Audiobook Week, Day 4: Audiobooks for the Uninitiated

9 06 2011

Today’s discussion post for Devourer of Books is Audiobooks for the Uninitiated. I could spend a lot of time talking about the wonders of audiobooks, or argue that listening to an Audiobook is in fact just as valid a form of entertainment and self improvement as reading, but what’s the fun in that. Today I am going to talk about something that helped me transition from reading to listening. It’s really not a huge revelation, but something that is quite simple, and that is series.

When I first started listening I used audiobooks to either fill out series that I had read a few titles in, or I started listening to a series I had been interested in previously, but never read. I found it to be a good way to strengthen my listening skills. Here we have characters I can grow to know, follow their paths book to book, and become invested in their lives. Having this hook, allowed me to eventually move onto longer or more complicated listens, knowing that I have developed the skills of a good audiobook listener. 

So, below, you will find a list of series that I have enjoyed in whole or in part. You can use this list as a resource or find a series of your own.

Thrillers:

The Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child

Jack Reacher is an ex-Military Policeman, and current nomad, traveling the United States and getting involved in adventures. By the end of a Reacher novel, you know he will have killed or seriously hurt most of the bad guys and won the woman. Dick Hill narrates the series and really is the voice of Reacher.

First Novel of Series: The Killing Floor

The Harry Bosch Series by Michael Connelly

The Harry Bosch series is probably my favorite Police Procedural out there. Harry is a gruff but fascinating character. The series has had multiple narrators. The early novels are narrated by Disk Hill, while the majority of the latter are read by Len Cariou. I prefer Dick Hill,

The First Novel of the Harry Bosch series is The Black Echo.

The Hap and Leonard Series Joe R. Lansdale

One of my favorite series, equal parts brutality with humor. East Texas whiteboy Hap teams up with Leonard a gay, black vet. One of the best friendships in thrillers today. These novels are brilliantly read by Phil Gigante.

The First Novel of the Hap and Leonard Series is Savage Season.

The Myron Bolitar Series by Harlan Coben

If you have yet to experience Myron and Winn, run, don’t lightly jog, to the Library. One of the most fun series out there with a crazy cast of characters. Yet, Myron is the heart of the series. Myron is a sports agent who, of course, gets involved in adventures. Fan favorite Jonathan Marosz narrates the majority of the titles, until his retirement, when after one attempt by the author to narrate the book, Stephen Weber took over the duties.

The First Novel of the Myron Bolitar Series is Deal Breaker

Fantasy

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

My favorite Urban Fantasy series center’s around Chicago’s only Wizard for Hire Harry Dresden. This series is narrated by James Marsters. Yes, that would be Spike from Buffy. I hear the ladies find him dreamy.

The First Novel of the Dresden Files is Storm Front

The Emberverse Series by S. M. Stirling

What would happen if everything using electronic or chemical reactions just no longer worked. That is the basis of Stirling’s Post Apocalyptic Emberverse series. Todd McLaren Handles the narration.

The First Novel of the Emberverse Series is Dies the Fire.

Science Fiction:

The Honor Harrington Series by David Weber

One of my favorite Space Opera’s follows the career of a Female Officer in the Manticore Royal Navy. This space adventure is full of battles, politics, betrayals and treecats. Allyson Johnson is the narrator.

The First Novel of the Series is On Basilisk Station.

The Destroyermen Series by Taylor Anderson

Follow the adventures of the crew of the USS Walker, a steam powered WWII naval ship that is sucked into an alternate version of earth, and become entangled in an all out war against the Grik. This series is narrated by William Dufris.

The First Novel of the Series is Into the Storm.

Also, if you are game, check out Literate Housewife’s new Audiobook Challenge Shaken, Not Stirred, if following the James Bond series sounds like your cup of tea.

These are just a drop in the bucket of available series. Audiobook veterans who stop by, What are some of your favorite series that you would recommend to a newly converted Audiobook listener?





My 10 Favorite Audiobooks of 2011 (So Far)

24 05 2011

2011 has been a great year for Audiobooks. With the endings of some great trilogies, a highly anticipated Fantasy sequel, and a bunch of surprises, it was hard to compile a top 10 list. I have to say that this list is truly a favorites list, the 70+ audiobooks I have listen to this year is just a tiny percentage of the great offerings out there. That being said, I think you would enjoy my selections.

#10:

WWW: Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer

Read by Jessica Almasy, Oliver Wyman, Marc Vietor, Anthony Haden

Audible Frontiers

Why it made the list: This satisfying ending to Sawyer’s WWW series is most remarkable in the performance of the main narrator Jessica Almasy.

#9

Monster Hunter Vendetta by Larry Coreia

Read by Oliver Wyman

Audible Frontiers

Why it made the list: Fans of guns, monsters, guns, romance, guns, action and guns will enjoy this second entry in the Monster Hunter’s Series. Worth the price just to hear Oliver Wyman voice a shoggoth.

#8

The Cypress House by Micheal Koryta

Read by Robert Petkoff

Hachette Audio

Why it made the list: Robert Petkoff is brilliant in his reading of this atmospheric supernatural thriller.

#7

The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

Read by Bronson Pinchot

Blackstone Audio

Why it made the list: Bronson Pinchot’s voice fits this novel perfectly, giving voice to Farnsworth’s excellent characters, as well as his historic overview, and strong action sequences.

#6.

Deadline by Mira Grant

Read by Chris Patton and Nell Geisslinger

Hachette Audio

Why it made the list: This follow up to the Hugo/Audie nominated Feed gives us new perspectives on old characters, and continues to develop Grant’s terrifying world.

#5

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Read by Nick Podehl

Brilliance Audio

Why it made the list: The Wait was worth it, Rothfuss continues the story of Kvothe with excellent results. Podehl is excellent in handling a novel full of songs, poetry, folklore and hand sighs. Not an easy task.

#4.

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Read by Wil Wheaton

Audible Frontiers

Why it made the list: Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi’s reimagining of H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy is the perfect summer read, full of adventure and intrigue. Wil Wheaton continues to impress as a narrator.

#3

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

Read by Peter Giles

Hachette Audio

Why it made the list: The best courtroom thriller since Scot Turow’s Presumed Innocent. Mickey Haller is a great character, and Peter Giles does an excellent job voicing him.

#2

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Read by Kevin Kenerly

Blackstone Audio

Why it made the list: Isaac Marion does for Zombies what Cormac McCarthy does for Post Apocalypse. Warm Bodies transcends to Zombie genre creating a novel that should have mass appeal. Kevin Kenerly’s reading breathes life into the undead.

#1

I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

Read by Kirby Heyborne

Tantor Audio

Why it Tops the List: The end of the John Cleaver series was one of the most satisfying, yet devastating endings I have experienced in an audio book. Kirby Heyborne’s narration only added to the experience of the best audiobook of the year (so far.)





Audiobook Mini-Review: The God Engine by John Scalzi

23 04 2011

The God Engine by John Scalzi

Read by Christoper Lane

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Dark Fantasy/Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Thoroughly demented.

Grade: B

I think John Scalzi must have issues. Really, to go from a humorous sci-fi comedy about squishy aliens, to a military sci-fi series about enhanced soldiers, to The God Engine, well, I am not even sure how he made that trip. To me, the God Engines reads like my nightmares after spending a day reading Lovecraft, eating skittles, watching a Star Trek marathon, and drinking that skunk Lager that had rolled behind my beer fridge. I mean, it’s freaky. Well imagined, brilliantly told, scary as hell, and oh, so freaky. This works well as a three hour audio-novella, read evilly by Christopher Lane. A longer, fully fleshed out version of this novella would probably lead me to ingest a cocktail of xanax and robitussin, just to keep me from wanting to burn down churches to prevent such a future. Scalzi does a great job creating a universal where Faith is a weapon and the gods are not our friends. I cannot say this was the most entertaining audio experience of my life, and Scalzi fans won’t find any of his patented light hearted moments, but it’s definitely thought provoking. If his goal was to freak me out, well, good job Scalzi, consider me freaked.








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