Bring Up the Bodies: Part two

I often get into debates with bookish folk about the merits/demerits of the audiobook. 1978.62Although I don’t partake myself since I’m never in a situation where it would be particularly practical to listen to one (and when I sit still for two minutes I might as well read an actual book!) I know many people find they add an extra-special dimension to their reading.

The lovely people at Macmillan Audio have gently reminded me that for many people, this is the better, and sometimes the only way they can enjoy a book. I know that for the elderly or infirm who might struggle to read they offer a great form of escapism. Alternatively, I often get shamefaced book group members who have struggled to finish a particular read telling me they listened to it instead!

The below is quite possibly the most tense, climatic part of Hilary Mantel’s novel and the narrator is superb. No silly accents involved.

7 thoughts on “Bring Up the Bodies: Part two

  1. I am an avid book reader but once a month I undertake a 500 mile round trip on the motorways. Audio books are wonderful on these journeys, especially when stuck in long traffic jams and some books that I struggle to read, like PD James, are fantastic when read by the brilliant Michael Jayston.
    By the way, I have just started Bring Up The Bodies and I enjoyed Wolf Hall.
    Congrats on a very good blog.


    1. Thanks very much! I’ve actually just started driving again and, although it’s the perfect excuse to listen to Radio 6, I think I might take my pick of an audiobook for those longer drives to see if I can concentrate on them. I used to be an avid fan of various podcasts and whatnot when I used to walk home so why not!


  2. Reading (by my 20/20 vision) is definitely the quicker way of consuming literature, but for someone like myself who is time poor during the working week, audiobooks have provided a way to better utilise my driving time (and take the edge off traffic jam frustration). I make the decision as to which of the titles on my wishlist I read versus which I listen to very carefully though. In addition to the pleasantness of the narrators voice to our ear (some of us like listening to higher pitches than others), the success of an audiobook comes down to the talent of the narrator and their interpretation of the story and characters.

    I have experienced some matches made in heaven so to speak, where the narrator has taken the written text to another level. And without veering into non-PC territory, for me often it is when foreign character accents are involved that I find the experience enhanced. Some examples of stand out audio versions include Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (narrated by Stephen Fry), Life of Pi by Yann Martel (narrated by Jeff Woodman), A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (narrated by Paul Bhattacharjee).


    1. Hi Jo. You seem so well versed in this, unlike me, so thanks so much for your incredibly informative and insightful comment. I could learn a thing or two! I can particularly see Life of Pi making a particularly evocative audiobook if done well.
      I like the expression ‘time poor’. I may start to use it myself; It sounds much better than ‘too busy’ 🙂


  3. I think an audio book can be a great experience if the narrator is right for the story. I, for example, really enjoyed The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham), but couldn’t stop my mind from wandering while listening to The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (narrated by the author).


    1. Oo. Well, I suppose it also depends on the type of book. When the Manchester Book Club read (and struggled with) a certain member listed to the audiobook and it made it, if possible, even more boring that reading the novel itself!


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