Top Ten Adult Audiobooks

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Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share our most-anticipated releases for the first half of 2021. I’m not very good at tracking new releases so I’m going off on my own tangent. Lexlingua asked me recently which audiobooks are my favorite of all time so this seems like a good week to answer her question! I had such a hard time narrowing down my list that I’m listing only my top ten adult audiobooks this week. I’ll post my top ten choices for younger readers another time.

Top Ten Adult Audiobooks

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy, read by Val Toomey, George Newbern, Marin Ireland, and Joel Froomkin–I’ve searched for a thriller with an awesome twist for years now and finally found it in this book! The narrators and production helped the twist immeasurably.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon, read by Kate Reading–This heartbreaking book ends on such a joyful note, I have to include it. The author writes sensitively about people with different abilities because her sister was born with a developmental disability. This was the first time I listened to Kate Reading’s narration and she immediately became one of my go-to narrators.

Room by Emma Donoghue, read by Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and Suzanne Toren–Yet another heart-breaker. Friedman’s narration as five-year-old Jack made this book almost too real. Fantastically done.

Austenland by Shannon Hale, read by Katherine Kellgren–This cute book left me grinning from ear to ear. I believe it was the audio that led me to Katherine Kellgren, who became my very favorite narrator.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch, read by George Newbern–Curmudgeonly widower Ove slowly won over my heart just as he won over his neighbors (or was that the other way around?). Mr. Newbern brought Ove to life for me.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, read by Peter Altschuler–Major Pettigrew is another widower but he’s an unlikely Knight in Shining Armor who needs some saving himself. Peter Altschuler’s narration left me with a book crush on this older character who sees past so many prejudices in his small village.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, read by Anna Fields–I still chew over this complicated story of terrorists taking a group of politicians and glitterati hostage in an unnamed South American country. Who were the bad guys? I honestly don’t know. Anna Fields had a full plate with Spanish, Japanese, and numerous other accents but I thought she handled them all beautifully.

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer, read by Stephen R. Thorne and Angela Brazil–The titular characters are part of New York’s intelligentsia and these narrators practically perform their breezy, wry, insightful correspondence in my favorite audiobook “duet.”

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, read by Ari Fliakos, Maggie Hoffman, Scott Shepherd, Scott Sowers, and Gary Wilmes–I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this quiet story about lifelong male friendships. The narrators were perfect.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, read by Prentice Onayemi–Mbue presents the realities of the “American Dream” with feeling in this novel and Onayemi’s narration fits the changing moods of the book beautifully.

That’s my list! Have you listened to or read any of these? Which books did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

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  1. Superb, you picked out those top audiobooks then! I’ve not heard any of these but I’ve seen the movies for Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Bel Canto and Austenland — probably not as impressive as the books/ audiobooks? A Man Called Ove “sounds” fantastic though — just the right sort of feel-good vibe I’m looking for these days. Will give it a try, thank you!

  2. Good choices there. I don’t know if I could have listened to Room. That was a tough read. I just picked up Goodnight Beautiful from the library. Looking forward to getting to it soon. Bel Canto is one I wouldn’t mind listening to. I had a hard time reading it but I think listening to it would be better.

  3. Nice twist to the topic.

    Since my biggest goal of the year is to read more from my TBR pile, I didn’t participate in this weeks’ TTT but published my Statistics 2020 instead.

    I’m sure I’ll add a book or two this year anyway. 😉

  4. Bel Canto would be on my all-time Top Ten Audiobooks, too. I also like A Man Called Ove on audio, and I love Katherine Kellgren, so I just borrowed Austenland from the library. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounds like fun! I also put a hold on Goodnight Beautiful which wasn’t available. One of my all-time favorite audiobooks is Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Lenny Henry. I listened to it before American Gods, which I guess was technically out of order.

    1. Now that you mention it, I think I read Anansi Boys before American Gods as well. I’d forgotten that! Austenland was cute. Maybe not one of my favorite books of all time but I love Katherine Kellgren so much, I had to mention the book that brought her to my attention.

  5. I am terrible at audiobooks since seeing the words helps me focus. And I’ve only read Room from your list. I’ll have to look into the others. Thank you!

    1. It took me quite a while to get used to audiobooks. I finally got the hang of listening during my commute when there weren’t many other things to distract me. I still don’t listen to nonfiction very well and I have to listen while doing easy tasks.

  6. Great list! I haven’t listened to any audiobooks since March as I’m working from home and I used to reserve audiobooks for my commute. I’ve read Bel Canto before but I can imagine that would be a more challenging one due to the different accents.

      1. Oh man, me too. Though there was one time I tried a book in print form after DNFing the audio, and I ended up not finishing that either. I’ve never been able to figure out if I would have liked the book if I’d started it as a print book and the audio prejudiced me against it, or if it just wasn’t a book for me.

  7. I’ve read Room, A Man Called Ove, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Bel Canto (all in print rather than audio). Very good books! I remember hearing about The Story of Beautiful Girl several years ago, but never got around to reading it. Maybe I’ll give the audio a try.

  8. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, but haven’t tried any of these yet. I will definitely have to add ‘A Man Called Ove’ to my list, as I love the book and would be interested to see if the audio is just as good. A great narrator can really bring characters to life. 🙂

  9. Austenland sounds really good, plus I like what I’ve read from Shannon Hale (they were younger skewing stories, but I’m curious about her more adult writing) and I imagine it’s great as audio!

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