I have a confession to make.
With a long drive to work, a busy workload and a severe case of reader’s FOMO, I find myself listening to as many books as I read these days. Okay, not quite as many, but I’m going through a couple of audiobooks a week at the moment, which is something I never thought I’d do.
And you know what? I’m loving it.
Gone are those long hours staring at a sea of brake lights, listening to the radio as Fitzy or Jimbo or Spanner or The Gregster give away tickets to a Nickleback concert. Forgotten are the days of sitting on a cramped train trying to read a book while someone next to me shouts down the phone about patio furniture.
I’m in a world of peace, with great reads streaming into my earballs all week long. It’s really quite lovely, and I can’t recommend it enough. Here are a few of my favourites…
Author: Harper Lee
Narrator: Reese Witherspoon
It was a big event when Reese Witherspoon was announced as the narrator of the audiobook of Go Set a Watchman (she also narrated the new edition of To Kill a Mockingbird) and listening to it, I see why. Witherspoon has a gorgeous Southern twang that adds so much to Watchman.
As for the book itself, don’t listen to the critics, who judged it on a scale of Mockingbird or bust. Sure, it isn’t up to To Kill a Mockingbird standards, but not much is. It’s still a great read. Or listen, in this case.
Author and Narrator: Richard Glover
Flesh Wounds is one of my favourite books of the year. The funny, touching and often harrowing autobiography of writer and broadcaster Richard Glover. Glover has been in the radio game for a long time and puts those golden tonsils to good use, narrating his memoir with appropriate conviction and poise.
Great books don’t always translate into great audiobooks, but Flesh Wounds does in spades.
Author and Narrator: Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry’s More Fool Me was one of my favourite books of last year, another wonderful addition to his bestselling autobiographical series. I could listen to Stephen Fry talk about soup for days on end, let alone one of the most prolific and turbulent periods of his mighty career, the late 80s and early 90s.
Author: Bill Bryson
Narrator: William Roberts
Oh Bill, you magnificent bastard. I love, love LOVE everything Bill Bryson does, but A Short History of Nearly Everything is undoubtedly my favourite, and narrator William Roberts does a fine job pulling Bryson’s infectious enthusiasm for knowledge from the page. Think of the most interesting podcast you’ve ever listened to, and make it 15 hours long. It’s a seemingly endless joy you can return to over and over again.
If you’re new to audiobooks, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the perfect place to start.
Like the sound of these sounds?
See more in Booktopia’s Audiobook Collection.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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