Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What this is all about

This blog will be my reviews of free human-read audiobooks available on the web. I'll be pulling from a number of different sources, including,, and some commercial sources. The format will be as follows:

The book - I'll give a rating on a ten point scale for the book itself. I'll write up what I like and didn't like, trying to avoid any spoilers beyond what you'd read on the cover of a paperback. Of course, my reviews are my own opinion and I may change my opinion.

The reader - Realizing that these books are being given away for free, I'll try not to be too harsh on the reader. Rather than giving a numerical rating, I'll keep my review descriptive. I'll note any obvious accent, voice quirk, background noise, or "doing voices" acting. I intend to present these without judgement and allow others to decide if they like or dislike each. I'll also note if the recording sounds professional (meaning a quiet background and a NPR/BBC-type voice) or amateur (some noises and an untrained voice) . I don't regard these qualities to be judgmental - some people enjoy an ordinary neighborly voice, while others want a voice-over candidate.

I'll try to keep up a pace of at least one book a week. Since I have a backlog of things I've already listened to, I think this is reasonable. Suggestions are always welcome. I hope you enjoy my reviews. Please leave a comment if you're interested.


Kara said...

Hi! We at librivox really appreciate your "no negative reviews" attitude and your wonderfully readable reviews. Keep up the good work! (Kara, LibriVox admin)

Laddie Buck said...

I'm an avid fan of audiobooks, and I'm sure many of us will appreciate your service. Based on your reviews, I downloaded Study In Scarlet and Lord Jim. I'll burn them to CD and listen to them with my wife and kids on our vacation next month.

Please review books read by David Barnes for Librivox. He's my favorite narrator. I read to my kids, so I have an idea of how difficult it is to narrate well. Oh, to have a deep, masculine voice and a sophisticated British accent...

Listener said...

Thanks Kara, I'm planning on reviewing your recording of "The Secret Garden" sometime in March, so stay tuned!

Thanks Laddie. I've listened to David's recording of "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" and loved his voice. I'll be reviewing that one at some point and will probably put another of his solo recordings on my "to listen" list.

Laddie Buck said...

One more comment.

"Listener" should not be such a shadowy, anonymous character. You need an "About Free Listens" link - the first link on the right side, above the "Links" to sites that provide free audiobooks.

You don't have to tell us everything about yourself, but a short paragraph would help us feel like we know you beyond your well-written reviews. Why are you so fanatical about audiobooks that you would bother to create an entire website to them? When and where do you listen? How many do you burn through per month? Who did you vote for in the presidential primary? Oops - that last question might not be applicable. You might also mention that you are the "Listener" who shows up in the comments section.

It would be nice to refer to you by a name even it's your first name, or a nickname other than Listener. "Billy Bob Bumpkin at highly recommended Conan Doyle's 'A Study In Scarlet' read by John Telfer, so I listened and enjoyed it..."

YeOleImposter said...

Looking forward to reading more of your reviews and listening to some of your recommendations.

I agree with laddie buck's comment that you need an 'about' page, even if it just has this info from the first post and a 1 sentence bio.

I had a time trying to figure out what your site was 'about' until I finally got down to this first post.

Thanks and keep up the great work.