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I’ve been thinking about audiobooks, which I’m sure is no surprise. I have listened to children’s literature, suspense/thrillers, literary fiction, and nonfiction in recent weeks. As I was considering purchasing Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell and narrated by Lorna Raver,

I began to wonder what kind of book translates best to audio. In an entirely unscientific way, I evaluated several genres. Here’s what I came up with.

Children’s Literature

Harry Potter is a joy to listen to. Listening to the books by JK Rowling has helped my youngest understand some of the more complicated language and Jim Dale’s narration is simply perfect. We have listened to other books for children as well, but Harry Potter is by far the best.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown


For an example of this genre, I considered Angels and Demonsby Dan Brown and narrated by Richard Poe. Brown is a master of blending religion, history, science, and suspenseful mystery. I was impressed with Poe’s reading. He gave characters distinctive inflections and voices and his delivery was engaging. I enjoyed it immensely.

Literary Fiction

One of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The audio version is read by Sissy Spacek but is terribly hard to find online for download. I listened to a sample and can say with absolute confidence that this is the perfect marriage of story and narrator.

Spacek gives the story heart. I will never read it again without hearing her voice and will continue searching for the audio download.


Free: The Future of a Radical Price written and ready by Chris Anderson is an examination of how businesses can actually profit more by giving things than by attaching cost. This title was… you guessed it… free oniTunes this week. The book is very interesting and will certainly be helpful for businesses looking to change their model. The author did a decent job of reading his work, but his delivery was somewhat tiresome. His cadence was monotonous and I found my mind wandering.

The Unscientific Conclusion

For me, nonfiction is the most difficult genre to listen to in audiobook format. With fiction, I can follow the story and drift along with the narration. When I try to listen to nonfiction, I lose track of the facts and the stream of information becomes overwhelming and confusing. I am a visual learner, so this makes sense. In order to truly absorb information, I need to see it and sometimes write it.

I’m sure everyone has their own opinions as to what genre they most enjoy listening to. As for me, I am rethinking my purchase of Cheap. I think that’s one I will check out of the library in hardcover so that I can fully appreciate the informational text.

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