Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Top Five Audiobooks

While I am not sure how some literary purist feel about this, but I find audiobooks just as fun, and on occasion more fun than actual reading. It is a more passive experience, but one that is at point s more engaging than reading a book. It isn’t a substitute for reading, which I think is essential to every human being, but it is a rather nice edition to a person’s literary repertoire. Also, as you will see by my list, it is a great way to revisit books you liked. I am a firm believer in not rereading books; since there are so many good books you should be reading and spending that much time on one book is depriving yourself of entire undiscovered worlds. Since last August, when life got quite difficult, I began to listen to audiobook when music became something that brought out too many negative emotions. They brought a strong a sense of calm with them, and since then I have devoured quite a few while a drive, and some really good ones in my home. Enough reminiscing, here are my five favorite audiobooks:

5. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: Read by John Lee: One of my favorite books is made even more eerie by a great narrator in Lee. His faux-Indian accent adds a disturbing quality to the actions and thoughts of Balram Halwai. What was a disquieting book on the nature of amorality becomes downright scary with a skilled voice actor.
4. Thinner by Stephen King: Read by Joe Mantegna: The only book on this list that have not read but only listened to, the impact of this story is conveyed with astounding precision with Mantegna’s vocals. The story is creepy, and knowing who Mantegna is, the story itself becomes oddly bizarre, but in the best possible way. All these good qualities, the dread throughout the running time and the devastating ending, make for the scariest King tale outside of It, at least for this listener.
3. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane: Read by Tom Stechshculte: My favorite American author read by my new favorite voice actor, who also has recordings of both Frank Bill books and Philipp Meyer’s American Rust. Stechschulte brings great pain and sadness, as well as anger to his reading Teddy Daniels and his investigation of Shutter Island. A great recording that is easy to get lost in, even when you are on your way to your destination.
2. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami: Read by Patrick Lawlor and Ellen Archer: This, along with the recording of my Number one pick, changed my view on the book itself. I always liked Murakami’s novels over his stories, but Lawlor’s understated readings of “New York Mining Disaster”, “The Mirror” and “Chance Traveller” gave me new insight into these nuggets of strange happenings, and I listen to them on a regular basis.
1. Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell: Read by Robert Petkoff: A recording that immediately elevated the book’s standing from something I enjoyed to absolutely loved, Petkoff’s vitriolic, ironic and downright annoyed reading of this propulsive novel is as addicting as any kind of page turner. The violence, the twists and turns, not to mention the medical advice, comes to colorful life over the course of six hours I wouldn’t be surprised you memorize over time.

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