“Audiobooks have become the fastest-growing format in the [publishing] industry.” This comes from a recent New York Times article by Alexandra Alter, a journalist who covers the book industry. According to the article - which discusses how technology has and hasn’t changed our reading habits - the growing popularity of audiobooks may be one factor in slipping ebook sales. Additionally, Jennifer Moore and Maria Cahill found that audiobooks are more popular with teen readers than with adults, and the teens mostly borrow their audiobooks from the Library.
CATCHING THE AUDIOBOOK BUG
I became an audiobook “reader” while in grad school. My classes and homework required most of my time, but I still craved reading something for fun. Audiobooks from my public library were the answer. I could listen to them while commuting to school, making dinner, doing chores, or on a trip. Today, I’m a diehard audiobook user. I almost exclusively use audiobooks for my personal reading. I may look like I’m doing dishes, but in my mind I’m overthrowing dystopian governments, piloting a ship across space, harnessing my magical abilities, and falling in love. Overdrive even has a handy feature that allows me to speed up the book, so I can traverse worlds even faster.
When I was a kid, my friend’s dad would read Harry Potter to us. He was the perfect narrator, and his performance was complete with unique voices for each character. We could feel the wizarding world all around us.
Often the narrator can make or break a book, such as the case with my friend’s dad. Great books can become phenomenal when the narrator really captures the characters and can bring the world to life. That is exactly what Carl Prekopp did for me with his reading of Half Bad, written by Sally Green. The main character, Nathan, is a moody, introspective loner. Prekopp channels Nathan's inner turmoil perfectly in his deep baritone voice and thick English accent. You can feel every emotion. Another example of a perfect book/narrator pairing is Etiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger and read by Moira Quirk. Not only does Quirk have the perfect voice for the role, but the perfect name as Etiquette and Espionage is, well, quirky. Her refined British accent, mixed with a heavy dose of sass, sounds exactly like the character of Sophronia probably would in real life.
Narrators can even have groupies. There are people who will listen to nearly any book because they like the narrator’s voice. In fact, they actively seek out all of the books that the narrator has done.
I have not quite reached that level, but I would very happily listen to any other book narrated by Prekopp or Quirk.
Full Casts, Music and Sound Effects, Oh My!
Perhaps a single narrator isn’t appealing to you. That’s ok. There may still be an audiobook out there with your name on it. Some audiobooks have a full cast of voice actors, sound effects, and a musical soundtrack. One such example is the new Ms. Marvel. Yes, the graphic novel has been adapted into an audiobook.
Audiobooks aren’t just for fiction, either. We offer an extensive non-fiction audiobook collection. One of my personal favorites is Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, read by Sandra Burr.
YA Audiobooks in The Library
Here is a list of some of the newest and best YA audiobooks (plus some of my personal favorites) in no particular order. All of these are available through the Library, either on CD, Playaway, or
- Half Bad, by Sally Green, read by Carl Prekopp
- Etiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quirk
- Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson, read by a full cast
- The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton
- Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra
- Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler
- If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, read by Kirsten Potter
- Maze Runner, by James Dashner, read by Mark Deakins
- Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, read by Lauren Ambrose
- Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs, read by Jesse Bernstein
- Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira, read by Julia Whelan
Morgan Gariepy, Teen Librarian