Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Spoken Word in Fiction
As an author, I have had a number of my novels turned into what I call "audio movies." That is, they have all the characteristics of a movie, only you use your mind's eye to depict what the narrator reads.
My latest novels to audio include KILLER IN THE WOODS, DEAD IN THE ROSE CITY, and GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY. It is the closest I have come, thus far, to having my books adapted to the silver or small screen. Hopefully, it is a step in the right direction in that regard.
But what I really want to talk about are other great audio novels out there. Before I became a novelist, I was a big fan of audio fiction. I remain one and am always looking for great audio novels to listen to while traveling or even during a meal at home with my wife, also a huge fan of great audio books.
There appears to be a resurgence in the popularity of audio books with digital downloads, CDs, iPads, etc. As a result, there are any number of means to listen to your favorite authors and more authors available in audio format in recent times.
As with books adapted to screenplay and then produced, the quality of the audio book depends largely on the actor/narrator/producer. Even if the novel is unabridged, which is often the case these days, or spoken word for word from a great novel in eBook or print, if the narrator seems to be sleepwalking through it or reading as if an article from the newspaper, most listeners will be able to tell and could mean the difference in listening to the entire book or not.
Fortunately, most audio novels I have listened to of late have been well written and well read, making all the more enjoyable. A few that come to mind are KILL ME IF YOU CAN by James Patterson, THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett (haven't seen the movie version yet, but plan to), THE ROSE GARDEN by Susanna Kearsley, and THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian.
Have you read any good audio books lately?
What are your favorites?