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Burt Reynolds Teaches Survival; Dexter Reads About Dinosaurs

We here at WViT appreciate the art of simple, lo-fi, storytelling — maybe that’s why we’re fascinated by nuances of the voice. In today’s digital age of eye-candy, the practice of no-frills narration without visual whizbangery seems to becoming a dying tradition. Perhaps we’re purists, but as the debate rages about the future of media, how it can be saved, and the dawn of the iPadiTablet, iSlate or whatever it's destined to be crowned, we hope there will always be room for a quality story that lets the imagination fill in the blanks.

That's a reason why we love audio books and, specifically, Audible.com. (Here's our required FTC disclosure: We are no way affiliated, related, married, dating or even acquaintances with anyone from Audible.com, although we do follow them on Twitter — hope that’s O.K.)

Audible's over 140,000 hours of content includes an abundance of narrators — good and bad — and this includes a growing number of recognizable voices such as Johnny Cash, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Oprah Winfrey, Uma Thurman, Sean Penn, Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Krasinski to name a small few. Surprisingly though, there isn't an easy way to find a thorough list of celebrity narrators — that's where we come in. We've pooled our global resources together to figure out who reads what and compiled a few notables in this post. For a comprehensive list, check out our new WViT Lists section. Tell your friends.

Headquartered in Newark NJ, Audible was founded in 1995 by veteran author and journalist Donald Katz. (Side note: In 1997, four years before Apple's iPod revolution, Audible created the world’s first digital audio player with an internet delivery system; it's now on display at the Smithsonian.) Last year, Audible was purchased by Amazon for a reported — less than the cost of Avatar — price of $300 million. Today the company boasts a catalog of over 60,000 audio programs from over 600 content providers.

Now, without further ado, here's the list:

  • Perfect Narrator Reads Perfect Book: David Carradine reads Jack Kerouac's On the Road
  • Unlikely Narrator + Book Pairing: John Cleese narrates Dante's Inferno
  • Even More Respect for the Guy: Paul Giamatti reads Philip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly
  • Exactly the Way You Think it Sounds: Samuel L. Jackson narrates The Clever Snake Charmer from Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales (Insert "Snakes on a Something" joke here.)
  • We Get it Already: Cynthia Nixon narrates Candace Bushnell's Sex in the City
  • Not Scary Enough: Joe Mantegna reads Stephen King’s Thinner
  • OK, Too Scary: Willem Dafoe reads Stephen King’s The Langoliers
  • Jerry Garcia Reads Stephen King: Enough said; this one speaks for itself
  • Read to me Anytime: Uma Thurman reads Gigi Levangie Grazer's Maneater 

And finally, Christopher Walken reads Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven:


The expanded list of notable narrators can be found here.

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Reader Comments (6)

my favorite audio is of john cleese reading c.s. lewis' the screwtape letters. i can't think of a more perfect pairing since i've been listening to audiobooks. i can only find it on cassette in my library, but if you have a chance to listen . . . DO.

January 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrobyn

Jeremy Irons reads Nabokov's "Lolita."

January 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Great list but it's StePHen King...sorry...

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSpellingNazi

You've forgotten the best audio I've listened to, which would be John Slattery reading Stephen King's "Duma Key". Amazing.

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Just listened to a sample; that's a good one... Slattery is included on the full list, which is here: http://whosevoice.org/lists.

January 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterWViT

I think another name worth mentioning is Tom Hiddleston [Loki in "Thor"] reading Red Necklace with all those amazing voices and accents which shows he's not just another pretty face but an amazing actor as well

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterviolet

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