Audiobooks to Listen and Love

Audiobooks are the best and easiest way to sneak reading into a busy life - whether you're commuting or, like me, loading the dishwasher for the ten-thousandth time in a week, a good audiobook allows for a totally different sort of immersive reading experience. I've also found audiobooks allows me to revisit old favorites in a new way, as a good narrator breathes new life into an already beloved tale. Some of my favorite audiobooks are books I've read in print several times. These are among my favorites, and ones I unashamedly listen to at least once a year.

Garth Nix's original Abhorsen trilogy, comprised of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, are phenomenal reads - and they're narrated by Tim Curry. Is there really any higher recommendation? I don't think so. But if you need one, he nails the voice of a cat who isn't quite a cat and teenage necromancers so exceedingly well, I think he must be some sort of mystical being himself.

When I first read Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, I enjoyed it despite the narrator's self-congratulatory nerd behavior. Because I know dudes like Wade Watts - they're my friends and I more than tolerate them because they're actually pretty lovable despite their tendencies to gloat about canon and name drop like crazy. It wasn't until I listened to Wil Wheaton read the book, however, that I really fell in love. He softens the edges of a sometimes irritating character and really brings a new depth and heart to an already charming book.

On a friend's recommendation, I downloaded Terrier, the first in Tamora Pierce's Provost's Dog trilogy. I adore Pierce, though she is one of the authors I know is writing for a far younger and less jaded audience than I belong to. Having this series in audiobook form - I went on to download Bloodhound and Mastiff - was just perfect. I could take my time and really dwell in Beka Cooper's world without getting hung up on language or reflecting on how long ago my own teenage years were. Bonus, I could listen with my girls in the car.

Max Brooks' World War Z is one of my absolute favorite books - basically zombies plus PBS, two of my favorite media things. The audiobook is spectacular in just the same way, with an all-star cast narrating what's basically a historical account of a zombie war that hasn't happened. Yet?

So, including The Ghost Bride feels like a bit of a cheat, because I re-read this in print once a year, too, but based on the number of times I've also listened to it, I couldn't leave it off this list. Yangsze Choo, the author, narrates the book herself, which I just love. It feels a little like getting to spend time with her as well as spending time with her strange and lovely world.