I love audiobooks. Shoutout to my mom for starting us young and playing audiobooks during road trips to Disneyland or family reunions. I forgot about them for a while and then I had a boring data entry job in college and started listening to audiobooks to keep me awake and happy. Currently I use Libro.FM (your subscription supports independent bookstores!), OverDrive, and Hoopla (two different library audiobook platforms). Between the three platforms, I manage to listen to a lot of audiobooks and often it's the only thing that keeps me cleaning my house or entertained on longer drives.
So here are my favorites! And since I know a lot of people like to listen to audiobooks with family in the car (hi Mom!) I've included my own parental guidance ratings so you've been warned...
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling, read by Jim Dale
Duh. One of the first audiobooks I listened to, thanks to my grandparent's books on tape collection. Jim Dale is amazing and the audio is perfect for those that haven't read the full series yet (like Josh...). The UK version with Stephen Fry is also good.
PG - PG13
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries - Louise Penny, read by Ralph Cosham
Sadly, Cosham passed away after narrating book #10, The Long Way Home. Robert Bathurst reads the remaining books and does a nice job, but Cosham will always be the voice of Gamache to me. Penny has created what I call literary mysteries, with excellent writing, many historical and literary references, wonderful characters, and a setting I want to live in, despite all the murders. This is my favorite series of all time and they continue to get better and better.
PG13 (language, including Fbombs if those are particularly offensive to you)
World War Z - Max Brooks, read by full cast including Simon Pegg, Masi Oka, Mark Hamill, Common, and Max Brooks himself as the interviewer.
This audiobook got me through a ten-hour drive without sleeping at all (possibly because nightmares were sure to ensue) and almost wishing the drive was longer so we could finish it all. Josh re-listens to it regularly. The interview style format of the book works perfectly for audio and the full cast is marvelous. Be warned: It's ultra creepy. And nothing like the movie, so banish Brad Pitt from your memory.
R (violence & general creepiness)
The Nix - Nathan Hill, read by Ari Fliakos
This is a beast of a book that Fliakos makes much more digestible and addictive in audio form. He is incredibly funny and seamlessly moves from one type of voice to another.
R (sexual content)
Salt To The Sea - Ruta Sepetys, read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, & Michael Crouch
This young adult historical fiction novel is incredibly well done and shines light on a lesser known part of WWII history in Eastern Europe. The excellent narrators bring these four teenagers to life and you won't want to stop listening.
PG13 (violence typical of WWII stories, though most is referred to subtly)
Hum If You Don't Know The Words - Bianca Marais, read by Katharine McEwan & Bahni Turpin
I started reading this book, but as I am not as familiar with South Africa, I stopped reading and started listening to it so I could truly hear the accents and different languages. It's a beautiful story and I loved having the voices of McEwan and Turpin in my head.
PG (Might lean into PG13? But it's definitely appropriate for teens)
Watership Down - Richard Adams, read by Ralph Cosham
I had never read this classic book, but I've always had an obsession with rabbits and after listening to Cosham narrate the Louise Penny books, I wanted more of him! And boy did he deliver. It's so well done and entertaining. I particularly loved his interpretation of the rabbit language.
PG (unless kids are especially sensitive to rabbit violence, in which case PG13)
Maybe In Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid, read by Julia Whelan
I can always count on Reid for a good romantic read when I need something light. Her narrators always deliver, but I really enjoy Whelan (who also narrated "One True Loves"). Reid gets you hooked on her alternative realities plotline and Whelan brings the characters to life.
PG13 (light language and sexual content)
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller, read by Frazer Douglas
This retelling of Achilles and Troy had me totally hooked and got me out of quite the reading slump/Netflix addiction. Miller writes a gripping story and Douglas performs masterfully.
PG13 (sexual content and violence)
Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen, read by Rosamund Pike
I'll always be a huge fan of the Kiera Knightley "Pride And Prejudice" movie and I loved listening to Rosamund Pike narrate this beloved classic. I felt like she used the voices of the movie which made it so fun to imagine and replay in my head with those actors.
Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz (PG)
Born A Crime - Trevor Noah (R)
Everyone Brave is Forgiven - Chris Cleave (PG13)
The Hunger Games Series - Suzanne Collins (PG13)
Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (PG13)
Sourdough - Robin Sloan (PG13)
Radio Girls - Sarah-Jane Stratford (PG13)
One True Loves - Taylor Jenkins Reid (PG13)
Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan (PG13 - R)
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper - Phaedra Patrick (PG - PG13)
Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey (PG)
My Brilliant Friend (and whole series) - Elena Ferrante (PG13)