"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, May 27, 2024

TTT: Favorite audiobooks of the last five years, plus two clunkers.

Top Ten Tuesday: (Off-topic) My favorite audiobooks of the last five years based on the narration, plus two clunkers!

Weather by Jenny Offill
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Listening date: July 10, 2020
Listening time: 3 hours, 46 minutes
My thoughts (taken from my review of the audiobookWhen I started listening to Weather on audiobook I didn't understand what was happening because I wasn't seeing the spaces on the pages where Lizzie's thoughts were separated. Finally, at some point, I just settled in and enjoyed the zaniness of her thoughts and could appreciate how disjointed most of them were. Don't we all do that? We are thinking about one thing and then we see something, let's say its a cat, and suddenly our thoughts veer off in a new direction related to felines. The whole book of Weather is like that. Lizzie's thought populate the book and most of her thoughts are disjointed and many of these thoughts are hilarious. This audiobook is very short, too!

Narrated by: Trevor Noah, the author
Listening date: October 23, 2020
Listening time: 8 hours, 44 minutes
My thoughtsI enjoyed listening to the whole audiobook read by Trevor Noah himself. One of the things I loved most about this experience was the way Noah used language. He learned from his mother the value of speaking to people in their own language and he knows many South African languages at least well enough to converse in them.

Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Listening date: May 21, 2021
Listening time: 12 hours, 6 minutes
My thoughts: The audiobook recording of The Girl With the Louding Voice read by Adjoa Andoh, who is a British-Ghanaian actress. The book is written in vernacular and Ms. Andoh does a wonderful job with it and the Nigerian accent. As Adunni's English is poor, so is the written text on the page. As it improves, so does the writing. At first it was difficult to understand but  I gave it a few pages (or minutes) and the ears and the brain caught up.

Narrated by: the author
Listening date: June 09, 2021
Listening time: 10 hours, 42 minutes
My thoughtsJohn Green was the narrator of his essays which was pretty perfect since it just seems correct to hear the essays which are written from his point-of-view in his own voice. My husband and I  laughed. We cried. We paused the audio and discussed. We pondered the information we were learning and talked about it days afterwards.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Listening date: August 11, 2021
Listening time: 16 hours, 10 minutes
My thoughtsDuring the summer of 2021 I listened to two near-perfect audiobooks with my husband during long car trips. The first was a series of essays by John Green, The Anthropocene Reviewed. The second near-perfect-audiobook-for-a-car-trip from this summer is Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. The narrator, Ray Porter, who I think sounds like Tom Hanks, did a great job and so did the production company since they had to come up with a way to make sounds when the alien entered the scene and began talking. It was genius! This is my favorite audiobook among a list of favorites.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Marin Ireland, Dion Graham
Listening date: February 5, 2022
Listening time: 16 hours, 39 minutes
My thoughts: I listened to the audiobook, all 16+ hours of it and found it mesmerizing. If you read my review you'll be able to tell that I absolutely adored the book and got completely wrapped up in the story, or shall I say, stories. 

Narrated by: George SaundersPhylicia RashadNick OffermanGlenn CloseKeith DavidRainn WilsonBD WongRenée Elise Goldsberry
Listening date: Oct. 23, 2023
Listening time: 14 hours, 44 minutes
My thoughts: A Swim in the Pond in the Rain was quite clearly one of my top five favorite books of 2022, maybe even the top. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Saunders himself, with my husband on two separate road trips and both of us enjoyed it so much. I don't think of myself as a writer, even though I write on my blog. I think of myself as a reader and a person who wants to think deeply about literature (and life itself.) This book was outstanding. Admittedly, it is not a book for a casual reader, since all seven of the Russian short stories are included.

Narrated by: David Calacci
Listening date: April 25, 2023
Listening time: 26 hours, and 20 minutes
My thoughts: I asked the Internet why The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay won the the Pulitzer Prize for Literature the year after it was published in 2000. here is what I learned:  One of the duties of Pulitzer committee is to select the best American novel of the past year, one which tells an American story. That thought kept running through my head as I listened to all 24+ hours of the audiobook version: I am reading an American story. While the world was consumed with WWII and rumors of war abroad, American children (and some adults), were completely enthralled with comic books here at home. David Calacci did a remarkable job on this audio recording.

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Narrated by: the author
Listening date: Jan. 24, 2024
Listening time: 31 hours and 16 minutes
My thoughts: I listened to the audiobook narrated by Verghese himself. This was a rare treat because I got to listen to his beautiful Indian accent but also learned how to pronounce previously unknown words and locations to me. The 30+ hours of listening made me feel like I had practically moved to India and more specifically to Parambil, the family estate, built as far away from the nearby river as it could be for fear of the water.

Killer Angels by Micahel Shaara
Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
Listening date: April 10, 2024
Listening time: 13 hours, 44 minutes
My thoughts: During a recent road trip my husband and I listened to the audio version of Killer Angels, read by Stephen Hoye. Since the story is about the Battle of Gettysburg I guessed my husband, who attended West Point after high school and spent 37 years in the military, would enjoy the book, too. Listening to the audiobook together was a good choice. Stephen Hoye did an exceptional job reading the story, building up the tension preceding the battles to a perfect pitch. His accents for the both the Southern Generals and for the Maine men were spot-on and led to an even more personalized experience with the text. Even though I knew who won the battle historically, every time we stopped listening, I wanted to get back to it as soon as possible to find out how things worked out. I'm fairly sure this audiobook will win my favorite audiobook of the year award.

And now the two clunkers.............

#1 clunker:
West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
Narrated by Danny Campbell
Listening date: March 2024
Listening time: 10 hours, 28 minutes
My thoughts: I loved the story but hated the audio narration. The narrator of the story is an old man, over 100-years-old. I guess the audio production editors felt that the voice actor should be ancient, too, or at least sound ancient. Danny Campbell's voice sounded so old and scratchy I could barely stand listening to him. This is one of those times I wished I had the print rather than the audio version but all copies of the it were in use at the library.

#2 clunker:
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Narrated by: Lucy Rayner
Listening date: May 2024
Listening time: 8 hours, 2 minutes (I'm not quite done)
My thoughts: Oh boy, where do I start? This classic book set in London at the end of WWI is considered Woolf's most popular novel about about a women, Mrs. Dalloway, who everyone thinks is a snob. Well, the narrator, Lucy Rayner, must have decided to really play up the snob tone to her narration. I have never been so put off by an audiobook as this one. Listening to a "snob" talking for hours is worse that listening to someone pretending to be over 100. Sigh. I couldn't finish. Fortunately the library had a different audio version of Mrs. Dalloway read by a different narrator and it was fine.


No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.