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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you an audiobook fan? Which are your favorites?
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