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The Secretly Awesome World of Audiobooks

January 26, 2011

When it comes to reading, I’ve tried almost every format with the exception of audiobooks. My hesitation about them was that I haven’t enjoyed having someone read me a book since I was probably eight-years-old, and I could only imagine an audiobook sounding like monotone high school classmates who had been called on to read aloud in class. That’s something I just don’t want to re-live. However, I think the time has come for me to give them a shot. But that decision has been a long time coming.

This all started back in October, when my devotion to Buffy the Vampire Slayer took me to James Marsters‘s panel at New York Comic-Con. While there, I learned that in addition to his television/film/theater career, Marsters also reads The Dresden Files audiobooks.

Now, I thought that if you were the “reader,” it meant that you read the parts that aren’t the characters speaking dialogue. Apparently, that’s not how it works–if you “read,” you play ALL the characters and adopt different voices for each. Which, when you think about it, is quite impressive.

So, I’ve been thinking about audiobooks since that panel back in October, but haven’t actually tried them out yet. However, there have been TWO audiobook announcements in the past week that have turned the curiosity level way, way up.

The first is the announcement that Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass on “Gossip Girl”) and Molly Quinn (Alexis on “Castle”) will be the readers for The City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. These are two actors that I am fond of, and I’m very interested to hear them read as characters that I’m already familiar with, and seeing how it compares to the way I “hear” those characters speak when I read.

The second, announced today, is that Jesse Eisenberg (you know, the kid that played Mark Zuckerberg) will continue as the narrator for Holly Black’s The Curse Workers series. The timing on this announcement was quite serendipitous as I finished the first book in this series, White Cat, last night, and had no idea that he had narrated the first one. But, it’s pretty impressive that someone as in demand as Eisenberg would take on an audiobook project, and then stick with it even after an Academy Award nomination. (Which begs the question, how much are audiobook readers paid?!)

So! Now that I’ve been thoroughly convinced, I want to know if you have tried out audiobooks, and what your experience with them has been. Tell me alllll about it in comments.

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