Audio Book Narrators

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Gail Allen
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Audio Book Narrators

Post by Gail Allen » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:18 am

When reading a book, the 'voice' of the author is very important for my enjoyment of the book, but recently I've gotten back into hearing a lot of audio books and I've noticed that there the voice of the narrator adds another dimension to the story as well as the author's voice.

For instance a book I listened to recently changed narrator mid series and I found I liked it must better with the new narrator even though he changed the pronounciation of certain names and places in the books.

So this made me wonder whether you guys ever think about the narrator of an audio book and if you've ever noticed any funny quirks like that or if you find you have specific voices you really like or dislike and what books they narrated.
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Sky Alton
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Re: Audio Book Narrators

Post by Sky Alton » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:30 am

Some narrators truly bring another dimension to the text. I can name at least 4 who totally transform the (already excellent) books just with their natural sense of timing and emphasis. I think if I'd read Harry Potter in Braille or on the computer when I was younger, it wouldn't have had the same effect listening to Stephen Fry read it did. Even with the books a few clicks away on my laptop, I'll still default to the audio versions. Mainly this is because it makes the writing invisible: as a writer, I tend to be sidetracked when re-reading something by awkward moments in the prose or odd word choices. Audio books (well read ones) mean I can totally turn off my inner editor.

Interestingly, in my experience, authors are actually quite atrocious at reading their own books. There are, of course, massive exceptions: Philip Pullman and Niel Gaiman are wonderful. I used to think it was because writers just weren't actors and were obviously at a disadvantage. But I recently listened to a well known actress narrate her own novel and it was painful: she paused so long between sentences that I could never sink into the story. So perhaps it has something to do with being 'too aware' of the text as an insider.

My favourite audio book narration quirk is when a series or book is so long that a narrator forgets an accent they gave a character at the beginning and totally switches. It happens at least 5 times in the first Game of Thrones audio book. Well.... I say 'favourite': I find it agrivating and hysterically funny in equal measure.
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