Re: Ivona the best I've heard.
Even a dull Librivox speaker will put some life into the characters. You just can't do that with TTS, probably never will.
"Never will" is rather too strong. While we're still very far away from a decent understanding of affect, much less a formal model of it that would let us implement it algorithmically, a lot could be done in this area with predictive models. NLP researchers have made significant progress in recent years in systems that can model rudiments of narrative; going from there to building decent predictive models of the purported emotional states of characters is not a great leap. They wouldn't be nuanced, and no one would claim this represents "understanding" emotion, but if the model predicts a valid emotional overtone for the subject text most of the time, that's good enough for TTS purposes.
Then it's a matter of varying the TTS prosodic parameters to convey that emotional overtone. That's tricky in itself, because prosody is not terribly well understood itself; for example, linguists who study prosody still can't agree on what in English pronunciation actually conveys "stress". But again you can build a pretty effective predictive model without fully understanding the domain being modeled.
Affect is something inferred from the text, it cannot be calculated by an algorithm.
That's a fallacious argument, unless you can prove that human readers don't "calculate" affect "by an algorithm".