On Audio Books

On Audio Books

I’m busting my audiobook cherry with Ally Condie’s Matched. Because I have to wait eleventy billion years to get the actual book from the library, I thought, what the hell, why not just get the CD’s and load them into iTunes or whatever.

The book is good, though a little predictable. The tone is amazingly in line with the book’s controlled setting, a society in which young people are “matched” via statistics with their best potential mate, where people may only read certain things, eat certain foods, are told when to go to school, to work, to leisure activities, etc.

The main problem is that I can’t get over the bubble-gummy, breathy little girl voice of the reader. Her /s/ sound is so sibilant it sounds like steam releasing from a tea kettle. It fits with the main character’s proper, appropriate, non-rebellious attitude, but goddamn, I’m getting sick of it.

Also, the way that the reader mimics other voices? Like the male voices? I can’t get over that. It sounds ridiculous. How do you get past this? It must be even worse with a male reader mimicking females.

The other thing that’s weird is how disconnected I feel from the story. I have had the urge, a few times while listening, to see the text on the page, to be able to re-read something that I thought was lovely, or even something that I found a little silly, just to verify how I felt. Instead, I mostly am absorbing the plot points, not the feeling of the scenes, and it’s a little frustrating, like only getting to touch someone’s body while wearing a glove, no skin contact. Or eating food when your sinuses are so clogged that you cannot smell. I’m not sure this is an experience I’d duplicate if given another chance.


  • Jackie Sommers on Jan 29, 2013 Reply

    I know I’m late to this party, but yes, JIM DALE. Always good. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is another one Jim Dale read that was fabulous.

    Melina Marchetta’s books Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, and Piper’s Son are all AWESOME on audio! Especially The Piper’s Son, which has a male reader. That Aussie accent comes on and there go the panties.

  • Carrie on Sep 27, 2011 Reply

    I will keep this in mind! I’ve also heard amazing things about Jim Dale, the guy who reads the Harry Potter series.

  • Anonymous on Sep 26, 2011 Reply

    I agree. But if it’s done properly an audio book can add to the experience. Ian Banks has a great book called Dead Air which is about the tribulations of a Scottish radio DJ in London. A lot of it is first person monologues and the guy they got to read it did it beautifully. That was an exception though.

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