Right on time for this Tuesday's entry, which turned out to be a freebie prompt. As per usual, this meme is featured on The Broke and the Bookish.
I thought I'd feature some of my favorite audio narrations in recent considerations for this entry. Ten choices, but I loved the narrations all the same. Commentary to follow each mention.
10. "Dare Me" by Megan Abbott. Audio performance by Khristine Hvam.
I've listened to a number of Hvam's audio performances, and have found her to be a favorite narrator through many of the books I've picked up on audio. But this one happened to be my favorite because of how well she narrates the leading character of a group of entitled high school girls caught in a petty game of politics and crime that reminded me of Shakespearean tragedies. I didn't expect a read this dark could pull me in so acutely, and part of that was Hvam's spot on portrayal.
9. "The Boyfriend List" by E. Lockhart. Audio Narration by Mandy Siegfried
I'm not even sure why Mandy Siegfried wasn't kept on to narrate the audio for all the Ruby Oliver books, because she captured the voice of the character perfectly in my mind, hence why this is my favorite audio narration of the series, and why Siegfried is one of my favorite audio narrators. Ruby Oliver's witty, charming, and adorable personality comes through in the reading, and matches the text very well.
8: Homeland: Phantom Pain by Glenn Gers. Audio Narration by Damian Lewis.
I kept thinking of celebrity audio narrators to put on this list, but many of them (i.e. Matt Bomer for James Patterson's "Toys" or Reese Witherspoon for "Go Set A Watchman") were either excellent narrators for books I found to be poor reads or just ones that I hadn't had a chance to finish (i.e. Sissy Spacek for "To Kill A Mockingbird" - I will finish it when I get it back off hold from my library! Argh!) But then I came back to this calm, pained performance given by Damian Lewis. He captured the narrative and emotion behind it perfectly, albeit in a too brief tale. I would certainly love to hear more stories narrated from him in the future. (Please, please, please make this happen.)
7. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. Audio Narration by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heybourne.
Julia Whelan and Kirby Heybourne are two among some of my favorite audio narrators, and I could probably name a number of performances where they had me, but my mind came back to this as one of my favorite performances. I'd first read the text version of "Gone Girl", then followed it with the audio narration and I think their performances matched spot on for Amy and Nick's voices respectively. You definitely get the bitter bite of both of the character's stories, plus I kind of had fun with hearing the way Whelan narrated Amy's diary entries, because her voice jumps from the page.
6. "Summer's Crossing" by Julie Kagawa. Narrated by Josh Hurley.
I think what brings me back to this short story is the fact that Josh Hurley made Puck's voice for me. Just the general mischievousness and humor that comes across in his performance stood out to me.
5. "Red Rising" by Pierce Brown. Audio Narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
Ye Gods, I loved this audiobook. I think the audiobook actually made the story that much more enjoyable for me, as Tim Gerard Reynolds not only captured the voice of Darrow so vividly in the narrative, but he also sings during the narrative, and has a good voice to boot. Though I initially got this as a galley, I enjoyed the sample so much that I ended up buying this one off Audible. Money well spent, and I'll probably follow through with the rest of the series as well this way.
4. "Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray. Audio Narration by Libba Bray.
I think Libba Bray wins my pick for best audio narration by the author. Her communication background comes in handy both with the commercials and sidenotes that hilariously pepper through this narrative, but she also handles the diversity of character voices rather charmingly.
3. "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline. Audio Narration by Wil Weaton.
Really think Wil Weaton made the performance of this book that much more. Once you listen to it, it becomes a part of the narrative and it's hard to imagine it without his performance. It was a great read standing on its own, but I think the enthusiasm of the subject matter and the voice of Parzival really came across in the narration for this book. (I think Weaton also seemed to have fun with narrating this one in many places, even with a few self-inserts for reference.)
2. "The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick Ness. Read by Nick Podehl.
Nick Podehl is my favorite male narrator for so many audiobooks, but I always come back to this one because he provided such an emotional pull in the voice of Todd's character throughout this book. Gahhh, the feels! I think I ended up listening to this audiobook like three times, not just for what happens through the book, but just enjoying Podehl's narration in general. He does comedy, drama, and general sentiment very well.
And for my number 1:
"The Martian" by Andy Weir. Audio Narration by R.C. Bray.
I think R.C. Bray nailed the portrayal of Mark Watney, down to a tee. I had never heard his narrations in an audiobook before this book, and it was a welcome introduction. I loved his humor, his snark, his general performance throughout the entire narrative. This is another narrative I listened to the audiobook more than once just because I loved the experience that much.
That's all for this week's entry. See you guys in the next!