Earbook Recommendations!
October 3, 2014 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for some in the background audiobook recommendations, special details inside.

I like sci-fi, fantasy and adventure as genre’s as a kid I enjoyed historical fiction, haven’t done much of that since high school but I could get back into it. Audiobook rules that I have found to be effective for listening while at work (I draft for a living so I need a constant thread of narrative to keep my focused, but can’t do complex linguistic gymnastics and still work). Children’s books work better, non-fiction does not work at all, complicated prose does not work, the narrator is very important, things with a Fairy Tale-ish or adventure quality seem to work. Would also appreciate general recommends on narrators to hunt down.

Successful Books:
Charles Stross’ Laundry Books with Gideon Emory
Peter & Max Wil Wheaton
Golden Compass Entire Series – Full Cast
The Jungle book
The wind in the Willows
Basically anything by Neil Gaiman that he reads himself

1st 3 Harry Dresden Books with Marsters haven’t impressed me, although I will likely stick with it, because I'm told he improves.

Unsuccessful books:
The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao – too many time jumps, complicated metaphors to be listened to in the background
Stiff – too complicated to follow in the background
posted by edbles to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Malcolm Gladwell reads his own books himself and isn't bad at it. And because he belabors his points, you usually don't miss anything if your mind drifts off for a bit to focus on something else. Similarly, I love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (the audiobook is fantastic) but the very nature of the narrative is that it's long and slow, so you can miss chunks without losing the flow of the book.
posted by jdroth at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: Derek Jacobi narrated both The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis and The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. Both are considered childrens' books, and he's a fabulous narrator.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:08 PM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: Ah, my mother and I are constantly listening to young-adult fantasy books while we work. Some of my recommendations are as follows:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, definitely.

If you're up for a bit of cheesy horror, then The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney had me quite entertained.

The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage is a great choice if you liked Harry Potter.

RuneWarriors by James Jennewein and Tom Parker is a kids' fantasy viking series.
posted by lizbunny at 4:25 PM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: Audiobooks I enjoyed that I believe fit your criteria:

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Last Book in the Universe
Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen (read by Tim Curry)
The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Also I've really enjoyed YA books read by Khristine Hvam: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Archetype, to name two. I can't say that the plot of these books are all that great, but Hvam is an amazing narrator.
posted by ephemerista at 6:32 PM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan) series fits the bill. It's quite the time commitment (14 long books) but I found it completely worthwhile.

This series also introduced me to the author Brandon Sanderson (who finished the WOT series after Jordan's death) and the narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading who are truly excellent.

Since I've finished the Wheel of Time series, I've listened to Sanderson's Mistborn series, and I'm currently at the beginning of the Stormlight Archive. Both series are by Sanderson, and both are narrated by Kramer and(/or) Reading. At this point I've been listening to Kramer/Reading daily for approx. 2 years and their voices are almost familial to me. I recommend them highly.

Other books/series that I've enjoyed (which are in line with your request):

* Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series -- hilarious and clever, very well narrated by Nigel Planer and Steven Briggs (probably others too, but they are the main ones). This link has some suggestions on where to start and what order to read in (I especially enjoy the "Watch" novels).
* The Harry Potter Series (I avoided it for a long time but it really was worth it in the end)
* Ender's Game
* The Hunger Games (I'm in the "I read it before it was a movie" camp, and it was pretty riveting and well narrated.
* Some books from my childhood that I re-"read" by audiobook: The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), A Wrinkle in Time / A Wind in the Door / A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeline L'engle) -- enjoyable but I don't remember much about the narrators.
posted by Alabaster at 10:17 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I should add: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
posted by Alabaster at 10:25 PM on October 3, 2014

Best answer: Daniel O'Malley's The Rook. I read this in paper version and also listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed both.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:33 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all, these are great! Best answers all round.
posted by edbles at 9:01 AM on October 6, 2014

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