Audiobook Recommendations

ColGray

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2023
Messages
412
Hi All,

I primarily read via audiobook these days and I'm looking for some recommendations on books where the narrator adds something* to the story with their performance. I mainly read SF but I'm good with Fantasy so long as there's no "chosen one" tropes and urban fantasy if the stand-ins for vampires/werewolves/zombies are a legit swing (e.g.: Book Eaters, What We Do In the Shadows, etc.)

*: Narrator adding something: They don't read the book, they perform the book. Think, RC Bray (in nearly anything), Ray Porter (in nearly anything), Samuel Roukin with The Sun Eater

Books/Series I recently really Enjoyed:
  • The Sun Eater
  • Red Rising
  • Expeditionary Force
  • Truth of the Divine / Axiom's End
  • Quantum (Magician/Garden/War)
  • Redemption (Ark/Space)
  • Boboverse
  • Andy Weir
Thanks!
 
I've been getting more and more into the audiobooks for my cycle home.

I've listened to, or read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The first was read by Stephen Fry with the remainder by Martin Freeman. They were enjoyable and I found myself laughing a lot throughout. To be honest, I preferred the radio dramatization and would recommend it. The story has aged surprisingly well, I think and only the reference to digital watches has aged it.

I've also been listening to Iain M. Banks's Culture books and am currently on Surface Detail. All of them have been read by Peter Kenny, who has done a superb job with each of them. They are well recommended.

How are you with audio dramatisations? I've listened to a few of the Star Wars ones and very much enjoyed them.

I'm looking to get into the 2000AD audio dramatisations of the Judge Dredd stories. I have four to listen to and I'm looking forward to them.
 
Nice, thanks!

I haven't done a lot of dramatisations. Radioplays are okay, but not usually my jam.

I listened to, Consider Phlebas, and, Player of Games. I enjoyed Peter Kenny's narration -- and agree he did a superb job-- but I didn't really enjoy the stories. Banks paints the Minds as these benevolent, kind faux-Greek gods (they meddle, they incite, they communicate directly with people and steer humanity) and I just cannot get behind the benevolence because it feels like Banks is ramming it down my throat with 0 supporting evidence.

Banks: They're benevolent!
Minds: Hold on, gotta manipulate people
Banks: So caring!
Minds: Pause one quick sec, gotta commit genocide
Banks: Welcome of everyone!
Minds: Choose any form of culture and organization, so long as we underpin it and get to decide what's allowable
Banks: So Altruistic!
Minds: We seem to be struggling with how to manipulate this situation... Hey, go find a human who's more intuitive than us so we can get back to outright manipulation.
Banks: They look after everyone
Minds: Now that you've accomplished our goal, hey, sorry about your intense PTSD and desire to kill yourself--Can we help you go into stasis? Or die?
 
I'd recomment Look to Windward, which is a more compassionate novel and deals with loss in quite a beautiful way, i think.

I'd like to listen to Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy, but have only found the abridged versions.
 
Heir to the empire focuses on Thrawn? I've heard good things about it.
 
Yeah, it was the first book of the EU and i personally credit it with rekindling a love for Star Wars that lasts until now. They weren't classic novels, but they did entertain.
 
they perform the book
That is what I'm trying to do at the moment, be interesting to see what ya reckoned. I write and perform in one sitting so it's sort of related. Here's a sample, there are hours more if ya get on with it.
Love AD and audiobooks for the performance aspect -more AD than narration, and you've probably listened to them all. but I reckon X Minus 1 is as good as it gets (thanks for the recommendations)
 
@ColGray If you want science fiction I highly recommend CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, which extends to some 20 books in total. They are unabridged, and all but the last couple are read by the professional narrator Daniel Thomas May. His use of a different pitch and intonation for each character paints vivid pictures. His voice alone tells me who is speaking.
 
I tried, Downbelow Station and it didn't grab me -- though i understand it is not the first book in the series, I think it is the first book in a specific sub-series? Any suggestions on where to start?
 
Try The Wandering Inn, narrated by Andrea Parsneau.
The Wandering Inn* is a webserial by Pirateaba. That may not sound as something of quality.*
It is Fantasy, a RPG fantasy. That may also not sound as very interesting or of quality.*
Worse, the first chapters are poorly written and - as is the case with web-serials - posted unedited. Twice a week. But overtime the quality goes up, as does the word-count per chapter, up to 30,000, per chapter, twice a week.

* Then why am I recommending this? Because I am a huge, huge, did-I-already-mention-huge? fan. I consider it the best in Fantasy I have ever read, despite the shortcomings.
The whole serial is now 12 million words long and still going and growing. One on-going story, that starts slowly and contains many slice-of-life chapters, while the actual plot grows and deepens from local to a world-wide scenario and a giant cast of characters, all of which are clearly distinct from the other. There is compassion, humor and drama. I devour every many of the chapters and can't wait for the next.

I am not an audiobook lover, but I have listened to Andrea doing the narration. I think she does give it something extra. Give it a try.

You can read (or taste) the whole web-serial free of charge. It's only the audio-book and the Kindle versions that cost money.
Give it a try.

And here's an Interview with the author.
 
The BBC radio dramas of Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Hitchikers Guide are simply superb.

Christopher Lee and Michael Hordern read M R James' ghost stories in a delightfully chilling manner.
 
I tried, Downbelow Station and it didn't grab me -- though i understand it is not the first book in the series, I think it is the first book in a specific sub-series? Any suggestions on where to start?
@ColGray This page gives Cherryh's book in order of publication. That's usually but not always the same as their sequence along her various 'world' timelines. This page lists them in that order (up to c. 2005).
 
Last edited:
@ColGray This page gives Cherryh's book in order of publication. That's usually but not always the same as their sequence along her various 'world' timelines. This page lists them in that order (up to c. 2005).
Thanks @Orcadian -- is that the order you'd recommend reading them in? I know a lot of people recommend reading Banks out of order -- or at least not starting with Consider Phlebas-- and wasn't sure if that was the same here. Thanks!
 
Try The Wandering Inn, narrated by Andrea Parsneau.
The Wandering Inn* is a webserial by Pirateaba. That may not sound as something of quality.*
It is Fantasy, a RPG fantasy. That may also not sound as very interesting or of quality.*
Worse, the first chapters are poorly written and - as is the case with web-serials - posted unedited. Twice a week. But overtime the quality goes up, as does the word-count per chapter, up to 30,000, per chapter, twice a week.

* Then why am I recommending this? Because I am a huge, huge, did-I-already-mention-huge? fan. I consider it the best in Fantasy I have ever read, despite the shortcomings.
The whole serial is now 12 million words long and still going and growing. One on-going story, that starts slowly and contains many slice-of-life chapters, while the actual plot grows and deepens from local to a world-wide scenario and a giant cast of characters, all of which are clearly distinct from the other. There is compassion, humor and drama. I devour every many of the chapters and can't wait for the next.

I am not an audiobook lover, but I have listened to Andrea doing the narration. I think she does give it something extra. Give it a try.

You can read (or taste) the whole web-serial free of charge. It's only the audio-book and the Kindle versions that cost money.
Give it a try.

And here's an Interview with the author.
I appreciate the recommendation and the youtube video was good--started watching a couple other videos of his. A local friend just mentioned Wandering Inn, but more from a, It's HUGE, pov than from a recommendation.

TBH, i really struggle with the idea of a work with 12m words and growing, especially when the opening isn't strong and she's putting out 30k - 60k a week. It feels Sisyphean -- at even 400 words/minute that's like 500 hours (!!!!) of listening, or about a third of a year listening for 8 hours/day!

Are you anywhere close to current? How does that even work??
 
My idea for audio books is to listen to books that I normally wouldn't read, while I'm walking, or working or driving.

I listened to a BBC rendition of Paradise Lost recently.
There was no way I was going to sit down to read it.

I was so glad I did.
 
I appreciate the recommendation and the youtube video was good--started watching a couple other videos of his. A local friend just mentioned Wandering Inn, but more from a, It's HUGE, pov than from a recommendation.

TBH, i really struggle with the idea of a work with 12m words and growing, especially when the opening isn't strong and she's putting out 30k - 60k a week. It feels Sisyphean -- at even 400 words/minute that's like 500 hours (!!!!) of listening, or about a third of a year listening for 8 hours/day!

Are you anywhere close to current? How does that even work??

I didn't know how huge it was when I started reading TWI. That was back in 2018. I bought the e-boek Volume One (343K words*, but I love door-stoppers) The story grabbed me and I wanted more. Because Volume Two was not available yet as an e-book, I started reading the chapters on the website (that is to say, I copied the text and pasted them in a word doc, which I then converted into an e-book) At that point I noticed Volume Five had just been completed. I did not look at the total word-count, but it was 3mln at that point.
It took me a while, but I am now up to current.
Would it have deterred me had I known it would grow and grow? I don't know for sure, but I think not. I am an avid reader and as long as the story can tickle my imagination and the characters likeable I'll keep going. Which TWI cretainly does and has.
Anyways, there is an end to anything you read. Sometimes because you lose interest, sometimes because the series never gets finished. (No, I won't mention GRRM. Or Rothfuss.)
 
This is my main method of reading too. My eyes just can't hack a long reading session these days.

Game of Thrones series read by Roy Dotrice is very special and is the gold standard in my grubby opinion.

Andy Serkis reading Hobbit and LOTR is incredible.

Imajica by Clive Barker and narrated by Simon Vance was an interesting listen. Vance provides the perfect narration for this weird piece of fiction.
 
I've just finished Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks which i very much enjoyed and Peter Kenny seemed to thorougly enjoy himself with this one, especially when reading the part of Demiesen.

Surface Detail.jpg

I still think that this might be Banks's best book (although tPOG remains my absolute favourite) and i think Banks's imagination really lets go in this book.

I understand what you mean about the Culture, ColGray, but i think Banks is playing with the juxstaposition of the Culture being and extraordinarily free and caring society and having to need a stick big enough to be able defend it's beliefs and mores. (I feel that the Culture is embarrassed by the military might of SC, but has a deep seated need for it.) Besides, it seems like most civilisations have schemes and plots against the Culture.

I'll download Inversions, (which i have read, but remember little other than it's medievel setting) and Matter, (which i haven't read, but doubt if i'll have the time to actually sit down and read). Good times ahead.

Now onto the first two Judge Dredd Crime Chronicles Stranger Than Truth and Blood Will Tell.

large.jpg large (1).jpg
 
I didn't know how huge it was when I started reading TWI. That was back in 2018. I bought the e-boek Volume One (343K words*, but I love door-stoppers) The story grabbed me and I wanted more. Because Volume Two was not available yet as an e-book, I started reading the chapters on the website (that is to say, I copied the text and pasted them in a word doc, which I then converted into an e-book) At that point I noticed Volume Five had just been completed. I did not look at the total word-count, but it was 3mln at that point.
It took me a while, but I am now up to current.
Would it have deterred me had I known it would grow and grow? I don't know for sure, but I think not. I am an avid reader and as long as the story can tickle my imagination and the characters likeable I'll keep going. Which TWI cretainly does and has.
Anyways, there is an end to anything you read. Sometimes because you lose interest, sometimes because the series never gets finished. (No, I won't mention GRRM. Or Rothfuss.)
lol at the two unmentionables :ROFLMAO:

I hadn't previously considered whether a long series would deter me from starting something. There are some I've loved (Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth, Dennis Kunsken's Quantum series, Boboverse, Expeditionary Force), some I've really enjoyed (Reynolds, The Expanse, Daniel Abraham's Dagger & Coin, Unmentionables) and a bunch I've nope'ed out on because the author is dragging everything out (Robert Jordan come on down!), but on balance... yeah, long series can be really good. That probably shouldn't be an impediment.

Appreciate the rec!
 
My idea for audio books is to listen to books that I normally wouldn't read, while I'm walking, or working or driving.

I listened to a BBC rendition of Paradise Lost recently.
There was no way I was going to sit down to read it.

I was so glad I did.
RIGHT??!

Also, totally agree with this use case. War and Peace was a lol-no-way book when it came to, sit down and read. But walking and listening? Sure.
 

Similar threads


Back
Top