Finding your next great read can tricky, but navigating the wide world of audiobooks is even more challenging! In addition to finding an interesting story or topic, an excellent audiobook depends on a great performance from the narrator. In celebration of Audiobook Month this June, here are five tips for finding something wonderful to listen to.
Search by narrator. Most of the avid audiobook listeners I know can tell you their favorite narrators as easily as readers talk about authors. Narrators often cross genres and topics in a way that authors often don't, so following your favorite narrator can lead to some happy surprises. I'm not much of a nonfiction reader, for example, but if you tell me that Cassandra Campbell read a young adult nonfiction title about the women's suffrage movement, I am THERE (and I can all but guarantee I'll cry at the end).
To find the narrator of your favorite listen, search for the audiobook in the KCLS catalog, then look for a line on the audiobook's page called "Additional contributors." The name you see there is the narrator or narrators, and clicking on it will take you to a search for all of their other work.
Get to know audiobook awards. Did you know there are audiobook-specific awards? These awards recognize great productions and performances and can help you find audiobooks you might otherwise miss. The Audie Awards, given annually in June by the Audio Publishers Association, recognize the year's best audiobooks in categories that include genres like fantasy but also audiobook-specific categories like Multi-Voiced Performance.
Another award to know is the Listen List. Judged by a panel of librarians, this list recognizes 12 great audiobooks from the previous year. As a bonus, the list includes listen-alikes for even more audiobook delight!
Try a memoir. The personal nature of memoirs makes them especially enjoyable in audio; hearing the author read their own words can feel like almost like a conversation with a friend. Funny stories are more hilarious and emotional ones more moving when you're hearing it from the original source. Even if you don't usually enjoy memoirs, find a person you're interested in and give it a try as an audiobook - you might be surprised!
Re-visit a favorite in audio. Listening to a book you've already read can bring a whole new dimension to the story, and older books often have shorter waiting list than new titles. Not every book is turned into an audiobook, but with more than 65,000 different titles in our collection, it's likely that we have at least a few of your favorites available.
Let us help you! Use our personalized recommendation service, BookMatch, to request a list of audiobook suggestions created just for you by a KCLS staff member. Answer a few short questions, let us know what format you prefer, and we'll send you a list of titles to try!