Listen [list]

Do you know about the RUSA Listen List?

I hadn’t heard of it until recently: it’s a new award established by the Reference and User Service Association of the American Library Association, to honor excellent audiobook narration. While it’s really difficult to see if you like the narrator of an audiobook until you actually listen, this list is still an excellent idea, I think. I especially like the way that “listen-alikes” for each book are suggested, so that if you enjoy the winner, you can find three more titles with a similar style or content.

I will admit that, compared to many people I know (especially knitters!), I’m not a huge listener of audiobooks. This is likely to do with the fact that my commute is only a short bus ride, if I do take the bus, and I often ditch the bus and ride my bike. But I think, also, that it’s because of the way that I consume text: I find it hard to maintain my attention while someone is reading a complex text (or giving a complex lecture), without having something to look at: it’s hard to explain, but I feel like I consume text in chunks, rather than in lines, and I like to be able to go back and forth between pages often as I read. That being said, I do enjoy audiobooks in specific situations, like during long car trips or when I have a tedious household task to complete. In fact, I first listened to Bachelor Brothers’ Bed & Breakfast while hand-sanding the finishing touches on a wall that my Dad had installed in my teenage bedroom!

I also know, from experience and from professional reading, that it can be difficult to find e-audiobooks to borrow from your public library, since they are often listed along with print ebooks in catalogs that can be hard to use. Here are a few of the titles on this year’s RUSA Listen List that I’m looking forward to taking out of my public library – I’ve linked each one to WorldCat, where you can enter your zip code or location and find a copy in a library near you.

All Clear by Connie Willis. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Bossypants by Tina Fey. Narrated by Tina Fey.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley. Narrated by Dominic Hoffman.

Middlemarch by George Eliot. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht. Narrated by Susan Duerden and Robin Sachs.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Narrated by Simon Prebble. Blackstone Audio.

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. Narrated by Emily Gray