Audiobook Week Mid-Week Meme

Jenn K. a.k.a. devourerofbooks, is hosting Audiobook Week 2013, which consists of prompts for daily postings relating to audiobook love 🙂
Today’s Prompts:

Current/most recent audiobook:

The Man in the Empty Suit
by Sean Ferrell
narrated by Mauro Hantman
Ⓟ 2013, AudioGO

+ The story is fascinatingly complex and demands the listeners attention
– The narrator has a clear voice but had difficulty shaping the text, delineating characters and maintaining the feminine tenor of a key figure
– There was distracting booth noise late in the audio production 

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

The Ghosts of Belfast
by Stuart Neville
narrated by Gerard Doyle
Ⓟ 2009, Audible, Inc.

This is the latest entry to my Personal Pantheon of All-Time Great Audiobooks, coincidentally displacing another Gerard Doyle-narrated audio, The Dead Trilogy (Dead I Well May Be, The Dead Yard and The Bloomsbury Dead; by Adrian McKinty.) Even though the audio was published in 2009 and I listened to it in 2012; and I’ve listened to a lot of good and sometimes very good audio in the past year, nothing since as come my way that I absolutely made me drop whatever it was that I was doing and just listen.

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

Davina Porter

I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in print, so the audio that Davina Porter is most noted for is something that I haven’t experienced! But this year, I listened to Splendors and Glooms (by Laura Amy Schlitz) and loved her performance! From the Armchair Audies review I wrote and posted:

Her cultured voice, distinct characterizations, her ability to disappear into the text, mark her as a master narrator. In Splendors and Glooms, Davina Porter voices the POVs of an aged crone, an old, sleazy man, a pre-adolescent girl with theatrical training, an illiterate street urchin (boy) and a little rich girl, all with seeming ease. Splendors and Glooms is a relatively long book for children’s fare, but the narrator’s pace never flagged and was as strong at the end as it was in the beginning.

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

The Dead Beat
by Jim Butcher
narrated by James Marsters
Ⓟ 2010, Penguin Audio
If past experience is any indicator, the writing wil be terrible; but the narration will be great! I’m starting this one today though I’ve had it in hand for a couple of years!

2012-2013, My Audiobook Year

Jenn K. a.k.a. devourerofbooks is hosting Audiobook Week 2013, which consists of prompts for daily postings relating to audiobook love 🙂

Today’s prompt: 

“Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.” 

I’ve been listening to audiobooks and working in the industry for about eighteen years now! Yep, I pretty much eat, breathe and live audiobooks. It’s more than a job or a hobby, it’s a lifestyle 🙂
I left Blackstone Audio last October to pursue freelance opportunities! 
Sometimes scary! But exhilarating too! I’ve been able to work on some great audiobooks! 🙂

I judged the category of Best Audiobook for “Children, Ages 8-12” for the Armchair Audies! Wow, I learned so much about children’s audiobooks from judging this category with my daughter (who is between the ages of eight and twelve!) You can read about what I learned in my post, Armchair Audies: Best Audiobook for Children Ages 8-12 Wrap Up Post, which also contains links to reviews of the contenders. The Armchair Audies judged seventeen categories this year and you can check out what’s what at 🙂

Favorite Audiobooks!
Two books that greatly influenced me in 2012 were The Weight of the Nation (by John Hoffman and Judith Salerno, M.D., M.S. with Alexandra Moss; narrated by Bernadette Dunne) and Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders (by Dick Russell; narrated by Kevin Kenerly.) You can read a little bit more about the how and why they impacted me in my post,  Epiphanies 2012

I‘ve pretty much shuttered my blog,!
Except for special runs like The Armchair Audies and Audiobook Week (and Murder, Monsters and Mayhem this year and Zombie Awareness Month next year if I can get my act together,) I’ve ceased and desisted from blogging.  I love the blogging community, and I’m still on twitter (@dogearedcopy) and always willing to facilitate whatever other blogging projects you have in mind that you think that I can help with; but the daily angst of trying to find the right turn of phrase for a review or posting content consistently has been kicked to the curb in favor of playing with puppies, frolicking in the sun and reading more!

I hike! And bike!
For exercise, I hike and bike a little; but I don’t listen to audiobooks when I’m doing either. With the very real threat of bears, rattlesnakes and mountain lions on the trails, not to mention aggressive mountain bikers and hunters, I prefer to be more aware of my surroundings 🙂

You can see what I wrote for the meme in years past:

A couple of other JIAM posts 🙂

Audiobook Week, Listen Up!

Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us!

One feature of my job is that I select the titles that go out to listener advisory services, which is another way to say that I send out free audiobooks to reviewers! Some of the listener advisory services are easy in that they want the whole monthly slate of titles or all titles in a specific genre. Other reviewers require more thought: Reviewer “X” really doesn’t like narrator “Y” (and never will) or can’t stand violence against animals or only likes a very narrow sub-genre… Then there’s the part where I’m asked to provide only the best of the best and that’s really tough. There are big titles with big narrators; but then again there are some smaller titles with great narrators too! At this point, I actually use an unusual standard, What was the narrator’s response to the book when it was assigned or while s/he was recording it? There are narrators who are game for anything and everything and will take whatever we throw at them; but then there are those narrators who come back and say things like, “Oh. My. God. This book was absolutely incredible! I love this book! That denouement was mid-bending!” Or whatever. You get the idea. It’s that little extra something that, while intangible, comes through on the recording. I never hesitate to recommend these titles even if I have not personally listened to them or worked on them. In this way too, those same audiobooks make it onto my own personal TBL-to list.

But believe it or not, I actually listen to audiobooks above and beyond the borders of the Blackstone Audio campus! My tastes are extremely eclectic and so I heavily rely on other bloggers’ opinions. The blogs of Bob Reiss (@guildedearlobe at – Zombie, PA, SFF; Jennifer Connor (@lithousewife at, – litfic, #shakennotstirred #ArmchairAudies #ListenersList; “Beth Fish” (@BethFishReads at – whose tastes are as equally as eclectic as mine, plus she also reviews graphic novels; and Jennifer Karsbaek (@DevourerofBooks at – wide range of different genres as well –  are written by major audiobook advocates and audiobook bloggers whose views I respect immensely. I also like reading audiobook reviews from people who don’t normally blog about audiobooks; but feel so strongly about what they’ve heard they have to post (e.g. Mike Alatorre a.k.a. @le0pard13 at It Rains… You Get Wet) – movies and references to “she who will not be named” and; some of the up-and-coming audiobook bloggers like Cassandra Neace (@CassandraNeace at – whose enthusiasm for the audiobook form is refreshing. There are dozens of others as well who are probably reading this and saying “What About Me?”  To those audiobook bloggers who I have overlooked (mea culpa), please feel free to leave your blog URL in comments below!
Where I actually get my audiobooks varies. Sometimes I pull them off the shelves over at the warehouse; sometimes I request a review copy from another publisher; sometimes I troll the publishers’ sites and, yes, I’ve been known to try an audiobook I would not normally have considered if it was on my Maybe list but is now on sale 🙂

Audiobook Week: Mid-Week Meme

Current/most recent audiobook:

I’m currently listening to A Discovery of Witches (by Deborah Harkness; narrated by Jennifer Ikeda)


A couple of people whose opinion I highly respect recommended this title; but quite frankly I’m quite disappointed with it. I had no preconceived ideas about what it was about or what to expect other than that the story would be compelling. It’s about a witch who calls up an alchemical text from the stacks At the Bodlean library at Oxford. I’m about halfway through and I’m just not feeling it. Jennifer Ikeda has a lovely voice but every passage in the book is treated with the same intensity, whether its that moment when the protag meets up with an avowed enemy or she’s in a yoga class. The evenness with which the narrator delivers the story bleeds the excitement out of the tale. And then there’s the issue of a couple of mispronunciations which is driving me batshit crazy: Stuff like Magdalene (College) being mispronounced “mag-da-lin” instead of “maud-lyn” and “dressage” being mispronounced as “dres-idj” instead of “dre-sahdj.” There are a lot of suspect pronunciations but I’m too lazy to drag out the OED to do a look-up every time a not-quite-right-sounding word pops up.

(So why haven’t I dumped the audio in favor of the book? Basically because I’m cheap. I spent my book allowance on a FitBit (a fancy pedometer) and the hold list on the library is rather long.) I’ll get through this; but when the sequel is published I plan on getting Shadow of Night in print.

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

One of my favorite audiobooks this year was actually released a couple of years ago, The Ghosts of Belfast (by Stuart Neville; narrated by Gerard Doyle.) I’m about to add it to my Personal Pantheon of All Time Great Audiobooks. The story is about a former IRA hit man, Gerry Fegan who is haunted by twelve ghosts. The ghosts will leave him in peace if he executes a vendetta against the people ultimately responsible for their respective deaths. It’s a great story and Gerard Doyle is perfectly suited and cast for it! You can read my review of it on this blog 🙂

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

My favorite new-to-me narrator is Wil Wheaton. His narration of Ready Player One (by Ernest Cline) was perfect! I often blow off celebrity narrators but this is an exception I’ll gladly make 🙂

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

Hmmm, next up may be Hillary Mantle’s Wolf Hall (narrated by Simon Slater.) I tried reading the book before and was lost. Then I switched to audio and was equally lost! Then I tried listening to the book and listening together and it all made sense! I stopped for some reason though. I need to get back to it however and wrap it up so I can listen to Bring Up the Bodies (by Hillary Mantle; narrated by Simon Vance.) I’ve heard that Bring Up the Bodies is more accessible (whew!)

Your audio dream team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):

I really can’t go there! Let’s just say that I make casting recommendations for a lot of books and sometimes I win and sometimes I don’t :-/

06/27/2012: 10:100: UPDATE! I’m changing my answer! I wish Xe Sands had narrated the final chapters to The Last Werewolf (by Glen Duncan) and then gone on to narrate Talulah’s Rising.

Audiobook Week: 2011-2012, My Audiobook Year

I’ve been listening to audiobooks for something like seventeen years now and have been working in the industry for nearly as long! Every year, there is something new that captures my attention in terms of book trends, narrating styles or changes in the industry itself; but to bring this closer to my own personal listening experience, I have to say that the thing that I’ve “discovered” this year is audio drama! Now I have listened to and worked on audio dramas in the past; but it has been only one of the many forms of audio that I listen to. This year as a part of the Armchair Audies (hosted by @lithousewife at I decided to listen to a couple of audio dramas that were finalists in this year’s Audies Awards.  The Mark of Zorro (by Johnston McCully; dramatized by Yuri Rasovsky; full cast performance) was the first finalist I listened to and it was great: really well produced and a lot of fun! I was really hooked on the form and I ended up listening to all five of the final nominees! I’m now eager to claim the same category in next year’s Armchair Audies. What was really interesting to me about the audio drama finalists, was that it held a few sub-genres in an of itself: studio productions, live staged readings, podcasts, and radio broadcasts. The things I look for in the performances are how quickly the actors get the characters up on their feet, edge-to edge energy (does the performance slag off at any point?) and how the sound effects are used. This is addition to the normal considerations of any audiobook as to being well cast and well executed.

See Also:
2010-2011, My Audiobook Year (My response to Jennifer K.’s (@devourerofbooks at Audiobook Week meme last year)

If you want to know more about me you can check out these two interviews:

If you want to know more about the Armchair Audies, you can check out the Armchair Audies (hosted by @lithousewife at and the wrap-up I wrote for the audio drama category, which also contains links to the individual reviews 🙂

n.b. – Jennifer will be moving the Armchair Audies to it’s own site before the next Audies start up, so stay tuned!)