Gosh…there are so many. Here are my top ten and honestly, they are in no particular order.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Read by Neil Gaiman – This haunting tale of a poor, orphaned boy being raised by the ghosts in his graveyard is all the more haunting when read to you by the incomparable Neil Gaiman. His voice adds a touch of sadness, whimsy, and magic to a tale that is already timeless and and enthralling for readers of all ages. I dare you to read this and not falling love with Bod, The Graveyard Book and Neil Gaiman. It also marks one of the only times I’ve listened to an audiobook with music that actually enhanced the story and didn’t not take away from it at all.
Possession by AS Byatt, Read by Virginia Leisham – Like I said earlier in the week, I read this book first and, while I did enjoy it, I had trouble with it. Discovering it in audio was a godsend, for I found the amazing story buried under all the stuff that’s going on in this novel. It’s very… busy. I cannot think of a more adequate summary than the one Audible has on their website: “As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire – from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.” Leisham’s reading is perfect for this book.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Read by Davina Porter – If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Davina Porter read this wonderful tale of a 20th century woman thrust back to 18th century Scotland, to meet the love of her life James Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser the Scottish warrior, drop everything and go buy it, download it, and devour it. You can thank me latter. Also, ONLY get the versions read by Davina Porter. It’s what Diana Gabaldon wants, and it’s what I want.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld, Read by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner – There is nothing about this book I don’t love. I read it before it was published and loved it. I reread it later and loved it. And then I listened to it and I loved it even more. Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner do an absolutely amazing job reading this story. I found myself caught up in the story again, like I’d never read it, and that my friends, is something amazing. Just see what these two reviews say:
Bianca Amato is stunning as Margaret….[her] respect for the power of story and the written word is heard in every utterance. Jill Tanner accomplishes a tour de force as the enigmatic and mysterious Vida. In conversation her voice has the hesitancy and fragility of an elderly woman, but her voice takes on the strength and power of a master storyteller as she weaves her spellbinding life story.” (AudioFile)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Read by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael – This is one of my favorite creepy books, which I am starting to notice is one of my favorite audio genres. How odd. This one is cream of the crop with it’s haunting story of, not only because of Dracula, but for the story of a young woman desperately searching Europe for her missing father. Justine Eyre and Paul Michael did a masterful job with the reading of this one. Not to be missed.
The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, Read by Josephine Bailey – quite possibly my favorite Young Adult trilogy (not counting the Chaos Walking trilogy, that’s first), these are marvelous in audio. Josephine Bailey adds a touch of sophistication and poignancy to Gemma’s voice. In her hands Gemma becomes more than just another petulant teenager and I greatly enjoyed the ride.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Read by Peter Altschuler – I haven’t even finished this one yet, I’m almost there, but I know it will be a favorite. I have absolutely fallen in love with Major Pettigrew and Peter Altschuler. This book is a delight from the beginning to the very end. As far as I can tell, this is the only book Peter Altschuler has read and I want to put out a desperate plea; please publishers, give him more books to read!
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Read by Barbara Kingsolver – This book inspires me every time I read/listen to it. I am sure it will be a yearly reread for years to come, serving to remind me why I need to garden, why I need to go to the Farmer’s Market and we all need to make a few changes, if we are to survive.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Read by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’m sure most of you have heard of this book buy now, even if you haven’t read it. It’s quite good, but I thought it was even better in audio. Gilbert has a lovely voice and it’s fun to listen to her read her own story. Gives it a much more… personal… touch.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, Read by Cassandra Campbell – This story of eight cooking school students and how their lives are affected by the food, Lillian and each other is made all the better by Cassandra Campbell’s careful reading. I love what AudioFile has to say about it:
Cassandra Campbell’s exquisite, sensuous vocal tones set the mood for THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS–a novel that treats food as emotional metaphor and as therapy. A lovely homage to the soul-healing properties of a sumptuous meal–or an essential ingredient–this work enchants and inspires. The story traces the experiences (internal and external, past and present) of eight cooking-class students who are gathering at Lillian’s restaurant. Campbell sweetly and deliberately speaks to the sensations of cookery and taste. While Lillian never shares a recipe in the traditional sense, her culinary creations are “without words,” and transform the life of each student with aromas, flavors, and textures that unlock memories and eventual healing. As the students’ lives intertwine, there are surprise results–which sparkle with Campbell’s lyrical delivery. (c) AudioFile 2009
So there you have it. Ten of my favorite audiobooks. I hope you see one you would like to try and, maybe, become hooked like I am too!
What are some of your favorites?