Emma AudiobookThis month’s challenge for the TBR is “Something Different.” Over on my own blog, I’m reviewing a horror novel, which is a very unusual genre for me, but here I thought I’d stick to romance and go for a difference in format.

I took a trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which is a substantial drive. I’ve tried audiobooks before, but they never held my attention well enough. I’d lose track of the plot or the narrator’s voice would begin to grate on me or whatever, and I’d quit. So I turned to my Tweeps and asked them what I should listen to on my journey and many, many suggested classics read by Juliet Stevenson.

I had no idea that Stevenson, who many of you may know from Truly, Madly, Deeply (and if you don’t, stop reading this blog right now and go watch it), narrated audiobooks, but I adore her and knew her voice would not irritate me. I spent quite some time wavering between Jane Eyre and Emma, but at last landed on Emma—mostly because it’s been a lot longer since I read Emma than it has been since I read Jane Eyre.

I haven’t quite finished the audiobook—it’s more than sixteen hours!—but I am loving it. Maybe because I already know the story, so I can just pay attention to the tone and rhythm without worrying about plot? Maybe because the book moves slowly, so even if I didn’t already know the plot missing a word or two wouldn’t matter? Anyway, it has been thoroughly enjoyable. Stevenson changes intonation slightly when she switches characters, but it’s not so strong that it’s jarring and just sort of guides you along through the conversations.

One thing I noticed, and I am wondering whether it’s a function of not being able to skim or to really have a solid feeling for where you are in a book without the physical presence, but the story seemed way longer than I remember it being. Does anyone else have that experience with audio? I’ve never thought of Emma as all that long a story!

All in all, I highly recommend Emma, or really anything narrated by Juliet Stevenson. I’ll be dropping in on Jane Eyre next, I think!