As I walked past, I could hear the narrator clearly from my Mum’s headphones. This isn’t new – she’s a bit deaf and I’ve heard many second-hand audio books in my time. But this was the thought that crossed my mind.
The voice inside my head doesn’t read like that. She’s doing it wrong!
I don’t listen to audio books. I tried once when I was about 11, but nothing about it felt right. It was too slow, the voice emphasised the wrong words, the dialogue didn’t sound right and most importantly the voice didn’t match the characters’ personalities.
A lot of books are written in first person and, as a reader of YA fiction, the voice inside my head always tries to read the books as if the narrator was reading them to me. But when you go find the audio book, it will be read by a middle-age person. You can try as hard as you want, but no one can ever match the speech patterns of a different generation. I can call my friend ‘dude’, but as soon as my father tries it, it sounds ridiculous.
In third person stories, it all falls apart with the dialogue. The accents will be wrong, or the characters sound too similar. It’s the same recurring problem: it’s not the voice inside of my head.
There is, however, one audio book I’m willing to give a listen. I’ve been desperate to read The Night Circus for a while, and I saw someone’s review of the audio book narrated by Jim Dale!
Jim Dale is the narrator of Pushing Daisies, a hilarious TV show that I recommend to anyone and everyone. His voice is perfect for a quirky/strange/creepy story which is what I imagine The Night Circus to be. Although even if I enjoy the audio, you can be sure I’ll reread the written version soon after.
Something inside me is programmed to prefer the written word. Even when I listen to Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast which I absolutely love, if I think about it, I’d prefer to read it. My mind wanders and I miss parts. In a book you can go back and re-read, in an audio it’s too hard.
I guess I’m just a child of the written word. Forever distracted unless my eyes have something to see and my mind has something to imagine.
Listen to Jim Dale’s amazing voice in the prologue of Pushing Daisies.
Check out the first two minutes of The Night Circus audio book.
Do you listen to audio books? What do you look for in a good narrator? Have you listened to The Night Circus?
Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading. Anyone can join in!