Top Ten Tuesday: My ten favorite audiobook listens

TTT summer

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a freebie, which means we all get to choose our own topics. I love freebie weeks! It’s always such fun to see what everyone else comes up with.

For my freebie post, I’m writing about my Ten Favorite Audiobook Listens. I only really started listening to audiobooks a few years ago, but I’m not kidding when I say I’m a fan! I lack the concentration to listen to audiobooks when I’m sitting still, but they’ve become my constant companions while I’m driving or walking or working out. Here are the ones I’ve enjoyed most so far:

Part I: Re-reads

I’ve found that I really enjoy revisiting favorite books via audio. That way, I get to revisit a world and characters that I love, but don’t feel like I’m taking time away from reading new things. Plus, sometimes listening to a book gives a whole new feeling or experience to a well-loved story. My favorites so far:

1) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Just as heart-breaking via audio as it was on paper. The audiobook features two narrators, who take the roles of the two young women who tell the story. Their narration is nuanced and really brings the characters to life. I made the mistake of listening to this while out on a walking path — it’s kind of embarrassing to be that crazy lady walking down the street with tears rolling down her face.


2) But on a lighter note, I loved listening to A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. It’s hilarious, and the audiobook made me laugh right when I needed it! Plus, this was a great refresher right before reading the sequel.

Dirty Job

3) The works of Jane Austen: I got on an Austen kick last year, and ended up listening to all six of her novels. Amazing! All but one were narrated by Juliet Stevenson, and she used such amazing voices to give the characters personality. I don’t think I ever fully appreciated the humor of some of Austen’s snarkier bits, and Emma was especially laugh-out-loud funny.

Emma 2

4) Yes, I suppose you’d expect me to put this in my #1 slot… but I didn’t, just to be arbitrary. The Outlander series! I think Outlander is why I originally got into audiobooks, now that I think about it. I’d heard how good the narrator (Davina Porter) is, and well… you can never have enough Outlander! Each book takes somewhere around 45 hours to listen to, but hey, that’s what a commute is for. Listening to the Scottish accents is a trip, and somehow I manage to get so into the story that I forget that Jamie’s voice actually belongs to a lovely Englishwoman.


5) On a very related note, the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon is also amazing on audiobook! I’m listing this as a separate item because the books are a spin-off series with a different main character, and the narrator, Jeff Woodman, is just excellent. I always liked Lord John, but the audiobooks made me love him. The narrator strikes just the right note as an aristocratic English gentleman with a dry but vivid sense of humor — and imagine my surprise to discover that the narrator is actually American. Totally fooled me.

lord john

Part II: First-time Reads

6) Uprooted by Naomi Novik: After hearing about how great this book is, I decided to try it as an audiobook because I was already overloaded with commitment reading. It was amazing! The narrator’s accent was off-putting at the very beginning, but pretty soon I started to love how it gave the story a fairy tale, exotic feel. In fact, I loved the story so much that I considered switching to the printed page, but I missed the narrator’s voice too much!


7) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: I’m not usually much of a non-fiction reader, but something drew me to this amazing story. The narrator, Edward Herrmann, made me feel like I was listening to a nice old uncle sitting by the fire telling me stories.


8) The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown: This book has the same narrator as Unbroken, and between the story itself and the excellent narration, I was hooked.

The Boys in the Boat

9) Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman: I’m also not much of a short story reader, but it occurred to me that audiobooks might be the perfect solution, since I can only ever listen in small chunks anyway. This was a great choice, especially since Neil Gaiman himself is the narrator. He does a wonderful job, and I think it adds another layer of appreciation in hearing how the author chooses to emphasize and inflect different parts of the stories.

Trigger Warning

10) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: This was a book group read for me, and I ended up falling behind — and again, I had too many other books I’d already committed to. I decided to try the audiobook mostly as an efficient use of time, but I was absolutely delighted with the quality of the narration. The story itself is powerful, and the two narrators capture the voices of the two main characters so perfectly.

Invention of Wings 2

Are you an audiobook fan? Which are your favorites?

I’d love to see your freebie topics, so please share your TTT links!

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41 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: My ten favorite audiobook listens

  1. I recently started enjoying audiobooks, and rereading books I’ve read, via audio, is a great experience for me too. I did this with the Harry Potter books.
    My favourite recent listen was Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawad. ❤

  2. I seriously never considered listening to short story audio books. Now that you mentioned it here, it looks like a fantastic idea. I’ve always had a hard time with audiobooks so starting with short stories, I think, would suit me well~

  3. I tend to buy an audiobook after I’ve read a book and know it’ll be something I’ll listen to again. I actually joined Audible to buy specific series of books… Outlander, LOTR trilogy, and romance junkie that I am, a couple of Nora Roberts’ series. Comfort listens, I call them.

    Just recently discovered the quirkiness that is Christopher Moore. Only read, not listened to, a couple of his books. 🙂

    • I’m with you when it comes to comfort listens! I’ve used my Audible credits for the Harry Potter books and Outlander series — all of which I could listen to again and again. Christopher Moore is amazing!

      • Harry Potter audiobooks weren’t available through Audible while I had an active account, currently I have a Listener Light account with a couple o’ credits waiting for specific books to drop. 🙂

    • Neil Gaiman is an awesome narrator. I listened to Stardust recently as well, and loved it! I had a hard time with audiobooks at first, but sometimes I think it’s just a matter of finding one that clicks for you. The first couple I tried didn’t, but then I struck gold. 🙂 Another reason I’m really fond of audiobooks for rereads is that my mind tends to wander, and if it’s a reread, I don’t feel like I’m missing too much if I get distracted.

  4. Gaiman is an excellent narrator! I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Outlander on audio, but 36 hours into The Fiery Cross (my second Outlander audio) and I am loving it! They do take a while to get through, but I find that I don’t even pay attention to the hour count with these, I just look forward to continuing the story wherever I left off. I also am doing them as a re-read, picking up where I left off with the print books. I was on the fence about Lord John since those re-reads will be shorter, but I think I just may continue the audio route now 🙂

    And I really love the idea of getting more out of a classic like a Jane Austen novel by listening. I listened to a few classic plays and short stories and definitely feel like the narrator enhanced my understanding of the work. Audible has so many great actors narrating classics now, I keep meaning to give more of them a go one of these days!

    • Oh, definitely give the Lord John audiobooks a try! I haven’t quite listened to all the books in the Outlander series, but I forget which ones I’ve skipped! I have a feeling I haven’t listened to Fiery Cross or Echo in the Bone.

      Speaking of classics, Audible had a full-cast version of Dracula on sale recently, so that’s in my queue.

    • I do too — but that’s why I started doing rereads. Somehow it takes the pressure off to listen to a story that I’m already familiar with, and if it’s a book I love anyway, then listening makes me happy all over again. 🙂

  5. I have never liked the audio book format, but if Neil Gaiman is the narrator, then I am in! Trigger Warning was a good collection of stories, wasn’t it?

    • Oh yes, it was really good! I’d read some of the stories already, but a lot were new to me, and his narration made them all so terrific. I think he narrates all of his audiobooks — I haven’t listened to many, but I did recently listen to Stardust and thought he made it loads of fun.

  6. This is a great list of audiobooks! I love to listen to them in the gym or at work (computer intensive stuff only). My favorite is Jo Nesbo’s The Son by Gildart Jackson. But I also really love the Outlander series too.

    My TTT

  7. I haven’t listened to any of these, but it’s really nice to have a list of good ones, especially since I’m trying to make an effort to listen to audiobooks more. I love Outlander, so maybe I’ll start with that one. Great list! Here’s mine. Happy reading!

  8. I tend to listen to the classics on audio. Still new to it myself, but quite enjoy it! I’m currently listening to The picture of Dorian Gray. Happy reading and listening. Please pop over to my blog to see my top ten favourite quotes from books.

    • I think that audio is a great way to appreciate classics! Besides the Austen books, I listened to a Jack London book this past year as well, and loved it! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I absolutely adore Davina Porter’s narration of the Outlander books! So far I have listened to Outlander through The Fiery Cross. I usually read the book first and then listen to it right after to just relive everything.
    I also love Juliet Stevenson’s narrations of Jane Austen’s novels! She does such a fantastic job of bringing those characters to life.

    • Yay, another Juliet Stevenson/Austen fan! Davina Porter is so talented. I have all of the audiobooks in the series, but I still have a few to listen to…

  10. I loved Code Name Verity when I read it earlier this year. I will have to check it out on audiobook. Sounds likea super moving listen. And I just love Emma by JA so much. I bet the audiobook is hilarious. Unbroken is on my TBR. I will check out the audiobook after your recommendation 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier 🙂

  11. Great topic. I’ve only just started listening to audiobooks and so far have had a few that I’ve really enjoyed (notably The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert) and one that was so bad I had to stop (The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood).

    To begin my foray into audiobooks I’ve stuck to ones that I also have a hard copy of the book, in case I want to switch to reading but I think re-reads is an excellent idea. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • I didn’t particularly enjoy the Atwood book (read it in printed format), so I can see why the audiobook might not have been a success. Having a hard copy handy is good idea — for a couple of my audiobooks, I ended up taking the hard copy book out of the library so I could go back and check details if I needed to (or to make up for parts I might have missed if I got distracted by looking for parking — apparently, I can’t park and concentrate on a story at the same time.)

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