July 30, 2019
This spring, a dedicated team of audiobook-listening librarians from NoveList’s Book Discovery department eagerly began immersing themselves in all things audiobooks. “Why?” you might ask. Well, to expand our audiobook appeal vocabulary of course!
While some changes are still forthcoming, you may have already noticed some new terms showing up in NoveList Plus under the label “Audio Characteristics.” In total, we added ten new terms, which is a 41% increase in the number of audiobook-specific appeal terms. Check out the new terms and title examples below and let us know your favorites or if we’ve missed any! And don’t forget, you can use the field code BZ to do a targeted search for any of our audio characteristics (Example: BZ baritone AND distinctly voiced).
Aged: These older-sounding voices impart maturity and experience.
Example: Faith by Jimmy Carter. Narrated by the author.
Baritone: Deep, rich tones characterize these narrator voices.
Example: Dead Man Walking by Simon R. Green. Narrated by Gildart Jackson.
Chilling: Don’t be fooled! Eerily calm voices mask the underlying tension of these audiobooks.
Example: The Outsider by Stephen King. Narrated by Will Patton.
Clear: Speaking distinctly, these narrators keep their voices direct, even, and inviting and precisely convey authors’ words and meaning.
Example: What to Read and Why by Francine Prose. Narrated by Allyson Johnson.
Husky: Whether described as smoky, breathy, or whispery, these voices will have a natural throaty timbre.
Example: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Seamless: Whether single or multiple narrators, the narration is fluid with smooth, effortless transitions between voices and scenes.
Example: Have you seen Luis Velez? By Catherine Ryan Hyde. Narrated by Michael Crouch.
Sensitive: These narrators carefully balance challenging or emotionally fraught storylines using considerate and thoughtful tones.
Example: Mohawk by Richard Russo. Narrated by Amanda Carlin.
Sophisticated: Frequently featuring refined accents, these books are narrated with elegance.
Example: Three sisters, three queens by Philippa Gregory. Narrated by Bianca Amato.
Theatrical: Dramatic, entertaining, and sometimes over-the-top, these performances capture the feeling of a stage show without actually being there.
Example: Riots I have known by Ryan Chapman. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
Visceral: Not for the faint of heart, these voices let you experience the gut-wrenching details (almost) first-hand.
Example: I am legend by Richard Matheson. Narrated by Robertson Dean.
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Renee Young is a Metadata Librarian III at NoveList.