Footnotes just don't work in an Audio Book
December 22, 2010 9:30 PM   Subscribe

I really like discovering new books through book reviews in newspapers (New York Review of Books, New Yorker, and NY Times, mainly) and from some book blogs I read. But what are good sources of reviews of audio books?

I am going on a very long driving trip this weekend and would like to buy some audio books for the drive. I've tried to buy ones that I would like to read in regular format, but sometimes the readers aren't very good. And sometimes a book that is wonderful to read, isn't wonderful to listen to (too confusing -- can't flip back and forth to look up characters, or just not very engaging). So I'm looking for online reviews of audio books that are really absorbing (either because of the writing or because the reader is really good or whatever), as I'm going to need something to keep me from going crazy on the monotonous highways.
posted by bluefly to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
AudioFile is pretty much the go-to place.
posted by mykescipark at 11:14 PM on December 22, 2010

I share your frustration. I don't even mind listening to a bad book, well read. But I can't stand any book badly read.

There are a lot of sites that have information for their paying subscribers. Google for "audiobook reviews".

Books for Ears seems to have quite a bit of information available for no charge.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:16 PM on December 22, 2010

Best answer: Publishers Weekly frequently reviews audio books. They have a web site, but I usually read the dead tree edition at the library.

Orson Scott Card sometimes reviews audio books.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:44 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I get all of my audiobooks through, which, like amazon sometimes has a critic review, but will have user reviews too. And you can listen to a few minute sample of the speaker on their site. This isn't to say that I NEVER get burned, but there are usually comments about what a great or awful narrator they had.
posted by Caravantea at 3:12 AM on December 23, 2010

I came in to say what Bruce H. beat me to. PW has really good audio reviews.

I used to get all the reviews on an RSS feed, so there is that option, too.
posted by bibliogrrl at 5:36 AM on December 23, 2010

Btw, you can also borrow audio books from your public library.
posted by Dragonness at 6:34 AM on December 23, 2010

My 2 cents:
Don't buy them: borrow a few from your library! Cheaper and more environmentally friendly. AND the staff at the library can probably make some good recommendations for you. In my part of the country libraries also offer you free access to audio books you can download and put on your MP3 player/Ipod.

Ok, that's enough unsolicited advice from me today.

I agree with Caravantea regarding more reviews than PW and the user comments are really helpful
posted by Ranindaripley at 6:40 AM on December 23, 2010

Response by poster: I know you can check out audio books from the library, but they don't have reviews. I don't know how it is where you live, but my library is seriously understaffed (due to underfunding). They don't really have time to make recommendations.

Publisher's Weekly looks like it will do the trick, and then I will see if my libes has those! Thanks.
posted by bluefly at 9:08 AM on December 23, 2010

Bruce H's Publisher Weekly is a good choice. You might also want to take a look at Library Journal. They have audiobook reviews as well, though it has not been updated since October.

I like both because they often review how the book is read and who the readers are. Not sure which library system you have access to, but they might be part of the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium. This will give you access to audiobooks through Overdrive. here is a list of participating libraries.

Audiobooks can be tricky because not only do you have to be interested in the story but you have to like the reader as well. Many of my patrons have specific readers that they absolutely detest, Bronsen Pinochet I am look at you.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 10:49 AM on December 23, 2010

My rule of thumb for audiobooks is:

1. Never get an audiobook read by the author.

2. When in doubt, get an audiobook read by George Guidall. (He's won, like, awards and stuff!)

The Amazon user reviews on the audiobook version are also useful.
posted by ErikaB at 12:08 PM on December 23, 2010

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