Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair Audies Category Report: Solo Narration - Male

The Audies are this week! You know what that means, dear readers: much Armchair Audies posting about them now, but then I'll shush a bit for a year. (Ha. I will not.)

Here's the slate of nominees for Solo Narration - Male:

Jerzy Kosinski
Read by Dustin Hoffman (Audible, Inc.)
Read the review 

John Boyne
Read by Michael Maloney (Tantor Media)
Read the review 

Jess Walter
Read by Edoardo Ballerini (Harper Audio)
Read the review 

Graham Greene
Read by Colin Firth (Audible, Inc.)
Read the review 

Benjamin Hoff
Read by Simon Vance (Tantor Media)
Read the review 

Now, I've already commented on each of these separately (Being There, The Absolutist, Beautiful Ruins, The End of the Affair, The Tao of Pooh), so I won't go too much into it. But I'll say this: we're looking here for "distinction in audiobooks" here. And for me, one of those parameters is, do I think this is more compelling than the text alone would be? Another: does the narrator do so good a job that I start looking for more narration by him (or her, but that's n/a in this category) and pick up audiobooks I wouldn't necessarily have looked at otherwise?

Beautiful Ruins succeeds magnificently on both scores. I actually started this book on paper, and didn't

get very into it before the library due date, so I returned it. But it was part of The Rooster competition, so I went back to it in audio, and oh, baby. It's grand. Ballerini brings such life to Walter's text (which I should have given a fairer chance, as it's quite magnificent and you should read or listen to it if you haven't already.) So Ballerini is my pick for the win, and it will be a very well-deserved one. (It's also up for Audiobook of the Year, and I'm expecting it to take that, too.)

2nd place: Maloney reading The Absolutist. It's a great book, very well read.

Then Firth reading The End of the Affair, then Hoffman reading Being There, and finally - and I know this is a shocking thing, but the book: blah and Piglet: gah - Vance reading The Tao of Pooh.

(Sorry, Simon Vance! You're still my #1 audio crush! Read different things and I'm there.)

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