Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, September 6, 2018
Choosing satisfying audiobooks is a lot more than selecting for content. It's more like selecting performed music: yes, the composer's melody, beat, and other musical notations are very much present and yet it's the performance that we judge. Like the musicians who play the composers' musical works, narrators provide us listeners with an abundance of flavor possibilities, from creating a cavalcade of character voices to maintaining a gentle and calm pace to performing ensemble in pairs, half dozens, or even larger casts.
There are additional flavor appeals to note as well: how long a book (in hours, not pages) does this particular listener find preferable (one scoop, two, or a great big 32-hour sundae)? How do they feel about accents, especially British, or regional American English, or....?
AudioFile Magazine's new podcast can be a help if you're seeking guidance in how to talk about audiobook performances and identify the various flavors of narration. If a NoveList subscription is available at your library, you can explore its "Finding Audiobooks for Every Listener," which discusses appeals such as the inclusion of sound effects or folksy delivery, just to name a couple flavors some like and some don't and many haven't tasted.
What are your tips and tricks for uncovering flavor details of audiobooks? Remember, there's so much more to the format than the book's contents and the author's writing style. If those are the ice cream, which flavor enhancements do you want to hear?