Audio fiction about being in over one's head and finding one's way
March 10, 2015 8:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm seeking audiobooks where the characters are thrust into new and overwhelming circumstances, work hard, wonder if they're on the right track, stay disciplined, experience setbacks, gradually become more competent, overcome challenges, and eventually succeed.

I get a lot of inspiration and strength by listening to books like these. I find that very different kinds of books follow this pattern. Here are some veins I've found so far (including some that I wouldn't have expected to like), with an example or two in each one.
  • Quests -- Ready Player One, Shadow & Bone
  • Re-building civilization after disaster -- Alas, Babylon
  • "We bought a farm" -- The Dirty Life
  • "That's how I became a Navy SEAL" -- Inside Delta Force
Do you have other suggestions in these or other categories? My preference is for relatively fast-paced books.
posted by slidell to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell

I recently read these and have also listened to several chapters of the audiobooks, so I can recommend them in both formats. They are all quests of a sort; the first two are realistic fiction and the second, sci-fi/fantasy. The last two are fast paced (IMO) but very long, just to warn you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:45 PM on March 10, 2015

The Martian, by Andy Weir
Great audiobook, a nice quick listen.
posted by metaname at 10:30 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ed Viesturs' No Shortcuts to the Top is about his disciplined approach to mountaineering.
posted by neushoorn at 2:38 AM on March 11, 2015

I just finished listening to The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. The book is super fast-paced - it opens with a letter: "Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine..." The woman reading it has no memory - she's standing in a park surrounded by a circle of dead bodies. From there she discovers that she's part of a secret organization - think X-Files meets MI-6 - and has to figure out who she is and who wants her dead.
posted by clerestory at 3:25 AM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Terry Pratchett's Nation, narrated by Stephen Briggs who also does great audiobook editions of lot of Pratchett's Discworld novels.
posted by porpoise at 3:49 PM on March 11, 2015

Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness has a girl disguising as a boy to go through rigorous knight training and almost giving up. Same for her third series, Protector of the Small, without the disguise this time. Pretty sure at least some of these are out as audio books.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 3:29 AM on March 12, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! I just finished my last audiobook and am looking forward to checking out some of these. Thanks!
posted by slidell at 10:19 PM on March 15, 2015

Vatta's War audiobook.
posted by paduasoy at 1:22 AM on May 16, 2015

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