Goodreads.com tells me that in the past seven years, I’ve listened to 130 audiobooks. In March 2018, a Forbes magazine article quoted research that said that audiobook purchases increased by 20% last year while print rose only by 1.5% and ebook sales dropped by 5.4%. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamrowe1/2018/03/27/the-rising-popularity-of-audiobooks-highlights-the-industrys-backwards-payscale/#784887514723) Clearly I’m not the only one in love with listening to books!
Back when I started listening to audiobooks, they were only available on cassette tapes but today listeners can choose between audiobooks on CD or downloading a digital audiobook to any mobile device or a smart speaker. We lucky Cook Memorial Library patrons can check out a CD audiobook or use one of three digital services to stream or download audiobooks for free: OverDrive, cloudLibrary and Hoopla.
There is something magical about listening to a great audiobook. I have been virtually transported to Westeros, Ireland, South Africa, various fantasy worlds and a small village in Canada called Three Pines. A good narrator makes all the difference in the experience and a bad one can ruin even a great book. Listening to a good audiobook can distract me from a long and boring drive to Iowa or keep me entertained while I clean the house or walk in Independence Grove. A skilled narrator will glide over the dialect or foreign names that might slow me down as a reader. An audiobook can help a struggling reader understand a novel which their eyes and mind are unable to decode on paper. And YES, listening to an audiobook counts as reading a book! (That topic needs a whole other blog post!)
So if you’re new to audioboks or looking for something great to listen to, here are my top ten books or series, in no particular order.
- Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series (the series that introduced me to the magic of audiobooks. A children’s series that adults also love. Magical.)
- Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series (transported me to Ireland)
- Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (I’m not gonna lie—I’m a little in love with Gamache)
- Any book by David Sedaris—wryly humorous observations on his world and human nature narrated by the author.
- Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin (even if you’ve watched the TV series, these audiobooks are better.)
- Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes series read by Will Patton. (chilling and compelling story read by one of the best narrators in the business. I would listen to him read the phone book!)
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (A full cast of over 100 narrators including celebrities Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally and Don Cheadle made this book the winner of the Audiobook of the Year for 2017.)
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Noah humorously tells his story of growing up in apartheid South Africa.)
- Children of Blood and Bone (first book in Legacy of Orisha series) by Tomi Adeyemi (a popular YA fantasy book made even better by Bahni Turpin’s brilliant narration. Great for families!)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (a classic novel brought to vivid life by Ruby Dee’s narration. Like listening to a play.)
So, if you spend time in the car, have a house to clean or just want to listen to a good book this list is a good place to start. If you can’t find something here, stop by the Reference Desk at Cook Park or Aspen Drive and we can find something you will enjoy!