I am an avid audiobook reader. We have a great collection of audiobooks on cd at the library, but with your library card you have access to the Utah’s Online Library that has ebooks and eAudiobooks through the Libby app. Between commuting, working, and life it’s hard for me to sit down and read everything that I want to - enter audiobooks.
But! Not all audiobooks are created equal.
Some books are made to be read and some stories are written to be told. It can actually make a difference on the story and a huge impact is on who is reading that story. There are a few books that I’ve listened to that I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I hated the book because of the book or because the narrator drove me crazy. There are even books I’ve loved that I won’t touch on audio because I don’t trust the narrator to do it justice.
It is sometimes a very fine line.
But in my years of study I have come across some really great narrators that keep popping up. I see their names and trust them.
So here are some of my favorite narrators of books I’ve enjoyed.
By Orson Scott Card
Years ago I listened to the ENDER'S GAME saga by Orson Scott Card. This book is about a boy named Ender who goes to battle school to help defeat a race of aliens to protect the human race. They have an amazing cast for this audiobook but one of the readers I found was Stefan Rudnicki. He is in the cast for the entire Ender Saga. Once I finished the Shadow series and the Enders series, all I wanted to do was listen to them again. Yes, I have to give credit to Orson Scott Card for writing them of course, but the cast was spot on.
By Orson Scott Card
Stefan Rudnicki also narrates Orson Scott Cards book ENCHANTMENT, a fantastic retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It’s about Ivan who, as a ten year old boy, stumbles across a clearing in the Carpthian forest and finds a pedestal with a beautiful princess on it, as still as death. Terrified, he flees. Years later, Ivan is an American grad student, and is compelled to return to his native land and find this clearing and princess that has haunted him. He awakens her with a kiss and he is transported back in time to the 10th century. I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings and this is high on my list of favorites because it incorporates realities of a modern man in 10th century Ukraine and Baba Yaga as the villain.
DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY
By Erik Larson
While listening to the Ender series I also came across Scott Brick on occasion who also narrated: THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: MURDER, MAGIC, AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR THAT CHANGED AMERICA by Erik Larson.This book is about two men and the Chicago World Fair. One is the architect Daniel Hudson Burnham who is the architect who led the construction of the great Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and the other is the serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes who uses the fair as a lure for his victims. He built a murder hotel equipped with an acid vat, dissection table and crematorium. This was a fascinating book. I loved learning about the Chicago World Fair and was alarmed and intrigued by H.H. Holmes and what he was willing to do to get away with his crimes.
By Ron Chernow
Scott Brick also narrates ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow, which goes into the life of Alexander Hamilton, the illegitimate and self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who became George Washington’s aide and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. I was excited when I saw Scott Brick’s name as narrator, and purchased it immediately. I had been so pleased with him in Ender’s series and Devil in the White City, that I knew I could get through this history book better with him reading it to me.
By Katherine Kellgren
Last but not least is Katherine Kellgren. She narrates AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale!
Jane is a New York woman who can’t seem to find the right guy because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy (the Colin Firth version). A wealthy relative bequeaths a trip to an English resort catering to the Austen-obsessed woman. I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read this book. It’s my perfect Sunday afternoon read to get lost in and geek-out with these Austen fans.