Audio Books

A friend is in desperate need of recommendations for really good audio books. Fiction, non-fiction, doesn’t matter just as long as they’re really good. I don’t listen to ’em myself so I was of no use.

Can you help her out?


  1. eyemage on #

    the world war z audiobook is very good

    point your friend in the direction of the zbs foundation at

    they have audio adventures that are pure gold.

  2. Melissa on #

    The audio books of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials are fantastic. They’re full cast with narrator and unabridged and I absolutely loved all three.

  3. Kelly on #

    Hi Justine:

    I also was going to suggest His Dark Materials, but Melissa beat me to it. Best audio books EVER.

    I also really enjoyed “Eat.Pray.Love” and “Arthur and George” this year.

  4. Robert Legault on #

    A friend lent me the audiobook of Bob Dylan’s read by Sean Penn. I was impressed by how Penn managed to walk the line between doing a Dylan impression and simply reading it straight (if there is such a thing as that for an actor like him). Neither alternative would have been entirely satisfactory, but somehow he pulled it all off.

  5. TansyRR on #

    All the Pratchett ones read by Tony Robinson are excellent (they are abridged, but this is only an issue if you know the books really well and are likely to notice missing lines!)

    I also really like the Dorothy Sayers ones they sell in the ABC shop.

    I’ve been lusting after the Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys read by Lenny Henry and have heard it’s brilliant, but have not actually heard it to confirm this. I’d be stunned if it wasn’t exceptional.

  6. Misha on #

    John Hodgman’s audiobook adaptation of The Areas of My Expertise should not work at all, and yet it’s quite wonderful.

    Stephen Fry reads the British edition of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and is fantastic at it.

  7. Karen on #

    I don’t listen to audiobooks myself, but if I did, I’d want to listen to Nalo Hopkinson read her work. There’s an audiobook of Skin Folk available now.

  8. amanda coppedge on #

    A wholehearted second to “World War Z” by Max Brooks.

    Also “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson.

  9. Anna Marie on #

    George Guidal has an amazing voice and he reads Neil Gaiman’s American Gods which is really awesome, plus if you’re in your car you have that surreal experience of being on a road trip while listening to a road trip. Guidal also reads The Cat Who…series.

    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is done by various narrators, by in my mind I always see Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins from the movie.

    A reader can make or break an audio book. George Guidal and Jim Dale are the best, in my opinion.

  10. orangedragonfly on #

    i too loved the audio productions of his dark materials. another series worth a listen: the georgia nicolson books, by louise rennison. (the first is *angus, thongs, and full-frontal snogging*.) light, fun, and always good for a laugh. stina nielsen reads the early ones and louise rennison herself reads the later ones. bloody brilliant, all of them. i’ve listened to them all several times.

    i’ve also enjoyed the first four in the keys to the kingdom series (garth nix). alan corduner reads them, and does an excellent job. my favorite garth nix audio books are the abhorsen trilogy..tim curry reads them! fantastic.

    (much, much younger, but tim curry reads the series of unfortunate events too…i loved them, too. the early ones are very short, though.)

    oh! (can you tell i listen to audio books? 🙂 ) one i stumbled upon by accedent: *elsewhere* by gabrielle zevin. the book itself was hauntingly sad and beautiful at the same time, and the reader (i’m sorry, i can’t recall her name) had the soft, poignant voice to pull it off.

    hope this helps! 😛

  11. Candy on #

    The recordings of the Artemis Fowl series I found better than the books because of Adrian Dunbar’s luscious northern irish accent.

    the Just William collection read by Martin Jarvis – sooooo funny and well performed!

    And Harry Potter – the British version read by Stephen Fry – again, better than reading it!

    thanks for a fab blog, justine!

  12. E. Lockhart on #

    I listen to them all the time

    Bill Bryson (the travel writer) is wonderful on audio — A Walk in the Woods or In A Sunburned Country

    David Sedaris reading his own essays can’t be beat

    Fisher Stevenson reading A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore is awesomely done as well and good fun

  13. Lawrence Schimel on #

    Bruce Coville’s audiobook company, FULL CAST AUDIO, produces (as the title implies) full cast audio recording of YA fiction by lots of great authors (Shannon Hale, David Levithan, James Howe, Paula Danziger, etc.).

    Many of the Tamora Pierce are available from them, and she is actually writing works that will debut in audio format before later appearing in print.

    Check them out at

  14. Maggie on #

    I don’t read audio books either, but I’ve heard from others that Jonathan Stroud’s ‘The Amulet of Samarkand’ is fabulous. 😀

  15. Chris McLaren on #

    For my money the single best audiobook line ever produced was the Jonathan Cecil readings of the Jeeves and Wooster stuff. Cecil makes Fry & Laurie look bad, and that’s saying something. It’s the example I always use for “really successful adaptation to another medium”.

  16. Salokin on #

    Apparently being a complete dork, the only audiobook I’ve ever [read?] listened to is a BBC production of Lord of the Rings. It’s in 12 *cassettes*. But it’s very good. ^_^

  17. Elodie on #

    I think someone already recommended them, but my friend has listened to all the Artemis Fowl audiobooks and loved them. I haven’t (I like reading at a much faster pace than can be spoken at) but she recommends them! 🙂

  18. Nicole on #

    The terry pratchett talking books have been produced in an unabridged format as well, and they are all fantastic. I especially recommend Pyramids, read by Nigel Planer.

    Also, for something outside the teenage fiction genre, I’d go for Sue Grafton’s alphabet series.

    Have any of your books been made into audio books?

  19. shelly rae on #

    I really liked Imagining Argentina, read by one of my favorite voices, Mandy Patinkin. For long road trips I like Jane Austen, Mark Twain, or even Tolkein. I get them at the library, unabridged.

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