I’m kind of weird about audiobooks. I’m just going to get that right out of the way up front. I was slow to pick them up at all until I discovered my kid (my own child!) was a reluctant reader. Then I discovered a few years ago that my son loved audiobooks and couldn’t get enough of them, so we started listening to them on car trips. I’m the super-strict No-TV-In-The-Car-Look-Out-The-Windows-For-Heavens-Sake mom, so audiobooks were a great compromise for us. We got the benefit of listening to great stories and my son got hooked on the written word in audiobook format.
So… audiobooks started creeping in. First kids books, then some non-fiction (mostly memoirs and such) from authors or comedians I love. And then I found some radio dramas. And slowly but surely, fiction has started to come to life through listening. My own work is still a hard limit, though. Cannot stand listening to my own words read back to me. It’s just a weird thing that’s probably not unlike actors who can’t stand watching their own movies. It’s just… weird. Very, very weird to me.
Anyway. Audiobooks. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorites. This is going to be a weird mix because that’s kind of what I listen to. A mix of this and that. Lots of non-fiction. Some stuff that is not strictly audiobook, but book-ish. ANd lots of Neil Gaiman. LOOOOTS of Neil.
Sidenote: Other than memoir, I do not think authors should read their own books. Ever. Unless they are Neil Gaiman, because he is amazing and can do all the things. And he has that lovely and soothing British accent.
This was one of the first audiobooks my son and I ever listened to. I was so charmed by this marvelous story and it’s a nice length. At just about an hour, this book is a delight. Great for kids and parents, too. Charming and imaginative and funny. All ages.
Yes, that David Tennant! I honestly had no idea how different the books in this series would be from the movie, but I found them equally entertaining. And honestly, the different stories make the books a wonderful discovery for parents and kids. Added to the wonderful story is the awesome and often hilarious narration by David Tennant. He’s so great and in full Scottish brogue. All the thumbs up for this one. All ages.
I have only heard the American reading of the HP series, though I understand the British version (read by Stephen Fry) is also wonderful. This is a classic for a reason. Wonderful for adults and kids, this is the PERFECT pastime for that long road trip. Just be prepared to want to drive more. Mature kids (the later books are darker) and up.
I love this book. If possible, I always recommend people listen to this instead of reading it. It’s maybe the only book that I recommend that, but Poehler’s narration, comedy timing, and special guests (there are many) make this book worth listening to. It’s wonderful and wise and hilarious and touching. I recommend this book to every working mom I know, but I think it’s quality writing for everyone. Adult non-fiction.
I’ve been a fan of Ansari since his Parks & Rec days. He’s one of those actors who plays kind of a slightly dull goofball, but you can always tell it’s a facade. Ansari is sharp as a tack and I’m so, so pleased that he’s found a new show (if you haven’t watched Master of None, do.) This book is a really fascinating look at modern dating and relationships. Informative for me as a romance author and kind of challenging as a single person (which I was when I first listened to it.) Funny and wry and hopeful, I recommend this one for men and women alike. Adult non-fiction.
Do you want someone with a dreamy voice reading you bedtime stories? Just get this book. swoon The writing is poetry. Fiennes’ voice is… well, it’s Ralph Fiennes. His voice is like silk rubbing against your skin and this audiobook is just as sensual. Adult fiction.
AWESOME FUN! I love this series, and the audio is pure fun. The narrator has a fantastic, dreamy voice and good comic timing. He’s the perfect vocal match for Peter Grant, the protagonist of this British urban fantasy set in London. The Rivers of London series is one of my favorites and this audiobook is a great ride. Mature Young Adult and up. Fiction.
This collection of short stories is brilliant and lyrical. Audiobooks of short story collections have the added benefit of being complete stories cut into manageable chunks. Have some traffic to sit through? Listen to The Paper Menagerie, eighteen short stories ranging from twenty minutes to an hour and forty. Brilliant writing and compelling narration. Adult fiction.
This is not an audiobook, but a full cast recording of a radio drama. There are actors and sound effects. It’s nearly four hours long, and it was written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. This particular BBC dramatization is acted by James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer in the main roles, but also features Christopher Lee, Sophie Okonedo, and David Harewood. Benedict Cumberbatch even makes a great cameo as the Angel of Islington! It’s a fantastic drama and one I’d say is appropriate for teens and adults.
If I have to recommend one of my own books, I’m going to recommend the Irin Chronicles. The initial trilogy is read by Zach Webber and he does such a great job capturing Ava and Malachi’s journey through this modern fantasy populated by fallen angels, half-angelic villains and heroes, and humans caught in the magical crossfire. It starts in Istanbul and ends in Vienna. Check out THE SCRIBE and move on from there.