A few days ago, I wrote about the ten audiobook titles that are available for free on audible.com once you've "purchased" corresponding free Kindle e-book titles on Amazon.com. I've listened to the initial chapters of some of them so far, and I'm glad to report that those I've listened to are of good quality in terms of narrators' performance.
Anne Hathaway's reading of The Wizard of Oz is animated, captivating, and is a delight to listen to. Kenneth Brannagh is solid and masterful (as he usually is) in his performance of Heart of Darkness. But special praise goes to Elijah Wood for his rendering of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The story seems to come alive when read in his authentic-sounding southern accent, which is an experience that you'd never get just by silently following written words on the pages. The rhythm and tone of this strangely vibrant dialect is completely lost unless read out aloud (and well). Listening to this performance, one would imagine Elijah Wood is a native of one of the southern states like Mississippi or Missouri: surprisingly, he is from Iowa -- according to Wikipedia. Somehow that didn't click, so I googled some more, and found that Wood starred in a 1993 film version of the novel. He must have been, what, 12 years old or so at the time. Given this experience, I guess he's practically a native born southerner. In any case, his performance is very well-balanced. Not over-the-top hilarious nor grumpy and self-pitying, but rather quaintly detached despite the most curious and often heart-rending events that keep haunting the protagonist. (I've only listened to the first hour or two, but I'm completely engrossed already.) This is an excellent listen. Highly recommended.