Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Audio Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Like most of you, I've already read The Hunger Games series. Several times. In fact, I'm gearing up (with my new student teacher) to read it again--this time for an extremely excited group of juniors. To get ready, I often prepare myself to teach books I've already taught by listening to the audio version. And, is having a sale on this book (and others that are firsts in series--sale ends 2/8). It was meant to be. Kismet.

I do love this story, as evidenced by my choice to teach it for three years and to read the entire series. I've know of the audio version for some time, but never purchased it because I do not love the voice of the reader. Her name is Carolyn McCormick and I have nothing against her personally. I'm sure that her voice would be great for any number of characters, but it just doesn't fit for Katniss. Or Haymitch. Or Peeta. She's okay for Rue, though, which was surprising to me.

That said, once the narrative got going, I didn't notice anymore. So, I either got used to Ms. McCormick's reading style and voice or I just got so caught up in the story that my brain no longer cared. There is one particular part that I really enjoyed, and this was unexpected. It's something that I often have trouble with when I read to myself alone (or in front of my students). It's music.

I am not a great singer. I am horribly bad. People cringe. So, when there's music or a song in a book, I don't know how to perform that part without ruining the entire scene. When Katniss sings to Rue her mournful dirge, I read it like a poem to my students. Or I ask for a volunteer to sing. But it always takes away from the moment. In this audio version, Ms. McCormick does a very nice job of singing and keeping the tone of the scene. I thank her for this and actually wrote down the time in the reading so that I can play it for students. It's worth the $5 I paid for this recording!

Overall, I wouldn't urge you to rush out and buy this reading, but it is not bad. It's not even kinda bad. I loved listening to this story while doing laundry and dishes and cooking dinner. It was great to be immersed in this story once more. Can't get enough of the Girl on Fire!

Reader: Carolyn McCormick
Length: 11 hrs 10 minutes

**This audio book counts toward my participation in the 2011 Audio Book Challenge from Teresa's Reading Corner and Whisper Stories in My Ear Audio Book Challenge**


  1. I think I'm one of the only people who loved Carolyn McCormick's reading. There is just something so soothing about her voice to me and I think that added to the poetry of the writing despite the horrid violence of it all.

    Many people thought her voice was too old to be a first person narrator for a teenage girl. But to me, I don't know if the words would have had as much impact coming from a teenage narrator. It's such a paradox, I know.

  2. I really enjoyed THG audiobooks, but I listened to them before I read them. I felt like the reader was haunting and It didnt even occur to me that she was older than Katniss. But I don't think of Katniss as a 15 year old girl.

    I agree that a bad reader can ruin a good book. One of my fave series is the vampire academy. I got the audiobooks and couldn't even finish the first one because the reader drove me crazy. She wasn't the voice I imagined Rose to be.

  3. This is a nice way to "reread" a book. A totally different perspective.

  4. That is very nice! I've known a site where i can download it for free.There are also books available for children, teens, and adults. These books are also a great way to help learn a foreign language, or improve your English skills. Learn about history or art. If you can think about it, there is probably a free audio book available for download in this site :

  5. I haven't listened to this one yet, but I was able to get it at's first in a series sale. So many people have raved about it that I had to give it a try. Hopefully it will be okay since I haven't read them yet.

    Thanks for linking up!

  6. That audible sale made my ipod very happy! I read The Hunger Games a while ago and loved it but I forgot about the song, I would love to hear it and I think I will go take some more advantage of the sale... Also, I have nominated you for an award <a href=">here</a>. :)

  7. Very happy I found your site. Will note it and return for more info.

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  8. I agree. I am not a fan of Carolyn McCormick's reading voice. She over-emphasizes every syllable and vowel. It is especially frustrating as I just finished the Dragon Tattoo series and the reader, Martin Wenner, has what I consider, the perfect audiobook reading voice.

  9. She sounds like she's reading the book to a 5 year old or a person who's just started learning english. She reads so slowly and like Anon above mentioned- emphasizes every single syllable. Very strange.

  10. shes TERRIBLE. make me cringe and lose interest. she sounds like she's from the 1950's and reading to a bunch of retards. i guess ill just buy the books now

  11. I think I would have enjoyed the books a lot more had I not listened to them. I do not like the narrator's delivery or the direction she was given. There was no sincerity in her voice, and I've never gotten the feeling that she was emotionally involved in the story or characters. These books are gritty and innocent, desolate and hopeful. I get none of that from the clipped and over-enunciated audio.

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  18. One of the best young adult novels and just dystopian fiction I've had the pleasure to listen to. Such a good story and the narrataion is perfect. It's a trilogy I loved every second of and I'm so glad I picked it up.

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