Top 10 Favorite Audiobooks

JuneHeaderIn honor of June is Audiobook Month (JIAM), I’ve decided to share a list of my favorite audiobooks. This was hard! There are a lot of good ones out there. If you haven’t tried an audiobook before, here are a few you might want to try.

1. Three Junes by Julia Glass. What I said: “The narrator, John Keating, was nearly perfect. I loved his brogue and his Fenno was wonderful.”

2. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. What I said: “The three performers -Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver, and Mark Bramhall – were absolutely perfect; I felt like I was listening to a script reading. The voice of Clem, in particular, was superb. This may be the best audio production I’ve ever listened to.”

3. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout. What I said: “The performer, Bernadette Dunne, had the accents down perfectly and really imbued the voices with personality and character. She brought Strout’s words to life so convincingly that at times I felt as though the characters were in the room with me. This is one of the best audiobook narrations I’ve listened to, ever.”

4. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. What I said: “[T]he narration by Peter Altschuler is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Great delivery and perfect accents. Mrs. Ali was the weak link, the errant thread of the Turkish rug. But the others were great.”

5. A Good American by Alex George. What I said: “The audio is terrific. Great narrator – Gibson Frazier. In fact, I think it was the audio version that kept me interested – I am not sure I would have stuck with this book if I hadn’t been listening to it.”

6. Faith by Jennifer Haigh. What I said: “The narrator, Therese Plummer, has a perfect Boston accent, and she vividly brought Faith‘s characters, male and female, to life. The audiobook forced me to ingest this novel more slowly than if I had read it, prolonging the pleasure of experiencing the book.”

7. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett: What I said: “Hope Davis is an excellent narrator. She conveys a range of voices perfectly – from Marina’s terror brought on by drug-induced nightmares to the infallible tone of Dr. Swenson.”

8. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. What I said: “I highly recommend the audio. It was narrated by Ferris, and he’s a great reader. I love listening to authors read their own works – who understands the words better than they do? Who else knows exactly where the emphasis lands in a sentence, and the tone of voice a character should take when talking to someone else?”

9. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. What I said: “It didn’t hurt that I listened to this book on audio narrated by the sublime Campbell Scott. I wouldn’t complain if he narrated every single audiobook in the library. His deep voice, which verges on (but never reaches) flatness, was the perfect vehicle for Perrotta’s understated sarcasm and jabs. I especially enjoyed Scott’s narration of Pastor Dennis – just perfect.”

And finally, the audiobook that got me into audiobooks…

10. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. What I said: “This book is narrated by Kristoffer Tabori, an accomplished actor, and I give him credit for embodying so many diverse voices throughout the 21 hours of Middlesex. His narration is fluid and vibrant, his voice highly capable of conveying the range from humor to desperation. To me, the weak link was his female voices, especially that of Cal’s grandmother Desdemona, who bordered on caricature. But this is a minor complaint. There were times when I was tempted to read ahead in my print copy of Middlesex, but I developed a strong appreciation for and loyalty to Tabori as I was reading, and felt that it would be betraying him NOT to experience every word through his narration.”

What are your favorite audiobooks? Please share them!

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11 Comments

  • June 13, 2013 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    The only one of those I’ve listened to is A Land More Kind Than Home and I agree with you – it’s an amazing audio! You should try 11/22/63 – it’s long, but fantastic!

    • gayle
      June 13, 2013 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I have heard great things about that book – will try it out! Glad that someone else appreciated ALMKTH on audio – I thought it was excellent.

  • June 13, 2013 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Life of Pi was one of the first audiobooks I listened to, and it was excellent. I loved the accent of the narrator – it added a lot to the atmosphere of the story.

    I also enjoyed State of Wonder, but didn’t listen to the audiobook.

    And of course there are the Harry Potter audios, which are some of the best ever. Jim Dale does different voices for all of the characters and they are pretty consistent in sound across the entire series.

    • gayle
      June 13, 2013 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your favorite audiobooks!

  • wendy
    June 13, 2013 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    May not be as literary as the titles you chose (which i will now check out!), but Nathaniel Parker is AWESOME at narrating the Artemis Fowl series by Eion Colfer. Also great is Simon Jones at narrating the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

    • gayle
      June 13, 2013 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your picks, Wendy!

  • June 13, 2013 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I’ve added a few audiobooks to my wishlist. I’m really loving The Golem & the Jinni. It’s narrated by George Guidall, and he did a superb job on this audio. I’ve heard his narration of a couple of other books and I really liked him before, but he seems to step up his game on this one.

  • June 16, 2013 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I though the Unnamed in audio was perfect – the urgency in the narrator’s voice perfectly conveyed the anxiety behind the protagonist’s constant walking.

    I also liked Major Pettigrew’s last stand. I will have to check out some of your other recommendations.

    • gayle
      June 19, 2013 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      Yes – the Unnamed was perfect. I loved that it was the author, too.

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