My local NPR station did something unthinkable over the last six months or so: They changed the schedule entirely. As a result, all the worst shows (by "worst" I mean shows that involve audience participation) are during the times I'm in the car.
I got desperate. First I turned to podcasts, which I love, but there are only so many one can listen to in a row before they all start to run together.
Next, I tried something I've always disliked: Audiobooks.
Audiobooks have never really worked for me--I'm not sure why, but I suspect that because my previous attempts at audiobooking were pre-iPod, so a lot of the listening was annoying on a technical level, with the messing with CDs and all. I also think I'd chosen the wrong types of books for audio, since if I recall correctly, I mostly chose long, complex books, which weren't the easiest for me to track in shorter chunks while operating a motorized vehicle.
But finally, I've found some audiobooks which worked for me.
I adored finishing the the wonderful Curse Workers series on audio. Jesse Eisenberg narrates and adds so much to Cassel's voice, actually making him sound more teenage and funny, which I didn't pick up in the first book, which I read in the traditional way.
I also loved listening to Catherine Gilbert Murdock's phenomenal Dairy Queen series (recommended by Flannery), which I'd actually started as an ebook a couple years ago and for some reason I couldn't get into (probably a wrong frame of mind thing). The narrator does a brilliant job of capturing both the Wisconsin accent and D.J.'s neurotic, self-deprecating tone.
I also listened to Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper, which I liked story-wise, but thought the narrator was just okay, despite that her accent was pretty close to North Carolinian. But, she read incredibly slowly, and the experience of listening made me antsy, since I'm a very fast reader.
I've discovered a few things about my audiobook preferences:
- Shorter books work better for me--I'm not sure why, but committing to 20 hours or what have you of listening is way too much for me to fathom. I don't have that much listening time.
- I suspect I prefer YA audio over adult. This is probably partially due to the pacing in YA, which tends to be a bit faster, but also because there's some stuff that's totally awkward listening to, which doesn't appear in as much detail in YA, if you know what I mean.
- Not to sound like Captain Obvious, but the narrator makes a tremendous difference. For me, it's not just the speed (slow makes me batty), but there's a tonal thing that I can't describe, that bugs me (the narrator of Libba Bray's The Diviners grated on me so much I couldn't get through a chapter).
- A bit of humor makes a massive difference for me in an audiobook. I love humor, but I almost feel like it's a requirement for me in this format.
So... here's where I turn to y'all for help.
I need more, more, more! What audiobooks have you loved? Why? Are there any narrators that I should be on the lookout for? Any I should avoid? Do you have an Audible membership and love it?