As I read a book, my mind forms a picture. A good book will help you develop that picture, whether it is with amazing descriptions of the landscape or realistic characters that pull on your emotions (either good or bad). Our imagination is what takes a book to the next level, and the more we read, the more in depth our pictures become. While the author creates the story, we bring it to life.
The picture I imagine is rarely in sync with anyone else. I have even heard arguments about the way a name is pronounced. It is these differences that can bring about the many different interpretations of a story. You can see it in the varying reviews of any book out there.
I think that is what is so interesting about listening to audiobooks. While you listen, you still form a picture, but that picture is greatly influenced by the narrator. The story might be engaging, but maybe the narrator’s voice is grating on your nerves. Or maybe the book doesn’t have a lot going on, but what an amazing voice!
Since discovering audiobooks for my long commute to and from work, I have experienced the gamut and written several reviews. Horrible stories read by terrible narrators (Heart of the Matter), horrible stories read by narrators who pronounced things incorrectly (Stormrage), decent stories by decent narrators (Before I Fall), and fantastically amazing stories and narrators (The Golden Compass).
Unfortunately, while searching at the library there is to way for me to know which one I will get. I have found a couple websites, but some reviews I don’t agree with and lot of books are missing. Plus, who knows what book will be available at the time.
The whole thing just got me thinking. Do you read audiobooks? What are your thoughts on how they affect the telling of a story? And how do you make sure you find a good one? I will pass on one piece of advice… If the author is the narrator, the odds of the audiobook being well narrated is very high.