I found out my library lets you download audio books so I decided to try to listen to some at work. The actual book that i had never read didn't work well at all; i have to actually think at work now (yay) and couldn't follow it. I tried a Shakespeare play next and that worked wonderfully. I've either seen or read them before so i am familiar with the story that even if i wasn't paying super close attention i never got lost.
I listened to King Lear, which had Kenneth Branagh as the Fool. The sound effects were great, especially the storm scene. This isn't one of the plays i prefer but it was a good recording. Lear is just not a very good hero in my estimation, and the two bad daughters so awful, I've just never liked the story much.
Then I listened to Hamlet, a 1948 radio play recording remastered. I have to say i didn't like it. The acting was fine but the recording was weird. The volume varied a lot over the course of the scene and frequently dropped very low at the end of the scene and i'd miss the last line or so. Also, they used a narrator for parts, like the sword fight at the end, which just seemed weird.
Lastly, I listened to Macbeth. I felt this one was quite good. It is a play i've seen a couple times live as well as several movie versions. Pick up Kurosawa's, it is fabulous. The female characters in this one were particularly strong. The witches were great and the way they were recorded the witches sounded like they were all around you. Lady Macbeth was wonderfully crazy.
The biggest problem I had with all of these audio books is something easy to get rid of: each play was made up of two or three long tracks rather than many short ones. Why not have one track per scene? My player won't let me pause a track, listen to something different, then pick up the original track in the same place; i have to start that first track over or fast forward to the part i want. I had never really thought about that before as on most CD audio books the tracks are only 5 minutes long at most. Overall, I am glad i tried it out but i think i will save books for exercise, not work. I did knock out another 3 for the Shakespeare Challenge though!