Whether you’re driving, flying, running, walking, biking, or hiking, listening to an audiobook is a great way to help pass the time. As a commuter by choice and for pleasure, I greatly enjoy listening to audiobooks, and I’ve gathered a few of my fave’s here below.
Most of these are great for shorter trips and are easy to digest and understand (maybe safe A Song of Ice and Fire for those longer vacations). Read by actors, authors, and other celebrities, these 10 audiobooks hold a special place on my digital shelf of books I find myself returning to again and again.
The Harry Potter series
Written By: J.K. Rowling
Read By: Jim Dale
Why I Love It: In a word, Jim Dale’s voice is magical. It’s even easier to get lost in the magical world of Harry Potter when you’re listening to Dale read to you. Character voices and an attention to inflection make this one of the most enjoyable audiobook series ever.
Choose Your Own Autobiography
Written By: Neil Patrick Harris
Read By: Neil Patrick Harris
Why I Love It: It’s simply ADORKABLE. With his genuine wit and good humor, NPH’s Choose Your Own Autobiography is a fun romp through the life of this multi-talented entertainer. Best of all, it’s interactive! To be honest though, the book is totally worth reading, too…as it also includes fun drawings and photos you obviously miss on the audiobook.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Written By: Douglas Adams
Read By: Stephen Fry
Why I Love It: A weird and wacky tale to begin with, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is made all the more fantastic with Stephen Fry behind it. With laugh-out-loud humor, Fry brings this intergalactic story to life…and his interpretation of Marvin is simply glorious.
A Song of Ice and Fire series
Written By: George R. R. Martin
Read By: Roy Dotrice
Why I Love It: I have to say, I don’t think I would enjoy the A Song of Ice and Fire series if I wasn’t listening to it on CD. Told with amazing attention to detail and character, Roy Dotrice continues to astound me with his reading of George R. R. Martin’s series. Dotrice actually earned a place in the Guinness World Records in 2004 for the highest number of character voices by a single actor (he voiced 224 unique characters in A Game of Thrones alone!).
World War Z
Written By: Max Brooks
Read By: Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, John Turturro, Max Brooks, Nathan Fillion, Rob Reiner, Frank Darabont, Carl Reiner, and many more
Why I Love It: Wow. This was a unique experience. Told by an entire cast of characters, only a handful of which are listed above, World War Z is one of the best zombie novels of its genre. Told from the perspective of several people all over the world, each of which are experiencing a different part of this apocalyptic world, World War Z is a must-listen for fans of zombie lore.
The Cuckoo’s Calling
Written By: Robert Galbraith
Read By: Robert Glenister
Why I Love It: I have to admit, it took me a while to really get into The Cuckoo’s Calling, but it was Robert Glenister’s voice that kept me tuning in day after day. Written by Robert Galbraith (a pen name for Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling), this mystery thriller does take a while to hook you in, but Glenister’s voice will sooth you through to the end.
The Hunger Games series
Written By: Suzanne Collins
Read By: Suzanne Collins
Why I Love It: While she’s no Roy Dotrice or Tina Fey, author Suzanne Collins still does a great job in bringing The Hunger Games story and its characters to life. Great for road trips and short flights, this audio series is easy to follow and enjoyable for boys and girls of all ages.
A Walk in the Woods
Written By: Bill Bryson
Read By: Bill Bryson
Why I Love It: If you’ve never read or listened to A Walk in the Woods, I suggest you do so immediately. Known as one of the best travel writers of today, Bill Bryson’s account of his journey into the Appalachian wilderness is perfect for a long family road trip. Told with brutal honesty and humor that any traveler can relate to, A Walk in the Woods is an easy audiobook that listeners of all ages are sure to love.
Written By: Tina Fey
Read By: Tina Fey
Why I Love It: I mean, doesn’t Tina Fey say it all? Told with the same wit and wisdom we’ve come to know and love, Fey’s account of Bossypants is the perfect way to indulge in this wonderful book. From her start in Chicago (represent!!) to her successful runs on SNL and 30 Rock, Fey shares all the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way to becoming a strong, powerful, and sexy-ass lady of laughs.
Written By: Toni Morrison
Read By: Toni Morrison
Why I Love It: You thought her prose was smooth and silky? That’s nothing compared to her voice. The heartbreaking story of Beloved is made all the more enticing by the sultry voice of Toni Morrison. This beautiful novel is read at a slower pace, allowing the words of Morrison’s tragic and beautiful story to soak deep into our skin. Take the time to enjoy this one, guys. Listening to Morrison read this novel is truly an amazing experience.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.