Audiobooks are a great way to incorporate more books into your daily life. You can listen while doing literally almost anything, in the car, at the gym, while pretending to be listening to someone else, etc.
What makes an audiobook stand out? Inflection, tone, cadence, emotion all play a key role, yet familiarity with the material is the ultimate determining factor. There is nothing quite like hearing an author read aloud their words in the manner and style intended.
Here are a couple audiobooks I enjoyed this year that are a decibel or two above the rest.
Circe by Madeline Miller — 5 ⭐️’s
One of my favorite books this year also happens to be EXCELLENT in audio format, honey for your ears. The narrator is British (Perdita Weeks) and her breathy accent is a divine fit for the goddess of sorcery. I wish I could listen to this one again for the first time, it was so absolutely perfect. If I could recommend you ONE fiction book to listen to next, it would be this book 110%.
One word: lyrical.
Simon Prebble, an English actor and narrator has an extensive background in radio and as a television announcer. His distinct accent is perfectly suited to an adventurous tale of survival in the South Atlantic. When I first started listening, I could have sworn it was the same narrator from the BBC World documentaries. The tone is excellent and atmospheric.
Sounds like Sir David Attenborough’s twin.
Calypso by David Sedaris — 5 ⭐️’s
This book also appears on my favorite nonfiction list of 2018, but there is nothing like hearing Sedaris relate his colorful family dynamics with his softly squeaky voice. Such a treat.
Classic Sedaris, re: This American Life in long-form.
Audio-chocolate to the max, Tyson drips science like butter on a roll. Akin to the Cosmos series Tyson hosts, this book is soothing, informative, and the most relaxing, illuminating trip into the universe you’ve ever taken.
Smooth silky tones of the ultimate science communicator.
Powerful, emotional, raw, Roxane pours out her soul and you can hear the emotion in her voice. Talk about a powerful experience, and a strong, resilient woman.
Difficult truths divulged by the warrior who survived them.
Scott Brick narrates with a classic, almost old-timey radio voice. He has narrated well over 800+ audiobooks, it seems I’m not the only one who enjoys his vocal chords. I distinctly remember listening to the book whilst taking a hot shower and getting chills. One of the most famous murderers comes through creepy AF.
Lock your doors.
Jian Yang!!! I’m a huge fan of HBO’s Silicon Valley, on which Jimmy O. Yang plays Jian Yang, “I eat the fish.” Although Jimmy doesn’t have quite same hilarious Chinglish accent from the show, his California cool comes through in a humous reflection on growing up in Cali as a Hong Kong transfer.
Relatable expatriate strip club DJ.
At first, I didn’t know what to make of Eleanor. I felt bad for her, and thought the book was depressing. I was wrong. Eleanor is strangely endearing, and by the end you will be rooting for her. Props to my online book club for the suggestion, and encouragement to push though. The narrator, Cathleen McCarron trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and she really made the book for me.
Expression in between the words.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler — 4 ⭐️’s
Cute, heartfelt, and classic Amy. Serious at times, Poehler is one funny, strong woman. An inside look at the behind the scenes life of one of the funniest women in comedy.
The essence of Amy Poehler, as told by Amy Poehler.
Becoming by Michelle Obama — 5 ⭐️’s
Warm, intimate, and honest, this book is especially great in audio format, read by Michelle herself. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much just reading it, but listening to Michelle reveal intimate details of her life felt like listening to a friend. I teared up more than once.
A non-political, powerful advocate for women in her own words.
Gary Vee sounds like he is permanently amped. He runs a million miles a minute and gets very animated. You can feel his passion and conviction with every emphasized word. This was a great follow up to Crush It, and meshes perfectly with The Thank You Economy. If you need to get pumped for business, look no further.
Biz-jazz fingers for your auditory canals.
The Outsider by Stephen King — 3 ⭐️’s
Although I only gave it three stars, the audiobook narrator is an ASMR dream. My ears first fell in love with actor Will Patton as the breathy, whispery narrator of King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy—I could listen to him read a shampoo bottle. Patton's soft growly, rustling tones tickle the auditory canals as Detective Anderson tracks down answers. Not the best King book, and not the worst, the story is pretty middle of the road.
Grumbly and swishy, the audiobook is a treat for the ear holes—making an average story worth a listen.