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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Jun 6, 2018

Listen to the audio

Lauren Martino:  Hello.  Welcome to Library Matters.  My name is Lauren Martino and I’m here with a wonderful group of library staff who are crazy about audiobooks.  With me today is Vincent Mui – hi, Vincent.

Vincent Mui:  Hello.

Lauren Martino:  And Barbara Shansby.  Welcome to the show, Barbara.

Barbara Shansby:  Thank you 

Lauren Martino:  And Maranda Schoppert.

Maranda Schoppert:  Hi, guys.

Lauren Martino:  Thank you so much for coming.  So I’m going to start with Barbara.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.  When did you start listening to audiobooks and like how frequent an audiobook listener are you.

Barbara Shansby:  Well, I figured I’ve probably been listening to audiobooks for close to 30 years.  I started when they were books on tape, literal cassette tapes that you put in the machine and push the play button, and rewind, and the whole thing.  I got kind of hooked because a friend had suggested to me when I needed dental work to listen to music and I thought, “Well, I’m not so much a music person, but I love reading, so maybe if I listen to a book on tape that would distract me enough from the dental torture that I would be okay, and it was great.  And I was completely hooked.  And now, I always have a book in my car to listen to.  I probably listen to about four or five, six a year or something like that.  It takes me a long time because I don’t drive that much, and that’s the primary time I listened to but –

Lauren Martino:  Or go to the dentist that much.

Barbara Shansby:  Right.  I’m thinking this.  I’m finished with that for now.  But I really do enjoy them.  I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to read more and to do it in a kind of a different way.

Lauren Martino:  Thanks, Barbara.  How about you, Vincent, what gets you into audiobooks?

Vincent Mui:  So, at one of my previous jobs, I had a long commute, it was maybe an hour and a half in the afternoons, 45 minutes in the morning, and I was going a bit crazy listening to the radio because you can only handle so much of the same personality day in and day out.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Vincent Mui:  So, I started listening and then I go through phases between podcast, audiobooks, music, but more recently when I started at the library in June this year, I admittedly did not have a library card until I started because I didn’t see a reason to at the time, but now I see all the resources available to me.  And my wife being a librarian gave me a really hard time about not having a library card to the –

[Crosstalk]

Lauren Martino:  As she should, yes.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.

Vincent Mui:  So I regret my decision, but I’ve been listening to many, many books over the past year and I’ve – it’s been incorporated into my routine actually.  Besides my driving, I listen to it while I’m cooking or doing yard work or at the gym as well.

Lauren Martino:  Just to clarify a little bit, Vincent’s a graphic designer so that’s why he can be excused for not having a library card; although, being married to a librarian, Vincent, really?

Vincent Mui:  I found it very ironic.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, yeah, but we’re glad you have one now.

Vincent Mui:  Yes.

Lauren Martino:  You’ve discovered the lovely audiobooks available to you now.  How about you, Maranda?

Maranda Schoppert:  Well, I’m a little bit like Barbara.  I don’t listen to music.  I only listen to my audiobooks in the car, like you said, cooking, Vincent.  I probably go for go through about 1 a week, depending on how long they are.  I’m in the middle of a 32-hour one right now and that’s not going to be done in a week.

Vincent Mui:  Goodness.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.

Maranda Schoppert:  But just like you guys, I sort of started with listening to audiobooks when I started commuting and that was it, I’m involved.  Audiobooks and me, we’re involved now.

Lauren Martino:  Where you’re a thing.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yup.

Lauren Martino:  So, Maranda, what are qualities that you look for in an audiobook?  What makes it something you’re going to choose even if, oh, it’s 32 hours?  Wow.  Apparently, length is not a – not a matter to turn –

Maranda Schoppert:  Nope.  Life doesn’t deter me.  I listen to the whole Outlander series on audio.  And, goodness, that is a long one.  For me, the performer is definitely the most important.  They need to be able to bring the book to life without trying too hard.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Maranda Schoppert:  You know, there’s been a couple of audiobooks where you just, you know, that voice isn’t working.  It isn’t working for you.  But one of the important things also for me is sound quality.  I have a really hard time when the volume in the audiobooks go up and down.  The one I’m current currently listening to right now, I have to – depending on the narrator – I have to turn the volume up or turn the volume down.  All of a sudden, someone’s screaming at me so –

Lauren Martino:  Oh, that’s no good.

Maranda Schoppert:  No.

Lauren Martino:  So, Vincent, what do you look for when choosing an audiobook?

Vincent Mui:  When looking for an audiobook, the story is really important to me.  In the beginning of the year – I’m sorry, the beginning of when I first started here, I was more focused on self-improvement, self-help books, but then I decided to change towards more sequential books where – oh, well, I’m sorry, like young adult novels.  For example, I guess, the Percy Jackson series, I was listening to that because the storyline is more of very, I guess, kind of viscerally primal, like I have to save the world.  It’s a lot of action base so it makes me feel good when the heroes finally saved the day at the end.  And then the narrator will be kind of second there.

Lauren Martino:  So the plot really drives before you.

Vincent Mui:  Yes, the plot is the – that’s that – I guess, that’s how I describe it.

Lauren Martino:  Would you say like go on kicks like, you know, okay, it’s time to read all the Percy Jackson books and then.

Vincent Mui:  Preferably, I would like to listen to all the books in order.  However, if a particular series is a bit heavy, I will have to switch back and forth.  I like more lighthearted tone stuff.  I was listening to also Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.  I’m on the fourth book now but I can’t listen to them in order because I’m pretty sure in every book so far, he’s gotten really close to death or beaten up horribly and –

Lauren Martino:  And Percy Jackson doesn’t?

Vincent Mui:  Well, not the way it’s – since it’s a young adult, it’s not as bad Jim Butcher –

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, it’s lighter.

Vincent Mui:  Yeah, it’s more adult-oriented, so there’s a lot more.  He describes getting beat up very well and there’s a lot of it involved.

Lauren Martino:  Realistically?

Vincent Mui:  Yes.  He’s constantly bruised, bleeding.  But Percy Jackson, it’s more he got cut, he’s not doing really well.  So there’s less, I guess, detail there but it’s just –

Lauren Martino:  He’s making stupid comments about it.

Vincent Mui:  Yeah.  Yeah, I need to switch between a bit more lighthearted or I guess maybe because young adult stuff is – it doesn’t really go into describing rather just pacing and narrating the action going on and more action – yeah, there’s – they are doing more rather than describing what they are thinking what they are doing.

Lauren Martino:  How about you, Barbara?  What’s the deciding factor for you in choosing an audiobook?

Barbara Shansby:  Well, I do try to – when I was thinking about the question I was like, “Oh, it’s a good writing.  That’s what I’m really looking for,” but, you know, that’s – is that true?  Probably not.  And I didn’t realize until I heard you talking, Vincent, that I do the same thing.  I switch around.  So I really don’t like to read two mysteries in a row or two biographies in a row.  So I guess that drives me a lot.  And the other thing, which is I’m not entirely sure why I’m so obsessed about this, but I really only want new books to listen to.

Lauren Martino:  New books?

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah, new.  I don’t know.

Lauren Martino:  Like what you haven’t listened to before or like new –

Barbara Shansby:  No.  I mean, new after 2016 or something.

Lauren Martino:  Really?

Barbara Shansby:  When I pick it up, it says 2013, no, I can’t read it.  I don’t know.  I just – I feel like I have to know the hot new things even though, like, it doesn’t really matter but I do –

Lauren Martino:  Like librarian pressure?

Barbara Shansby:  Library – yes.  You know, that’s it.

Lauren Martino:  After ending up on the latest stuff?

Barbara Shansby:  Exactly, exactly.  If I don’t know the new things, I am just – it’s just this serious problem, so.

Lauren Martino:  You know, I won’t tell anybody if you happen to find something from 2009 that you – really strikes your fancy.

Barbara Shansby:  I worry.

Lauren Martino:  Do any of you find yourself choosing audiobooks that you wouldn’t read in print or vice versa?

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah, absolutely.  I read – I listened to a lot of nonfiction.  I hardly ever read it.  I also listen to a lot more mysteries than I read.  Again, I agree with Vincent that it’s easier to listen to something that’s a little bit lighter.  It’s – I love a good thick book where that’s a bit heavy, although, I don’t read them all the time but I’ll sit down and read it.  But to sit and listen, I’m not as willing to do that.  And I have to say, I admire you, Maranda, because I also am not willing to take on those big fat ones.  It just intimidates me.  I’m just like, “No, I can’t do it.”

Maranda Schoppert:  I generally don’t realize there that long until after I’ve already started and then it’s too late.

Lauren Martino:  You’re already into it?

Maranda Schoppert:  I’m a little bit different though.  I normally – well, I’m a big fiction girl.  For me, listening to the audiobooks, it’s mostly a matter of availability.  If the book I want to read is not on the shelf but I can get it in audio or vice versa, that’s what I’ll do.  If I’ve started a series in audio, I must finish it in audio.  But the one genre that I don’t read that I will occasionally listen to is biographies.

Lauren Martino:  Well, what is it about listening biography that makes it okay?

Maranda Schoppert:  I actually will only listen to the biographies that are narrated by the person.

Lauren Martino:  Oh.

Maranda Schoppert:  So, Anna Kendrick’s “Scrappy Little Nobody”.  She narrated that one.  Felicia Day, she narrated “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)”.  Those were really entertaining and I don’t think they would have been done as well by an outside narrator.

Vincent Mui:  I’ve only listened to one biography so far narrated by the author which is “Crazy is My Superpower” by A.J. Lee.  I’m a wrestling –

Maranda Schoppert:  What a great title.

Vincent Mui:  Yeah.  I’m a wrestling fan and her life is – she used to be a wrestler but she had to retire.  However, just hearing it from them is much more personable and you can understand – you can understand the intricacies of it but you pick up on more intricacies on how they’re telling you.  And there’s one part where I think she got very emotional and it kind of – you will not get that necessary from a narrator because it did not go through her life.  So that’s why if I were to listen to more biographies, it would probably – I would prefer books narrated by the author.

Lauren Martino:  So aside from biographies, do you guys prefer books narrated by the author or does it make a difference to you or –

Vincent Mui:  I think you have to have a good voice because if it – there is another book I listened to called “The Four Tendencies” by Gretchen Rubin.  It’s a great book but her voice I’m not fond of and I feel bad now that I’m saying it out loud.  But it’s a great book so I was able to listen through it.

Maranda Schoppert:  I don’t want an author to narrate my fiction.

Lauren Martino:  No?

Maranda Schoppert:  I’m not going to lie.  I want the professionals to do it.  I hate to say that but –

Barbara Shansby:  Right.  Yeah.  I kind of agree.  I think they’re usually better if an actor does them but I – just a month or two ago, I listened to Elizabeth Berg, The Story of Arthur Truluv and she narrated it herself, and I don’t know that she has any acting experience, and it was really lovely.  She wasn’t the best narrator that I’ve ever listened to but it absolutely worked and it was really wonderful book.

Lauren Martino:  I tend to exclude Neil Gaiman from any kind of – like Neil Gaiman can narrate anything, I’m sorry.

Barbara Shansby:  Right, right.  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  He’s got the duo tap [Phonetic] [0:12:33].

Maranda Schoppert:  All right, she’s the exception.

Lauren Martino:  He is the exception.  He can –

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.  What was that The Graveyard Book?  Oh, my God, that was wonderful.  Oh, that was so wonderful.

Lauren Martino:  And Coraline, did you listen to Coraline?

Barbara Shansby:  No.  Coraline, I read and I really, really did not like it.

Lauren Martino:  Really?

Barbara Shansby:  So I bet if I had listened to it, it would have been a lot better.

Lauren Martino:  The rat’s singing, it’s the scariest thing ever.

Barbara Shansby:  I thought it was a pretty disturbing book.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  Also Jason Reynolds, I think, did really well.  Like he did – one of his – I think he did Ghost, which was – sorry – children’s librarian.  But, yeah, that was a good one.  Do you tend to prefer famous actors or do you think, you know, your standard, you know, “I’m a voice actor and that’s what I do” is better or adequate?

Maranda Schoppert:  You know what?  I will say it’s not 100% true because I love Edward Herrmann who – the grandfather on Gilmore Girls for –

[Crosstalk]

Lauren Martino:  Right, right, he – yeah.  He’s very good.

Maranda Schoppert:  He’s an actor and, yet, he did pass away late 2014 but he narrated The Boys in the Boat and Unbroken and he’s done a bunch of other non-fiction that’s really great.

Barbara Shansby:  Yes, I’ve heard him too.

Maranda Schoppert:  So I think it depends on the actor.  There are some voice actors out there.  My personal –

Barbara Shansby:  Brendan Fraser.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yeah.

Barbara Shansby:  Sorry

Maranda Schoppert:  – that can’t do – you can’t, you know, just you need that body, you need that interaction between, you know, someone else.  And then there are some actors that can do both.

Barbara Shansby:  Well, I have to make a comment, which is that when I thought about this question, I realized how many times I love a narrator and then I look on the back of the CD case to see who it was and I’ve never heard of this person.  And I read their credits and I would say about 90% of the time that person was in Law & Order.  Why is that?

Maranda Schoppert:  Everyone Law in Order.

Barbara Shansby:  I just –

Lauren Martino:  Wow.

Barbara Shansby:  I don’t know why.  It’s like is that a requirement for reading a book or I don’t know.

[Crosstalk]

Maranda Schoppert:  Writing a passage.

Vincent Mui:  I –

Lauren Martino:  That’s wild.

Barbara Shansby:  Isn’t that funny?

Vincent Mui:  Listening to the Dresden Files, I didn’t know James Marsters was on Buffy until I looked him up.

Lauren Martino:  Wow.

Vincent Mui:  He’s played Spike.  And then I looked up his age and then it made me realize how old I am because Buffy still feels new to me but it was over 10 years ago at this point.

Lauren Martino:  I hate to tell you.

Vincent Mui:  But his voice is perfect for the main character and people actually complained when he switched one of the books he did not narrate and people were very – kind of angry about him not being, because you need that consistent voice and did a great job.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Vincent Mui:  I was also pleasantly surprised when I was reading – listening to Ready Player One and Will Wheaton is the narrator, and that made perfect sense.

Lauren Martino:  Oh yeah.

Vincent Mui:  On top of that, there’s a joke in there about Will Wheaton and I’m just chuckling to myself.  I’m thinking, “What?”  I wonder what he’s feeling right now reading that part.

Barbara Shansby:  Now, I have to listen to that one.  I read it but now I have to listen to it.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  He did Redshirts too.  Are you familiar with Redshirts?

Vincent Mui:  No, I’m not.

Lauren Martino:  It’s basically – it’s this book long, like, making fun of Star Trek.

Maranda Schoppert:  Oh, wow.

Vincent Mui:  That’s great.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  And it – but it’s like Will Wheaton was the perfect, perfect choice.  I mean, he’s got this kind of second career.  It’s like he’s not really an actor anymore, he’s kind of a personality and – but I think audiobook narration works well.

Vincent Mui:  Yeah.  He’s really had a second resurgence in terms of fame with his board gaming stuff and also his podcasting as well.

Lauren Martino:  Have you ever had to give up a book entirely after listening to some of it because the narrator was so grating.

Barbara Shansby:  Oh, yeah.

Vincent Mui:  I definitely have.

Barbara Shansby:  I am very picky.  I mean, I think I’m really picky about reading in general.  I pick up a book or read a chapter, I’m like, “No, I don’t – it doesn’t – it’s not doing it for me.”  But audiobooks I think it’s even harder because you have to like the voice, you have to like – you have to find it captivating.  I will sometimes listen to like three minutes of something and just pop it out and take it back, start over.

Maranda Schoppert:  Not me.  No.

Lauren Martino:  No?

Maranda Schoppert:  If I start a book, if I start an audiobook, as torturous as it is, I will finish it.

Barbara Shansby:  Really?

Maranda Schoppert:  The only book I have ever not finished after I started was Moby Dick.

Barbara Shansby:  Wow.

Maranda Schoppert:  And, yes, it gets painful.

Lauren Martino:  You’re stuck with it that long, huh.

Maranda Schoppert:  You are, especially if you’re not into – if it’s a boring audiobook and you have a boring narrator, I mean –

Barbara Shansby:  There’s no saving to that.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.  I kind of just find myself spacing out in the car a little bit while I’m listening.

Vincent Mui:  I had one book.  The only time I had to stop was because the narrator was narrating an evil character.  His voice got so creepy.  I personally got very uncomfortable and I had to stop and I’m not going to name the book just because I was so crept out by his voice.

Maranda Schoppert:  Will you tell me later?

Vincent Mui:  Yes, I can tell you that later.

Lauren Martino:  Can we put it on the show notes?

Vincent Mui:  I don’t remember – I don’t know if the library actually has it.

Lauren Martino:  Okay, I mean –

Vincent Mui:  Yeah, that’s why I didn’t want to bring it up.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, okay.  But, yeah, that one is too good.

Maranda Schoppert:  I love creepy.

Lauren Martino:  She had you on for a horror episode.  So, Barbara, can you tell us a little bit about MCPL’s resources for audiobooks.  What do we have available for just ways of delivering audiobooks to people?

Barbara Shansby:  You can get CD books.  We have a lot available from many years past.  We have them in – we have adult books, fiction and nonfiction, as we said.  We have children’s books.  We have books for young adults.  We also have a series that I wanted to mention, The Teaching Company does courses that are on CD that you can check out and those are really interesting to listen to.  We also have a lot of ebook – e-audiobooks available through a few of our – excuse me, digital subscriptions.  You can get them through OverDrive, The Maryland Library Consortium.  You can get them from a new subscription that we have called RBdigital.  They can be downloaded or listen to remotely.  All right, and also they do have, again, fiction, nonfiction, adult, children, teen books, all kinds of resources.

Maranda Schoppert:  Other resources that the library has for audio or different resources like Project Gutenberg.  You can listen to free audiobooks on there.  They have a collection.  There’s also a couple of different ones on there.  Tumble Books for kids.  You can listen to different languages.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Barbara Shansby:  Oh, I forgot about that.  That’s a great resource.

Lauren Martino:  So you mentioned Tumble Books.  Can you tell us a little bit more about that resource?

Maranda Schoppert:  Tumble Books is geared toward the kids.  Basically, they’re – it’s animated ebooks that you can check out on the computers that kids can, you know, follow along with the story as well as listen to it.  Plus, you might see a little bunny jumping on the screen depending on the book.  So it’s really a way to get at the kids in all different directions.  You can – they’re reading, they’re watching, they’re doing the screen time, they’re also listening.  So you’re sort of helping them get with their literacy, you know, get that early literacy in there in a way that this generation of children can really relate to, I think.

Barbara Shansby:  It’s kind of like Reading Rainbow for today’s kids.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yeah, definitely.  That’s a good – that’s a good one.

Lauren Martino:  And my daughter suddenly got into Reading Rainbow, it makes me so happy.  I got the old episodes on Amazon.  She’s like, “Can we read it again?”  I’m like, “Yes.  Yes, we can, darling.”

Narrator:  And now a brief message about MCPL Services and Resources.

Female Narrator:  Hey, if you’re not doing anything Saturday night, June 9th, come and listen to an award-winning author talk about his inspiring work.  Ethiopian American author, Dinaw Mengestu will speak about his novel “The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears”, about an Ethiopian immigrant who runs a failing convenience store in Washington D.C.  This book is the pick for the 2018 Big Read Montgomery sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts.  The event will be held Saturday June 9th at 7:30 at the Silver Spring Library.  You must register online.  You can find more information about this event in this episode’s show notes.

Narrator:  Now back to our program.

Lauren Martino:  So we all agree audiobooks are amazing.  Are there any downsides to listening to something on audiobook or any reason you’d avoid audiobook versus like the print version of something?

Vincent Mui:  So, my main disadvantage with audiobooks is that I would get into them too much.  I was listening to – I don’t remember what portion it was but it was something funny and I was at the gym and there was a heavyweight over me and it almost – I could have hurt myself seriously because I started laughing in the gym and I had to really put the weight down.  And when you’re lifting higher weights, it’s a little bit dangerous.  And I – actually, I had two incidents where the weight fell on me.  I rolled it off when I was bench pressing.

Barbara Shansby:  Oh, no.

Vincent Mui:  I was fine.  It just I had to be more aware.  Maybe I should not listen to something funny while I’m lifting something heavy over my head.

Lauren Martino:  Do you think there’s – I’m sorry.  That’s not funny.  You’re –

Vincent Mui:  No, no it is funny.  I love telling the story.  Audiobooks can seriously injure you.

Barbara Shansby:  Right.  Beware.

Lauren Martino:  Is there anything you wanted to talk about the evils and dangers of audiobooks, Barbara?

Barbara Shansby:  Well, it can’t match –

Lauren Martino:  Corrupted youth.

Barbara Shansby:  Absolutely, it can’t match Vincent’s story, but I was just going to say that I realized that when you’re listening to a book, you’re listening to every word; whereas, when you read a book, you can just skip over certain things.  So, sometimes they’ll have a list of whatever.  And in an audiobook, they have to read every single thing on the list.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, gosh.

Barbara Shansby:  Right?  If you were sitting there in your chair at home with the actual book, you would just turn the pages.  About two weeks ago, I was listening to a book called Seven Days of Us, which was really fun and it was written as a series of letters and emails and notes and – so, every email that was in the book she read – the narrator read out the entire address.  Mary underscore Wilson at, you know, Maryland dot Library dot U.S. dot – like, I’m like what?

Lauren Martino:  Just glance at it and not even paying that much attention, yeah.

Barbara Shansby:  So that was kind of annoying but it was a good enough book that I kept listening.

Maranda Schoppert:  You do sometimes miss out on certain things unless you look at the accompanying material.  A lot of audiobooks will have, check out this PDF afterwards.  So like Dan Brown’s Origin, same thing, you’re missing all these kind of like symbol images and whatnot, part of the symbolism of the story that you either have to go back and look in the book or see if they have that, you know, PDF copy in – with it.

Lauren Martino:  That’s kind of like the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” audios, I’ve never actually listened to one but I’m like, “Why?  Why?”  Or, yeah, I think I listen to a Stephen Hawking book once like the Brief History of Time and it’s like, “I need a diagram for this.  I do not understand what’s going on.”

Barbara Shansby:  Well, I don’t know.  I listen to Curious Incident of a Dog which apparently had a lot of illustrations and I thought it was fantastic, amazing on audio, and I loved it.  And I didn’t miss those illustrations or whatever or diagrams that they included in the book but I didn’t care, you know.  I had a different experience.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, sometimes a narrator is good enough to make up for it.  All right, so here’s your chance, gush about any favorite audiobooks, any favorite narrators, anything that sticks out in your mind as memorable.

Maranda Schoppert:  Well, I’m going to gush about a book for a second.  But first, I will say that one of my favorite narrators is Fiona Hardingham.  She does a lot of Y.A.  Sometimes I don’t even know it’s her until the end and I’m like, “That’s why I love this book.  It’s Fiona Hardingham.”

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.

Maranda Schoppert:  She narrates some Maggie Stiefvater, Sabaa Tahir “An Ember in the Ashes”, Sophie Kingsley, Kiersten White.  And she just had such a diverse voice.  I mean, you go to – you go and look at her bio, she’s got pages and pages of audiobooks that she does.  Primarily Y.A., so she does a really good job with that.  But I’m going to gush over Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  It’s one of my favorite books and I think it’s more for the plot rather than the narrator.  The narrator has a very thick accent that was really hard to get over in the beginning, but then I’m like – I probably listened to this audiobook like three times already, so – and I’ve read the book twice.  So, there are definitely are some that you can just, “It’s different every time you listen to it.”

Lauren Martino:  Sometimes the plot just takes over and you don’t care what the – right – what the narrator sounds like.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yup.  Absolutely.

Lauren Martino:  How about you, Vincent?

Vincent Mui:  I just want to give a shout out to the narrator of the Percy Jackson series only because there’s a Pegasus in the book and he tries to talk like a horse.

Lauren Martino:  That’s awesome.

Vincent Mui:  I think that’s what caused me to almost hurt myself at the gym now that I think about it, because he talked like Mister Ed and I had to give him props, like the effort.  He actually went to create a new character voice for him.  I was very – that was a great moment for me.

Lauren Martino:  So you’re not discriminating against the horse characters?

Vincent Mui:  Nope.

Lauren Martino:  I love it.

Barbara Shansby:  Okay.  So I have to say when I started listening to audiobooks, there were probably about 20 actors who read – who consistently read books, and so everybody have their favorites, and now it’s wonderful because I don’t even know who I like.  I just listen to the book.  There are so many different readers but I do have a weakness for British accents, so any –

Vincent Mui:  I think everybody does.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.  Any book that’s takes place in England or whatever, that’s a good book.  And I guess three that I really, really enjoyed were among my most memorable.  I listen to the sequel to Peter Pan called Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean and it was so much fun on audio.  I really loved it.  And then I went back and listened to the original Peter Pan just to –

Lauren Martino:  Jim Dale?

Barbara Shansby:  And that’s Jim Dale.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Barbara Shansby:  Which, I mean, he was amazing on Harry Potter but I think I got a little tired of him somehow but it was totally different.  Peter Pan was terrific.  And then the other audiobook that I really want to mention because it was just so much fun was Martin Short did an autobiography called I Must Say and he sang on it and he tells his stories that are so funny.  Actually, I started listening to it and then I decided it was too funny I have to save it for a trip so my husband can listen to it too.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, for when you’re weightlifting.

Barbara Shansby:  And then for my weightlifting, so I get it.  I just loved it.  And that’s – also Steve Martin did an autobiography.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, boy.

Barbara Shansby:  Right.  Which again so funny, with another one that I listen to with my husband on a long trip.

Lauren Martino:  Was he playing the banjo.

Barbara Shansby:  I don’t think he did.

Lauren Martino:  No?

Barbara Shansby:  Maybe at the beginning, maybe the entrance.  So, and now I’m listening to a book, although that’s going to be your last question what book are you listening to, right?  I’m listening to a book about a lady’s choir, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and they have some choir singing for a few of the hymns that they talk about, so that’s pretty neat.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, that’s cool.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.  I remember listening to a book about Marian Anderson and I’m just like, “You got to put –” like, it’s probably in the public domain, Marian Anderson.  You could probably have stuck her in there.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  So I know some people feel very, very strongly about a single narrator versus full cast.  Where do you guys stand on that?

Maranda Schoppert:  I prefer a single narrator.  It’s not the end of the world if there are multiple narrators but I just think a good narrator can achieve the same thing by doing it by themselves rather than having a cast of narrators.  I don’t know.  That’s just me.  I’m also not a big fan of having sound effects in my audiobooks.

Vincent Mui:  Oh.

Maranda Schoppert:  For children’s books, yes, because I think that helps.

Barbara Shansby:  Sure, why not.

Maranda Schoppert:  But I want the narrator to be entirely on the narrator, but that’s just – that’s just me.

Lauren Martino:  It can be distracting.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yeah.  It can be a little distracting and I almost find – sometimes find it a little cheesy.  Like, you know, the drums are beating and then you hear drums in the background and you’re like, “Really?  Like, okay.”

Lauren Martino:  I could have inferred that.

Maranda Schoppert:  Yeah.

Vincent Mui:  I don’t think I’ve listened to any audiobooks with more than one narrator.  However, I do like narrators that have a lot of range, particularly if it’s – if they’re narrating the main character and then women, if there’s – some of them can do a good female voice, some of them can’t.

Barbara Shansby:  Not so much.

Vincent Mui:  And I do actually appreciate some music in the background but very subtle.  I think I was listening to the Thrawn novel and he would have ambient space noise, which really suited the – oh, actually, now that I think about it, there were laser blasts but it’s a Star Wars novel, so I was okay with it.  But his range was really good in terms of engrossing me into the book.

Barbara Shansby:  Yes.  So, I was thinking that that’s another thing that maybe has changed somewhat over time.  Seems to me when I started listening to audiobooks, it was more likely to be a full cast kind of thing with different narrators.  And I think it just depends on the book for me, sometimes that’s – that enriches the experience.  I listened to, what’s it called, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, and they had different readers for the different characters and it was really good.  And then I was just thinking that I have listened to a book like that in a long time and this one that I’m – this Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a cast and it has different characters narrated by different actors and it’s great.  So, but I think the trend is much, much more to a single narrator.  And I kind of agree with Maranda on the whole, if you asked me which I prefer, usually that’s kind of makes it more like the reading experience, it’s a little bit more seamless.

Lauren Martino:  So we’ve heard what Barbara’s reading.  Vincent What are you reading right now or listening to that you’d like to talk to us about.

Vincent Mui:  I am actually listening to the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and it’s very different because it’s – the target demographic for the Divergent series is young women.  So the writing style is different and there’s a lot more description about physical closeness.

Maranda Schoppert:  Huh.

Vincent Mui:  And –

Lauren Martino:  That’s a teen book for you.

Vincent Mui:  Yes.  It’s a teen book but gears toward young women.  So I’m having a bit of trouble because I feel awkward listening to her describe a kiss or her physical closeness to the male character that she is attracted to and I get a little uncomfortable a bit.  I was with my wife in the car on our way back from New York City.  I drive back and forth occasionally and I like to listen to audiobooks.  I started – she – I don’t think she tolerated me very well because of my reactions to listening to the scenes of, yeah, I don’t – yeah, that’s –

Barbara Shansby:  Were you giggling?

Vincent Mui:  No, I was – I was more like, “Are you serious?”  How many times do I have to listen to her describe, like, feeling electric or shivering or her heart beating, pounding through her ears, and it’s just – I got uncomfortable because the protagonist is 16.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, God.

Barbara Shansby:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Like, hon, you’re too young.

Vincent Mui:  I am twice her age and a guy and married and it’s just – I can’t relate.  I just wanted more of the action but –

Lauren Martino:  You should probably not listen to Twilight.

Vincent Mui:  Oh, no, no, not even going to – hmm.

Maranda Schoppert:  Well, Vincent, you might like listening to what the series I’m currently listening to.  I’m listening to the fourth and I will say hopefully final book in the Red Rising series, Iron Gold, by Pierce Brown.  The first three books are fantastic and the third book actually I was completely like the ending ended perfectly, there should not be a fourth book but there is a fourth book and so far it’s okay.  It’s one of those 23 plus hour ones though.

Vincent Mui:  Oh, goodness.

Barbara Shansby:  Wow.

Maranda Schoppert:  But it’s definitely got a lot of action.  There are some, you know, basically like lightsabers type of fighting with these – yeah.

Vincent Mui:  Oh, okay, I’m down for this.

Maranda Schoppert:  And it takes place through space and everything like that, so that one’s got a lot of action and it’s actually an example of one with multiple narrators that, like, I’m kind of like, “Hmm,” because the first three books only had one narrator.

Vincent Mui:  Oh.

Maranda Schoppert:  And now this fourth one has three.

Vincent Mui:  Yeah, that’s a bit jarring when the narrator changes in the middle of a series because they say things slightly different.

Barbara Shansby:  Oh, yeah.

Vincent Mui:  So, the Percy Jackson series had one narrator then the Heroes of Olympus, which came afterwards, was a different narrator and he was saying their names differently.

Maranda Schoppert:  Oh, gosh, drives me crazy.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.

Vincent Mui:  And I was – and I was screaming in my mind saying, “You’re not seeing it right.  The other guy didn’t say it this way.  Why are you saying it that way?”  I got over it eventually.

Maranda Schoppert:  Or like sometimes when you read a book and then it’s so good you decide you listen to it but the way you said the characters names in your head is not the way the narrator says it and you’re like, “Oh, man.  Either you’re like I’m wrong or you’re mad because it should be a different way.”

Barbara Shansby:  Right, right.  That happened to me with that Alexander McCall Smith, his #1 Ladies which I read as a book and then I listened to one of them, the mysteries and I wasn’t even close to getting the names of any of these African people.  But I really was glad to hear how they’re supposed to sound.

Lauren Martino:  Well, thank you so much for joining us, Barbara, Vincent, and Maranda.  And thank you for listening to our podcast and taking time out of your busy audiobook’ listening schedule to listen to our podcast.  Make sure to put whatever you like on hold because people will be asking for it all summer long as they are getting ready for vacation, so we wish you a very happy listening on any drive or – you may be taking or while mowing the lawn.  And please keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple podcast app Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.  Also, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.  We’d love to know what you think.  Thanks for listening to our conversation today and see you next time.

[Audio Ends]

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