This month’s theme for our 12-month reading challenge is “Lazy Days,” but for me the month of August is anything but lazy! I picked this theme to focus in on one of my new favorite ways of discovering great stories: audiobooks.
With school starting back, there’s no way I’ll be able to read as many print books as I was able to over the summer. That means I’ll be relying more on audiobooks during my commute. And though the theme includes the word “lazy,” don’t take that to mean that reading audiobooks is somehow less intellectual or important than reading print books. Sometimes I’ve found that certain books take on new meanings or become more alive when read by an extra-special narrator. These are just books that are easy to sneak in on your busiest (or your laziest) days.
Audiobooks for Adventure and Escape
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- This sci-fi novel is an awesome one for your commute. The narration is sharp and makes the humor in the novel come alive.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- Narrated by Will Wheaton, one of my favorite audiobook narrators, this book will have you wishing you could relive the glories of the 80s.
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
- An “edge-of-your-seat” mystery narrated by none other than Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley–or Dan Stevens, as most people know him. This one made me want to sit in the car for a few extra minutes.
- The Harry Potter Series
- I never want to stop listening to Jim Dale read these books!
Audiobooks about Real People
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- A long work, but full of interesting facts, especially if you’re a fan of Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical.
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- Not for everyone, but this book is an interesting look at Poehler’s life and her time on SNL.
- The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
- This book was made better by the fact that the authors read their sections. It adds personality and charm!
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- I reviewed this one on the blog a while back, and I can’t stop raving about it! It’s fantastic, and Noah’s narration is what makes it so outstanding.
Audiobooks for History Buffs
- The Year of Lear by James Shapiro
- A look at the year 1606, the year Shakespeare wrote three of his most famous tragedies. This is a perfect audiobook for someone who wants to learn more without drowning in minutiae.
- The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
- Again, this book is wonderful in any version, but Edward Herrmann brings it to new life in the audio.
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
- I love this Bryson work for two reasons–one because it’s an overview of topics I don’t necessarily want to study in detail, and two because he manages to make those topics interesting and, can you believe it, funny.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Narrated by Rosamund Pike, this version is splendid. Pike’s voice is perfect, and her interpretations of the characters are spot on.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- This classic novel narrated by Dan Stevens is a foundational text for the science fiction genre.
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- There’s no way I could have read Moby Dick all in print, so I split it into chunks and listened to part of it. If you like whales, this is the book for you!
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Simon Prebble’s narration is spectacular, and such a good reminder that Dickens himself would perform dramatic readings of his stories back in the day.
As a side note, I should say that I’m a huge fan of my Audible membership, but I know it’s not for everyone. If you’re on the fence, here is a list of pros and cons for you!
Many of these audiobooks I’ve mentioned here before, but never all in one spot. I hope it’s been helpful to read about some of the audio titles I’ve enjoyed the most! Where should I turn next? I’d love to read your recommendations.