Celebrate Audiobook Month with 23 of Our Favorite Audiobooks
When people ask me how I read so many books a year, the first thing I say is – AUDIOBOOKS! I listen to audiobooks when driving around running errands. I listen to them when I go for a run. I listen when I’m cooking dinner, folding laundry, and whenever I clean. If a book is engrossing, the time flies by! Basically, if I am doing anything mindless, I’m listening to a book on the side. But that’s not the only reason to listen to an audiobook. When the perfect book meets the perfect narrator, the reading experience is seriously elevated.
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As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, June is Audiobook Month. As a HUGE fan of audiobooks, I wanted to make sure we didn’t let the month go uncelebrated. I decided to compile a list of my favorite audiobooks for your listening pleasure. The books described below aren’t just good books read out loud. The narration in each of these stories deepens the storytelling. Let me know if you agree with these choices or if you have any recommendations for me!
Also, for all you audiobook-newbies, did you know that you can try a free month of Audible and get 2 books for free? After your free trial is up, you get one book a month for $14.95. Give it a try! Who knows, you might get hooked like me. I LOVE my Audible membership and I renew it every year!
I can’t create a list of Audiobooks without including my favorite Historical Fiction series. Davina Porter’s voice is Claire’s voice to me. Clare’s story of surviving in the 1740s Scottish Highlands is an epic romantic tale. With books that are over 800 pages long, it’s sometimes nice to listen instead of trekking a giant tome around.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The audiobook version was a finalist for the 2018 Audie Awards for good reason. We adored this fascinating story of female spies in World War 1. It was also chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her book club pick last July.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
When a book is told by three characters and the audio version has three different narrators, it often elevates the book. The story of the Lilac girls is fantastic, to begin with, but the New York, Polish, and German accents of the narrators make this a superb choice for the audiobook newbie. Just be prepared to cry.
The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead
This Pulitzer Prize-winning story of a slave attempting to escape to freedom is haunting and hopeful. The narrator does a fantastic job of bringing emotion to the book.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
The writing was artistic and beautiful. The narrator added feeling to the letters read throughout the story. Every word of this story about a Jewish female scribe in the 1600s was captivating.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
OMG, the suspense in this book from the narrator was amazing. The story, which won the Pulitzer Prize, was so engrossing I couldn’t stop listening. The narrator was fantastic and he had my heart pounding non-stop during the climactic conclusion.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
Another Reese Witherspoon pick, she clearly knows her stuff! I sometimes struggle with pronouncing names from different cultures and I love that the narrator was able to correct the way I read the names in my head. The stories from the women which are interspersed throughout are quite steamy, but the main story is about a woman trying to marry her modern London life with her Punjabi culture.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
This enchanting tale of one couple in their three possible life paths is filled with the ups and downs of real life. It is an incredible journey of true love and destiny. Different narrators helped to keep the three life paths separate in my head.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
This book immediately grabbed my attention and held me captive. A love story between Leo and Mathilde told first from the point of view of Leo and then from the point of view of Mathilde. However, it isn’t repetitive at all and offers surprises at every turn. It is believable, emotional and just a tad bit crazy which is good in my book!!
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
I have read Lisa See for years and loved her books. I jumped at the chance to listen to this book. The story is so interesting, heartbreaking and beautiful. The story begins in the 80s and spans 30 years. This story was also a finalist for an Audie award.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
I can’t begin to express how great this audiobook was. The book is narrated by “Music” who tells the story of a fictional Frankie Presto. The music that accompanies the telling of this story makes it feel as though you are listening to a play. Entertaining from the first minute to the last. This is my all-time favorite.
I don’t think this book would have captured my interest based on the description and cover alone. The fact that it won an Audie had me picking it up. Vance’s memoir was fascinating and a bit disheartening. It cut through the political mumbo-jumbo and had me thinking about it for weeks after it ended.
Amy Poehler is a riot. We all know this. Reading Amy Poehler is totally a gas, but listening to Amy Poehler reading Amy Poehler is the only way to experience this book fully. I made the mistake of reading instead of listening to it and I totally regret it. Don’t make my mistake – always listen to comedian memoirs.
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
I could not believe this was a true story when I read it. As a former Zoo employee myself I was captivated by this non-fiction account of the Warsaw Zoo in WW2. The narrator of this tale made me forget I wasn’t reading fiction.
I love when audiobooks come with special enhancements. This tale of Huguette Clark and her astounding fortune and reclusive life was fascinating. The audio clips of her talking with the author were so special. The book version includes photos of her estates, so be sure to google the images!
The narrator of the Chief Inspector Gamache stories is my absolute favorite. I could listen to him read all day. With over 13 books in the series, I can do just that. Penny’s perspectives on human nature are fascinating and the inhabitants of Three Pines are like old friends at this point.
Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
J.K. Rowling can write like no one’s business and the narrator of this tale NAILS the character. This mystery had me hooked and I immediately listened to the rest of the books in Corman Strike Series. I can’t wait to see this in mini-series form!
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkan
First off, this novel is amazing. I haven’t been this shocked by a psychological thriller in years! Julia Whelan (an incredible narrator and writer of My Oxford Year) really delivers the suspense with this one. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know.
This was the first Lisa Jewell I read and it had me hooked from the first page! The narration was fantastic and helped to flesh out the storylines. I’m intending to listen to Jewell’s latest later this month.
Young Adult and Middle Grade
Another story with multiple narrators, this tale of 3 teen refugees was amazing. Each character is from a different time, Poland in the 40s, Cuba in the 50s and Syria in the ’00s. Each tale is gripping with a narrator that nails the delivery.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling
Jim Dale, oh how I adore thee! With 460+ voices in the telling of this story, it is absolutely epic. No matter how many times I listen to these (all seven), I never get tired of them. It is rare to have someone who can do a voice so perfectly, you know who is talking without any other reference. If you have not listened to this series, it should be next on your list. A little fact that we did not know, Steven Frye narrates the UK version of these books and there is some heavy debate on who does this better. What are your thoughts? Kirsten and I are firmly in the Jim Dale camp. Listen here
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
OMG. A magical telling of the story of Lady Jane Grey aka the Nine Day Queen. I’m not one for magical realism but I did adore this YA tale. I laughed at loud numerous times because of the narrator’s delivery. I’ve already pre-ordered the second book in the series and can’t wait for its release!
Another book that has a musical component, this book tells the story of a harmonica and how it changes the lives of four children. I loved the fairy tale and the beginning as well as the music that is as much a part of this book as the story. Warning: once you start listening, be prepared to continue until the story is finished.
I’ve already read Outlander but I kind of want to give the audiobook a shot too 🙂 The Alice Network is high on my list, so it’s good to know the audiobook is excellent!
You can’t go wrong with either but Outlander will always be number 1 for me. 😉