Armchair BEA: 2012 Audiobooks for the Uninitiated

6 06 2012

I had to switch some of my posts around for various reasons. This was supposed to be yesterday’s post, for the best of 2012. Yet, due to another bigger giveaway post, I knocked it back to today. Being that today’s topic is how you use your blog in your community, well, there would be a hole in my postings, because honestly, I don’t. The only thing that may even come close to that is donating the review copies of audiobooks to my local library and to the company I work for, which is a home for people with special needs.

Yet, since June is Audiobook Month, I do use my blog to spread love throughout the Audiobook Community. Today I will be highlighting 2012 Audiobooks that would make excellent starter Audiobooks for someone unfamiliar with the format. I will be attempt to offer as wide a range of genres as possible, so maybe you can find something you’ll be interested in.

All these audiobooks are plot driven tales with solid narration. I tried to choose books where the narrators have strong, pleasant voices and excel at pacing and storytelling. While, unlike some, I enjoy offbeat and experimental narration styles, when they fit the text, I stayed away from those types of narrators because they are often an acquired taste. If you have yet to listen to an audiobook, and are willing to try, I hope you find something here that may interest you.

If you do decide to listen, I invite you to post your thoughts on the experience for Audiobook Week, hosted by Devourer of Books at the end of June.

My 2012 Audiobook Recommendations for Armchair BEA Participants. 

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Read by Grover Gardner

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Legal Thriller

My Review

Defending Jacob is a twisty legal thriller about a Father who must defend his son after he is accused of murder. Grover Gardner is a veteran narrator who brings an everyman style to his reading. He creates authentic sounding characters without ever infusing himself into the narrative. Gardner’s subtle performance and Landay’s engaging text make for a wonderful listening experience.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Read by Anne Hathaway

Audible, Inc.

Genre: Children’s Classic

My Review

For those who are quite hesitant about trying audio, Audible’s latest version of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ has a lot of things going for it. It is short, and the material is familiar enough to allow the listener to become actively engaged in the material. Hathaway gives a wonderful performance drawing on familiar sources, including the classic musical version, to create characters the listener will already feel affection for.

White Horse by Alex Adams

Read by Emily Durante

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Literary Post Apocalyptic Thriller

My Review

Alex Adam’s highly literate Post Apocalyptic tales echoes some of the more stylistic entries of the genre, while infusing it with a thrilling plot and complicated female lead. Emily Durante’s solid narration allows the reader to fully immerse themselves into the character’s plight.

The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye

Read by Stephen Boyer

Penguin Audio

Genre: Historical Thriller

My Review

The Gods of Gotham takes you deep into historic New York City that tends to be overlooked. A murder mystery set at the foundation of the NYPD, The Gods of Gotham are full of ethnic and religious strife, and introduces us to some colorful characters. Stephen Boyer will not blow you away with his reading, but simply allows the tale to unfold, while creating authentic sounding per4ipheral characters.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Read by Susan Duerden

Dreamscape Media

Genre: Urban Fantasy

My Review

The Rook is a first person Urban Fantasy novel that actually manages to feel fresh. Instead of battling evil fairies and ogres, Myfanwy Thomas battles ledgers and bureaucracy as a high level official for a secret magical agency. Until loses her memories, and discovers someone want her dead. Susan Duerden gives a wonderful performance is this fun, action filled fantasy novel.

The Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale

Read by Angele Marsters

Hachette Audio

Genre: Historical Thriller

My Review

Edge of Dark water is a coming of age adventure which echoes Mark Twain and Stephen King. A group of teenagers attempt to escape angry neighbors and the law as they travel up a River in Depression era Texas. Angele Marsters infuses her lovely voice with integrity, capturing the depths of the main character, while still highlighting her naiveté.

Partials by Dan Wells

Read by Julia Whelan

Harper Audio

Genre: Young Adult Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction

My Review

With Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction all the rage in Young Adult fiction, Dan Well’s Partials creates something that is familiar and fresh. Both full of action, and thought provoking, Partials is excellent science fiction for young and old. Narrator Julia Whelan does a good job capturing the inner turmoil of the main character, and crispy delivers the actions scenes making it easy to visualize what is going on.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Read by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Epic Fantasy

My Review

Love fantasy, but sick of the Eurocentric faux-medieval settings, then you’ll love Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. Ahmed fuses epic fantasy with an Arabic flair, combining unique character and a strong plot into something that is a whole lot of fun. Phil Gigante is my all time favorite narrator and here he shows his ability to control the pacing of narrative while creating some of the most rememberable character voices around.



9 responses

6 06 2012
Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)N

I just finished listening to Defending Jacob yesterday and am not sure how I feel about the ending. I thought Grover Gardner was brilliant as a narrator.

I would listen to Phil Gigante narrate the phone book!

7 06 2012

I think this was one of Grover’s best. The ending was definitely one to think about. While I won’t listen to everything Phil Gigante narrates, having him narrate a book is always a huge incentive.

6 06 2012

Hey, great post! I listen to a lot of audio books on my commute. Good to hear about Partials; I don’t read every YA dystopian as I’ve been disappointed by many of them, but I do like the ones that have more of a sci-fi angle if they’re done well. I”m currently listening to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which I’d recommend. The narration is done really well.

I wish I’d listened to Tina Fey’s Bossypants instead of reading the print version, it keeps winning awards.

7 06 2012

I don’t listen to a whole lot of YA, but I enjoy them when I do. Partials was really good. I also enjoyed Cinder and Ashes. I actually have Bossypants, but still haven’t listened. I don’t typically like memoirs, but sometimes you hear so much about a book, you can’t help but get tempted to check it out.

6 06 2012
Natalie @ Mindful Musings

Anne Hathaway doing Wizard of Oz? I could definitely give that a go!

6 06 2012

I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, but I definitely need to start! I’m glad to hear that Partials is a good audiobook, I may try that one.

Great post!

-Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

6 06 2012

I had never really tried audiobooks until I started working in the library. So many people enjoy them and it seems like they get a lot more reading done than I do. However, since then I have tried them (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones) but I just don’t like them. I am too motivated by music and I zone out to easily to really benefit from the experience but I think it is awesome that so many people enjoy them!

Leila | The Fiction Pixie

6 06 2012

Thanks for the suggestions! I just got into audiobooks this year and love them! My favourites are Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and the Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare. I hope to listen to much more in the future!

The Wizard of Oz sounds great with Anne Hathaway as the narrator!


25 06 2012
Audiobook Week 2012: My Audiobook Year « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Awareness Month and Armchair Audies, but I have talked about that a lot elsewhere. I could play Audiobook evangelist again, like I did during Armchair BEA this year, but for Audiobook Week, I would be preaching to […]

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