New Audible book recomendations please!
January 23, 2013 7:28 AM   Subscribe

DU's comment got me wanting to expand my Audible library. I have a few credits to burn so help me fill up my library! I love biographies and science fiction but would like broaden my listening habits. Bonus points if you can recommend any narrators that you have found enjoyable as well.
posted by zerobyproxy to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Just Kids, by Patti Smith. Also narrated by her.
posted by Bluestocking_Puppet at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nathaniel Philbrick's "In the Heart of the Sea: the True Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex".

I also found the audiobook of "A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian" (fiction) fantastic, entirely due to the excellence of the narrator, Sian Thomas.
posted by jeather at 7:42 AM on January 23, 2013

It's been a few years since I had a long commute where I'd listen to audiobooks, but one of my favorite narrators was Simon Prebble. One of his that I loved was Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell. Also his readings of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle were very excellent.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:42 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm currently enjoying Tina Fey's Bossypants, two years after everyone else.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:51 AM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: I like Sarah Vowell's self-narrated audiobooks, but her voice may take some getting used to. And of course, David Sedaris.

I liked Todd McLaren's narration of the first two books of Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy. William Dufris narrates the third book, and I didn't like his style as much.

John Lee's narration of China MiƩville's Kraken is excellent.

I haven't listened to John Scalzi's Redshirts, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton, but I've heard good things.
posted by neushoorn at 8:17 AM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: The full cast recording of Max Brook's "World War Z". Jump on that sucker, as it is awesome.
posted by THAT William Mize at 9:13 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think it's great when authors read their own memoirs. David Sedaris's books are even better when he reads them (in fact now when I read his books, I hear his voice narrating in my head!).

One book that really disappointed me as an audiobook was Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. I loved reading Stiff and Boink, but listening to this book was not enjoyable. For some reason it was hard to follow as an audiobook (although I haven't read the physical book so maybe it's just the content). Also she doesn't read it and I didn't like the narrator.
posted by radioamy at 9:17 AM on January 23, 2013

I'll always recommend Metafilter's own John Hodgman's audiobooks. They're better than the physical copies in many respects as he adds so much to them. (Music, guests, interviews, extra asides)
posted by inturnaround at 9:48 AM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: Recently enjoyed:

Secret Ingredients, the New Yorker collection of food writing. M.K. Fisher! Dorothy Parker! Adam Gopnik! Huge and read really well by a variety of readers. If one bit gets tiresome, something new will come along before too long.

The Information, James Gleick, wide-ranging, fascinating, read well

The Master and Margarita, weird, surreal, transporting; the dryly sarcastic reading by Julian Rhind-Tutt is perfect

The Invention of Murder, lurid tales of Victorian crime told with great cosy gusto, very Sherlock Holmsey but all!!! true!!!! really interesting approach to the era.

A Distant Mirror, good ol'fashioned history that made me thank my lucky stars I wasn't born into the 14th century. Great reading by Nadia May who creates a kind of extra character in author Barbara Tuchman, regarding the carnage with the detached humorous air of a Greek goddess.

In terms of readers who enhance something already great...Stephen Briggs reading Terry Pratchett, Grover Gardner reading Lois McMaster-Bujold, the fantastically over-the-top Charlton Griffin reading Dickens or the Classics. I love Prebble's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell too and listen to it about once a year!
posted by Erasmouse at 10:10 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I asked a similar question a while ago, and I got some great answers. I've listened to several so far and I've been really impressed by Winter's Bone, The Graveyard Book, and I just finished Gone Girl in a few nights of breathless listening.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:10 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Absolutely. Here are a few excellent ones:

Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard: A book that is several orders of magnitude better than it sounds like it would be. It weaves together narrative strands that connect Garfield, his murderer, his incompetent doctors, and Alexander Graham Bell.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan: This is light, comic literary fiction--with science and technology at its pivot point.

Blood, Bones & Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton: Her memoir (so far), written in a disarmingly candid and funny style. It's also read by the author--and she's great.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:14 AM on January 23, 2013

If you like scifi, Grover Gardner's narration of the Vorkosigan Saga is wonderful. I much prefer the audiobooks to the written books.

Continuing the Gardner-is-a-fabulous-narrator thread, his narration of Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 is my all time favorite audiobook. (And I'm a fairly serious WWII nerd, none of the history was new to me.)

Michael Palin's travelogues are also wonderful. My favorites are Pole to Pole and Full Circle.
posted by lyra4 at 11:30 AM on January 23, 2013

Someone recommended John Hodgman's own books in the last thread, but he also wonderfully reads the book "Year Zero" by Rob Reid, an SF story about how our current IP laws regarding the copying of music may well lead to the destruction of our planet by hostile aliens trying to duck the fees demanded by our record companies.

Also seconding "World War Z." Apparently Max Brooks was dependent on audiobooks when he was schooling, due to a reading disorder. Because of his love of the audiobook format, went to great lengths to hire a big cast (see the list here) for the audiobook version, to give different voices to the many different characters who give their accounts of WWZ in the book.

Don't skip this to see the movie-- Brooks had no creative input on the movie, which appears to be is a screenwriter's expansion of one particular storyline.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:02 PM on January 23, 2013

How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer is very interesting. And if you like it/him, there are also audiobook versions of his unabridged essays.

As far as recommended readers, I find I've become something of a Jenny Sterlin fan after listening to her recordings of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books by Laurie R. King. The more different narrators I listen to, the more I appreciate Sterlin. Among other important things, you can tell whether you're hearing narrative description, a character's internal monologue, or a character external voice, which is unfortunately not always the case with other narrators. (In fact, this is one of the reasons I would vehemently DISrecommend the audiobook versions of the Vorkosigan saga — if I didn't already have the text half-memorized, I wouldn't have been able to tell whether we were hearing Cordelia thinking to herself or speaking aloud.)
posted by Lexica at 5:46 PM on January 23, 2013

I loved The Name of the Wind and its sequel. I'd also enthusiastically second Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell!
posted by Terheyden at 8:05 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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