Writing audiobook reviews

June 22, 2010

June is Audiobook Month, and Jen over at Devourer of Books has decided to celebrate with her very own Audiobook Week! All of this week, I’m going to be joining in and posting about audiobooks, including reviews, daily topic discussions, and my own ideas about how we can use audiobooks in different ways throughout our daily lives.

Today’s topic is: How to write an audiobook review

I had never really thought about “how” I would write an audiobook review until I saw the topic posted for today. It never occurred to me to write the review any differently from how I would write the review for a paperback!

Now that I think about it, though, there are definitely a couple differences. I think it’s important to:

  1. note who the narrator is; I didn’t do this for the first few audiobooks that I listened to this year, and I’m going to have to go back soon and figure out who they are so that I can edit the posts to give them credit.
  2. and

  3. separate your thoughts on the writing itself (the “text”) from your thoughts on the narration.

I’m going to be making more of a concerted effort to include both of those guidelines in my future audiobook reviews. There will definitely be more of them – I’m becoming an audiobook junkie!

Aside from making sure to be clear when referring to either the text or the narration, I think that audiobook reviews should reinforce your thoughts on how you “count” audiobooks. For example, I generally consider audiobooks to be a format choice, so I count them along with any other books that I read. I even record their page count in my reviews instead of the length of time for the recording, because I feel that it’s a better indicator of the length of the book – different recordings could go longer or shorter with huge margins – and like to think that I review the content of the book the same way that I would have in a print version. I think it’s a lot like graphic novels – you might digress from the “main” review to talk about the art, but graphic novels aren’t really a genre all their own: they’re a format that comes in multiple genres, ranging from children’s comics to comic journalism and everywhere in between.

Insofar as how I let the reader know that my review refers to an audiobook … I simply state that it was an audiobook in the section of my review where I explain the source of what I’m reviewing. For today’s review of The Lovely Bones, for example, I simply wrote “Source: Audiobook borrowed from the Toronto Public Library system (narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan)”. I don’t really think that it’s fair to trick someone into reading a review of an audiobook without knowing it from the outset, but then again, I’m also writing my review mostly based on the content of the book and not on the audio production itself.

What about you? How do you review audiobooks?

7 Comments

  • Amy June 22, 2010 at 7:13 am

    How interesting. The one audiobook I reviewed on my blog I didn’t think to mention the narrator. And that after the narrator decreased my enjoyment with a grating voice! Also interesting that you use the page count, I still stick to the hours… so far 😉

    • Carina June 22, 2010 at 11:36 am

      I think that I might have to start noting both … maybe the page count with the audiobook time in brackets?

      Ick, I don’t think I could get through a book with a grating voice.

  • Kelly June 22, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Noting length is important, I think. Sometimes, a good book that is longggg on audio is worth it, but other times, the length can be what ruins the audiobook.

    • Carina June 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

      After reading some other posts, and the comments here, I’m thinking about starting to include the audiobook length along with the pages, maybe in brackets. 🙂 Definitely the length can be important. Right now, I’m struggling through Wikinomics; it just seems to keep dragging on and on.

  • zibilee June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Since I don’t listen to many audiobooks, I don’t write reviews for them, but I imagine that if I did, they would be very similar to my regular reviews. I think it would probably be important to write a little about the narration, though it wouldn’t be the only consideration of how I felt about the book. I also like the idea of using page numbers instead of length of time.

  • Jen - Devourer of Books June 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I just started actually noting who the narrator is and I’m kicking myself for not thinking to include that earlier.

  • Shelley June 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    My audiobook reviews are very similar to any other reviews, which I never really thought of much either. I do usually note the narrator and length in time, but I found a couple of posts from my first year that I didn’t mention the narrator. I’m going to go back and fix that.

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