I listen to a lot of audiobooks, mostly nonfiction. I don't usually post reviews, but I appreciated Rob Shapiros narration so much, I wanted to post something.
A lot of narrators over-dramatize the text. Or the way they read a sentence makes me think they didn't exactly get what the sentence means. Normally I think of narrators as a sort of necessary evil - an extra voice between the author's words and my ears, and I think the best thing a narrator can do is make themselves sort of disappear from the experience, and not get in the way too much.
Rob Shapiro's reading of The Information is the first time I've felt that the narrator actually made the book *better*. His reading was really great - he bring just enough drama to the story, and the way he uses emphasis, changes of speed, etc, made the book more interesting and exciting without feeling distracting. It felt like he had a really great grasp of the text. His reading of this book changed my thinking about how nonfiction books can be narrated.
I'm sure peoples' tastes on this vary a lot, but... I listened to "Consider the Lobster" a while ago, which is a similar book of essays by DFW, but that book is narrated by DFW. This book is narrated by Paul Garcia. The reading style is vastly different between the two books. DFW's reading style is pretty restrained, like a lot of authors. By comparison - Paul Garcia brings a lot of expression to the reading - his reading of the book sounds sort of like a dramatic monologue, at least compared to the comparatively straightforward approach taken by the author, which sounds like, well, like someone reading from a book. I prefer DFW's reading immensely. I find Paul Garcia's reading here really distracting, and it interferes a lot with my enjoyment of the book. Again - I'm sure this is a matter of taste, and some people will prefer it. But if you are the sort of person who prefers a more affectless reading style, this may bug you as it bugs me.
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