More than "reading aloud"

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, October 25, 2018

When we collect a season's worth of free audiobooks to share with teens during SYNC, content is just one of two important factors we consider. Performance, we know at AUDIOFILE MAGAZINE, is what makes an audiobook an audiobook rather than a recording of someone simply reading aloud.

Even if you're a dedicated audiobook listener, you might want to take some time to think about how you talk about audiobooks with teens and others in your life. Are you limiting your "audiobook talks" to plot development, writing style, and other authorial attributes of the work? Those are important, of course. When it comes to portraying audiobooks, however, performance needs to be more than just acknowledged: it needs to be described, critiqued, and given a place to share with the author in the spotlight.

Just as with other acting-based performances, like movies and plays, there are many styles of audiobook acting that can satisfy both the content and listeners--depending both on the content and the narrative choices made by the author AND the acting skills the narrator brings. Pacing and tone are as important as dramatic accents or altered  pitches. Great acting makes listeners forget that it's acting at all while immersed in the author's part of the creation, just as a great written book has visual readers forgetting that it's "just a book" while immersed in it.

At AUDIOFILE, we work to review the peformance and match of format to narrative when we review audiobooks. If you're looking for a quick (free) tutorial on what to observe and how to talk about these important elements of a performance art, just follow our reviews and tap into our nearly 45,000-strong review database . Learn about the art of voice acting and how to appreciate all it can do to create even more good in a stressful world.

Who's in the photo at the top of this post? Narrators Tavia Gilbert and Michael Crouch record together in the studio at audiobook publisher Live Oak Media.

Category : audiobooks

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