In 2013 I made a discovery. That discovery was the absolute joy of audiobooks and it was all thanks to Spokenworld when I was given one of theirs to review for TheCultDen. I have never looked back.
I’ve now listened to a LOT of audiobooks and audio dramas from a large variety of sources but I keep coming back to Spokenworld for one main reason – they’re different. From fairy stories to science fiction, from gothic horror to contemporary non-fiction there’s something for everyone and always something new to discover. One thing always remains constant though and that’s the quality. The quality of the stories themselves, of the readers and of the music and sound production is second to none and that makes for guaranteed enjoyment.
So here is my choice for the top five Spokenworld listens for this year (with a tiny bit of cheating – it’s my article and I can do that, ok?)
(5) The Scottish Fairy Book (volumes 1 and 2) – I’ll get my cheating out of the way first and count both volumes as one entry. These audios are wonderfully read and produced with timeless fairy stories ideal for bedtime stories at any age.
(4) Sometime Never – Spokenworld’s first foray into full cast audio dramas worked extremely well with an intense story and incredible casting making this well worth a listen.
(3) The Waiting Room – the first of two shorts in my top 5. Neil Gardner’s writing never ceases to amaze me, especially when the stories are like this – deceptively simple descriptive tales that you can read as much, or as little into as you want. I really liked the metaphysical imagery in this one and the fact it reflected a lot of my own beliefs.
(2) Deep Cut – yes, a fact based audio. Like my Editor in Chief, Steve, at TheCultDen, I really enjoy non-fiction but he tends to snatch them all as soon as they come into the office and he’s the boss… anyway, I managed to wrestle this off him and found this dramatized documentary about the Deep Cut Barracks enquiry a great, accessible and informative listen.
(1) Day One – Five minutes of stark, simple, dark, complex brilliance. This Neil Gardner story works on so many levels that it grows in your mind long after the audio itself is finished and becomes much more than the sum of its parts the more you think about it.
Special mention – talking of Neil Gardner’s short stories I really have to recommend my top audiobook of LAST year, and my favourite to date, Twin Points. Horrifying, fascinating and so well written with such a huge twist that you have to listen to it twice because that one fact totally changes your viewpoint of the story once you know. Stunning.
Susan Omand is currently pretending to be the Chief Editor at TheCultDen. So far, nobody suspects anything. She can be found on Twitter @OmandOriginal.