The Audio Books

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The Audio Books

Postby Oberon » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:11 am

I appreciate that for most of us our first and principal experience of The Discworld books has been through the medium of the printed word but I wonder how many of you have listened to any of the audio books? I'm a big fan of audio books but I'm often frustrated by recordings where the reader seems to have no understanding of the book or it's characters or is simply not very good at reading aloud.

With the Discworld books however we are blessed in having readers like Tony Robinson, Nigel Planer, Celia Imrie and Stephen Briggs who is the reader on the great majority of the books. For all of them recording the readings was clearly a labour of love. In particular Stephen Briggs readings are amongst the best I've ever come across. His understanding and love of the books is obvious and the accents he gives to each character is clearly well thought out and just right for that character. (Most of the dwarves have a South Wales accent for instance which works very well). His pacing and ability to capture the mood of each passage that he's reading is faultless. Indeed in the introduction to most of his recordings it says "performed" by Stephen Briggs, not "read" by. The distinction is a very important one in my opinion.

If you haven't experienced any of the Discworld audio books yet I heartily recommend that you give one or two of them a try. As to which ones I might humbly suggest you listen to that's hard because they are all good but you might start with "The Wee Free Men". Stephen Briggs captures the darker mood of the Tiffany Aching books very well and his performance of the Nac Mac Feegles is very funny. I'd love to post a short extract of one of the readings as a taster for you but I think I'd be in serious trouble with Messrs Pratchett, Briggs and Isis Audio Books if I did.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:50 pm

I do prefer the unabridged versions of the audio books as I'm not keen on the short versions as too much is left out, it's like reading a book with missing pages.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Tiffany » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:43 pm

I have got several TP audio books, CD's & cassettes by Tony Robinson, the Stephen Briggs versions I would like, but they are hard to find & very expensive when they are found. New or second hand. :(
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Tonyblack » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:52 pm

I really can't be doing with the Tony Robinson recordings. Quite apart from them being abridged, I find he makes all the characters sound whiny and annoying.

I seldom have the occasion to listen to the audiobooks these days and get too easily distracted if I do.

Tiffany, have you tried your local library? I've found that most libraries carry at least one and I dare say you could order others. ;)
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Tiffany » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:04 pm

Problem with that is, I'd not want to return it, Tony. :D I'll keep looking, who knows, I might find one at a car boot or in a charity shop.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Oberon » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:14 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I really can't be doing with the Tony Robinson recordings. Quite apart from them being abridged, I find he makes all the characters sound whiny and annoying.

I don't mind his voice but I hadn't realized that his readings were abridged.

Tiffany wrote:Problem with that is, I'd not want to return it, Tony. :D I'll keep looking, who knows, I might find one at a car boot or in a charity shop.

I had a look on Ebay but not much there I'm afraid :cry: .
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” (Terry Pratchett).
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Toothy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:15 pm

I heartily agree with Oberon. Stephen Briggs is by far and away the best reader of TP audio books. His characterisations fit my imagination of each of the characters well. Tony Robinson's voice annoys me after a while (agree with you there, Tony) and Nigel Planer makes Angua and Carrot sound as thick as two short planks and Vimes as a man with an adenoidal problem. :? I do like his Granny Weatherwax though.

Admittedly the SB audiobooks aren't cheap, but perhaps they could go on a birthday wish list...? iTunes or Audible vouchers maybe...? :)
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby winther » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:36 pm

Well, I'm a HUGE fan of the discworld audiobooks.

I have all the discworld books in their unabridged versions, published by Isis Audiobooks.
I have bought them at their official website at http://www.isis-publishing.co.uk, which have them all at acceptable prices (around £23 each). I can greatly recommended the books performed by either Stephen Briggs or Nigel Planer, as they both read the books with great passion + accents for all the characters :) Celia Imrie isn't very good, so I would stay away from the 2 audiobooks that she reads.

As an alternative, you can get them all at audible.com (an online subscription audiobooks site).
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby chuckie » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:01 am

Being partially deaf the audio books are rather lost to me. However my partner AuntyMyrtle likes to play audio books wwhen she goes to bed so i have been buying 3 or 4 a year for birthday and christmas presents. she's nearly got all of the Discworld books.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Oberon » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:40 am

It would be great if Stephen Briggs could be persuaded to record readings for the Discworld books he hasn't done. (Mostly the earlier books). Then perhaps Isis Audio could release a boxed collectors set. It would be expensive but I think it would sell well.
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” (Terry Pratchett).
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby raisindot » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:01 pm

Totally agree with you, Oberon.

I've never heard Robinson, and I absolutely hate Celia's treacly reading of "Wyrd Sisters," but I have a whole bunch of Planers and Briggs and for me Briggs totally wins out in terms of creating the right "voice" for the character. Planer often seems more focused on making the character funny, at the expense of creating a real "personality," but Briggs' very careful choice of regional accents (like the dwarves, as you mention) shows that he''s thinking about culture as well as character.

The only voices I think Planer does better is with the witches. His Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg seem far more appropriate than Briggs' rendition in the Tiffany books.

I also agree that "Wee Free Men" is a great starting point for an audio book.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby manybcs » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:41 pm

For years I hesitated to try the audio books because I wasn't sure how the word play would be handled. When I joined audible.com I decided to try and now have them all. I agree with everyone else....Briggs is the best, followed by Planer. Wyrd Sisters is my least favorite witches book but that's probably because of Celia's narration.

I find it impossible to drive, clean my house, do yardwork, or groom dogs without listening to a Discworld novel. In fact I'm about to turn off the computer and wash dogs #3 & 4, with 45 min. left on Men at Arms. I might do Feet of Clay next, but I've had Stephen King's new book for over a month and I need to get a start on it. At 30 hours and 45 min. it's going to take me a while.

My daughter recently asked (as a Discworld book was playing in the background in the car), why I kept listening to the same book over and over again. I then realized that she was just picking up on the narrator's voice and had to explain that they were, in fact, different books, narrated by the same person. :D
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby Teppic » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:19 pm

Got all of them, and they're all with me all the time on my phone (Audible Android app).

I've only read a couple of the books, but have listened to pretty much all of them. Really, if you haven't tried them, get the cheap trial on Audible and download a couple. If you don't like, you've only lost a few quid!!
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby raptornx01 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:47 pm

I got into the ABs first, then started buying the books themselves.

I liked them all. for characters i agree Nigel's witches are the best from him, and i love his death (he even performed death on the celia books as well). Stephen's Igor is just perfect. I liked both their Vimes and Vetinaris. And still prefer Nigel's Detritus.

I've only heard Tony in one book. the abridged A Hat Full Of Sky. and while i'll never listen again since it is abridged (didn't know at first) I found his rant by Dr. Bustle as the hiver takes over to be entertaining and rather disturbing. He seemed to do "psychotic" i little TOO well.
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Re: The Audio Books

Postby SpyViolette » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:11 am

I agree. The unabridged versions are much better, otherwise I have to go back and read the bits that were left out in my print copy. I really love Stephen Briggs' readings. What's great about Discworld audiobooks is that there's never been a reader who annoyed me, unlike some other audiobooks I've heard over the years.
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