind is Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning. It stands out because of the narrators – Natalie Ross, and Phil Gigante.

    I recently listend to A Feast For Crows by Geroge R.R. Martin and John Lee did an amazing job with the narration, for that reason, I really want to listen rather than read The City & The City by China Mieville.

    Of the books that I am currently reading, in my pile I think I would like to listen to …

    North and South by Elizabet Gaskell
    Narrator Clare Wille
    Length 18 hrs 32 minutes

    Another good audiobook to listen to are all the unabridged books in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The narrator – Davina Porter, if fabulous!

  • I would definitely be willing to listen to The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson narrated by Simon Vance. I think that Vance’s voice is well-timbred and would be able to convey the complexities and ups and downs of this book wonderfully!

    Thanks for hosting this mini-challenge!

  • So, really I did not have to do this for your challenge but can I admit that I am trying my first audio book for the read-a-thon anyways. I have wanted to try them and my mom wanted to do gardening today so I am doing both read-a-thon and gardening by listening to the Twilight Audio book. I have always been told to do this with a book you have read before for the first time.

    So here you Go
    Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and read by Ilyana Kadushin

    So far it is pretty good. I have been told that others are better and I plan to try some more from books I know pretty well.

  • Sherri W.

    I haven’t used audible, but I borrow ALOT of books on CD from my library. I listen everyday on my way to and from work. I also have The Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick (read by Anne Flosnik) that I am listening to today to give myself a break.

    As far as books I have on my TBR pile for today:
    Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (read by Carolyn McCormick)
    Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton (read by Kimberly Alexis)
    Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy (read by Eve Bianco)

    I picked these three since they would be new readers for me. I would be curious about Bullet mainly because Anita has annoyed me the last couple of books I’ve read. Although I’m not sure if I want to hear about the ardeur anymore than read about it. :-)

    Happy Reading
    Sherri at Urban Girl Reader
    urbangirlreader at gmail dot com

  • I borrow e-audiobooks from my public library and listen to them when I drive or exercise. My daughter and I listened to Storm Warning (Part 9 of 39 Clues series) by Linda Sue Park today, as part of the read-a-thon. David Pittu is a fantastic narrator. He is great at doing a variety of voices and international accents.

  • Amanda

    Hi Jen! I hope it’s okay that I just listened to the audiobook I already had in my readathon pile. I’d planned on listening to it while I got on my elliptical today – I always try to get some exercise in during the readathon so I don’t get too stiff! This came at a perfect time. :) The audio I listened to was Good Omens. I’m almost done with it and enjoying it so much! My post about it is here:

  • I love audiobooks. Some of my all time favorites are The Lord of the Rings trilogy narrated by the incomparable Rob Inglais, The Harry Potter books narrated by Jim Dale, All Creatures Great and Small, narrated by the guy who played Jim in the BBC production and D’Aulaires Greek Myths with a mixed cast of amazing actors.
    My current book, A Walk in the Woods is fabulous on audio read by the author, Bill Bryson.

  • Ash

    Of the three books I listened to I think The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak, narrated by Allan Corduner) audiobook would definitely be the best. It probably helped that the narrator has an English accent, but his voice was really much stronger and easier to listen to. Honestly listening to the audiobook sample got me really excited to read the book so I think I will pick that one up next! Great challenge!

  • It just so happens my only readathon book so far has been an audiobook, 2666, which I was already about 4/5ths through. It’s a long book so I don’t expect to finish it today, but it certainly has been convenient to be able to do other things while “reading.” Happy listening to everyone!

  • I listened to pride and prejudice by Jane Austen. and howl’s moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I am tired mow and I shall sleep soon.I hope not.

  • Haunted: A Tale of the Mediator

    * By Meg Cabot
    * Narrated by Alanna Ubach
    * Length:2 hrs and 4 mins
    * Release Date:04-19-06

    I listened to the lady who did Shadowland, the first book in the series (she did a few others as well), and her voice just grated on me too much. Ms. Ubach’s voice is much more soothing and pleasant to listen to.

    I forgot all about audiobooks, I must say. I have a few on iTunes waiting for me to listen to. What a great way for me to actually be productive on the commute to school!

  • I love audiobooks! I used this challenge to explain why I prefer certain books on audio. Even if it’s not exactly the challenge, I always love spreading the word that audiobooks are real books too.

  • Oh crap, Simon read the latest Rosnay? I have heard it wasn’t as good as Sarah’s Key, but if he is reading it, that is good enough for me.

  • Robert Ian Mackenzie

    Hopefully I will be narrating USA version of The Importance of Being Seven. David Rintoul does the UK version which is abridged. The same applies to Davina Porter. She does the USA version of The Sunday Philosophy Club.

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