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So You Want to Start Listening to Audiobooks

I'm an audiobook fan and I'm always trying to get others to discover the joys of listening to a book! Why should having a book read to you have to stop just because you can read on your own? I listened to audiobooks as a kid, but then stopped listening to them until a few years ago. My husband and I were taking a long road trip and we decided to get one of the Harry Potter books on CD. Since then I've been hooked on audiobooks! I listen to them in my car, on my iPhone, and on my computer. I can end up reading more books this way because I've got one to listen to and one I'm reading.
But as much as I praise audiobooks, I still encounter readers who aren't quite sure about audio. So I'm going to help you out and give you a list of audiobooks and narrators that I think all readers should listen to! And the titles are linked to Audible, so you can get a preview of each one!
-Katherine Kellgren-Katherine Kellgren is the audiobook queen! If you're shy about audiobooks, listen to something narrated by Katherine Kellgren and I think you'll be a fan. Seriously, she's amazing. She narrates a wide variety of books and I know each one I listen to is going to be great. But my absolute favorite book narrated by Katherine Kellgren is the Bloody Jack series. The voices, the accents, the way she brings Jackie to life along with the fantastic storyline that L.A. Meyer has written that's full of adventure (and a bit of romance) is perfect!
-Jim Dale-Jim Dale narrating the Harry Potter Series on audio is something every reader needs to listen to. The range of character voices he comes up with is incredible and honestly they sound just like the characters did in my head as I read the books (before I saw the movies, btw). Plus, Jim Dale is one of the few audiobook narrators that Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I can agree on!
-Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, narrated by Nick Podehl-OK, this book is hilarious, but on audio I think it's even more so. Nick Podehl's narration of Carter is spot on and he really makes Carter come to life. This audiobook made me a fan of Nick Podehl and he's quickly becoming one of my audiobook narrators to seek out.
-Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, narrated by Full Cast Audio-If you're not sure you'll be a fan of audiobooks, give Full Cast Audio a try. The full cast narration bring the stories to life and I think they're great for families wanting to listen together. Having a full cast makes it feel almost like a radio play. They have a huge selection of audiobooks, but Airborn is my favorite with it's action and adventure. I wasn't sure if I'd like the book and I ended up loving it, thanks in part to the audiobook.
-Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, narrated by Rupert Degas-I love audiobooks and Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan loves audiobooks, but together it's hard to find something we can agree on. So when we both listened to and loved Skulduggery Pleasant, I knew we had found a gem of an audiobook! Rupert Degas gets Skulduggery's snark just perfect and his smooth voice is exactly what I think a talking skeleton would sound like (you know, if they were real!) Add in the sound effects of skeleton bones and some music to break up chapters and you've got a darkly comic audibook that's perfect for fans of Harry Potter. I sell this one to my library patrons as "the best after-Harry read (or listen) I've found."
Did I miss one? Is there an audiobook you've listened to that you think would convert someone to audio? Or is there a great book on audio that's a must listen?
And if you want to give audibooks a try this year, join Abby the Librarian and Stacked Books for Audiosynced, a monthly roundup of audiobook reviews! Check out the Audiosynced January roundup!


  1. The Harry Potter Books are a must! Recently, I've listened to both Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and as much as I loved the books, the audiobooks really let the writing shine. Plus, each audiobook has multiple narrators - 2 for Shiver and 4 for Linger - which makes them seem shorter than they actually are.

  2. Actor Campbell Scott did a good job with Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and is a wonderful narrator in general.

  3. I really enjoy Laura Flanagan who is the reader for Ellen Hopkin's books. She does a great job at mastering different voices and is really enthusiastic about what she does. Before listening to Identical, I hadn't read any Hopkins books. After listening to Flanagan's reading ability, combined with Hopkin's wonderful writing, I was hooked!

    I also really enjoy Joel Johnstone who has done Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie. He makes the book come alive and truly sounds like a middle school teen. Another great choice to start with!

  4. I am a big fan of audio books, they are something I can listen to while I work, clean, do laundry or drive. I have several on my ipod, some better than others. I just saw Cassandra Clare say that her Clockwork Princes book was narrated by Jennifer Ehle aka Elizabeth Bennett, I now want to listen. I had listened to the Mortal Instruments & liked those narrators. Thanks for the suggestions I need some new ones.

  5. I am still skeptical of audio books! But the next car ride I'm stuck on, I'll give it a shot.

  6. Great post! I've been in an audiobook rut recently so this is very helpful! I love Artemis Fowl, Clockwork Angel, White Cat and Leviathan as audiobooks. Right now I'm listening to The Dead Tossed Waves and it's great too!

  7. I agree with your must listen list! Jim Dale is amazing. I adore Katherine Kellgren. I recently finished her performance of Alchemy and Meggy Swann.

    I laughed so hard through the audio of Carter Finally Gets It that I'm surprised I didn't get a ticket for careless driving. The sequel is not out in audio format yet. I'm thinking I'm going to wait on it just for Podhel's performance.

    Two additional favorites of mine are Sisi Aisha Johnson and Dion Graham. Johnson performed Ninth Ward, which I loved and Graham's narration of Susan Campbell Bartoletti's They Called Themselves the KKK was riveting. I also loved his performance of Peace, Locomotion.


  8. I got into audiobooks when I had to listen to one for a YA lit class in library school. I really enjoyed listening to the Dairy Queen series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, narrated by Natalie Moore. Great Wisconsin accent!

  9. I completely agree that everyone should experience Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter books. No one compares to him!

    Having said that, I still have TONS of recommendations for audiobooks! I drive an hour to and from work everyday so I have lots of time to occupy myself with audiobooks. These are some of my favorites:

    *Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
    *Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
    *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    *The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood
    *Going Bovine by Libba Bray
    *The Guenrsey Literary and Potato *Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
    *Paper Towns by John Green
    *Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
    *Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    *The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
    *The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    *Feed by M.T. Anderson
    *Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

  10. I am currently listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, the lastest Bloody Jack book and agree that Katherine Kellgren is amazing. I think I could listen to her read a grocery list and find it enjoyable! I have found that audiobooks are a good way to enjoy books that I struggled to read. Two examples come to mind: Going Bovine by Libba Bray and The Book Thief. I could not get into the books but found that the audio was amazing. I also enjoy the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Allen Bradley, The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade, and The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

  11. my dad can't read. he falls asleep:) and he also has a very long trip to work so audio books are perfect for him. i listened to the harry potters with him some and i agree, they are amazing. skulduggery pleasant is awesome! i love those books, i bet they are amzing on audio.

  12. Nick Podehl narrated the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness and he was perfect! I never thought about trying new audio books based on narrators - thanks!

  13. I second the "Bloody Jack" series and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I only listened to the last Harry Potter and was a bit confused on some of the voices, but there were a ton of characters anyway and probably would have been confused if I read it. I would recommend Swim the Fly; the two friends were distinct but I couldn't remember their names and it was hilarious. I also finished I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President, and really enjoyed it.

  14. I want to add one I just listened to: The Knife of Never Letting go by Patrick Ness. The narrator (sorry I don't have the name!) was fabulous, and the book was just honored by ALA in the audiobook category.

  15. I am totally hooked on audiobooks, too, and find it absolutely hilarious that almost every example I would have given is one you've already mentioned. I love Jim Dale, Katherine Kellgren, Nick Podehl, and have become a fan of the Full Cast Audio productions, as well. They are like listening to a movie. BTW - If you and Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan haven't yet listened to "Ender's Game" by Full Cast Audio I suggest you give that one a try. :)

  16. I so agree with you regarding Katherine Kellgren, she if fantastic and I love, love the Bloody Jack series.

    At the end of another audio I was listening to recently, Jim Dale gave a pitch for listening to audio books and I thought, oh man, I've got to see what he's read as his voice was wonderful.

  17. I really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl series on audio. I think the narrator did a fantastic job.

    Also, the narrator(s) of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side were fantastic. The guy voice totally made me swoony and added to the story. Highly recommended!

    Also, this is an adult book, but I absolutely loved listening to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which was narrated by two British women. I think that's the book that really got me into audiobooks.

  18. Jim Dale is my favorite audiobook narrator. He did an amazing job with the Harry Potter books. I am very picky when it comes to audiobooks. I tried to listen to The Red Pyramid which features Katherine Kellgren but I didn't care for the actor who narrated Carter. His version of Sadie was not very good. Katherine Kellgren did a great job but I couldn't keep going with the audiobooks. I wish she'd done the whole thing.

    I will have to try some of your other suggestions. I did listen to a clip of the first Percy Jackson book on Audible and I liked the sound of that so I may get that one. I am currently listening to Soulless by Gail Carriger (not a YA book but it won an Alex award) and I think Emily Grey does a great job with it so far. Very funny!

  19. Katherine Kellgren!!!! I loves her. I have a bunch of your suggestions on my to-listen list! YAY!

  20. Back when I was a librarian, I had a really hard time getting into ANGUS, THONGS, & FULL-FRONTAL SNOGGING by Louise Rennison, even though the kids in the library loved it. I had a long commute so I tried the audio...pretty soon I was laughing in my car like a loon on loon tablets. Absolutely hilarious on audio, British accent and all.

  21. Thanks for the great suggestions! I have so many audiobooks to listen to now!

    Laura-I almost put the Georgia Nicolson books on my list-they are hilarious on audio!

  22. My daughter and I picked out Dandilion Fire by ND Wilson at the library to listen to and we've enjoyed it. We both agree we wouldn't finish the book unless we were listening to it! The narrator is great (don't know who it is). I've found that I have a really hard time listening to female readers. Bad I know :(

    I love that I can download them onto my ipod from the library. Really cool there.

  23. I just went to an interesting session yesterday on audiobooks. Very interesting! From it, my two questions are how to make the audiobooks available to students and how to link listening to reading.

    I think I may lean toward getting students to get library cards and getting audiobooks from the public library. I don't know that my OPAC will accomodate them.

  24. Thank you for these great suggestions. If you like Jim Dale, try the "Peter and the Starcatchers" series, too. Chaos Walking Trilogy, starting with "Knife of Never Letting Go" is great, too. In book two, there are two narrators, and book 3 adds a third.

    Try Playaway if you're having trouble accessing audiobooks online. So easy to use and available at your public library.

  25. Additional great audiobooks are Westerfeld's Leviathan and Behemoth. Narrated by Alan so fantastic. I also listened to Paper Towns by John Green and it was one of the best audiobooks I've heard.

  26. Thanks so much for the recommendations. I always give my teens Spanking Shakespeare. It is so funny and happy for a teen boy drama book.

  27. I loved REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly read by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering. It was a great combination of French revolution history and contemporary music world. I thought it was awesome!


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