Skip to main content

2013-ish Audio Books

January 3, 2014

Audio books are my favorite way to sneak a little “reading” into the post-holiday grind. Thankfully, the library has three ways to do it with CD audio, Playaway audio, and downloads from Overdrive.

But as anyone who dabbles knows, not all audio books are created equal (see: Audie Awards; see: Earphones Awards)

Here are a few recent favorites: [All happen to be read by the author, and while it can be a great way for fans to connect with the artist and their work, chances are slim that your literary hero is the elusive "double threat" . . .]

This collection of short stories is racking up on nominations and topping "Best of 2013" lists, but I  recommend listening to it. Saunders’ modern style and vernacular work together with his average Joe i.e. Chigago-ite delivery to add humor to, at times, twisted tales. Escape from Spiderhead is one of the best short stories I’ve read in a while.

Her story of domestic disharmony and scientific inquiry was much discussed at our Second Wednesday Book Club. I have found her soothing voice and mastery of jargon impressive in the past, but it was her accents that did it for me this time (Tennessean and Jamaican both).

A deceptively simple story of characters whose lives intersect, and here’s the kicker: it’s told entirely in rhyming couplets! Many will recognize Rakoff’s distinctive voice from NPR’s This American Life. However, this recording finds him at the end of a long battle with cancer, voice frail and broken. It can be hard to listen to, but before you have a chance to feel too bad he’ll cut through with a sardonic rhyme or ridiculous accent that lets you know, wherever he is, he’s still laughing.

Also check out Bryan Cranston’s reading of The Things they Carried (Cranston was Walter White in Breaking Bad), AND Roy Dotrice’s ongoing readings of the Song of Ice and Fire series. In addition to his usual noble narration, he voices 500 distinct characters! Skip the book, skip the show, listen to the audiobook!
Mustache Man avatar


Greg is the manager at the Thompson Lane Branch Library.