Reading List: My Favorite Audiobook Narrators

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Paul with 0 Comments

Reading List: My Favorite Audiobook Narrators

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time, as the quality of the narration can really put an audiobook over the top. So without further ado, here are my top 5 Audible narrators.

Note: If you’re interested in audiobooks, be sure to check outReading List: My Favorite Audiobooks of 2015. I’ll be sure to publish a similar list at the end of this year as well.

1. R.C. Bray

While any list like this is of course subjective, this one is not open to debate: R.C. Bray is the greatest audiobook narrator today, and his reading of Andy Weir’s The Martian stands as the single-greatest audiobook of all time. Period. (And no, the Matt Damon movie version, while decent, isn’t even close.) This is the perfect combination of the right book and the right narrator.

R.C. Bray is so good, I naturally started seeking out other books he’s narrated. And as a result, I spent a considerable amount of time last year listening to The Mountain Man series of books, which is a sort of The Walking Dead-like post-apocalyptic survival storyline set in Canada. It’s pretty great, and the best part is that you can check out the first short story, The Hospital: The FREE Short Story: The First Mountain Man Story for free. Then, when you’re hooked, you can get the entire four-part series between The Mountain Man Omnibus: Books 1-3 and Well Fed: Mountain Man, Book 4. All of which I’ve listened to.

R.C. Bray also narrates the highly-regarded Fear Saga books by Stephen Moss. I’ve only listened to the first one, Fear the Sky: The Fear Saga, Book 1, and part of the second one, Fear the Survivors: The Fear Saga, Book 2, so far. But I will absolutely finish this series as well.

2/3. Craig Wasson

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King, and two of my favorite narrators are King staples, and are basically tied to my mind. So let’s look at Craig Wasson first, if only because he’s a key narrator in the most recent Stephen King Audible release, the Skeleton Crew collection. This is the Audible title I’m currently listening to, and it’s excellent.

My favorite Wasson reading, however, might just be the story “1922” from Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars, another collection (in this case, of four novellas) with multiple (in this case, two) narrators. But the whole book is excellent, as is the other narrator, Jessica Hecht.

But don’t overlook Stephen King’s 11-22-63. This is 30 hours of Wasson in top form, and is an absolutely fantastic story.

2/3. Will Patton

Where to start with Will Patton, a character actor you almost certainly know by sight if not by name?

For starters, he narrates all three books in Stephen King’s excellent Bill Hodges Trilogy: Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch (the latter of which just came out a few months back). He’s also part of the Skeleton Crewcollection, mentioned above.

But be sure to also check out Doctor Sleep, the sequel toThe Shining, and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, which is a collection of short stories with multiple narrators, both by Stephen King.

4. Scott Brick

Scott Brick is sort of a classic audiobook narrator, and he’s part of some very high profile books, from Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow to Dune by Frank Herbert (which has multiple narrators) to Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry.

Looking at my own collection, however, I see Brick’s performances in The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson(amazing), Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, both personal favorites,In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (which I’ve never been able to finish, though I’d read the book multiple times in the past),

He’s also read (other) books by Asimov, Crichton, Larson, Ludlum and many others. He’s one of the more prolific narrators I’m aware of.

5. Jeff Gurner

If there is a better author/narrator pair than Daniel Suarez and Jeff Gurner, I have yet to hear of it. (OK, I could make a case for R.C. Bray and Andy Weir. And Stephen King and Craig Wasson/Will Patton. Hm.) Anyway, Mr. Suarez, of course, is the author of Daemon and its sequel, Freedom (TM), both amazing, plus Kill Decision and Influx. You’ll want to read/listen to all of those, as Suarez has emerged as a modern version of Michael Crichton. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.

So there you go. Enjoy!

Note: There are NO affiliate links in this post. Just enjoy the audiobooks.


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