07 December 2010

Shilling for audiobooks

Happy Chanukah to me! I got a one-year subscription to audible.com for my Chanukah present. It is, for the most part, my first foray into audiobooks. I've listened to a few audiobooks over the years, but I don't love them as I love reading books. However, I am back to spending more time commuting than I like, since my office moved over a year ago. News on the radio just makes me agitated, which is not a good way to start or end the day. I just don't dig music. I've tried, really, but music just doesn't hold my interest longer than a few songs. I don't like hearing the same songs over and over (so my music CDs bore me), and I really don't like commercials (so regular radio is right out). I am not willing to invest in satellite radio. Therefore, in order to keep me sane on my trafficky rides to and from work, I will be listening to audiobooks.

A one year subscription to audible.com comes with 12 "credits", and most books are one credit apiece. I picked out 4 audiobooks last night, 2 each from 2 of my favorite authors, so I have 8 more books to choose. I am looking to find new authors and listen to new books, not just get audio versions of favorites.

I would love suggestions for books that have translated well to the audio format -- books that you've really enjoyed listening to. I tend to read genre fiction -- primarily science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Got any suggestions?


Janiece said...

This isn't a genre book, but honestly, this is the best book I've ever listened to. For some reason, it just translated really, really well to the format: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

The Jack Daniels mysteries by J.A. Konrath are well narrated by a fabulous husband-wife team, and are short and light.

Scott Sigler's "Infected" and "Contagious" are narrated by the author, and I found them delightful, even as they made me squirm a bit.

I also have a laundry list of non-fiction (which I find audiobooks especially well suited for), so let me know if you want those suggestions...

Random Michelle K said...

I adore Burt Reynold's reading of Robert B Parker's "Small Vices."

Later books in the Spenser series were read by someone else (one of Parker's sons?) though I haven't heard them, but I love listening to "Small Vices"

It's not fiction, but I love listening to Karen Armstrong read her books. I love "A History of God" and "The Battle for God".

I also adore adore adore "Genesis: A Living Conversation with Bill Moyers." It's a recording of the audio of the PBS series, but it's absolutely fabulous to listen to. I love listening to Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars discussing Genesis with civility and passion.

neurondoc said...

No way to the Scott Sigler books. I don't like horror. I'm not into religion at all, and I'm not interested enough to invest hours listening to books about it.

The Jack Daniels mysteries sound very interesting, as does "Small Vices" -- I haven't picked up a Spenser novel in years.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Janiece said...

I've never tried these on Audiobook (I read most of them on paper), but Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mysteries are outstanding. The author does a great job of integrating Jewish life with the crime drama. They're available on Audible...

Douglas said...

I enjoy John Scalzi's stuff. You try this as a sampler.


Janiece said...

If you like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, you'll also like Lisa Lutz' Spellman Books. The narrator is a complete smart ass. Which is what we like about her.

Belladonna said...

I've found that the books that work best are the ones that have a really strong 'voice' that you almost hear as you are reading. That said, there are narrators who can make anything sound excellent/interesting, and OTOH, ones that can ruin the best of books. It might pay to check through the list of what's on offer & see if any are narrated by people that you know you like to listen to.
I've found that I actually prefer to listen to lightish weight non-fiction for commuting -- it seems that it just works better cut up into hour-long-chunks than fiction (YMMV)
Non-fiction: Bill Bryson's books are excellent - and translate really well to audio-book format. Try "The life and times of the thunderbolt kid"
Some humour can work really well as audiobooks, but be careful you don't end up laughing so much you crash into someone (nearly happened to me with Alan Bennett)
Alexander Cook's "Letters to America" are outstanding - and there are heaps of them, so hours of listening pleasure.
Short stories or episodic books can work well for commuting - try the Precious Ramotswe books by Alexander McCall Smith "No. 1 ladies detective agency"

NancyB said...

My audiobook collection is strongly weighted toward my comfort reads. Bujold's Sharing Knife books are wonderful in audio, and the reading of Paladin of Souls is wonderful as well. Curse of Chaliion is less good a reading, but makes the 'comfort book' list anyway. The Vorkosigan books are good readings as well.

The Pratchett Tiffany Aching books, some Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Sayers, the Full Cast Audio performances of Tamora Pierce's YA stuff...basically things I can listen to in short bursts and come back to whenever. My audiobook listening doesn't lend itself to new and/or complex books. I'm now trying some romance, like favorite Nora Roberts titles and Patricia Briggs' Cry Wolf (paranormal).

Phiala said...

Neil Gaiman books make good audiobooks. I'm particularly fond of the ones he reads himself, but they're all enjoyable listens.

I know this is inspired by your Audible subscription, but something else to check out: my local public library has downloadable audiobooks for members. Really convenient. I think a lot of libraries have joined the program.

Oh, on the science fiction end of things, Metatropolis is very interesting - it's a group SF project by Scalzi, Bear, Lake, etc. that was designed as an audiobook. There's a sequel Metatropolis: Cascadia that I haven't yet listened to.