A few months ago I aired a small grievance about that Audible.com commercial, and mentioned that listening to audiobooks isn't as good as actually reading. While I still maintain that opinion, now that winter is here (at least in Minneapolis), the idea of getting all cozy and having a story read to me sounds just delightful.
Of course, listening to an audiobook isn't always as charming as being read to by an elderly lady in front of a fireplace, all wrapped up in blankets and eating cookies. No, sometimes it can be downright awful. For instance, while there are other versions, read by more interesting people, the free LibriVox version of Great Expectations is depressingly stale. The worst part about this is how many students are probably listening to this version and thinking that the book is terrible when, in fact, it's really not (although how about that alternate ending).
The perfect audiobook is one read (at least in part) by the author. (No fault to Dickens here, because clearly this would be impossible without a time machine and a little mind-blowing.) The author is the only one who truly knows what the words mean, knows the intention of each and every character (sort of, I mean, not all writers know why they do what they do, but that's the nature of psychology), and know when to inflect where no inflection was noted but they assumed it was inherent. Also, no pressure guys, that author must have an amazing voice.
Or, if that's impossible, or if the author has a ton of famous friends, in addition to pullable strings at places like This American Life, then said author should amass an amazing audiocast of the wildly hilarious and interesting.
If neither of those things is possible, then the author must write something terrifying enough to keep the listening pinned to their chair, unable to complete any other tasks while listening, and instill a deep-seated fear of sex games and handcuffs. (There's a "play sample" button. Probably NSFW, depending on where you work.)
Anyway, if you hate listening to audiobooks, but still want someone to tell you a story, you should definitely check out the Boundoff Short Story Podcast.
Let me know if there are any audiobooks I must hear!