This afternoon I finished reading1 to the audio book version of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. It was my second complete audio book, the first being Misery. Both books were read by Lindsay Crouse, and in both cases, I’d describe the reading much close to “voice acting” than a simple reading. Back in the day this might have been called a dramatic reading, or “reading with expression,” but actually, it was more than that. Lindsay Crouse acting all the parts. She became the characters while reading the book. I was more impressed than I ever expected to be by my initial audio book experiences.
Not one to linger after finishing a book, audio or otherwise, I started right in on the next book, this time Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis. This book is narrated by both William Hurt and Stephen King. I haven’t gotten to a Stephen King portion yet, but listening to William Hurt read is a completely different experience from listening to Lindsay Crouse. Not a bad experience, just different. Hurt is a reader, as opposed to a voice actor, and although he establishes a cadence and rhythm to his reading, it is a far cry from the voice acting that Lindsay Crouse did.
Until I started with the audio books, my main experience with dramatic readings had been those readings that I’d seen Harlan Ellison give–or those recording of his that I’d listened to (“Paladin of the Lost Hour,” for instance). This experience with audio books, both the standard readings like that William Hurt gives, and the full-fledged voice acting have been a truly eye- ear-opening experience.
- Listening ↩