Category Archives: Audiobooks

Updates 2/20/13

It’s been too long since my last post.  Here’s a 10-second update:

I’m now proud to be employed in the Library department of Molloy College in Rockville Centre.  I’ve been there since August, I enjoy my time there, and I’ve learned a lot so far.  I’ve continued to work weekends at South Huntington Public Library in the Children’s department that I love.

In the last year or so, I’ve embarked on a great fascination with the Ender’s Game and Shadow series by Orson Scott Card, via their amazing audiobooks, with perfect timing for the 2013 film release.

SoundCommentary.com – Your Wise Guide to Audiobooks

SoundCommentary is database of reviews of audio books.  It is sorted by department: biography, science fiction, children, short stories, etc.  They also have a healthy helping of young adult literature.

Every audio book’s entry indicates whether it is performed by an actor or by a full cast, as well as a review of moderate length.  Reviewers are mostly librarians, but also include individuals from the areas of teaching and publishing.

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“Sync YA Literature Into Your Earphones”

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Thanks to my friend and fellow library professional, Christy Hartigan, I happened upon this great site supporting young adult (YA) literature.  Sync seeks to encourage young adults (ages 13+) to listen to audiobook versions of both contemporary and classic titles in YA lit.

According to the Sync homepage:

What is SYNC?

• SYNC is an online community that seeks to build the audience for audiobooks among readers 13 and up.

• Each week, SYNC will give away 2 FREE downloads–a popular Young Adult title paired with a Classic title that appears on Summer Reading lists–starting July 1 through September 1, 2010.

• SYNC is hosted by Audiobook Community, a new social networking site for the discovery of audiobooks.

• Listeners can choose to join a conversation about these titles with authors, narrators, publishers, librarians, and other listeners. (Listeners are not required to join Audiobook Community to follow the conversation on SYNC nor to download FREE titles from SYNC.)

In addition to the free weekly downloads, they offer great freebie downloads for librarians & educators: bookmarks, posters, newsletters, and more.  So download this week’s free audiobook and enjoy the YA audiobook community.  Tell me what you think of this recommendation in the comments section – anyone try out Sync?

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How an Audiobook Speaks Up for Itself

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Audiobook Week, graphic from http://www.devourerofbooks.com/As the Stacked book review blog has informed me, we’re in the midst of Audiobook Week.  Personally, I am a traditionalist when I read full-length works.  Although I [clearly] have become interested in reading blogs, articles, and forums online, I still prefer the paper-and-ink experience for novels, textbooks, etc.

I try to keep an open mind, though.  The first audiobook I “read” was The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring, starring the delightful voice of Rob Inglis.  Shortly thereafter, I received a gift of Good Omens on CD from a friend.  I’ve been “working” on this one for months.  I really enjoy the storyline and the narrator’s approach, too.

However, I still can’t seem to find harmony with the format itself.  I only listen to audiobooks in the car, on long trips.  [After all, if I have free time at home, I’d rather read a book in my hands.]  In the car, I tend to fumble with the multiple CDs, get mentally distracted, and often forget to play the audiobook at all on smaller trips.

I do, of course, believe that it is important for public libraries to stock audiobooks, as much as their budget will allow.  I know many people who prefer this format for many reasons: multitasking (something I am clearly unable to do – see above), listening simultaneously with a friend, and reading impairments such as dyslexia.  Additionally, my public library is fortunate enough to have a small collection of Playaways, pre-loaded MP3 devices with the most popular titles, in addition to the lengthy shelves of audiobooks on CD and cassette.

Thanks to Google Reader, I found an article on Stacked from 2009 that gave me a better understanding of how the strength of an audiobook operates on a different set of criteria than does a paper book.   According to Stacked:

Although listeners can have a preference for one of these, they can all be done well or all be done poorly. But what makes a good audio book and what makes a bad one? If you’re listening to one and aren’t sure, consider these:

  • Are the words pronounced correctly? Is the narrator using an authentic accent? One of the presenters mentioned a book set in Wisconsin where the narrator had a mid-Atlantic accent and it really killed the book for her as a Wisconsinite. The Dairy Queen, on the other hand, has an authentic Wisconsin accent.
  • Is the book complete with a clear, crisp sound? Is the volume consistent?
  • Do you hear juicy mouth sounds? Is the narrator’s voice hoarse?
  • Has the producer done a good job if material was dubbed not making it obvious? Is the text being repeated or omitted or cut too short? Are chapter breaks awkward or poorly timed?
  • Are names of the title, author, and narrator correct? One of the presenters said that there was one book where the reader mispronounced the name Nguyen and a student with that name was turned off entirely (for those of you unsure, that’s “win,” and the reader said “nah-guy-en”)
  • Does the reader mostly match the age and experience — at least in sound — to the main characters?
  • The readers connect to the text and are generally excited by the reading and discovery in the beauty of the story and the language.
  • Is music used effectively? Walden — the one by Thoreau — apparently has fantastic music interludes and was lauded for that reason.

Once I finish listening to Good Omens, I’ll be looking out for some recommended audiobooks at Stacked and Devourer of Books, two blogs that are providing a marathon of audiobook reviews and 101-information this week.  Be on the lookout for your next listen!

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