Did you know that June is National Audio Book Month? I didn’t until I saw it advertised on my library’s website. The great thing about audio books is you can do physical activities that make holding a book awkward or impossible while still getting your stories. Washing dishes? Walking the dog? Doing a bit of exercise? Breastfeeding or staying up with a fussy baby? These are all great times for an audio book! I know loads of people like to listen to audio books during their commute, but if you live in a city, like me, that may be a dangerous choice. That doesn’t mean I haven’t laid in bed for far too long trying to get in just a few more chapters through my headphones. Here are some audio books I would recommend in celebration of National Audio Book Month!
First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, narrated by Tavia Gilbert — A harrowing memoir about the seven children and two parents fighting for their dignity in an internment camp during the Cambodian Genocide. Gilbert reads clearly and emotionally, and one benefit of the audio book is hearing correct pronunciations of the cities’ and people’s names. Dark, tragic, educational.
The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes, narrated by Lorna Raver — A good, old-fashioned horror story based on Jack the Ripper. Raver does different, unique voices for each character, making dialogue tags practically unnecessary! Spooky, tense, a nail-bitter.
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, narrated by Janet Mock — The audio is clear and sounds genuine. Some unusual pauses give the book a weird wavy rhythm, almost like the ocean, but overall is strong for someone who isn’t a voice actor. Hawaiian slang terms and colloquialisms are pronounced correctly. The author is honest about herself, her feelings, and her experiences. Educational, hard-hitting, fair to other trans people.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough — A thriller that credits four voice actors, all of whom narrate clearly. Half the fun is figuring out what the title refers to. When you learn about half way through, you sit on the edge of your seat wondering what bad things will befall the characters. Thriller, exciting, can’t stop listening.
The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood: Although I read Oryx & Crake, I listened to both The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. The audio book publisher kept the same cast of actors for the same characters, creating consistency over the novels as they fall into this futuristic place. Dystopian, survival lit, multi-voice cast.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, narrated by regular audio book voice actor Orlagh Cassidy — A gentle, easygoing voice actor who pronounces clearly and gives a girlish tone to her work, which fits with the plot and main character. Surreal, a social sciences sub-plot, surprising.
Do you listen to audio books? Do you prefer one voice actor for the whole book, or different voices for books with characters who narrate from their points of view? When do you listen to audio books?