"I'd listen to them read the phone book"
January 4, 2012 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Who are your favorite audiobook readers? My favorites so far have been Stephen Briggs (reading Discworld, Terry Pratchett) and Lenny Henry (reading Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman). I really enjoy readers who do great, distinctive character voices. I tend to prefer the male voice, but I'm open to trying female narrators as well. Suggestions?
posted by SampleSize to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
My personal favorites are Frank Muller and Scott Brick.
posted by Lucinda at 7:47 AM on January 4, 2012

Hands down: Frank Muller.

Stephen King was such a fan of him/his work that he started a fund for him/his family after a motorcycle accident put him out of work due to a severe mental handicap. Wavedancer (named after Frank's boat perhaps?) lives on to support professionals in that field that are unable to work.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:47 AM on January 4, 2012

Oh, and Garrison Keillor isn't bad... He's kinda unique though. My fiance hates his voice but I find it quite relaxing and his style of writing (and therefor reading) is really fascinating.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:56 AM on January 4, 2012

Martin Jarvis

(For example)
posted by Hartster at 8:01 AM on January 4, 2012

Stephen Fry reading anything. I believe he does the UK Harry Potter audio books.
posted by wwax at 8:02 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

A big me too to Martin Jarvis. Once I found all the Dickens books he narrates, I leapt in and never looked back--talk about distinctive character voices!
posted by theatro at 8:23 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shameless plug, but my partner Susan Bennett did the audiobooks for some of Christopher Moore's satirical vampire novels. Her Abby Normal kicks ass.
posted by mkultra at 8:35 AM on January 4, 2012

George Guidall did a fabulous Wednesday in American Gods (as well as other characters!)
posted by Wink Ricketts at 8:43 AM on January 4, 2012

Oh, this is beyond "author" per se but the audiobook rendering of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War really goes above and beyond with regards to casting. Each chapter is a different reader and includes some really awesome vocal talents such as the Author himself Max Brooks, Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Dean Edwards, Rob Reiner, Dennis Boutsikaris (award winning reader here btw), and others.

It really is a stand out book with stand out readers across the board regardless of your feelings about zombies and the coming apocalypse.... It fits your personification qualification perfectly, although via different readers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:46 AM on January 4, 2012

What, no one's mentioned Jim Dale?!
posted by princelyfox at 9:02 AM on January 4, 2012

Edmund Dehn's reading of Bernard Cornwell's Warlord trilogy is far and away the best audiobook reading I've come across. There must be 70+ characters throughout, and he gives every one an amazingly distinct voice.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:29 AM on January 4, 2012

I've enjoyed listening to "Bridge to Terabithia", read by Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson from "dr.House).
posted by leigh1 at 9:46 AM on January 4, 2012

I've only listened to a handful of audiobooks, but I recently took a road trip and listened to The Name of The Wind narrated by Nick Podehl, and absolutely love his performance. He does distinctive voices and accents very well. I'm halfway through the second book now, and plan to seek out other books narrated by him while I wait for book 3 to come out.
posted by Roommate at 9:55 AM on January 4, 2012

I really like Simon Prebble - his recording of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of my favorite audiobooks (Lenny Henry's Anansi Boys is maybe my absolute favorite).
posted by mskyle at 10:20 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Steven Coogan as Alan Partridge reading "I, Partridge. We need to talk about Alan" Guardian Review Also here is a short reading on the Danny Baker show .
posted by stuartmm at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2012

James Marsters reading the Dresden Files has been excellent. So much so that I could not listen to the most recent audiobook because it was read by a different person.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:26 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

A while back I listened to the 2000 Blackstone Audiobook recording of Huckleberry Finn. I was blown away by good the reader was. And HF is a high bar to cross; in his introduction, Twain talks about dialects, and how they changed every 15 or 20 miles along the river, and how he tried to faithfully capture that.

Anyway, so later I looked up the reader, Tom Parker, and found that he is apparently considered some kind of Rock Star among audiobook readers. So other people have had the same reaction as me.

PS Reading performance aside, I have to say I had forgotten just what a great, great story HF is, and what a great storyteller Twain was. The combination is magic.
posted by Alaska Jack at 10:27 AM on January 4, 2012

Tim Curry does a nice job with the A Series of Unfortunate Events kids' series.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:57 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Scott Brick is the sh**!
posted by littleredwagon at 12:38 PM on January 4, 2012

I am just as shocked as princleyfox about no one mentioning Jim Dale. Of course, he's mostly done children's books (Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh.) I listened to all of the Harry Potter books a few years ago and I was amazed with his range of voices. Sidenote: he was also arguably the best TV show narrator ever, on Pushing Daisies.
posted by SugarAndSass at 3:24 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Douglas Adams reading the Hitchhiker's Guide books should not be missed. Also, the Dirk Gently books. They are fantastic!

and yes, Anansi Boys is just about the best audiobook ever.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:22 PM on January 4, 2012

I'm currently listening to A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester (author and reader of the book) and I'm enjoying it immensely. His British accent adds interest instead of detracting/distracting.
posted by susanaudrey at 7:38 AM on January 5, 2012

David Sedaris reading his own books. Hilarious.
posted by radioamy at 8:57 AM on January 5, 2012

Alan Partridge reading I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:05 PM on January 5, 2012

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