Best Audiobooks?

don quixote audiobookD2, it seems like you recently mentioned that you listen to books during your commute to the candy shop. I’ve been listening to a few myself, and I feel that it is high time we compiled a list of the best audiobooks.

So what makes a book on audio great? Or sometimes even preferable to reading the print version? (Yes, this has happened to me, which I’ll get into in the list).

I’d narrow it down to:

  • The narrator’s voice (or voices)
  • The voice’s suitability for the story (I tried to listen to Company by Maxx Barry and got so annoyed by the voice that I couldn’t finish). On the other hand, the man reading 1984 is so grim that I couldn’t see him reading something like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, not that I know what that is

That’s about it. I remember reading The Hobbit on audio and being absolutely astonished that so many of the voices were done by one reader. And the songs! They actually sing the songs! Yes, that is a good thing.

Here is a list of a few of the best books I have heard on audio.

  • Don Quixote – Recorded books version (I actually prefer this to the print copy. You’ll understand why when you hear Quixote chastising Sancho in the most disgusted voice of all time)
  • Hell House by Richard Matheson
  • War Is A Force That Gives us Meaning by Christopher Hedges
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

And I’ll leave it there for now.

One sidenote, however. I am listening to a series of lectures called “Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition.”

One of the professors has the most severe lisp I think I’ve ever heard. I am currently listening to him lec

 

9 thoughts on “Best Audiobooks?

  1. I do listen to books on CD. I recently listened to Atonement by Ian McEwan. It was read with this British accent (which I love), and it really enhanced the experience for me. That particular book starts out quite slow (I have heard it described as Jane Austen trapped in amber), so had the beauty of the words being spoken not been so captivating, I may have given up much earlier on the purely written word.

    I just listened to The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber. It would have been good written, but the reading on the CDs was excellent. The voice matched what I would envision the natural narrative voice to be, so I liked that. A narrative voice that does not match the story or the subject matter can be terrible.

    And I recently listened to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. Audio might be the only way to go on that book. Quite an experience. The reader had this rich, gravelly voice that sounded like it had probably “been there, done that” regarding some of the subject matter involved. And I thought that was necessary. Hilarious and fun and COMPLETELY inappropriate.

    Not all accents are good accents, though. I recently listened to this book called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. The reader was this older like school marmy British lady, and I could barely stand it. I hung in there, because it was recommended by a friend whose opinion I value. But I ended up hating the story too, and I was angry I had listened to hour after hour of that annoying voice.

    I have turned off books I knew I wanted to “read” after a line or two of audio. Sometimes you just know.

  2. I am currently listening to The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares (pay no attention to other books written by this author). So far, I love it. The voice is good, and I am, apparently, in a summery-young-and-in-love mood.

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