Saturday, August 17, 2013

On Audiobooks (Hotcakes Version)

(AKA, My Linky-est Post Ever!)

Kirsten recently posted about her family's interest in audiobooks, and while I was in the middle of a lengthy comment in response, I thought it might be easier just to write about it here. (Hi, Kirsten!)

Our family loves audiobooks. The kids have always fallen asleep listening to story recordings since they were little (yes, maybe a bad habit, I know) and Jeff has had an Audible subscription for years.  And what Kirsten mentioned is so true – the narrator makes all the difference! We recently listened to one of the Willow Falls series books and the narrator was making me crazy. She read every line ... as if it were a question? Because ... that's how pre-teen girls apparently talk? But the story got really good around disc four (I know, I can't believe we lasted that long), so we stuck it out. 

I love listening to audiobooks while walking or doing housework. I'm particularly drawn to funny books (Bossypants and Seriously ... I'm Kidding are so much more entertaining when read by their authors!) and I really like the narrator of Jen Lancaster's memoir stories (start with this one, then these two.) Recommended from Mr. Hotcakes: Gone Girl and Anansi Boys are both terrific on audio, thanks to talented narrators.

We mostly listen to audiobooks in the car during the summer months. I have a little trick – the kids don't often like my book suggestions, but will listen to anything in the car on audiobook, so I get to sneak my picks in then. It's also a great way to springboard them into more titles by an author. Clark had an easier time breaking into chapter books (Stink, Geronimo Stilton, Magic Treehouse and Wayside School series) because he spent time getting familiar with the stories on recording first. That's also how Theo got into Harry Potter a few years ago: he listened to the first one read by his sister ... then got too impatient to wait for her to read more, so he finished the series himself. When they pick their own audiobooks from the library, they usually go with titles they already know and love (Rick Riordan,  Gordon Korman, Andrew Clements), which makes them good choices for bedtime listening.

Where do we find all these audiobooks? Happily, our library has a very good selection of juvenile / YA titles, and we also check them out online from the New York Public Library.

Some favorites from this summer:

Dora went on to read the rest of the Willow Falls books ... not a huge stretch, because she was already a fan of Wendy Mass thanks to The Candymakers, but she tends to ignore books that look too "girly", so I don't know that she would have picked up the series on her own, and she ended up really enjoying them.

Another Dora favorite was The Sixty-Eight Rooms. I didn't know this was a series when I picked it out, so she was thrilled to find the other ones at the library and read those, too. They really get a kick out of stories where magical things happen to ordinary kids ... good thing that there are many, many of those titles to choose from!

Mr. Chickee was not my favorite – I thought it was a little too silly – but Clark really enjoyed this one. We're listening to the sequel now, which is just as silly.

This was a weird, twisted story that got everyone sucked in ... and then totally let down at the end. (Similar to my disappointment in LOST.) We were actually yelling at the audiobook in the car. Sorry, kids, it's a harsh lesson to learn!

Ahhhh. Best. Book. Ever. I could not convince Dora to read this story for the longest time, and it was making me crazy. Eventually, some time last year, she spied it on her teacher's bookshelf and decided if Mrs. Keough had it in her collection, that it MUST be good. (God bless fourth grade teachers!) I knew it would be a tough sell to the boys, so audiobook to the rescue. Everyone enjoyed it, needless to say. (But I'll say it anyway: Hey, sometimes Mom is actually right!)

1 comment:

  1. (Hi, Ann!) those are some,great suggestions, thank you!