I expected far more from the Serkis versions to be honest and regretted paying the extraordinary price they asked for three books I already own in a dozen other formats. By far my favourite narrator is Christopher Lee who did the children of Hurin, it's like you are sitting at the feet of Saruman as he recants some long and ancient history.... sigh
Second to this is a version which I had only come across on youtube but which I have recently discovered was in fact
If you haven't enjoyed this then you simply must. It's like reading the books with Howard Shore's wonderful score playing in the background. The reading and voice acting is exceptional and the soundscape created is a level of immersion that neither the films nor the books achieve on their own.a fan created, full scale dramatized production of The Lord of the Rings in audio form. Incorporating all the music by Howard Shore, and sound design and intricate foley work combined with dramatic delivery of the voices to invent what has never been done before
Gandalf reading The Book of Mazarbul and you can hear his whispers actually echo and the pages crackle in the background, the whistle of arrows, the clip clop of a horses hooves.
I don't know how it has escaped the attention of the various copyright holders this long but it is still available on soundcloud. I have preserved a copy on my drive for those of you who that can't listen via that format.
The project page, the creators are Root and Twig Soundscapes