Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Listen to the Sound of My Voice (Audiobooks that are Aural Candy)

Well, don't. I actually hate the sound of my voice. But lately, I've been recording myself reading my WIP (on my iphone, with voice memo) and playing the excruciating music back. Why? Because I trust my ears.

This is probably not new advice to you. I heard "read your work out loud" a lot at my first writers conference. It seemed a bit gimmicky, you know? And I did that anyway, with any sentence that was giving me trouble. I'd read it a loud and hear the clunking word right away, fix it and move on.

But since I've been listening to a lot of books lately - I have an Audible subscription - I realize that words read out loud are a lot less forgiving than words read on the page. There are books I won't listen to as audiobooks because I can't get lost in them. I get stopped by repetitive phrasing, by too many dialogue tags, too may 'sighs.'

So listening to books is a kind of litmus test. There are books that I want to read (and enjoy reading) that will go directly to my Kindle. Other books, usually books that I've been waiting to read and want to hold in my hands and ONLY concentrate on reading, I buy, then wait twitchily until the kids are asleep and I can delve. And there are some books that I know are going to be best as voices in my head.

When you can read on your phone, on an e-reader, via your car stereo and more, how do you decide which way you'll read a book?

Below are some of the best audiobooks I've read lately.

CODE NAME VERITY - Elizabeth Wein
Like the book wasn't genius enough. The two actresses who trade off the narration are brilliant. They are able to slip in and out of spot on accents and go from the dizzying heights of flying a plane to the horrific lows of being tortured by Nazis. All without a drop of self indulgence. I would listen to this again in a heart beat because it's so rich.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE - Margaret Atwood
I read THE HANDMAID'S TALE in college and liked it fine. But hearing Clare Danes read it made me love it. She imbues the narrator's story with so much depth and realness, that I easily slotted myself into her oppressive, mundane life. It made the story much more terrifying.

Another story I read in book form when I was younger. Now, hearing it I have the amazing feeling that I'm in the story, I'm 'watching' Bastian as he watches Atreyu and the unfolding story. It doesn't matter that I know what is going to happen, I'm happy to be along for the ride.


  1. Yes yes yes! I cannot wait! I love audiobook recommendations. Just read The Perks of the Wallflower on audiobook, and it was fantastic.

    Thanks for the great post!


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