Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audiobook Week Discussion: What Makes a Good Narrator?

 
Audiobook Week is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

This is probably a pretty subjective topic. I have known people who adore a reader that I can't stand listening to, and I know some who have hated a reader I adore. This hit home most recently when a friend of mine and her sister didn't enjoy Jim Dale's reading of The Night Circus. They said they had difficulty understanding him with his British accent. I adore Jim Dale, so this came as quite a shock to me. I always thought his narrations were clear, and very understandable, but to each his own.

What I look for in a good narrator are three things, intonation, clarity, and age of the narrator.

First, I want the narrator to have good intonation. They need to produce the sounds in a manner that is acceptable to the book. On occasion you will come across a reader who will be monotone, or in one instance I listened to a reader who sounded like he was reading a bedtime story. Since I often drive when I listen, I don't need a narrator who is going to put me to sleep.

The second thing I look for is clarity. Does the narrator speak clearly. It is difficult to listen to a narrator you can't understand. Therefore clarity is necessary for a good narrator.

The third thing I look for may have some of you scratching your heads, but believe me it is an important factor when you listen primarily to young adult audiobooks. If you get a narrator that can't adequately voice a teenager, you can have a hard time getting into the story. I'll admit sounding like a teen isn't the easiest thing to do--many narrators come across either to old or in one unusual case too young.

So those are three things I look for in a narrator. What do you look for?

6 comments:

  1. I don't do a ton of young adult, but it seems like I listen to more young adult novels than I read, and I agree, a narrator that sounds too old just absolutely KILLS me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't get to many adult novels these days, so the young adult is pretty much all I listen to. I have had some excellent ones, and some real disappointments with narration.

      Delete
  2. All very good points. Totally agree about the age thing with YA audiobooks- if it's not right then I'd just rather read the book. I just picked up the Night Circus from the library and can't wait to listen to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved The Night Circus! I hope you enjoy it--Jim Dale is one of my favorite narrators.

      Delete
  3. I just read a YA book where the narrator sounded much older than a teenager - and it was very distracting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found that I can get over it after a while, but still it can be frustrating when it doesn't sound right.

      Delete

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