Audio books have only been part of my reading routine for the past couple of years. I've talked in length about my preference for short stories and non-fiction in this medium, as longer fictional narratives tend to get lost in translation for me and my sometimes waning attention span, but I've rarely spoken for my narrator preferences.
It's become a trend over the years for well established actors to try their hand at audio book narration, and why not? They have often gone through voice training and may have experience with voice acting, making them the perfect candidates.
I, personally, have become very fond of listening to audio books narrated by certain actors and when I'm searching for new books to listen to, I'll often search for the actors I most enjoy listening to before searching for specific titles.
I've not listened to a great deal of audio books in the scheme of things but the narrators I most enjoy in my experience so far consist of:
Hugh Laurie. I only recently discovered his talent for book narration late last year when I listened to him read Roald Dahl's The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me. It was instant love and I've since listened to him read the first three volumes in Alexander McCall Smith's Portuguese Irregular Verbs series. Positively genius.
Bill Nighy. I have been on the hunt for more Nighy narrated books since I heard him read an abridged version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz a couple of years ago. His voice runs the perfect line between comedy and heartbreak. Truly wonderful.
Stephen Fry. No list of celebrity audio book narrators could be complete without Mr Fry. His voice was practically made for audio. Easy to listen to for hours on end. Something that can quite easily be done too, since Fry has narrated all seven of the Harry Potter books. Couldn't ask for more.
Richard E. Grant. I first stumbled across Grant's narration in a collection of short stories from Dahl. His droll sarcastic indifference makes for wonderful listening and I highly recommend trying an audio book from him, if you should happen upon one.
Neil Gaiman. Obviously, Gaiman, doesn't really belong on this list since he is in fact an author and not an actor but he is, at this point, writing royalty and if there's an author that can work a crowd better than Gaiman, I am not aware of them. Gaiman has the perfect voice for his own work and is the only writer I've come across that I wouldn't want anyone else to read me their writing. Gaiman is a master of the audio book and if you have yet to experience him, I suggest you remedy that as soon as possible.
It didn't occur to me until this post was already written that every single person in this list is a British male... What can I say? I have a type.