Wednesday, April 26, 2017

To Listen or to Read?

Do you like to spend time in your yard, fixing up your house, house work, tinker on the car or how about knitting?  My husband used to tease me and tell me some day I would figure out how to read, crochet and watch the baseball game all at the same time.  I did.  It was actually a surprise discovery. My sojourn in to audiobooks was very limited as I love the process of reading the printed word.  I had listened to a few audios but not many.  Then I volunteered to serve on the AAYA (Amazing Audios for Young Adults) Committee which reviews and critiques audios for teen and young adult librarians.  The committee did not issue any awards for the audios but created a list of thirty to fifty audios with the top ten starred.  Members of the committee would receive between 250 to 500 titles.  We did a LOT of listening.  I served on the committee for three years.  I can’t believe how many books I was able to listen to while doing practically everything.  Plus, the joy a good narrator and editor can really bring a story and its characters to the forefront.  My favorite example of this is Jayne Entwistle’s narrations of the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley.  The personality she infuses into the characters defines each one distinctly.  I have enjoyed everything she has narrated.  She has also won awards for her narrations.  Another favorite of mine is Kirby Heyborne.  Heyborne records from his home.  He has recorded so many titles from children’s novels to adult. He is a natural when it comes to narrations.  You would think that an author would be the perfect narrator for their book.  Not so.  I can only think of two that I can personally recommend.  One is Neal Gaiman.  He truly reflects the personalities of his characters and knows what atmosphere to submerge his narration to bring to the forefront the characteristics of his work.  Another is Libba Bray who will have you rolling on the floor with her narration of Beauty Queens. Bray doesn’t narrate all her work.  The very talented January LaVoy narrates her Diviners series. If you are interested in trying out some audiobooks but don’t want to listen to teen or young adult titles, I would suggest looking up the Odyssey award for audios or when you search for a title, look at where the reviews of the audio come from.  Is it a professional journal, website or is it a personal review?  I would take a personal review lightly.  If you are apprehensive and there is no professional review, some sales sites will allow you a sound bite to listen to the narration.  Another good place to find out about audio titles, your library.  Many librarians don’t have time to sit and read and will listen on their commute. I would also recommend listening as a family.  Car trips are a perfect time to enjoy a book together and have great discussions. I hope you’ll give listening a try. 

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