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Friday, June 8, 2012

Celebrate Audiobook Month With These Family Friendly Selection

Posted by Staff

Summer is here and many families are hitting the road together.  One option for keeping everyone entertained as the miles sweep by is to listen to audiobooks - a great way to celebrate National Audiobook Month.  Below we've listed some of our favorite family-friendly selections. 

Cary H.: Not In The Flesh by Ruth Rendell narrated by Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror fame).  "Curry has such a wide spectrum of voices that he transforms this British Murder Mystery - an Inspector Wexford novel - especially great on the female characters"!

Alana T.: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, narrated by Bronson Pinchot.  "My memories of Pinchot are from 80's TV; however, as a narrator he is superb!  The story is basically an adult fairy tale (a kingdom, a wronged prince, a nasty sorcerer, etc.) but with plenty of cynical Stephen King humor for the adults. You will be riveted by the fantastic voices".

Deanne H.: The Body by Stephen King, narrated by Frank Muller. "The movie Stand By Me is based on this story.  Pre-teens and up will love this coming of age story".

Ike D.: A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck, narrated by Ron McLarty.  Humorous adventure of two kids from the Windy City visiting their larger than life grandma for the summer.  A good choice for younger kids.

Lisa E. (and many other staff members!): The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale.  "We enjoyed these audiobooks over several summers while we travels to/from summer camps, baseball tournaments, and vacations.  The narrator does a wonderful job giving voice to the characters".  Consider the audiobooks even if you've read the books and seen the movies.  Dale has won numerous awards for the narration of this series and some credit him with the upswing in popularity of audio for younger audiences.

Alana T. suggests the following for preteens and up:

For gentle mysteries, try the Mrs Pollifax Series.  Pollifax is a grandmotherly type who moonlights as a spy and barely manages to keep out of trouble.  Most of these novels are set in foreign climes, funny and well narrated; each is approximately 6 hours long.  For classic mysteries, we have a variety of full-cast productions of Agatha Christie stories and a set of Sherlock Holmes inspired stories; all are produced by the BBC and run about 3 hours.

Quest in Paradise and Quest Under Capricorn, written and narrated by David Attenborough, each about three hours long.  Listen to one of the world's best naturalists as he describes his travels through New Guinea and Australia.  Attenborogh is well known for his nature-themed miniseries (e.g. Life of Birds, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, etc.).  TV versions released in the U.S. utilize American narrators (losing much character!), but these audiobooks retain the author's own remarkable, passionate voice. 

This year is Charles Dickens' 200th birthday.  Celebrate and educate with BBC full cast productions of The Old Curiosity Shop, Oliver Twist and Nicolas Nickleby.  Each is about 6 hours long.  Definitely easier than reading!  Another classic to consider is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  The full-cast reading and abbreviated story (about 5 hours) make this Gothic romance enticing to younger readers.

Everyone has heard of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, but have you read The Host? Although this is a sci-fi story, it focuses on the relationships among Melanie a young woman (the host) who refuses to give up her mind, the alien who has taken over her body, and Jared, the man Melanie loves.  The relationship between host and alien slowly changes, and you may find yourself sympathetic to the alien's plight. 

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