I’ve talked about the advantages of audiobooks when it comes to accessibility before, but this post is dedicated to truly beautiful audiobooks, ones that have captured my imagination. Between beautiful narration, delicious story weaving, and creative thinking in their deliver, some books really are just stunning to listen to. There are some books, I think, that are just perfect to be listened to.
Because of my visual impairment, and also because I just love them, I listen to a lot of audiobooks, of all kinds of them, loving the variety. Audiobook shopping is just like book shopping, except you shop with narration in mind as well as everything you normally do; author, cover, writing, style, genre – and narrator. Here are some of the books that have got all of that, and more.
The “Strike” series was probably the series that first convinced me that audiobooks were going to be a part of my life. I’d listened to cassette recordings as a child of things like The Wizard of Oz, and forgotten just how wonderful it could be until Strike came into my life. The first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling was a book that I switched between reading physically and listening to. With a talented narrator, and J. K. Rowling’s wonderful skill turned to thrillers, the series captivated me, and is still one I listen to on repeat when I need the guarantee of a superb book.
Once Upon A River is an audiobook that transports you back to the times of listening to fairy tales, whilst keeping you focused on the bigger picture. Full of mystery, magic, and sheer wonder, the historical fiction element of this book gives you something comforting to relax into, surrounded by the times of myth and superstition. Told in a soft almost singsong narrative, you will find yourself dreaming of this story, punting along the river that connects everything together, and want to read it again and again.
I mentioned Me Before You recently in my post about tearjerkers, and here we are again. Quite possibly a sign from the universe I need to reread. Me Before You did make me sob, but it also made me laugh out loud, smile, and genuinely feel like I had found a friend in the characters. Now an increasingly popular book and film, this audiobook was an easy to listen piece of magic that spun me around, and made me look at everything around me with new eyes.
Spectacles by Sue Perkins was my first ever Audible purchase, and I obviously started in style. Semi-autobiographical, semi full blow Sue Perkins humour, ever minute of this book was wonderful to listen to. With Perkins narrating as well as writing the book, it was naturally told with wit and impeccable timing when it came to the many (many) puns. Equally it was emotional at points, and that only made it more wonderful to listen to. One of those “I really don’t want this to finish” books.
The Sherlock Holes Collection read by Stephen Fry is a spectacular seventy two hours worth of classic to listen to. Stephen Fry has turned his attention to several audiobooks since the success of his reading Harry Potter, and despite loving both Mythos and Heroes, it is partnered here with the magnificent Sherlock Holmes that he truly shines. On top of being spectacularly good value for money, the hours of tales will remind you of the wonder of reading them for the first time. A fabulous place to start, especially, if you are first branching out into audiobooks.
On top of these few recommendations, it is worth remembering that when it comes to my book reviews, at least a third of them I have listened to. Books such as The Corset, and Blackberry and Wild Rose that I have raved about spring to mind immediately. Also on my list are the life changing books How To Come Alive Again, and Body Positivity Power that turned me right side out after years the wrong way around.
Whether you’re just trying to squeeze in some bonus reading time on your commute, or are changing things in your life, or simply want to try something new, it doesn’t matter; just like you can find the right physical book, so you can too find the right audiobook. Happy listening!