August 25, 2011
I remember my grandma’s voice: rich, full, and vibrant. Every time grandma told a story, I was mesmerized; her animation, rhythm, tone, and timing were perfect. She was a natural born storyteller. My grandma’s influence is why I love listening to a well-told story to this day.
Every year, Audio Publishers Association and Audiofile Magazine recognize excellent work in the audio publishing industry. Both websites publish a list of winners for the various components that make up the production of an audiobook. I always read the list of best narrators. With audiobooks, the narrator is often just as important as the author. To get the most out of my audiobooks, I try different narrators. Sometimes my favorite narrators are award winners and sometimes not. I connect with them if I like the sound of their voice, and if they bring the story and characters to life.
Below are some of my favorite narrators—all who excel at storytelling— and some of my favorite fiction read by them.
Jayne Entwistle brings to life Flavia de Luce, a precocious ten year old chemist who solves murder mysteries in Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley.
Lisette Lecat is the reason I became interested in the series The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. She lends a charming elegance to the series using her flawless accent.
Jim Dale could read the phone book and make it sound fascinating! Dale brought the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling to life on audiobook. He portrayed 134 different beings in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!
Jenna Lamia said that as soon as she enters the recording booth, she thinks "about the characters and about making sure they get their due". She succeeds in her quest as she brings each character to life in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
And by the way, these narrators are almost as good at storytelling as my grandma!