Audiobooks with Joe ‘Damnation-For-All” Smith

11 Jun

My first experience with audiobooks was as a teenager. As a busy person who spent most of my time between AP study groups and band practice, reading was only something I did in short bursts—like, in those moments when the trumpet section had to spend half an hour working through their part, while the rest of us had to sit there and wait.

Thankfully, we never had any trumpeters with much skill.

Since I was so caught up between school, extracurricular, and copious amount of internet use, I decided to try audiobooks. After all, they’re something you can listen to while studying or while driving. Sure, you can’t listen to them while playing the flute, but you can only expect so much from the world.

In between band and school, though, I actively participated in a church youth group, and I got it in my head to attempt to read the entire bible. Yeah, I was that kid. Also, if you haven’t noticed, the bible is huge. Like the size of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, including all the appendices and The Hobbit. I didn’t have the time, much let the energy to power through it all… so I decided to try an audiobook.

As a student, though, I was cheap and clever. Many classics, including religious texts, can often be found for free as an audiobook, if you search the internet hard enough. For “The Holy Bible”, I found the audiobook under ‘Podcasts’ from iTunes. It had every book narrated by the same guy—seemed legit… until I turned it on.

Immediately, the audio starts with the sounds of thunder and lightning. It goes on for a bit—for dramatic effect, I assume—until a loud booming voice burst into my headphones saying “IN THE BEGINNING”.

I can only imagine that in some studio, there was some older gentleman reading the bible. Then, he is stopped. A producer peeks out from behind his monitor to say, “Try it again. But this time, make your voice deeper—almost scary. Think: hell fire, the plagues, floods to destroy mankind, top it off with a pinch of damnation. Remember, you’re competing against the thunder that we’re putting in the background.”

I couldn’t make it past thirty seconds… and the worst part is that I listened to the first 30 seconds to minute of at least 10 books—and all of them were like that. All of them.

After that, it was a while before I dared pick up another audiobook.

More recently, however, I’ve gotten a job where I’m alone in my cubbie, talking to no one for most of the day. I could listen to the back noise of the office—people walking, the drip coffee makers, the mumbling of a couple of radios, the fax machine… that damn fax machine. OR I could put my headphones on and listen something.

After I went through my entire iTunes library, I decided to delve into audiobooks again—only, this time, it wouldn’t be a free version of The Holy Bible narrated by Joe “Damnation For All” Smith.

Instead, I picked up “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne John narrated by Jenny Sterlin.

Guys, oh my gosh, y’all. It was awesome.

Jenny Sterlin had the perfect voice for this book. She was able to sound formal and smart for younger Sophie, and switch to the old and wily Sophie when she needed to. Even outside of the dialogue, her voice gave me that nostalgic feeling of being a third-grader again. I could remember sitting on the floor of my classroom, listening to my teacher read us a story. There was that feeling of nostalgic captivation throughout the entire story.

Now, I’m somewhat obsessed with finding audiobooks with great narration. I’ve finished Howl’s Moving Castle, and decided to pick up “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” written/narrated by Jenny Lawson—aka The Bloggess. (Really, if you don’t know who she is, you should crawl out from under that rock you’ve been living under and google it).

I figure, a book narrated by the same person who wrote it had to be pretty good, right? Right. Totally

Update: I’m now between three and four hours into “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”– it’s hilarious. I listened to the chapter on her experience in human resources and was laughing in my cubicle. My co-workers gave me looks of judgement. They’re totes jelly.

Peace out my home slices!

2 Responses to “Audiobooks with Joe ‘Damnation-For-All” Smith”

  1. butcheringsaint at 8:30 pm #

    Haha, yes Bible narration is quite the thing. Lets deal with less thunder and just read the flippin thing!!! I got bored and started recording my own. Hated the sound of my recorded voice and scrapped it after Isaiah. Joe Montagna reads quite a few and reads them well!!! I love podcasts myself and audiobooks everywhere.

    • Erica at 8:49 pm #

      Podcasts and audiobooks have definitely become my latest obsession since they help me stay awake at work. I haven’t ventured into trying to find another Bible narration since high school, though there are some great bible study podcasts out there.
      You know, I didn’t even remember who Joe Montagna was until I googled it– and oh my word, the guy from Criminal Minds narrates mystery/thriller/suspense novels. That sounds awesome and like the best use of my next audible credit.

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