Audiobooks: Whadhesay?


You know I like free audiobooks, right? Well, I do. I really like the variety of books found on a certain free audiobook site. However, all narrators are not created equal. These volunteer narrators, God bless ‘em, aren’t getting paid and are in it for altruistic reasons. I appreciate what they do, honestly, but I’m human and have my favorites.

I recently found an audiobook, a mystery, that I was interested in and from the description believed it was narrated by one of my favorites. She read 2 or 3 parts and then they started switching up narrators, a lot. I’m ok with 2 people narrating, but this book had 30+ parts and multiple narrators, all from different parts of the US and elsewhere in the world. I have trouble with accents, I realize this is hypocritical of me as I have an accent myself; I can’t listen to myself on any recording, “that’s not me!” So, I’m throwing giant bricks in this glass house, yes. There was one lady who had a very thick accent and I was sure I would not be able to understand what was going on. I did, actually, adjust to her way of pronouncing certain words, although I’m sure I missed a lot before I did. Then the narrators switched again. I had to readjust.

Of course, accents are just a small part of it. Some narrators put a lot of personality into their reading. It helps distinguish the dialogue and the differing characters. Some though never vary any of what they’re reading. It all sounds the same. Droning.

So, my experience was one of frustration. I continued to listen to the book until the end but I’m still not 100% sure who killed the guy or why. I lost the thread of the plot somewhere. I don’t think I’ll be reviewing this book. I will not be listening to a book with multiple narrators on this site again. I might make an exception for books where it was written with differing points of view in the first person, if the narrators keep to their distinct personalities.

One good thing about all of this was that I now have a bigger list of narrators I want to listen to again and ones I want to avoid.

Image courtesy of healing dream /


  1. I've only listened to a few audiobooks in my life. I keep wanting to try them again but change my mind at the last minute knowing it will be lost on me. I don't think I could listen to several narrators either. It would have to be one and a really good one to keep me listening!

  2. I've never tried any of the free audio sites. I can't imagine that many different narrators for one book!

  3. That sounds like a frustrating experience.

  4. I've been avoiding any books with more than 1 narrator lately, but I recently listened to one with 20 narrators that was HORRIBLE. There was this one narrator who sucked in his spit as he was talking and it drove me CRAZY! It was like, "yada yada yada *slurp* yada yada yada *slurp*." KILL ME NOW. He wasn't the only one, either; I've never encountered so many mispronounced words in an audiobook before. It did provide some comic relief, at least, but didn't make for a good reading experience.

    Idk. You take your chances. But I'm definitely sticking to 1 narrator from now on.

  5. EWW, Tasha's experience sounds gross!

    I listened to Middlemarch from Librivox, and there were a ton of narrators for that book. It was one of the first books I did audiobook for, but at that point, I just couldn't pick up the book any more to read and thought it would be much easier to listen to, which it was! But lots of narrators.

    The Woman in White has a lot of narrators, too, but it was done in a cool way - each narrator was a different character. You might like that one!

  6. Oh, sounds frustrating.

    I download audio books to my iPod from the library. I've had great luck finding stuff and even though the books expire, they never seem to fall off of my iPod! However, sometimes the tracking on an iPod can be interesting if you lose you place by hitting something accidentally. I did that with Moby Dick and more recently with IT by Stephen King. Losing you place when the book has 48 parts is not fun.

  7. I adore audiobooks, but sometimes you get a horrible narrator.


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