It’s that time of year. The time when top 10 and “best of” lists are promulgated by every reviewer, blogger, commentator or editor on the planet. Culled from reviews, circulation records, listener raves, and MHO, I offer all you Audio Book fans out there yet another list.
TOP AUDIOBOOK FICTION TITLES
A Visit from The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Read by Roxana Ortega.
print version of this novel about power, friendship, rebellion, and
aging has made every top ten list around. The audio is as highly rated.
Roxana Ortega has just the right balance of youth and maturity in her
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Read by Bronson Pinchot.
Thirty years in the making, (the novel, not the audio) Marlantes’s epic tale is a
dense, vivid narrative spanning many months in the lives of American
troops in Vietnam as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger
from opposing forces as well as on their home turf.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Read by Simon Vance.
Blockbuster thriller from Sweden. Everyone is reading and listening to this trilogy. Give it a try.
61 Hours by Lee Child. Read by Dick Hill.
Reacher is back in another high-octane thriller (the 14th in the
series) from Lee Child. Some critics believe Child’s work is best
experienced through Dick Hill’s stellar narration. Sounds to me like
code for “the listen is better than the read.”
One Day by David Nicholls. Read by Anna Bentinck.
isn’t on any list I’ve come across except my own. Theme: Love story.
Location: London. Time: July 15, mid-80s through the present. Bentinck’s
narration will have you laughing and crying. Thoroughly enjoyable.
So Cold the River by Michael Kortya. Read by Robert Petkoff.
Edgar Award nominee Koryta’s captivating work of supernatural horror is masterfully read by actor Robert Petkoff who renders the characters with “veridical insight.” – from Library Journal.
Room by Emma Donoghue. Read by Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Suzanne Toren & Robert Petkoff.
This is a bit of a sleeper hit. The story of a kidnapped young woman and her 7 year old son living in a converted shed in her kidnapper’s backyard. “The chemistry between the players creates a gem of an audiobook that will haunt listeners long after the story’s end,” from Publisher’s Weekly.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green. Read by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl.
This is a Young Adult novel. Please, if you don’t care for YA literature do not listen to this. The eponymous high school characters are trying to grow up in Evanston and Naperville. An hilariously wrenching and satisfying listen from these two respected YA authors.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Read by Carolyn McCormick.
Another YA title. Part three in The Hunger Games trilogy. Intense suspense. Fabulous.
The Passage by Justin Cronin. Read by Scott Brick.
It was a toss up whether to end the list with Freedom by Franzen, but Freedom’s had plenty of attention so I opted for Scott Brick’s masterful rendering (on 29 CDs!) of Cronin’s engrossingly horrific account of a post-apocalyptic America overrun by
the gruesome reality behind wish-fulfillment fantasies. So there.
TOP AUDIOBOOK NONFICTION TITLES
Life by Keith Richards. Read by Joe Hurley, Johnny Depp, Keith Richards.
Keith Richards and Johnny Depp? What more needs to be said?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Read by Cassandra Campbell with Bahni Turpin.
Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting
descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been
kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer
research, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping.
This book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson. Read by Hillary Huber.
Of course this would make my list, but it is on others as well. A fascinating romp about how librarians are going to save the world. Really, it’s interesting, a little scary and perhaps prescient.
Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. Read by Mark Deakins.
The conclusion of Morris’s trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. According to AudioFile magazine, “Deakins’s narration supports Morris’s empathetic biography of this most straightforward yet enigmatic of men.”
At Home by Bill Bryson. Read by the author.
The author takes readers on a tour of
his house, a rural English parsonage, showing how each room has figured
in the evolution of private life. If you aren’t familiar with this author’s work, I’d recommend starting with A Walk in the Woods. Fans will enjoy At Home, not because it’s Bryson’s best work to date, but because it’s Bryson and it’s clever and fun.