15 June 2017

10 Best Audiobooks and an Audiobook Giveaway

Did you know that June is audiobook month and that audio listeners are celebrating at home, on the road, and on social media? I'm such a huge fan, I think every month is audiobook month.

Note too that thanks to the Audio Publishers Association and Audiobook.com, I have a great giveaway to celebrate audiobook month, which I'll tell you about in just a minute.

A couple of years ago, several of my fellow audiobook lovers asked each other to name our top 10 audiobooks of all time. Our individual lists were supposed to consist of the audiobooks that created a magical moment or epitomized the listening experience or hit that golden place of perfect narrator–author union.

This was not an easy task for me because I've been listening to audiobooks since the 1980s—when books on tape really were on tape! By the time I narrowed my choices to just 10, I discovered two things: First, I was dismayed to find that some of my favorite narrators didn't make my list. Second, despite my almost 30 years of listening, my all-time favorite audiobooks are all relatively recent releases. Go figure. Here, then, are my (current) picks (in alphabetical order):

  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray / read by Libba Bray. A plane carrying teen beauty contestants crashes on a deserted island—think Lost with a twist. Bray is so versatile and talented that it's hard to remember there's only one narrator.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey / read by Finty Williams. A different kind of dystopian or zombie story. Williams avoids sterotypes and excessive drama to put in a pitch-perfect performance.
  • Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy / read by Dan Lee Miller. This novel is based on Conroy's own experiences as a student at the Citadel. Miller captures the emotional heart of the story.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman / read by Neil Gaiman. A magical book about childhood, the nature of memory, and friendship. I really have no words to describe the experience of hearing Gaiman read this story.
  • Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon / read by Davina Porter. Is there anyone who doesn't the premise of this time travel series? A 1940s British nurse is transported to 1700s Scotland. Porter's consistent characterizations, expressive reading, and lovely accent bring this long series to life.
  • Pillars of the Earth series by Ken Follett / read by John Lee. This series is about the building of a cathedral and its effect on a town, the local families, and the wider politics of 12th-century England. Lee is the king of historical fiction and long sagas, and he shines in these books.
  • Themis Files series by Sylvain Neuvel / read by full cast. I describe these books as science fiction, alternate history, character study, mystery, and fantasy rolled into one. They are written in the form of logs, transcripts, and diaries, and the full-cast performance is utterly amazing. I swear I felt as if I were eavesdropping on actual conversations.
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield / read by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner. Twins, ghosts, and a mystery are at the core of the Gothic tale. Amato and Tanner are equally great—emotional, dynamic performances that capture the characters' personalities and the deep essence of the story.
  • Tomorrow series by John Marden / read by Suzi Doughtery. An alternate history series in which Australia is invaded and conquered by an enemy nation. Doughtery channels the main character, beautifully evoking a full range of emotions and keying into the pacing of the action.
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr / read by Alyssa Bresnahan. Urban fantasy mixed with modern fairy tale. Bresnahan narrates this novel in the finest tradition of classic storytellers. I was spellbound.
Giveaway. As I said at the top of the post, Audio Publishers Association and Audiobooks.com are helping us all celebrate June is audiobook month in style. They've rounded up 30 audiobook fans to write about their love of audiobooks and to participate in a great giveaway. Visit the Audio Publishers Association's JIAM web page to see the list of all the participating bloggers (and to find 29 more chances to win).

So what's this giveaway? I'm able to offer one of my readers a set of earbuds and three free audiobook downloads. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to have a USA mailing address and fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator on July 1. After the winner has been confirmed, I'll delete all personal information from my computer. Good luck and keep listening!


Tina 6/15/17, 6:33 AM  

That's a great giveaway! When we had long rides to work and dropped off our son at school we would take turns picking audiobooks to listen to on the ride.

Heather 6/15/17, 6:37 AM  

Your list looks a little bit like mine! I don't think I've actually sat down to make a favorite audiobook list. I bet it's hard.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/15/17, 7:12 AM  

I'm still listening to The Hemingses of Monticello, which may take me ten years to finish because it is so long, but I look forward to listening to more if I ever get done! :--)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 6/15/17, 7:25 AM  

What a fun giveaway! I've never been a big audiobook "reader" until this summer. I started listening to an audiobook every night before I go to sleep. I set the book for thirty minutes so it doesn't go on and on. Now I also listen as I work around my house and yard. I've been converted!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/15/17, 7:51 AM  

I've never thought to listen to Pat Conroy on audio! Glad to hear Lords was great...I think it's my favorite of his books.

And good for you for getting through Pillars of the Earth series on audio! Did you read the most recent book? I saw something about a new one either already out or coming soon...

bermudaonion 6/15/17, 8:11 AM  

I can't believe I haven't listened to any of your favorites.

sherry fundin 6/15/17, 9:56 AM  

I haven't tried audio...yet...so this would be a fantastic incentive.
sherry @ fundinmental

SuziQoregon 6/15/17, 1:00 PM  

It had to be tough to pick just 10. I'm not sure i could do it.

Nice to see several of my favorites here as well as several that are now on my wish list.

Laura Kozy Lanik 6/15/17, 4:27 PM  

Thanks Beth Fish. I also adore audio books. The Outlander series is awesome on Audio.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer 6/15/17, 11:20 PM  

I love your list Beth. The Outlander series was amazing on audio.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 6/16/17, 11:11 AM  

I dont know where I would be without audio -this time of year my audio listening is 3 to one over books. Awesome giveaway!

Deb in Hawaii 6/17/17, 11:31 AM  

What a great idea and giveaway! I have listed to several of your picks but you just gave me meven ore to add to my ever-growing audio TBR. ;-)

Daryl 6/20/17, 10:30 AM  

i have been flirting with the Gaiman book for a while but i hadnt considered audio ... also at some point i may listen to the Outlander series, having read it AND watched it ...

Nise' 6/29/17, 9:07 PM  

My first audiobooks were tapes too! Outlander series is my all time favorite series that I listen to over and over.

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