book_wench (book_wench) wrote,
book_wench
book_wench

Audiobooks

Lately I've been listening to the Dresden Files on audiobook. James Marsters reads all of them except the latest, Ghost Story. I understand that there was much reviling of the switch to John Glover, and there were those who felt that this was the worst thing ever to happen in the history of the Dresden Files. So I went into listening to it with a solid heads up and a determination to be objective. Or at least as objective as I could manage.

First, a disclaimer: I haven't listened to a lot of audio books. I recently acquired a 45-minute drive to work as well as a copy of the audiobook of Dead Beat, which is what started my current audio craze. It remains to be seen whether I'll like other audiobooks as well as I like these, or whether I'll just go back to listening to podcasts.

Back to Ghost Story (which is a fantastic book, by the way). I'll admit it took me a good quarter of the book to get used to a new narrator. I tried to imagine what I would think if I'd never heard any of the others, and I concluded that Glover did a fine job. I'm not sure but what some of his voices weren't even better than Marsters. Listening to the beginning reminded me that when I first plugged in Dead Beat, there was a certain cadence in Marsters' reading that I found a little irritating and I was surprised to find that by the end of the book I couldn't hear it anymore. Couldn't even remember what it was.

Glover was a little different--his quirk (to my ear) is a careful pronunciation, almost as if he were reading to a child. It completely disappears whenever he's reading dialogue, and after awhile I stopped noticing it most of the time. But it never went away altogether for me. Still, after I got past that first quarter, I was really enjoying it, very caught up and thinking that although Marsters' voice *is* Dresden's to me, Glover was doing a very fine job indeed.

Now, I only listen to the audiobook in the car. I rarely listen to them in the house--too many interruptions. So I always have a copy of the book as well, and read it during the evenings, picking up from wherever the audiobook left off when I got home, and then advancing the audiobook in the morning to where I'd left off reading the night before. With the Marsters, I often found myself listening to the part I'd read the night before, just to see what he made of it. Hearing him read it was part of the experience of the book for me. But as Ghost Story went on, I realized I wasn't doing that anymore.

I thought at first that this was just because of the difference in narrators. Especially for a book written in the first person, a narrator is like a character on TV--you can't replace him with someone else. It doesn't matter if the new guy is a better actor because his interpretation of the character will never be the same as the one you've bought into. So the fact that I wasn't listening to the parts I'd read told me that I hadn't been doing that just to experience those bits in audio, I'd been doing it specifically to hear Marsters' rendition of the text.

I still don't think Glover's reading was better or worse than Marsters. But it didn't have the same resonance for me. Although I enjoyed Ghost Story, if it had been the first one I'd listened to, I probably wouldn't have gone haring after all the others.
Tags: audiobooks, dresden files, james marsters, john glover
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