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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Audiobook Favs?!

Photo by Findaway Voices on Unsplash

My friend Ellyn texted me a seemingly simple request:

"I wonder if you would share with me the titles of your favorite 3 or 4 audiobooks. I’ve been listening to some podcasts while walking the dog and looking for something that still enables me to pay attention to her and, of course, to where I’m walking, unlike an audiobook I would listen to riding on the train."

I get it, our minds tend to wander while listening to audiobooks on walks. I hike and drive while listening to stories all the time, and often have to stop and hit the 15 or 30 second rewind to hear a missed passage. But how to pick 3 or 4 favorite audiobooks? And then filter them down to those which wouldn't require careful attention to detail? Tough assignment!

First I started compiling a list of all time favorites that lend themselves well to the audio format. Then I had to omit all the suspense and thriller titles which would require compiling facts in order to make sense of the mystery reveal. I next omitted the titles with sub-par narrators. Narrators can definitely make or break a story!

That still left me with a ridiculously long list of favorite audiobook titles. So I apologize Ellyn, this is way more than you asked for, but for someone like me who loves to both read and listen to books every single day, 3 or 4 titles is just an impossible ask! I am already mourning the titles I have forgotten to add. Here's my list, please feel free to comment below with your own favs:

(Note: I have provided links to those titles I have reviewed)

Books with the Best Narrators:

The Dutch House – Tom Hanks (He is just such an awesome narrator!)

Tom Lake – Meryl Streep

Book Lovers – Julia Whelan (She’s my favorite non-celebrity narrator, and elevates any book she narrates)

Best Fiction Audiobooks:

All the Light We Cannot See (Slow narration so is good for walks. Listen to it before you watch the new release on Netflix! An amazing story)

Admission – Jean Hanff Korelitz (A hundred times better than the silly movie based upon, it and the narration is great)

Absolution – (Just released; I’m reading it now- it’s SO good! And the narration is super)

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes (Loved it- women's fiction)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia

Best Nonfiction Audiobooks:

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself – Alan Alda

I Feel Bad About My Neck – Nora Ephron

Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes and Stories (Fanny Singer, Alice Waters’ daughter)

Eat Pray Love, and Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (about the process of writing)

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures by Noah Adams (For those interested in late in life piano lessons!)

The Journal Keeper: A Memoir by Phyllis Theroux

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

This is Not My Memoir by André Gregory

Wintering by Katherine May

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley

The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomsen Brits

The Atlas of Happiness by Helen Russell

More 5-Star Reads for Light-ish Fiction Audiobook Experiences:

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (Read it before you watch it!)

Winter Solstice and The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (Classic English fun epic novels - recommended for women)

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

The All of It by Jeanette Haien

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

The Unaccompanied Tour by Laura Monagan

Cooking for Picasso by Aubray Camille

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

My Name is Lucy Barton and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The Story of Arthur Truluv (+ series) by Elizabeth Berg

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

The Paris Hours by Alex George

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Read before you watch the series on Apple TV which is also excellent)

Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander

Wish You Were Here, and Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark

Swan Light by Phoebe Rowe

Evvie Drake Starts Over (Narrated by Julia Whelan)

My 5-Star Reads for Dark-ish or More Intense Fiction Audiobook Experiences :

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

OK I will stop there! What are some of your favorite books and/or audiobooks? I would LOVE to hear about them!


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