Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I've been thinking about my next Fairy Interesting post (maybe Beauty and the Beast or Little Mermaid next!) but when I learned that June is Audiobook Month I knew I had to share some of my favorites with you all!

I've commuted to school for six years (first undergrad and then grad school) so I've had lots of time to enjoy a variety of books. 
One of my all time favorite audiobooks is Fairest by Gail Carson Levine and narrated by Sarah Naughton. This is a retelling of Snow White that twists and turns and is an amazing book. But when narrated by Naughton it becomes even more marvelous. The kingdom in which the story is set is famous for its singing and Aza is known for her inventive song skills and every song is actually sung by Naughton. This combined with the different voices she uses makes for an unforgettable listening experience.

A more recent favorite is Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles series. These books were coming out while I was in the middle of grad school and I didn't have time to read them. Fortunately my local library stocked the audiobooks and I snatched them up. The books alternate between Sadie and Carter as they tell the story and the books were simply made to be heard (literally, since the preface treats it as though the two Kanes are actually narrating their story into a recorder). Katherine Kellgren and Kevin Free take the parts and make them live in an amazing way. Having listened to the first two I can't bring myself to pick up and read the third - at least not until after I've heard the audiobook!

If you're tastes fall away from fantasy books you should try The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall. Not only are these books engaging, sweet, and entertaining but Susan Denaker makes each of the four sisters so unique that you feel like you know them and wish you were one of them.

Heading away from middle grade books, the young adult title Chime by Frannie Billingsley caught my attention. The story line is fascinating and a perfect blend of historical fiction and fantasy. Susan Duerden gives the right touch to Briony and her sister Rose, pulling you into their heartaches and troubles and making you root for the right outcome.

If you like things a little darker, try out Rotters by Daniel Kraus. This is a story about teenaged Joey Crouch who gets sent to live with the father he never knew after the death of his mother. However, what he doesn't know is that his father is part of a long tradition of grave robbers. Narrated by Kirby Heyborne this audiobook will give you the creeps - but in a good way. And there are a couple of places where I would definitely advise not listening to it while eating. Kraus holds no punches and Heyborne puts you right into the middle of the action.

Moving on to the regular fiction section - Having heard so much about the book (and movie) The Help by Kathryn Stockett I decided to see what all the commotion was about. And, of course, not having time to read it, I requested the audiobook from my library. With four different narrators the story is brilliantly told and I enjoyed the book even more because of it.

Another multi-narrator production is one of my favorite books, which was our book club choice for April - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I had read the book before, but when I stumbled across this on the library shelves I knew I needed to listen to it as well. I already loved the way Shaffer and Barrows developed so many characters so fully only through letters, but hearing those characters brought to life by a cast of narrators made it even more engaging.

So there you have it - some of my all time favorite audiobooks! Do you have a favorite narrator or audiobook? Have you ever listened to an audiobook? If not, why? We're always curious to learn more about our readers!

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