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Blockbuster Successes with Audio Books

I don't give book reviews on this blog because I have read too many damn books in my life. Was it worth it? I am not sure.

But audio books are a new thing for me. Is there a method to finding audio books that you will enjoy? Think about the long extinct "oral tradition," and how audio books might be an echo of this tradition. Remember how most of the creation myths of various peoples were "campfire stories," such as Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Bible, Beowulf, and the Icelandic Sagas.

A camper should have an advantage in throwing themselves into the mood of those who listened to these tales in olden times. That was my first guess, so I chose "The Odyssey." It was fairly enjoyable but I was disappointed by it not being a blockbuster.


Next came modern classics that are adventure tales -- rather than domestic novels. Gulliver's Travels worked quite well.

My first blockbuster was Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones." I had previously read the book three times. It was even more delightful as an audiobook. A big part of this was due to the reader/narrator, Maurice West, also being a 'voice actor.' Somebody with that talent can enliven the reading of a book by turning it into a performance or radio play.

This allows Baby Boomers, suckled on television, to go back in time and enjoy the 'Radio Days' of their parents.

I didn't think anybody could outdo that version of the 'Tom Jones' audiobook, but Patrick Tull's versions of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin (aka 'Master and Commander') naval stories is even better. Once again, it is his naval voice and voice acting abilities that do the trick. It is strange how it doesn't take me out of the story to hear a lot of nautical jargon, that I don't understand, quite as much as when reading the same jargon.

As it becomes the normal way of life to sit at home and remain glued to the media, because other things are not permitted, this should create a real growth industry in audio books.

In that case, I am happy to see voice actors carve out a lucrative career for themselves. Theirs has been an under-appreciated talent in an entertainment industry that sucks up to the camera. 


Ted said…
One problem with audiobooks is that you’re tempted to close your eyes as you’re listening and it’s only one step from there to snoozing. My audiobooks are listened to in snatches, with lots of repeat as I try to figure out where I dozed off the previous evening.
Anonymous said…
I too am currently devouring audio books, as they engage my mind while allowing my eyes to enjoy the scenery. I am checking them out from my home base digital library via the OverDrive app. You too, or have you found a better source?
Ted, since when is snoozing a problem? (Grin)

Anonymous, I have not made much use of Overdrive, but wish to. I get my audiobooks from Kobo.