There are certain performers that I look for as narrators and listen to even if the book is something I would have never picked up and read. Some of the characteristics that make a great narrator? In my opinion, those include whether he/she can voice both male and female characters, whether they can do convincing accents, and whether you can feel the emotion in their voice. Mostly, it’s what appeals to the individual. Even if the story is great, if I don’t feel a connection with the narrator I give up on it usually pretty quickly. Fortunately, it doesn’t take that long to determine whether or not the narrator is clicking with your sensibilities.
A fabulous narrator who you may already be familiar with is Dan Stevens. Stevens starred in the first couple of seasons of “Downton Abbey” as Matthew. His narration of “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie was one of the most enjoyable audiobook experiences I’ve had. His Poirot was terrific, but he also embodied all the other characters completely. I’m now on a mission to listen to anything and everything he’s narrated!
Scott Brick is one of my favorites. I’ve seen his voice referred to as “mellow,” but he adds depth and emphasis when necessary. I’ve also read some reviews by listeners who absolutely cannot stand listening to anything he narrates, calling his voice “sinister,” which I find a really curious description. The lesson here is that you may find a narrator that others loathe, so don’t listen to other people’s opinions. If you’d like to listen to my opinion, “Dead Wake,” about the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, is a good place to try out Brick’s style.
Other narrators I would recommend are Neil Gaiman (he narrates his own books), Bahni Turpin, who did a terrific job in “Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland, and Johnny Heller who was so enjoyable in “The Closer” by Erich Wurster. Fortunately, you can try out as many narrators as you like for free at the library with audiobooks as well as our downloadable books on eZone!
Caroline Badowski is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.