Friday, February 24, 2017

Audiobooks, what makes a good one?

Over the past year I have gotten into podcasts and audiobooks. Previously I had trouble getting into them. I mean, there were exceptions to that rule (and I will recommend the World War Z audiobook again and again and again, and I had listened to Welcome to Night Vale but even that was few and far between) but in general I couldn't get into just listening to something.

But now? Now I'm almost constantly listening to something. It started in our new house that the kitchen is separated from the living room. In our old place I couldn't see the TV from the kitchen, but I could hear and frankly I didn't so much care what was on, I just wanted some background. But in our current place, unless I BLASTED the volume, I couldn't hear the TV and at that point I realized podcasts are the perfect solution.

And so I began, listening whenever I'm cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. Then it expanded to when I was cleaning anywhere.*
me but instead of music, it's about murder
Eventually I started listening while in the shower (not with headphones, DON'T WORRY). Now I'll start ones and basically as long as I'm doing something else fairly mindless, I'm listening to something. First it was just sticking my phone in a measuring glass (which totally works to amplify things, BTW) but it was sort of a pain when I actually needed the measuring glass so eventually I got a blue tooth speaker, though the glass is still used as backup when I inevitably run the battery down. #responsible

I started with Freakonomics and Stuff You Missed in History Class. Then I started Oh Witch Please and How Did This Get Made and Stuff Mom Never Told You. I'm currently on My Favorite Murder (which I have on right now [as I'm writing this**, not by the time this gets posted. Or maybe. I can't tell the future.])

It's not just podcasts. I've also listened to Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, and Joe Hill's Locke & Key. I'm relistening to the Harry Potter books. And there's always World War Z.

[Surprisingly, there are no valentines about WWZ. I mean, surprising cos I expect to find everything on the internet instantly. I'm too lazy to make one, so just imagine your own here.]
But I'm still a bit hesitant when it comes to audiobooks. I've had more positive experiences than I have negative ones, and yet. I listened to Drop Dead Healthy and while it was FINE, it was not my fav listening experience. It was hard to get past the way Jacobs narrated. I listened to the opening of Lamb and was NOT into what I heard. So what's the deal?

I'm not entirely sure. I mean, WWZ and Locke & Key are sort of different than a straight audiobook. It's a bunch of different actors so we don't have a single narrator telling the story. Maybe that's my thing? And Born a Crime is a memoir, so maybe because there aren't really a bunch of characters, that helped. Or maybe I just love Noah's accent (yes, this is true). Harry Potter is Harry Potter so, I mean. Plus Jim Dale (the version I have) is just now the voice of the HP books for me.

So I guess, this isn't really a post about what makes an audiobook good so much as it's me talking about how I started to listen to stuff and asking you, what the hell makes a good audiobook?
I don't feel like I've listened enough to really say for sure what that magic sauce is. Is it just the narrator? How much is it the story and some that just work as audiobooks vs. some you need to read? TELL ME because I want more audiobooks.

Even if you can't say what makes a good audiobook, if you wanted to recommend some great audiobooks, YES PLEASE TELL ME. Or podcasts. Either. Both.

*This is a stupid side point, but I got wireless headphones recently and they make this whole cleaning while listening to stuff thing so much easier. So just saying, I recommend. Though I won't actually call our brands.
**Apparently blogging counts as a mindless activity? Except, not really. Or rather this does take brain power so if this post makes no sense, assume something CRAZY happened in a podcast and I got distracted. Or that I got frustrated cos I kept having to rewind the podcast cos I was missing stuff. Anyway.