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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: The One With the Silky-Smooth Audiobook Narrators

It's been a couple weeks since I did a Top Ten Tuesday. Since these are about the only posts I've been making this year, it's really good to be back! Today's topic—Top Ten Favorite Audiobook Narrators—is one that won't appeal to everyone. I, myself, wouldn't have had much to say about it just a few years ago. Now, though, I've gotten into the habit of having an audiobook going always so that I can listen while I drive and do housework. Not only does it make tedious chores more entertaining, but it multiplies the amount of time I get to spend reading. A win-win for sure.

As always, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over to her blog to read all about this fun weekly event. 

Top Ten Favorite Audiobook Narrators 
- in no particular order - 

1. Katherine Kellgren—Kellgren narrated one of my favorite YA series, an ongoing tale of swashbuckling sensation "Bloody" Jack Faber. Her animated readings are the best! Unfortunately, she passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2018. The author of the Bloody Jack books is also deceased, which is incredibly sad as Kellgren and Meyer made a wonderful team. Hopefully, they're still making books together in heaven.

Kellgren books I've enjoyed: The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer

2. Jim Dale—Everybody loves this versatile narrator who's so entertaining with his immense skill at creating unique voices. Listening to him read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is an absolute delight.

Dale books I've enjoyed: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

3. Guy LockardJason Reynolds is one of my favorite middle grade authors. Lockard is a long-time friend of the author and comes from the same inner-city background as Reynolds. His voice rings with authenticity when he narrates his buddy's work. Plus, he does some super fun voices (Coach Brody from the Track series is my favorite).

Lockard books I've enjoyed: Track series by Jason Reynolds 

4. Julia Whelan—I've listened to several books read by Whelan, whose smooth voice makes characters seem so alive that you almost forget they're not real.

Whelan books I've enjoyed: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation by Rosemary Sullivan

5. Karissa Vacker—Some of the first books I listened to on audio were read by Vacker. She does an excellent job.

Vacker books I've enjoyed: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling, Momentuous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

6. Bethan Rose Young—Young brings Myrtle Hardcastle, one of my favorite MG sleuths, to life so well. I love listening to the series on audio.

Young books I've enjoyed: Myrtle Hardcastle series by Elizabeth C. Bunce

7. Sophie Roberts—Roberts has another voice that's so smooth it melts into the background and lets the story she's narrating really come alive.

Robert books I've enjoyed: The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

8. Celebrities reading their own books—I'm not much into celebs, so I don't read many of these, but I've enjoyed the few that I've listened to.

Celebrity-read books I've enjoyed: The Answer Is... by Alex Trebek (co-narrated with Ken Jennings), Surrender by Bono (The husband and I are in the middle of this one right now. It's 20 hours long!)

9. Saskia Maarleveld—I've listened to one book read by Maarlevald and she narrates several more that I'd like to read. 

Maarleveld books I've enjoyed: The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong

10. Keylor Leigh—I've only listened to one book read by Leigh, but I would definitely listen to more!

Leigh books I've enjoyed: The Renegade Reporters by Elissa Brent Weissman

I'm still a bit of a newbie to the world of audiobooks. Which narrators should I be searching out? Who are your favorites? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments here, so check back.

Happy TTT!


  1. I agree about Jim Dale! So amazing. I will check out the others on your list.

    1. I've only heard him read the Harry Potter books. I need to try some of his other ones. He's incredibly talented!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Bonnie!

  2. This one sounds super fun: The Answer Is... by Alex Trebek (co-narrated with Ken Jennings

    1. It is! It's lighthearted and funny. Trebek was too ill to read the whole book, which is a bummer because I would have loved to hear the whole thing in his voice. Still, it was interesting to have Jennings narrate as well. R.I.P., Alex.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rebecca!

  3. Jim Dale and Julie Whelan seem to be pretty popular. I have not read any books from these narrators, but will keep an eye out for them. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Right? I knew Dale was super popular, but I didn't realize Whelan was as well. I need to listen to more books by both.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  4. I've heard great things about audio versions of Jason Reynolds' books so I'll have to check out Guy Lockard!

    1. The Track series is great as is, but Lockard's performance of it adds so much to the story! His voices are spot-on and his whole vibe is just super engaging. I also listened to Reynolds read his own book LONG WAY DOWN and it was excellent as well. Different vibe than the Track series, but really well done. I also really enjoyed listening to some interviews with Reynolds and with Reynolds and Lockard in which Reynolds explained why he chose to narrate certain books himself and why he had Lockard do others. Very interesting.

      Thanks for popping in, Sam!

  5. There are just so many great narrators out there. I forgot Karissa Vacker and Saskia Maareveld on my list, but they are two of my favourites. I will have to check out some of these. Wonderful list, Susan.

    1. Vackers and Maareveld are both great, aren't they? I usually pick audiobooks based on the book itself and not who's narrating it, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for more books narrated by them.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla!

    2. I'm the same about selecting a book, but if I am waffling and it is a narrating I like, I might take the plunge.

  6. Agree, Jim Dale is such a good narrator. I listened to his Ken Follett's World Without End the other day. Would love to hear him narrate Harry Potters some day!

    1. I've only heard him do Harry Potter. I need to check out different books that he's done. He's just so skilled at what he does. I love him!

      Thanks for stopping in, Fanda!

  7. What a cool list! So many vocally talented people. 🙂 I agree with you on Jim Dale. The Harry Potter books are fun to listen to.

    1. Right? My voice sounds super awkward when recorded. It's definitely a skill and a talent to read books out loud well.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  8. I'm with you on celebrities narrating their own audiobooks (if they're good at it). The Alex Trebeck book looks so good! I've enjoyed a few celebrity memoirs via audio over the past few years, and would probably put Michele Obama at the top of the list!

    1. Training in acting/performance definitely makes a difference in how a book is presented. I'm not into celebrities, but I have always loved Trebek so I enjoyed listening to his book. For being written by a dying man, it's surprisingly lighthearted and funny. I know tons of people love Obama's books (both Obamas, actually), but I haven't read any of them. Yet.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

  9. Love Julia Whelan, Jim Dale and Karissa Vacker. Unfortunately I don't like Sophie Roberts narration so have to avoid books by her.

    1. Oh, really? Interesting how different voices appeal/don't appeal to different ears. I've only listened to one from Roberts, but I liked her.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, NickiMags!

  10. Whelan appeared on a lot of lists today. She's narrated several by Taylor Jenkins Reid that I enjoyed.

    1. I haven't read or listened to anything by TJR. My daughter-in-law has been bingeing her books and says she doesn't think they're really my kind of thing. She's probably right! Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  11. I also love Whelan and Maarleveld as narrators. They are fantastic!

    1. Agreed. I'll be on the lookout for more from both.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  12. Kellgren is so good. I have now added the Bloody Jack series to my TBR list. She was perfect on My Lady Jane, and I forgot to mention I have also listened to her on the Enola Holmes books.

    1. Wait, Kellgren narrates the Enola Holmes books? How did I not know that? I'm putting the audiobooks on hold at my library RIGHT NOW.

      I hope you like the Bloody Jack series. It's super fun and Kellgren just makes it more so.

      Thanks for popping in, Kel!

  13. I don't know how many I could have listed on a favorite narrators list (because I've listened to so few audio books), but I have seen Julia Whelan on several lists this week. She must be one many readers enjoy. :) Thanks so much for visiting my website this week.

    1. Yes, Whelan seems to be universally liked. That's definitely a good sign!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rissi!

  14. A narrator can make or break a book! I love LOVE Ray Porter’s narration of Project Hail Mary (he also narrated The Day the World Came to Town). Re celebrity memoirs, I enjoyed Andre Agassi (Open) and Viola Davis (Finding Me) and Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth). I also recently loved the narration of Exiles by Jane Harper. ~Carol @ Reading Ladies

    1. Funny enough, I've read PROJECT HAIL MARY, THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN, and THE EXILES all in the last five months or so. Sounds like I should have listened to them on audio! I do like Viola Davis, so maybe I'll give her memoir a go on audio. Thanks for the rec!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carol!

  15. I really love Jim Dale's narration of Harry Potter. I should check out other books he's narrated. Have a great rest of the week! :)

    1. Same. I've only heard him on the HP books, but it sounds like he's narrated lots more than that.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Meezan!

  16. Harry Potter is one of my favorites audiobooks, specially the edition with special effect sounds, feels more wholesome

    1. Oooh, I haven't listened to the special effects edition. Sounds super fun!

      Thanks for dropping in, TheMoonPhoenix!

  17. I am a total newbie to audio and don't usually know who the narrator is. However, Jim Dale--excellent as is Adjoa Andoh who did Girl with the Louding Voice and Americanah

    1. I'm still fairly new to audiobooks myself, so even though I listed these narrators as favorites, I've really only listened to 1-3 books by each of them. I do really love Dale, though, and I definitely need to listen to more from him. You recommended THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE on audio before and it's one I need to get to sooner rather than later.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  18. I love that Katherine Kellgren got your top spot too. You should try The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood. Kellgren's narration is over the top and I loved it. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to read the last one, but I was happy that Fiona Hardingham, who I also like, was chosen to wrap it up.

    The only book I've listened to Jim Dale read was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and while I loved his voice, I didn't necessarily feel like he was a great choice for a book about two young lovers caught in a magical duel. I'll have to try him again. He was the voiceover narrator for the TV show Pushing Daisies, and I loved him in that part. Julia Whelan almost made my list, and probably would have on a slightly different day. I don't think I've even heard of Saskia Maarleveld before but yours is the second in about five posts so far that has mentioned her. I'll have to seek her out.

    1. I read the first book in the Incorrigible Children series when it first came out, but I don't remember anything about it. It would be fun to listen to the series on audio, especially with Kellgren doing most of it. I'll see if my library has it on audio.

      I've only heard Dale to the HP books. I definitely want to see what else he can do. And, it does make sense that not every narrator works for every book. In fact, I'm listening to one right now where the narrator's voice seems a little too buoyant for a gritty murder mystery!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jen!

  19. Saskia Maarleveld is my favourite audiobook narrator! I've listened to 6 audiobooks she's narrated and almost all of them ended up in my favourite books of the year in 2021 and 2022 (and the one that didn't was because of plot issues with the book, her narration was my fave thing about it). I can't wait to listen to more from her this year!
    My TTT:

    1. Oh, wow! A number of people mentioned her this week. It seems she's almost universally liked. I'll definitely look for more from her.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jo!

  20. I've only listened to Julia Whelan from this list (as far as I know), but I was even more impressed by the book that she wrote! Looks like I've got a good list of narrators to keep an eye out for, so thanks for the recs!

    1. I haven't read anything by Whelan. Sounds like I need to seek her out more as both an author and a narrator.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

  21. I see some of my favorites on your list - especially Saskia Maarlaveld and Katherine Kellgren. There are a couple I haven't listened to but I need to try some of their narrations!

    1. Of the narrators on this list, it's Kellgren who I've listened to most. I just love her. She voices one of my favorite literary ladies perfectly and her other voices are really good, too.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  22. Great list! I've only listened to Jim Dale from your list, but his narration is magical. And I agree about only reading a handful of celebrity books... I haven't read many either, but when I do I prefer to listen to them narrate it. My favorite of those was Trevor Noah's memoir BORN A CRIME.

    Fiona Hardingham is another narrator who I enjoy a lot, as are Roger Wayne and Luke Daniels. I'm not sure if any of them narrate books in the genres you prefer, but I've liked their work a lot.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier!

    1. Several people mentioned Fiona Hardingham this week. I've never heard of her. I'll have to check out her work since I'm always on the lookout for more narrators to love. It looks like she narrates a lot of hist fic, so I'm sure I'll find some good ones from her.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  23. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my TTT...
    As for audiobooks, they haven't worked for me so far (regardless of how much i like the book itself or the narration/narrator)..
    I did enjoy reading Trebek's The Answer Is and the Myrtle series

    1. Audiobooks definitely aren't for everyone and that's okay. I didn't think they were my thing for a long time, but they've really grown on me. They help make tedious chores around the house more bearable!

      Trebek's book is great, isn't it? And I adore the Myrtle Hardcastle books. Myrtle just makes me smile :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Vidya!

  24. A good list. As I "don't do" audiobooks, I don't feel that I can really add anything else!

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

    1. I've really grown to appreciate audiobooks over the last couple years. Listening to them has helped me read more and be more entertained while doing mundane tasks! Housework is definitely more tolerable when I'm listening to a good book while doing it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Emily!

  25. Jim Dale has a really talent for big casts and keeping the characters distinct

    1. Yes! That's definitely true. I don't know how he manages to do all those different, distinct voices but he does it SO well. He's a very talented narrator.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

  26. Whelan seems to be very popular this week! I'm not a big fiction audiobook listener, but hopefully someday I'll change my mind. :)

    1. It does happen. I didn't do audiobooks at all until a few years ago and now I always have one going!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Dedra!


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