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Simon Steele

Audiobook recommendations and issues

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Hi everyone,

I don't have much time to read for fun anymore due to school and work, but I do walk and exercise for an hour or two everyday (and commuting adds more time). I'd love to spend that time listening to fun reads. The problem for me is that genre fiction audio voice actors annoy me really bad. I'm wondering, have any of you found a way to work around this? My big issues are when the narrators start reading in a gender opposite their own (nothing takes me out of the story more than when a gravelly voiced man tries to say women's dialogue in a high pitched tone, or vice versa). A lot of fiction (speculative fiction) voice acting is really grating and over the top. Nothing is worse than heavily emphasized snorting or growling when monsters show up. I think I have really sensitive hearing issues--not that loud noises bug me, but that I find certain sounds extremely grating. 

I can handle 99 percent of non-fiction, but I'd love to start reading fun stuff again. Anyone else struggling with this, and hopefully, found a solution?

A side note: I have found voice actors from overseas to be very palatable. Roy Dotrice, for example, I could listen to all day, and the guy who reads the Witcher books is good much of the time (though he does dip a bit into the softening of tone for voices of other genders). 

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Can't say I have similar feelings, though I agree that the right voice actor overall is important. 

Michael Page reads the Gentleman Bastard series and I've loved his interpretations.  I just recently finished Republic of Thieves and jumped to Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, not realizing he was reading that also.  Pleasant surprise, and he's fantastic. 

Another performer I enjoy is the Dick Hill readings of a number of the Dragonriders of Pern novels.  

Ultimately, I find if it's a book I already enjoy, the easier it is to accept the read versions of it.  

Actually, the worst times I've had with audiobooks, it was when there was a celebrity reader. 

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I have a similar problem.  Most audiobooks with a single reader I find boring, regardless of how enthralling the story is.  The best readers (e.g. Stephen Fry) always do the huge bestselling titles which I’m not necessarily interested in.

Full cast dramatisations work but those are rare for fantasy or sci fi books.

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3 hours ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Can't say I have similar feelings, though I agree that the right voice actor overall is important. 

Michael Page reads the Gentleman Bastard series and I've loved his interpretations.  I just recently finished Republic of Thieves and jumped to Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, not realizing he was reading that also.  Pleasant surprise, and he's fantastic. 

Another performer I enjoy is the Dick Hill readings of a number of the Dragonriders of Pern novels.  

Ultimately, I find if it's a book I already enjoy, the easier it is to accept the read versions of it.  

Actually, the worst times I've had with audiobooks, it was when there was a celebrity reader. 

Does abercrombie have multiple versions of his audiobooks? Its Steven Pacey over here (who is excellent)

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30 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Does abercrombie have multiple versions of his audiobooks? Its Steven Pacey over here (who is excellent)

Not sure?  I have a copy through my library app...I didn't have an option...

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I'm tempted to listen to one of Neil Gaiman's audiobook versions he voices. John Waters voices his audiobooks too. (Road Trip is hilarious.) Probably better than the print version. I've head excerpts of Ralph Lister's voicing of The Malazan Book of the Fallen and enjoyed those excerpts. He voiced the earlier books with Michael Page voicing the later novels. I haven't heard Page's voicing so can't compare the two.

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Audiobooks are the only thing that keep me sane for my commute so I will slog through bad narrators if I enjoy the book enough. I even survived the Fitz and the Fool trilogy voiced by Elliot Hill. If you give it long enough, I find it it stops being jarring unless you think about it. YMMV.

The full cast production of the Graveyard by Neil Gaiman was great but the only time in recent memory that I've encountered multiple narrators, so I imagine it'd be hard to restrict yourself to those only. 

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While working out, I've been listening to the audio version of the new Thomas Cromwell biography, Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life (2019) by Diarmaid MacCulloch.  I'm close to finished now.  The text is fairly dry -- it's just this side of academic, as the author has dug very deeply into the war between the first two Tudor royals and the Church. In this single volume is all the background I've gathered over the years here and there, is described in detail and citation to the long conflict between the English crown and the Pope over control of the church in England, its properties and courts.  Dissolution was already beginning under Henry VII, and was tried out more or less lightly throughout the VIII's reign already, even prior to the Great Matter of the King's divorce in order to marry Anne. So I've been quite satisfied.

Next I'll be listening to The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age (2019) by Leo Damrosch, to which I've been looking forward since I first saw it was published.

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BTW, if unaware, there are many, many readings of plays and books and poetry available through the BBC Radio 4 website and archive  The readers / cast are all highly professional, often well known actors of stage and screen.

 

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