audio ebook for car ride
March 25, 2013 2:11 PM   Subscribe

What audio ebook should I download for this long car ride with my bookish 10 year old, me, and my literate adult friend?

I'm looking for something pretty long, not necessarily for kids, and engaging.
For more on my daughter's taste, see this previous askme. She's pretty open though. We've been reading A Tale of Two Cities out loud and it's going well, so classics and other ostensibly adult fiction welcome.

Personally I most enjoy very well written fiction with complex characters and realistic scenarios. But I can get down with some fun comic fantasy or a well made mystery or whatever too. Good writing is key though.

Bonus if it's likely to be available from my local library downloads (most reliable for classics and recent popular fiction).
posted by latkes to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Ender's Game!
posted by unexpected at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2013

The Wheel of Time: The Eye of The World
posted by AltReality at 2:16 PM on March 25, 2013

If A Tale of Two Cities is ok, Pride and Prejudice could be a winner. Also, Dianna Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle and sequels, Chrestomanci books) had some rather good recordings made of her books. Also, Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, although you might need to get both to cover 10 hours.
posted by Hactar at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2013

My family has enjoyed Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, read by Douglas Adams, The Odyssey, read by Ian McKellan, The City of Ember, by Jean DuPrau and the other three books in that series.
posted by coevals at 2:24 PM on March 25, 2013

Jeeves and Wooster.
posted by ambrosia at 2:24 PM on March 25, 2013

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. There is an audiobook version read by Rushdie, but a quick google search only gives me this, which seems a bit pricey...
posted by piyushnz at 2:25 PM on March 25, 2013

I enjoyed the heck out of Shelly Frasier's recording of Anne of Green Gables. Good, clear voicing and a more engaging story than I'd remembered from childhood.

I listened to the second book read by Frasier as well, but bailed after that as I couldn't bear to hear someone else's interpretation of the characters. Readers are important -- your library can point you to audiobook-specific reviews.
posted by asperity at 2:26 PM on March 25, 2013

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? I loved the book.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:34 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I really liked the audiobook of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. He narrates it himself and it's deliciously spooky and entertaining all at once. I think it's targeted to a rather younger audience, but I (and I consider myself quite a literary adult) enjoyed it immensely, too.
posted by chatongriffes at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Hobbit as read by Rob Inglis is wonderful.
posted by zzazazz at 2:51 PM on March 25, 2013

How about some Oscar Wilde? Perhaps a radio play of The Importance of Being Earnest?
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:07 PM on March 25, 2013

Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights (or Golden Compass) is great. Full cast recording, good story, and a precocious girl as heroine.
posted by bluejayway at 3:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

You might enjoy Inkheart, which has a plot revolving around books and bookish people.
posted by padraigin at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2013

The Harry Pottet series read by Stephen Fry (not Jim Dale!) are fantastic to listen to on long car rides.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about the original radio plays of HHGTTG?
posted by Sebmojo at 3:26 PM on March 25, 2013

How about Bill Bryson's a short history of nearly everything? It is a great book, accessible and has a whole lot of the answers 10 year olds have about the nature of the world.
posted by bartonlong at 3:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials

Or maybe not, seeing your comment in your previous post... I highly recommend it, though, even if you read/listen to it just for yourself...
posted by MelanieL at 3:53 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rachel Hartman's Seraphina has a great audio edition-- they had to get actresses that could actually sing to do both the parts and they are both splendid. It's a really endearing book that's funny not in an explicitly funny ha-ha way but more like friends that are hilarious and tell good jokes.
posted by NoraReed at 4:11 PM on March 25, 2013

I guess I should say they make good banter and interact with each other in funny ways, not really good jokes. (Sorry, I'm a bit overcaffeinated and sort of obsessed with that book. It's the best YA to come out recently, in my opinion, and the most adult-accessible too.)
posted by NoraReed at 4:13 PM on March 25, 2013

Audio books enjoyed by the children and adults in our car: Charlotte's Web and Trumpet of the Swan read by E.B.White, Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan starting with The Lost Hero.
posted by RoadScholar at 4:19 PM on March 25, 2013

I saw in your last question that your daughter loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...

The sequel is out now and definitely on audio, and they're pretty well loved by adults and children equally!
posted by itsamermaid at 5:03 PM on March 25, 2013

I greatly enjoyed the [delightfully silly] audiobook version of John Connolly's The Gates.

You mention in the earlier question that your daughter doesn't like scary, and while I don't remember any really scary parts, there may well have been some moments that could frighten a 10 year old (despite the book being rated "10 and over.")
posted by eunoia at 5:14 PM on March 25, 2013

Somewhat hard to find, but Julian Barnes's *Talking it Over* would be perfect. It's a novel but written entirely as dialog with each character (a different actor) telling their perspective on the story, each with their own distinct, interesting, voice. It's literary -- it's funny -- but it's also a plotty love triangle. Can't miss with your little band of pilgrims.
posted by Philemon at 5:46 PM on March 25, 2013

I've been listening to a lot of audio books of classics and classic science fiction, read by volunteer authors and available for free. I use an app on my iPhone called "AudioBooks" (from Cross Forward Consulting). It's a front end for the website, LibriVox, which offers audio books for free to the public domain.

Adrian Praetzellis' reading of Treasure Island (R. L. Stevenson) was wonderful. Mark Nelson's rendition of A Princess of Mars (E. R. Burroughs) was also very well-done. I'm currently listening to Plague Ship (Andre Norton) read by Mark Nelson.

I'm so happy I found out about LibriVox. I have added a bunch of books I always meant to read, but never got around to, to my list. My commute is now far more fun.

Maybe this is something you and your daughter would enjoy.
posted by phoebus at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2013

I too came to recommend Pullman's trilogy. My daughters and I have loved listening. The movie was pretty bad, but the books are awesome.
posted by anadem at 6:36 PM on March 25, 2013

The True Meaning of Smekday
posted by dustsquid at 9:02 PM on March 25, 2013

Response by poster: Well, due to my dealing with this very late and the limited availability of various audio ebooks within my local library systems, I wasn't able to get a single one of these. Sigh.

I did though order a number of these in book form from the library, and ordered the audio book of Golden Compass for us to listen to together, so your recommendations are not in vein.

Thank you!
posted by latkes at 12:21 PM on March 29, 2013

Response by poster: As another update, even though these didn't work out for this trip, we did get some good recommendations here. We're listening to Golden Compass now on our trips to school and so forth, and it's wonderful! I feel terrible that we both sort of turned our noses up at it.

I read Taking it Over and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading more Julian Barnes, but it really wouldn't have worked for a 10 year old.

The 10 year old did read The Gates and seemed to love it.

A lot of the others we'd already read or listened to - Treasure Island was a particular favorite.

Thanks again.
posted by latkes at 6:41 PM on May 12, 2013

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