Top Ten Audiobook Readers

Do you listen to audiobooks? Audiobooks aren’t my go-to, but I’ll listen to them every so often. Here’s a few readers I’ve enjoyed:

#1 David Barnes (LibriVox volunteer) – My favorite audiobook reader, who covered The Metamorphosis, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Club of Queer Trades (Chesterton’s parody of Sherlock Holmes). Mr Barnes has a measured but calming British voice that is so perfect for these turn-of-the-century works. Sadly, he hasn’t recorded anything new since 2018. I hope at least he is well, and aware of what a gift to the classic literature community he’s given us.

#2 Basil Rathbone – If I have any ability to read poetry whatsoever, I owe it to the Shakespearean aura of Rathbone, a beloved and multi-talented actor (who else could transcend those Sherlock Holmes WW2 propaganda films he is so famous for?). His recordings of Edgar Allan Poe—especially “The Bells” and “The City in the Sea”—which I came across as a teenager, absolutely defined for me how poems ought to be read. His is a very old-fashioned way of diction, but I still love it and hope it stays alive through more trained voices than myself.

#3 David Suchet – Of course, Suchet’s big role was the detective Hercule Poirot, but some of us also know him as Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia radio drama series. A friend suggested I listen to his Bible (NIV) audiobook to help reread the Old Testament, and I am enjoying it so far. He doesn’t overdo it; it’s just solid reading by a world-class voice.

#4 Jeremy Northam – Speaking of Narnia… some time in the mid 2000s, I found a CD at the library of Jeremy Northam reading The Silver Chair. Naturally I was over the moon to see my actor crush (from Emma) reading one of my favorite Narnia books. It still stands out in memory as a great listening experience, with Northam’s suave delivery morphing into deadpan hilarity when Puddleglum arrives on the scene.

#5 Andrew Scott – Ok, we’ve had a Sherlock Holmes actor on this list—time for Moriarty! Joking aside, I was blown away by Scott’s audiobook of Dubliners by James Joyce. Before switching to paperback, I listened to the first few stories read by him; I loved his accent and melancholy reading style which suit Joyce to a T. This is also, I think, the only audiobook I’ve ever purchased.

It is getting late on this Monday night, and I am not sure if I can come up with 5 more. I hope this inspires you to check out some audiobooks! It’s a great way to read.

10 Comments

    1. Since you’re on a Robin Hood kick… watch The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn. Basil Rathbone plays Sir Guy of Gisbourne and gets to showcase his epic fencing skills. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Listening to Andrew Scott narrating Dubliners would be nice, I think! It is a book that needs to be enlivened a bit to get into next level.
    David Suchet has a marvelous voice and perfect undulation, hasn’t he?

    Liked by 1 person

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