31 Days of Reading Well: Day 4

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I love audiobooks. Do you?

They are hit and miss, of course, just like any book. But when I am on a long car trip, I have to have an audiobook if I need to drive for a long time. It’s just enough distraction to keep me from thinking about how I stillhavetodrivefourmorehoursandIamnevergoingtomakeitthereohmyword.

With an older toddler in my car almost all of the time now, my audiobook choices have become quite limited: those that don’t have anything I wouldn’t want her to repeat. Which leaves, well, basically nothing. On my last long car ride, I listened to Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, from the teen section at the library. And it still had a (very) few choice words and phrases I would rather her not have heard.


But back in Ye Olde Days Before Toddlerhood, I listened to audiobooks almost constantly in my car. They really help quell the pain of a commute. An audiobook must be judged, however, not only by the style and interest of the story but also the skill of the reading.

I’ll never forget my deep fascination with the audio version of Plainsong by Kent Haruf. It’s a collection of intertwining stories from people in the same town, and the reader did wonderful voices, capturing my rapt attention. When I saw the sequel, Eventide, in the audiobooks at the library, I snatched it right up. But sadly I found it was not the same reader; the lack of voices or even expression made Eventide yawn-inducing, even with the same characters as Plainsong.

Here are some of my favorite audiobooks, with wonderful stories and great readers:
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Patty Jane’s House of Curl by Lorna Landvik

It should be noted, of course, that one must never pick up an abridged audiobook. If the author wrote it, it was intended to be read as part of the whole.

Do you like audiobooks? Which ones are your favorites?

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5 thoughts on “31 Days of Reading Well: Day 4

  1. My dad loves (loves loves) audiobooks, since he commutes an hour a day. He listened to all the Harry Potter books that way. That might be something for you to pop in next time you have a long car trip! My dad assures me that the man who does the voices is fabulous (he's British, of course).

  2. I love audiobooks, am listening to one right now as a matter of fact. My favorite to date was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel, I cannot recall now the narrator but it was a British actress and was superbly done.

  3. I've never really given audio books a shot. We should have listened to some on our PA-IN trips. Mostly though we just chatted and listened to the radio instead.

    My husband's commute is much shorter now (YAY!) at around 20-30 mins and he listens to the Bible for part of the time and the radio for the rest. I wonder if he'd like an audio book.

    I enjoyed audio books as a kid especially when I had the printed book in front of me and could read along and enjoy the pictures!

  4. I could never have survived the last fifteen years of commuting to work without audio books. I'm so addicted that I really don't want anyone to ride in the car with me. I try to keep that a secret. My all-time favorite was Passage to India because I never could have kept the characters straight without the voicings. Unfortunately, my car seems to have speakers on the outside, and sometimes I have to turn down the bodice-ripping scenes at stoplights or I get very funny looks. 🙂

  5. Oh. I just finished listening to the Harry Potter series. Jim Dale's reading is a treasure! I had read them, but listening was a completely different experience.
    I will take audiobooks in any form I can get them. Now that the kids are in school, I listen while washing dishes, folding laundry, etc.
    Dune and Artemis Fowl recently helped me make it through a marathon painting extravaganza.
    Many libraries offer e-audiobooks to download. I don't know what I'd do if I had to pay for every one I've listened to!

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