Sunday Salon: Twilight on audio book

by Kim on January 18, 2009 · 26 comments

The Sunday Salon.comEveryone and their brother has already reviewed or read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, so I’m not going to post a long review myself.  Instead, I want to write a little bit about listening to the book on audio book, something I’ve never done before.

Over Christmas, I had a discussion with my sister and cousin about the benefits of audio books.  My cousin drives a lot for her job, and said she liked audio books because they helped pass the time.  I walk a lot when I am in Madison — I don’t have a car — so I thought an audio book might be good for that time.  My cousin suggested Twilight because the book is so light (and repetitive) that if you zone out and miss a bit, you haven’t missed much.

On those accounts, I have to agree.  There isn’t anything deep or complicated about Twilight, which is what made it a good audio book for me.  I listened to it in the car while driving and while cleaning and doing dishes around my house — short spurts of time when there isn’t much else I can do, but need some sort of noise or amusement to keep me sane.

What surprised me was how willing I was to forgive bad writing while listening to an audio book.  Stephanie Meyer tells a good story, no doubt about that, but her writing style leaves something to be desired.  Despite the over use of adverbs, the constant use of two adjectives to describe everything, and the incessant descriptions of Edward as beautiful, I got into the story.  If I were reading the book, I think those things would have bothered me, but because I was listening it was easier to just go the with flow and get into the story.

Right now I am on two waitlists at the Madison library — 100 of 114 for New Moon on audio book and 89 of 107 for Eclipse.  Quite the wait, but I’m going to find another book to listen to in the mean time.

Actual Reviews: Reading Adventures;

Any suggestions for an audio book that is light and easy to  listen to in short spurts while walking to school or sitting on the bus?

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie Nance January 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Maybe it is just me, but I do better listening to light nonfiction. I tend to lose the train of the plot with fiction.

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Anastasia January 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Oh! I love audiobooks. :D I’ve gotten quite good at cutting down the zoning out while listening to them, but I think these would stand up okay to them:

- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
- Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
- any of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett

I’m especially recommending Skulduggery Pleasant. Rupert Degas’ reading is EXCELLENT, and really makes the book shine. :D

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Memory January 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I find that short story collections make good audiobooks, since it’s easy to just quit after you’ve listened to one selection all the way through. I also like listening to books I’ve already read, since it’s not the end of the world if I miss a bit.

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Dawn January 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who zones out while listening to audiobooks!

I’ve tried a few, and I’m not yet a convert.

Right now I’m listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s *Outliers* when I run. Even though it’s non-fiction it’s fairly easy to follow because he uses A LOT of examples.

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Kim January 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Debbie: I thought about nonfiction, but I’m worried if I zone out I’ll miss something important. But, maybe something light would work, I’ll have to try it.

Anastasia: Thank you! I’ve wanted to read Artemis Fowl for awhile, just never got the book.

Memory: That’s a good idea too, I’ll have to see if the library has any.

Dawn: I read Gladwell’s The Tipping Point earlier, and did notice his tendency to use a ton of examples. I didn’t zone out too much while listening to Twilight, but I often zone out of podcasts when I try to listen to those. So, we’ll see.

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Betty and Boo's Mommy January 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Three audiobooks come to mind that you might enjoy:

If You Could See Me Now, by Cecilia Ahern Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard
On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan

I have a long commute and enjoy listening to audios in the car. These kept my interest but didn’t require my full undivided attention.

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Melissa January 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I’ve found so much of the audiobook has to do with the narrators. A good book can be ruined with bad narrators, and an okay book made much better by good narrators. These stories had great narrators:

-All the Harry Potter books (There’s 7 for ya!)

-The Gemma Doyle series (A Great and Terrible Beauty is book 1 – VERY good narrator) by Libba Bray

- A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

- P.S. I Love You (though not so light) by Cecelia Ahern

I love using audible.com for my audiobooks (though had to get harry potter off itunes, which was so expensive!) because I have no patience for library waiting lists!

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Frances Evangelista January 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I have trouble staying with nonfiction. Love children’s books and would suggest the soon to be a film Inkheart. Also like mysteries. Don’t usually read them but love to listen.

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Teresa January 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I’m totally with you on forgiving bad writing in audio. I was much more of a Philippa Gregory fan when I had just listened to her books. Light fiction generally works better for me than more literary fare, although novellas in general have worked well for me, and for some reason Cormac McCarthy is great on audio.

I’ve also really enjoyed rereading on audio. It’s a great way to get around to those books I’ve always wanted to revisit without having to give up time to read a new book. And if I zone out, catching up isn’t hopeless.

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Fyrefly January 18, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I listen to a lot of YA fantasy on audio, which I think is good for an audio newbie – they’re usually short, light, and don’t require a whole lot of attention.

Let’s see, for specifics… I’ve listened to the entire Inkheart trilogy, which, while not short, are quite good. Stardust is short and fun, as are the Lemony Snicket books – which, as a bonus, are read by Tim Curry. Harry Potter’s always good, as was Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, and read by Jim Dale. The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix also makes good audio (also read by Tim Curry), as does The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud… and the full-cast audio versions of the His Dark Materials trilogy are just fantastic. There’s plenty more that I’ve listened to and liked, but I’ll stop for now. :)

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Eva January 18, 2009 at 10:03 pm

I really like Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman on CD. :)

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Mike January 18, 2009 at 10:57 pm

In the Twilight vein, Michael Chabon reads the audio for his own Summerland. He’s a charming reader.

Like Debbie and others, I tend to listen to nonfic. The best I’ve listened to is probably the unabridged Guns, Germs, and Steel read by Doug Ordunio.

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Sal January 19, 2009 at 6:20 am

I’ve listened to ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ in audio and like it as it’s short, and only when my eyes feel tired reading, and when I’m on the bus. Stephen Fry reads very clearly. Haven’t yet read Twilight, thought it’s a series of 4 books which are quite thick.

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lizziek8 January 19, 2009 at 7:41 am

I’m an audio book fan all the way. Does your library have MP3 downloads via NetLibrary or OverDrive? I get lots of good books through that.

Try the Charlain Harris books, the Vampire Ones True Blood on HBO is based on, Dead Until Dark, or the dead body finder, Grave Finder. They are light and have a fun atmosphere about them.

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Sharon January 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm

When my CD player worked in my car I listened to biographies, and children’s fiction. My favorites are Harry Potter, Island of the Blue Dolphins and Marley and Me.

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Kim January 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Betty and Boo’s Mommy: I liked an audio book in the car too, I listened to Twilight to and from a trip to Madison.

Melissa: I’ve heard a lot of good things bout the narrator for the Harry Potter books. At this point I have to suck it up with waitlists, but someday I’ll have money for all the books I want!

Frances: I’ve read good reviews of Inkheart too, it sounds fun.

Teresa: That’s interesting, I wouldn’t have imagined Cormac McCarthy being much different on audio book!

Fyrefly: I love Tim Curry, that would be awesome! I also love His Dark Materials, so that sounds fun.

Eva: I have The Graveyard Book on reserve at the library, so if Neil Gaiman is good that will go on the list.

Mike: Wow, I can’t imagine listening to Guns, Germs, and Steel, it seems intimidating and like I’d lose focus too easily :)

Sal: Yes, there will be many more hours of the Twilight series for me… they are addicting!

lizziek8: Yes, I think we have a download, but I haven’t tried it yet. My cousin mentioned the Charlain Harris books too.

Sharon: I loved Island of Blue Dolphins when I read it in school!

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Kim L January 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I listened to Coraline by Neil Gaiman on CD, and that was nice, because it was, at heart, a child’s adventure story. And Neil Gaiman read it himself, and he has such a great voice. So I loved that one, it was all over too soon. I tried The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, but all of the Yiddish confused me and I figure I’ll try again with the actual paperbook at some point.

Ah yes, Twilight. So poorly written, yet so hard to put down.

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Kim January 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

Kim L: I can see why a lot of Yiddish would be confusing in an audio book; I’ve wanted to read that book so I’ll probably save it for book form when I get to it. And agreed on Twilight :)

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Fyrefly January 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I didn’t have a problem with the Yiddish Policeman’s Union on audio – most of the words I could pick up from context, and at least they were pronounced right, which they most certainly wouldn’t have been if I’d been reading the text version. :)

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Joanne January 21, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I liked this point you made: “What surprised me was how willing I was to forgive bad writing while listening to an audio book.”

I’ve had this happen a few times, the most memorable being a Danielle Steele book. Having read two books by Steele I know that her writing style is not me – but listening to an audio version of the same story I ending up enjoying it.

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sagustocox January 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I agree it is easier to forgive bad reading if the book is entertaining while commuting. I just think some books are meant to be listened to rather than read.

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Jen February 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine was a great audiobook my mom and I roadtripped out to PEI It’s a great non traditional fairy tale with a great story, lots of actors in it which definately moves the story along. Plus there is music.. It’s fun and lively.. If you have ever read Ella Enchanted.. You will like Fairest

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Nishita October 15, 2009 at 10:58 am

I suppose if done well, the “actors” could make bad material sound a lot better.

I am generally not into audio books anyway, something about them (even good ones) that tend to make me drowsy.

Btw, I have a rather amateurish book review (I had just started bpook blogging) up here:

http://nishitak.wordpress.com/2008/11/08/twilight-book-review/

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Miss K September 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

I know this thread is two years old, but wanted to add a suggestion: anything Billy Bryson has written is wonderful on audiobook. He reads it himself and is just hilarious.
I also really enjoyed Neal Schusterman’s Unwind on audiobook.

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Kim September 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve struggled with Bill Bryson in the past — something about his travel writing really rubs me the wrong way — but I have a few books I’m curious to try and see if they change my mind.

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