But that’s not the voice inside my head…


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!


12 thoughts on “But that’s not the voice inside my head…

  1. Brandie says:

    I used to listen to audio books during my long commute to work, several years ago. Now that I live closer to work, I never listen to them. But a good narrator could make or break a book for me. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read – I bet the audio version is great. I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

  2. I’m not an audiobook person, but one of the ones I’ve tried is Jim Dale’s narration of Harry Potter, and it just didn’t work for me. I found the voices for the different characters to be just too ridiculous. Maybe because it’s a children’s book, though… so here’s hoping The Night Circus turns out better.

    • I agree about Harry Potter. I’ve heard snippets of the narration on YouTube but I didn’t like it at all. It all fell apart at the dialogue. I’ve only heard bits of The Night Circus without dialogue but fingers crossed it’s not so ridiculous 🙂

  3. I love both. There are some books I only want to read and some I love the Narrator so much I will only listen to the books. I can not stand to listen to The Wheel of Time Series or any Brandon Sanderson book, but I loved to listen to ‘The Golem and the Jinni” and ‘The Rivers of London Series. My answer is I’m picky about the narrator.

    • Hmm I might have to check those out. I think I need to just take a leap and listen to SOMETHING to see if I can get into it. What exactly do you look for in a narrator? Or is it a magical characteristic you can’t put your finger on?

      • I look for a not annoying voice:) I also look for a book I don’t have to pay attention to every detail on. I love China Mieville and there is a great narrator for his books but if I miss a minute because I was paying attention to something else I have to rewind. This is really good for YA or lighter reads. Some I would recommend is The Kingfisher Club, The Rivers of London Series, The Golem and the Jinni, Blackout by Connie Willis, Angelfall by Susan Ee. The Line – Witches of Savannah series. See if any of those look good. Also, if you are just testing out audible they will give it to you for free . I have a monthly subscription but what I like about audible is if I don’t like something I can return it and I can get something else I will like. …I promise I do not work for audible:) …oh and you can download it on your phone for convenience.

      • Haha that actually sounds pretty good. Maybe you should work for Audible 🙂

        I’m actually also desperate to read Angelfall so that might be a good one to start too. Thanks so much for your recommendations!

      • Oh also if you ever had see an interest in reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon davina porter does a great narration – better than reading the book

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