Audio Books

Library Corner
October 3, 2022 at 4:23 p.m.
Wendy Pender enjoys being lulled to sleep with audiobooks
Wendy Pender enjoys being lulled to sleep with audiobooks Wendy Pender

Wendy Pender


Just before the pandemic, I was attending the Public Library Association conference in Nashville, where I heard popular author Ann Patchett talk about her works being recorded as audiobooks. Someone asked whether submitting her book for recording felt like giving her child up for adoption, nervously releasing her baby into someone else’s care. She replied, “On the contrary, it felt like I had made the best cake I could possibly make … and now I was turning it over to someone else’s incredible talents to add a completely different layer of ‘icing’ that I could not do.”

Years ago in Ohio, I used to listen to books on cassette when I had a long commute (one side of a cassette was equal to driving from Toledo to Findlay). Now, however, I’m fortunate not to have much of a commute, yet when else does one listen? I’m not a knitter or jigsaw puzzle aficionado, but while my husband was out of town recently, I rediscovered the joy of the bedtime story. 

Now I let beloved stories lull me to sleep via audiobooks. You can “stream” stories on a smart device or check out books on CD or “playaways” small, portable pre-loaded audiobooks about the size of a deck of cards that you can check out.

The following are a few of my favorites with vastly talented voice actors. Remember radio plays? When I was a child, I would go to sleep listening to CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, but these are even better because they aren’t scary.

• William Shatner has written and recorded a number of books. I particularly enjoyed Leonard: LeonardMy Fifty-year Friendship with a Remarkable Man about his relationship with Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock. If you grew up with Star Trek as I did, you can still hear Shatner intone, “Space, the final frontier,” and be taken right back in time.

• James Herriot’s books, narrated by Christopher Timothy, who played the lead role in the 1970’s PBS version, are also favorites. I enjoy the current TV version as well as the older recordings. The accents take me abroad in an instant!

• Voice actors Robert Ian Mackenzie and Barbara Rosenblat are celebrities with dedicated audiences. If you’re a fan of Chief of Police Bruno or Mrs. Pollifax, you’ll want to check them out on audio.

• Finally, check this link for the latest list of Audie Awards for audiobooks and spoken-word publishing.

Whatever your pleasure, reading or listening, check us out. We’re here for you!
Wendy Pender, Older Adults Program Coordinator, King County Library System

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