Top Ten Tuesdays

TTT: Top Ten Audiobook Narrators

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl where each week has a specific prompt everyone is welcome to post a list with their own answers. This week is a freebie, so I had a skim through my reads of 2019 for inspiration and realised that this year the amount of audiobooks I’ve listened to has really shot up.  I remember being a total audiobook skeptic though, and one thing that really converted me was finding the right narrators, so I thought why not use that as my theme for this week? Some of these appeared way back in an old post on audiobooks for newbies, but I’ve listened to a lot more since then! So, ten of my favourite audiobook narrators, in no particular order…

1. Wil Wheaton

Recommended titles: Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) & Lock In (John Scalzi)

Probably the first audiobook narrator I really loved?  I always think Wil Wheaton’s narration manages to somehow feel like listening to a friend read? He kind of makes you feel like he’s going on the adventure with you, somehow.

2. James Marsters

Recommended titles: The whole Dresden series (Jim Butcher), Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare)

I absolutely adored James Marsters as Spike in Buffy so when I saw he narrated audiobooks I couldn’t resist giving them a go.  He doesn’t have the same accent he did in Buffy which I have to admit is a bit disappointing, but he’s absolutely brilliant at narrating. I particularly love the Dresden Files, which follow Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard P.I. – in my head Marsters IS Dresden, and I can’t wait until there’s a new book in the series.

3. Sir Ian McKellan

Recommended titles: Wolf Brother (Michelle Paver)

A friend loves the Michelle Paver series, but I’ve never got around to picking them up. One day while thinking about celebrities who would make great audiobook narrators, I stumbled upon the fact that Sir Ian McKellan narrates this series. Who doesn’t want to listen to an historical fantasy series read by Gandalf/Magneto?!

4. Luke Daniels

Recommended titles: Magic 2.0 series (Scott Meyer)

This series is just great fun, and Luke Daniels does a great job of bringing a big cast and a silly plot to life in a way that feels both authentic and entertaining.

5. Emily Woo Zeller

Recommended titles: The Poppy War (R. F. Kuang) & Shadow of the Fox (Julie Kagawa)

It’s no secret that I absolutely adored The Poppy War, so I re-read it via audiobook this year before The Dragon Republic and thought Emily Woo Zeller did a great job.  I also really enjoyed her version of Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa.

6. MacLeod Andrews

Recommended titles: Reckoners series (Brandon Sanderson)

Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series is very reminiscent of X-Men, and is a riveting, addictive series.  Ten years ago the Calamity came, leaving some individuals with incredible gifts – and a hunger for power.  The Reckoners are the only people brave (or foolish) enough to try and take them down.   THe first book in the series is Steelheart – if you haven’t read or listened to it yet, I’d definitely recommend it!

7. Stephen Fry

Recommended titles: Mythos (Stephen Fry) & The Sherlock Holmes collection (Arthur Conan Doyle)

Stephen Fry has the kind of voice I associate with being read to as a kid – expressive, almost acted, and it’s just very easy to listen to! I particularly enjoyed it for Mythos and Heroes; I often feel like the author can do a great job of narrating because they know exactly how they intended something to come across or be read, and listening to the books also helps with tricky Greek pronunciations!

8. David Attenborough

Recommended titles: Any of his books!

Who doesn’t love David Attenborough?! He has one of my favourite voices in the world, and listening to his life stories, hearing about amazing animals, and exploring incredible places, is just an awesome and soothing experience.

9. Neil Gaiman

Recommended titles: Norse Mythology

I have really mixed results with Neil Gaiman – loved Norse Mythology, loved the PREMISE of American Gods… hated it in reality. His narration however is spot on, so if there’s a book you like the sound of that he narrates, definitely go for it.

10. Celebrities narrating their own autobiographies

Recommended titles: Scrappy Little Nobody (Anna Kendrick), Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes), Life & Laughing (Michael McIntyre), Naturally Tan (Tan France)

Generally I don’t listen to many autobiographies, but if I do, it’s probably of someone I particularly like, and who better to narrate their story than themselves? Whether you’re looking for something amusing, like Anna Kendrick or Michael McIntyre, or something to make you think, like Shonda Rhimes, if I’m looking for an autobiography or memoir by an actor/comedian/personality, I’d much rather it was read by them, with all their own mannerisms and quirks.

10 thoughts on “TTT: Top Ten Audiobook Narrators

  1. I share your penchant for audiobooks read by favorite/well-known actors — it’s just such an excellent way to combine two great loves, the screen and the page. Sometimes they lead me toward books I wouldn’t have read it all in their original form.

    Scrappy Little Nobody is definitely one memoir I’m excited to hear. I still despair that my library didn’t get the audio for either of Mindy Kaling’s — they made me laugh as they were, but I can only imagine how great they are in her own voice.
    RS recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday Topic: Book TwinsMy Profile

    1. Absolutely! I don’t know if I would have ever gotten around to picking up Wolf Brother if it hadn’t been for knowing I could hear it read by Gandalf!

      I don’t know if I should admit this but I’ve barely seen anything with Mindy Kaling in *hides* I have heard amazing things about the books though, so maybe I should rectify that ASAP….

  2. Great list! David Attenborough has one of the most soothing voices ever. <3 I need to read The Poppy War soon! Three narrators I've loved this year have been Steve West (he narrated Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares and his voice is GORGEOUS), Kate Reading (she narrates The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, and is the reason I was able to enjoy the series after I initially DNF'd the paperback) and Helen Duff (she narrated the Book of the Ancestor trilogy and, again, I would have DNF'd that trilogy if it weren't for her narration).
    Jess @ Jessticulates recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday | Non-fiction I’d like to read in 2020My Profile

    1. Ooh I loved Strange the Dreamer but I had physical copies so I haven’t heard Steve West’s narration – I’ll add him to the list! Hmm I have the first Lady Trent book on my shelves but have yet to start it – maybe I should give the audiobook version a go instead.

      Isn’t it weird how sometimes just switching format can be the difference between DNFing a book and sometimes even loving it?!

    1. I prefer physical books, but I do a lot of commuting, so audiobooks help fight back against how much time I would lose otherwise! I’m not good at listening to an audiobook if I’m not driving or tidying at the same time though, I get too distracted and restless, plus I get frustrated knowing I could read a physical book more quickly haha.

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