Audible and general audiobook recommendations


#41

Really enjoying the audio drama for Dawn of Destiny by Lee Stephen. I’m still occasionally annoyed with the narrator who sounds at times like a robot, but all the actors do a decent to good job. The actor for Remmy is good, clear, and his girl friend Nicole really came across when she had a bit part.

Unlike Graphic Audio adventures/Dramas the book is not abridged. It litterally reads the text then the actors act out their lines. It took a bit to get used to but i actually like it quite a lot. The Battle for Chicago chapters were quite moving and really nailed keeping me glued to listening (i was a few minutes late to work until they finished the chapter- and i already read the books).

Part of me wants Mr. Stephen to do another audio book, but most of me really wants him to finish his series! He just had a kid and a near fatal health issue, i really want to read the end of this story and worried this will turn into the War of the Chtorr redux…dang…so many unaswered questions I’m despreate to know the answers.


#42

Ok, 4 years later, just an update, I did have some trouble with listening to fiction in audiobook format. The Solomon Kane stories weren’t too bad, I listened to the first one and was able to get through it, but I just didn’t find it all that interesting.

My next attempt has been over the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to listen to The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie, an audiobook recommended pretty strongly by @KristiGaines in its own thread. But again, because it’s fiction, I lose track pretty quickly, just like I do while reading. Only when I’m reading a book, and I realize that my mind has drifted off while I was reading the last two paragraphs, I just go back two paragraphs and start reading them again, you know? But with this audiobook, I just realize it, and it keeps plowing forward, and I still get the gist of the story, but I constantly feel like I’m missing out since I didn’t listen to so much of each chapter.

I’m still going though it. Every time I’m on the treadmill, I listen to at least some The Blade Itself. Maybe I don’t need to sweat the details that I missed out on, you know?

I’m not sure why this doesn’t happen to me with Great Lecture series and comedy audiobooks, only fiction. i guess I’m just always fully engaged on those.


#43

Rock I dunno. I listen to at least a fiction audio book a week. Driving, working, etc.

I wonder if I can refer you to some of the best fiction I know on audio. “True Grit” is just excellent. It is unabridged and just a joy to listen to.

If you haven’t read it lately “The Hobbit” is also a great audio. As is the rest of the Lord of the Rings.

And as much as I hate to re-refer you to popular culture, all of the Game of Thrones Novels are excellent audio books.

Some audio is done very much better than others. Another suggestion if you like detective stories: the old Phillip Marlowe books are great audio books. I may look up some good narrators and come back. Kate reading in some of the fantasy stuff comes to mind.

Anyone else chime in. I am listening to “Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie atm. it is hard to stop it is so good.


#44

Heh, actually I think I’ll just keep the two things separated. I’ll read my fiction books, and I’ll listen to history/psychology lectures and comedy books. That way I get the best personally out of both mediums.


#45

If a story as well told as The First Law doesn’t keep you engaged, that’s probably the best move.

I’m currently listening to The Stormlight Archive series by Sanderson. Those are monster books that fill my driving and gym time and will still take a long time to get through. But there is no way I’d find the time for them on paper these days.

The narration is very good, though not quite up there with the Steven Pacey one on the Abercrombie books. That’s the gold standard for me.

That said, I’ve been pleasantly by The Stormlight Archive books so far. The story takes is sweet time to move forward, but I’m really enjoying the world and the way the characters are both written and brought to life by the narration.


#46

This is a ANTI recommendation.

I picked up The Last Ship, and read it for a few hours and ultimately gave up! Its the first book in about 7 years I didn’t finish once I started. The show was a guilty pleasure and I figured the book would be in the same vein.

The problem was the book started out after the bombs dropped and spent chapters on word prose, character self reflection, verbose descriptions of the island they landed on, and wandering around the island. In short a snooze fest for what I was looking for.

I don’t mind a little description to provide context to the story, but due to the mild brain trauma Ive suffered I can longer enjoy lengthy prose and page long descriptions of a location when I read a book. I mean I can do it if I need to, but it takes all my focus and completely wipes out my enjoyment of whatever the story is supposed to be about. Also I enjoy clever prose and descriptive language that evokes a image but if you go 50 pages without coming to a hook…I no longer have the patience for that kind of writing.

I’m sure William Brinkley is a fine writer (though I’ve never read any of his previous work) but I’m calling this one a hard pass.


#47

Also I have a hankering for space explorer fiction at the moment. NOT Star Trek but something very akin to it. Any suggestions?

I LOVED John Ringo’s Into the Looking Glass series. Starts out as a alien invasion and the following books have them exploring planets in their shinny new salvaged space ship and discovering new life and new civilizations complete with away team actions. odyssey one is another excellent series of a earth maiden voyage into the unknown and discovering alien artifacts and alien hostile and friend races. John Scalzi. Red Shirts was also enjoyable, though at times silly.


#48

Children of Time may scratch that itch. Pretty far from the ST paradigm, but… exploration aplenty. In a way.


#49

Dennis Taylor’s Bobiverse books might do it for you too. They’re Star Trek-esque exploration novels mixed with kind of geek god fanfic. I’ll give a qualified recommendation for them.


#50

Thanks man!


#51

Actually Chilrdren of Time has a great narration from my memory.

David2? I want to like John Ringo --he has some great ideas. But he seems to treat women as objects in his books. If you’ve read a lot of his stuff please disabuse me of this if possible, I am running out of audible!


#52

The Bartimaeus Series are fun (which I believe has been mentioned before by others on QT3). Bartimaeus (think Genie) has a wonderful voice.

The Royal Spyness Series (My wife liked this as we made a long drive and she usually does not like to read or listen to a book). Great narration too. Here is one for the holiday season:

A humourous sci-fi story:

If you like mysteries and dogs this is a great listen. It is about a detective who specializes in finding missing persons. His dog helps him in his cases. The view point of the story is told by the dog and the narration just captures the dog so well. My daughter absolutely loved listening to this.


#53

So The Beastie Boys Book, read by Ad-Rock and Mike D among others, might be the best audiobook that makes 100% use of the media since Larry Ritter’s “Glory Of Their Times”.

Here’s the cast list, besides the two surviving B-boys themselves:

Steve Buscemi
Ada Calhoun
Bobby Cannavale
Exene Cervenka
Roy Choi
Jarvis Cocker
Elvis Costello
Chuck D
Nadia Dajani
Michael Diamond
Snoop Dogg
Will Ferrell
Crosby Fitzgerald
Randy Gardner
Kim Gordon
Josh Hamilton
Adam Horovitz
LL Cool J
Spike Jonze
Pat Kiernan
Talib Kweli
Dave Macklovitch
Rachel Maddow
Tim Meadows
Bette Midler
Mix Master Mike
Nas
Yoshimi O
Rosie Perez
Amy Poehler
Kelly Reichardt
John C. Reilly
Ian Rogers
Maya Rudolph
Rev Run
Luc Sante
Kate Schellenbach
MC Serch
Chloe Sevigny
Jon Stewart
Ben Stiller
Wanda Sykes
Jeff Tweedy
Philippe Zdar

I’m about 7 hours in, and it’s brilliant.


#54

@KristiGaines, One of his early series was absolutely awful! I mean, cringe worthy about how he portrayed woman. I only read excerpts of that series and it was bad! I think it was intentional, to make the reader uncomfortable honestly. I didn’t know about his earlier work and controversy until i had read some of the his better work.

Into the looking glass didn’t have any major female characters, so i read no issues with it. His BlackTide series was pretty strongly feministic, with 2 of the lead characters being teenage female heroes. One of them gets involved with a older man eventually (several books in as I recall) which had a little ick factor, but understandable in a zombie apocalypse and because she is essentially a badass marine commander. My then wife liked it, read it every night to her before we went to bed.

He’s conservative political views sometimes creeps into his stories. I don’t feel their handling to over the top though, and can dismiss them as narrative prerogative.

A review i read summarizes it very well and provides perfect context as to whether it might be objectionable for you.

"… example of his views is made pretty clear in the Vorpal Blade series, where one of the Middle Eastern countries imports some genetic material from the Dreen, which has the long term effect of pretty much wiping out all life in the Middle East. I certainly felt he was “tidying up a loose end” in his world setting. To me it feels plain that he has little respect for the culture that exists in Islam.

While I may not have his view myself, I think a reader should always go into his books knowing that he will likely have a strong view on the success of a meritocracy, the wisdom of democracy, and the efficiacy of free-market capitalism. In some respects, I think that is part of the appeal of his writing, he is unashamedly proud and his stories come across almost as if they were/ are larger than life in the same way a graphic novel is. They are not only larger than life, they are also in some parts slightly two-dimensional.".


#55

David2 I will give him a second chance because you make so many strong points. But I may not go there super soon. Notwithstanding your great arguments his writing makes me uncomfortable as you mention. We shall see. Can you suggest a good series/book that won’t get me red with anger?

Just finished Ann Leckie’s ancillary series. Though I ended up liking the main character a lot – the 2nd and 3rd entries were more typical sci fi than the incredible 1st entry (Ancillary Justice). Well narrated except if you TRY and sleep by a audible narration (you know --set it for 30 mins or something) you may get a voice that will wake you up fast. If you know what I mean.


#56

Hey @KristiGaines I’m not @David2, but I’ve read quite a bit of John Ringo, so here’s my take:

I don’t think you’ll have any problems with the Prince Roger series he cowrote with David Weber. Some strong female characters in the series and overall IMO quite enjoyable. It’s basically a SciFi variant of Mark Twain’s a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. High Tech group of Marines get stranded on primitive planet. This series starts with March Upcountry (Amazon links provided in case it earns Qt3 any payback). As far as I can recall nothing at all really questionable isn’t he series, and it’s one of my personal favorites in the military SciFi genre.

The Black Tide Rising is also pretty decent. Two of the main characters are female teenagers, and I don’t think they’re treated as one dimensional objects (and largely aren’t treated as sex symbols either, although the older of the two is occasionally mentioned as getting ogled). There is one short sequence discussing sex between adolescents that I was WTF, why are you going into detail on this — it’s not a sex scene — I don’t want to go into details, and it’s probably all of 1 page, but it completely skeeved me out. I think it’s in book 3. You can try out the first book Under a Graveyard Sky. It’s basically a zombie outbreak story.

I personally like his Council War series. It’s basically about the fall of a high tech society. It’s been quite a while since I read it. But I do remember liking it quite a bit. I don’t recall a lot of questionable stuff, although there is a rape scene in the first book IIRC the actual rape happens “off-screen” and is primarily from the point of view of someone who runs away rather than protect someone. In contrast to the last two series I mentioned, I don’t recall any strong female characters, although there is a female “elf” that’s portrayed as very dangerous. First book in the series is There will be Dragons

The series to avoid is Ghost (aka Paladins in the Shadows). The whole thing is extremely questionable. Apparently he wrote it to excise some of his personal demons and was surprised his publisher actually wanted to publish it and was even more surprised that it turned out to be popular. That’s the series the phrase that Oh John Ringo No was coined for.

I’ve read the first of the Into the Looking Glass series that @David2 mentioned. I don’t think there’s anything questionable in it. I don’t particularly remember any strong characters male or female in it (although I read it long ago). I remember enjoying it, I didn’t try reading the other books in the series, because taking the series out into space ships didn’t really seem to make sense to me and didn’t seem like a fun direction for the series. But I could be wrong and it might be fun.


#57

ydejin I appreciate that great run down. Can I ask: Why was the series “Ghost” (aka Paladins of Shadows) the one to avoid?

BTW thanks for your comments. I am not really averse particularly to sex scenes (though sci fi/fantasy writers should really just stay away from them generally in my experience) but I am averse to overt “sexism” and objectifying.

My last recollection of one of his books was about 20 pages of staring at women’s breasts and legs and ass.


#58

Ghost has massive objectification of women and lots of sex as well as torture and violence against women. I’m really surprised it was published by Baen, as it doesn’t fit in with the rest of their line (nor does it fit in with any of the rest of Ringo’s writing — arguably he should have published it under a pseudonym, since most of the rest of his stuff is fairly standard military-oriented SciFi).

Ghost is basically a male fullfillment fantasy if the male was in to S&M and dominating women. It’s also not science fiction. It’s modern day pulp maybe along the lines of Mack Bolan or The Destroyer except with the sex cranked up to 11.

First half of the book is basically former Special Forces soldier interrupts operation of Osama Bin Laden to kidnap and torture American Coeds while broadcasting live on TV. The action is decent enough, but the guy’s inner monologue is pretty awful. Plus it has moderate graphic detail on the torture stuff. Then the second half of the book is about how he moves to a boat with two coeds and teaches them about S&M but only after the coeds get permission from their parents who it turns out were themselves part of “the scene” (i.e., themselves into S&M).

As I mentioned above, John Ringo was pretty clear on this that he wasn’t necessarily writing it to get published, just to get it out of his head. I’ve read interviews of him to that effect. Apparently his original title for it at least in his mind was “The Wanker Piece” (or so the Internet claims). And it generally hasn’t leaked into his other books — although as I mentioned there is a 1-2 page section in the Under a Graveyard Sky series that definitely left me thinking WTF, but that’s just 1-2 pages out of probably a 1500+ page series. Maybe you can see a little bit of it in Council Wars (also Council Wars is old and there is no Audiobooks of the series).


#59

You know you seem like pretty nice person overall. You realize that nothing you have explained about John Ringo the author has made me one moment more likely I will ever buy/read any of his books/novels.

I don’ t get how “not writing to get published” excuses what he has in fact gotten published?

Sigh. My thought (notwithstanding what I do appreciate your exemplary explanations) is that I am more an ann Leckie lady rather than a John Ringo … uh … man?


#60

My thought overall tonight is that we should be discussing audible books …. audible has originals now. Literature as it were … is changing.