So, I noticed that several people seemed to enjoy my post about the audiobook, How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps, so I decided to take a few minutes this Tuesday to compile a quick list of my favorite audiobooks. And whew Nelly, was this a difficult list to compile. You see, being a full-time mom AND a full-time teacher AND a part-time theatre director, I don’t always get as much time as I would like to sit down and actually read, so I often spend my commute listening to books on audible.
If you’re someone who wants to read more but keeps finding that you don’t have time, I strongly suggest that you download an audiobook, and maybe pick out something from my list.
Fair warning: this list is completely subjective. I have no grading rubric for the following novels. They are ranked 100% on a whim.
If you grew up a fan of the Harry Potter series, you will love the Dresden Files as an adult, and Jim Butcher’s Storm Front is the first of that series.
Harry Dresden is a modern day wizard living in Chicago, and when things start to go wrong on a magical lever, he is the man to call for help. This series has it all–wizards, magic, vampires, a talking skull named Bob–everything you could want in an urban fantasy novel. PLUS it’s narrated by James Marsters. That’s right, Spike from Buffy will read this book to you, and the failed Syfy show proves that you can’t get a better Dresden than James Marsters. Check this one out if you’re a fan of fast-paced action with a little mystery and fantasy thrown into the mix.
If you haven’t heard of Carrie, then you are clearly an ostrich. This was Stephen King’s debut novel, and the fact that he wrote something this iconic on his first long-fiction outing makes me and every other writer out there humble. Moreover, this audiobook is narrated by Sissy Spacek, who began her legendary movie career playing the title character in the 1976 film. All the failed revamps prove that you can’t get a better Carrie than Sissy Spacek.
One of Agatha Christie’s somewhat lesser known novels, Death on the Nile, is one of my favorite Poirot mystery. I can’t tell you much about the plot without giving it all away, but Hercule Poirot boards a ship navigating it’s way down the famous Nile, and one of the most high-class of his fellow passengers is killed. It’s up to Poirot to discover the murderer before he or she escapes.
The thing that makes Poirot such a memorable detective–ranked up there with Holmes and Dupin–is that, unlike his predecessors, Poirot chooses to believe in the good of mankind, and this book is the one that shows off that particular character trait the best in my opinion. It helps that the audiobook is narrated by David Suchet, who played Poirot on the BBC for 25 years.
If you like a good whodunit mystery, you will love this book!
I know, I know. The movie left something to be desired, but the original dystopian novel definitely lived up to the hype, whether you’re an 80’s baby or just a fan of nostalgia in general. Also, while listening to the book, you’ll experience a fun betta moment when reader, Wil Wheaton, starts to read about himself as the legendary “god of nerds.”
Yes, this is another well-known novel read by a pretty well-known actor, Sir Stephen Fry, but if you can manage to get through this audiobook without laughing out-loud at least once, then I’m pretty sure you have no soul.
The Monster Hunter series by Larry Correa was the first series I listened to completely on audiobook, and it was several hours well-spent. I was in grad school at the time, trudging my way through mountains of old English and Medieval literature, and these books were a blessed escape.
Out of the series, Alpha was my personal favorite since it focussed on my favorite character, Earl Harbinger, the monster-hunting werewolf.
Each book is lengthy but action-packed, so the plot moves swiftly. If you’re new to audiobooks, I can tell you that this is the one that got me hooked!
Okay. I know. We’ve all heard of Game of Thrones, and though I haven’t seen the final season (for good reason), I did enjoy most of the show. Still, as with all things, the books are better. The books are also massive, and most working adults don’t have time to sit and read them cover to cover, which is exactly why you should let Roy Dotrice read them to you.
Fair warning: the books were recorded before the HBO series, so some of the names are pronounced slightly differently. I listened to the books before watching the series, so that really threw me off for a while.
No list of mine would be complete without mentioning a novel by Neil Gaiman, especially not an audiobook list. Not only does the man of my dreams (don’t tell the husband) write breath-taking magical realism, but he reads his own audiobooks! He does the voices and everything! This is one made the list simply because it’s the one I’ve listened to the most.
Odd is a young, diminutive viking boy with a bad leg. He’s also, as his name suggests, very odd. He doesn’t fit in with his family or the people of his village. During one particularly awful winter (the worst in history) he runs away to his deceased father’s cabin outside of town and comes across a bear, a fox, and an eagle who happen to be three cursed Norse gods. It’s suddenly this strange little boy’s responsibility to break the curse placed on the gods and stop the eternal winter.
Odd and the Frost Giants is short and magical, perfect the the child in your life or the child inside.
There’s not a high schooler in America who hasn’t hear of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. If there is, then I need to speak to your English teacher(s) ASAP. This is one of the only novels I got to read in high school that was written by a woman, much less a black woman. It’s important, it’s meaningful, and it needs to be read, which is why I taught it when I taught 11th grade English.
The last year I taught eleventh grade, my students were having trouble understanding some of the souther dialogue in the novel. Usually I would just read some of it out loud to them to help them comprehend, but I had lost my voice. This audiobook (read by American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and civil rights activist, Ruby Dee) was what saved most of their grades, and it gave me a renewed love for a novel I had been teaching a loooong time.
During times like this, Their Eyes Were Watching God is exactly the type of book you need to read to give you a better understanding of the problems of our fellow humans.
Hounded by Kevin Hearne is the one to listen to if you really enjoy mythology and you want a truly entertaining, well-produced series to keep you company for a while. AND it’s narrated by the incomparable Luke Daniels, who not only makes every character fun and unique but perfectly embodies the first-person narrator, Atticus.
Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the ancient Druids. He lives peacefully in Arizona with his Irish wolfhound, Oberon (my favorite character) until the Celtic god of love, Aenghus Óg (my least favorite character), tracks him down to try and kill him because of a centuries’ old feud they have over Atticus’s magical sword, Fragarach.
This book, and the books following it, is everything an Urban Fantasy series should be and more. My husband has listened through the entire series multiple times, and it never gets old.
Well, there you have it! There’s my list. I hope you consider picking up at least one of these titles. I strongly suggest purchasing from audible (no, they are not sponsoring me) because you get your first book for free, and it always has amazing deals. Scribd is also good, but they don’t have as many choices.