A Little About Audiobooks

Posted on February 18, 2019

by Ryan R

Spurred by the increased popularity of podcasts and ubiquity of portable devices, consumption of audiobooks are on the rise. Have you tried audiobooks yet? Some people take to listening to audiobooks easily, but if listening to a book instead of reading it still sounds strange to you, there are ways to help you dip your toe in the audiobook waters.

Audiobooks Offer Variety

Nonfiction Audiobooks

If you enjoy reading fiction more than nonfiction, but feel the need to balance your reading diet, try listening to nonfiction audiobooks instead. If you’re used to Podcasts or TED Talks, you’ll feel right at home here. You can squeeze this “serious” book in during your morning drive, afternoon jog, or evening chores around the house. Then, when it’s time to settle in, you can open up and read your “just for fun” fiction book and relax. Try a biography (many narrated by the authors themselves), a historical event you’d like to know more about, or figure out how to make some positive change in your life.

The Truths We Hold : An American Journey by Kamala Harris
Hidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Power of Habit : Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Fiction Audiobooks

When it comes to fiction audiobooks, the narrator can really make or break the experience. Many audiobooks are narrated by celebrities or other professional voice actors, but sometimes the voice can just be “off.” If you find the story captivating but the voice less so, that’s OK. Just stop listening, and add the book to your To Read list instead. Try another book to listen to. The key is to keep trying new listening experiences, even if you didn’t have a great one before.

Full Cast Audiobooks

Dramatized, or Full Cast Audiobooks have multiple narrators; sometimes a different narrator for each character. They can be a fun and rich experience and can seem more like an old-fashioned radio program than a book. The following Full Cast Audiobooks are almost universally adored and show up on multiple favorite lists:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017)

This fictionalized account of President Lincoln mourning the loss of his young son features a cast that includes Nick Offerman, David Sedaris and Julianne Moore.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2011)

Neil Gaiman loves libraries, and libraries love Neil Gaiman. This novel is a modern classic!

World War Z by Max Brooks (2006)

Try the book that the Brad Pitt movie is based from. This recording gives off serious “War of the Worlds” vibes and plays like a modern version of the famed 1938 Orson Welles broadcast.

World War Z by Max Brooks
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2005)

This sprawling story features interwoven stories from different places and times. It is the perfect book to adapt the many characters’ voices with a full cast.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (2003)

This is the first of a trilogy. Made into a movie that wasn’t successful enough to spawn a sequel, it was decided that the book is, in fact, better!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Discovering these types of recordings isn’t hard with a little exploration. NoveList’s advanced search function gives an option for Dramatized audiobooks. Then, sort your list by date to find the newest recordings! If you’re a Libby/Overdrive user, just search for “Full Cast.” It’s as simple as that!

Happy Listening!

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