For quite a few years, I’ve gone to the library and picked out a few (sometimes upwards to a dozen) audiobooks to choose from as alternatives to music or movies in the car. This time, we got to talking about books we’ve listened to (and liked) over the years, and that prompted me to come up with a list of our favorite audiobooks. I’ve added a few of my personal favorites as well.
1. The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex; read by Bahni Turpin. This is one we still rave about; it’s absolutely captivating and Turpin is fantastic as a narrator. In fact, we love it so much, we’re kind of worried about the changes that they’re making with the movie. Though we agree that Jim Parsons is perfect at J. Lo.
2. The House at Pooh Corner, by A. A. Milne; read by a whole cast. As I was going back through my records, it turns out we listened to this one before. Doesn’t matter; we were still captivated by the voices (particularly Geoffry Palmer as Eeyore) and you can’t go wrong with the Pooh bear stories.
3. The Black Cauldron, by Lloyd Alexander; read by James Langton. I think hubby and I enjoyed this one more than the girls did. They complained there were too many characters and it was confusing. Perhaps, they were just too young. Langton, however, was a perfect narrator.
4. Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man by Donald J. Sobol; read by Greg Steinbruner. Another one we rave about, still. The girls have asked, on multiple occasions, if we can get more of these, but I haven’t found any yet. We loved listening to the stories and trying to solve along. And Steinbruner was excellent.
5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis; read by Michael York. If you haven’t noticed yet, we tend to pick classics to listen to while we road trip. Partially that’s because we want to expose our kids to them, but also because I think they’re more interesting when read by a good reader. This is certainly true for Lewis’s books. The ones we’ve listened to have been fantastic.
6. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman; read by the author. The only thing I have to say is that if you’ve never heard Gaiman read one of his books, you’re missing out. I’d listen to him read a tech manual and be hanging on every word. It helps, of course, that he’s a great writer and storyteller as well.
7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor; read by Khristine Hvam. Taylor’s a beautiful writer, and Hvam captures her characters perfectly. Especially Brimstone. It was one that I just listened to on my own, but she had me hanging on every word.
8. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; read by Sissy Spacek. It’s one of those that everyone should read, and Sissy Spacek’s perfect southern drawl compliments Lee’s words quite nicely.
9. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson; read by Peter Altschuler. Often, when listening to an audio book, the reader makes or breaks the experience. In this case, the reader made it. He captured everything perfectly, and I had a better experience than I think I would have if I had just read the book.
10. One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson; read by the author. Much like Neil Gaiman, Bryson’s books are better listened to. He’s got an incredibly dry sense of humor, and that suits his writing quite well. They’re chock full of information, though, so don’t be surprised if you end up checking out the print book as well.
What have been some of your favorite audio books?