Online Resources Staff Book Reviews

Awesome Audiobooks

by Public Service Associate Owen

Audiobooks are quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to ingest a good book. While nothing quite beats cozying up to your favorite hard cover or thumbing through a paperback, audiobooks really are a great alternative, especially for those who might not have the time to sit down and read. Audiobooks are a great option if you’re traveling, cleaning the house, or otherwise too occupied to read a physical book. Whether you’re planning for a road trip and need some in-car entertainment, or want to listen to a good story while you take a walk (as I am one to do), a good audiobook has you covered! And with Libby, it’s easier than ever to access and borrow thousands of titles right from your phone or other device! I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite audiobooks, as well as others that fellow BPL staff members have recommended, so that you have a good place to start from if you’re interested in getting into the audiobook scene. Happy listening!

  • Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan; narrated by Mike Duncan | Libby / CD

This is one of my favorites! This biography follows the Marquis de Lafayette through his entire life, but pays particular attention to the major roles he played in the events of three separate political revolutions (the American War of Independence, the French Revolution, and the July Revolution of 1830). Fellow history buffs will know author Mike Duncan from his excellent podcasts (The History of Rome and Revolutions), so it is only natural that his self-read audiobooks are of top-shelf quality. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about such a towering figure of both American history and the age of liberal revolutions.

  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett; narrated by Tom Hanks | Libby / CD

Another one of my favorites! Tom Hanks’s narration really sets this one apart, as its a pleasure to hear his baritone voice follow the tragic story of siblings Danny and Maeve. A story of loss, familial love, and finding your place in the world in spite of tragic events, The Dutch House is especially emotional read that is brought to life in audiobook form. It is one of the best novels that I’ve read in a long time, so I highly recommend it!

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon; narrated by Davina Porter | Libby / CD

This is an incredible story of time travel, adventure, passion, love, longing and danger, set in the misty Scottish highlands and brilliantly brought to life by Davina Porter. Outlander has since been turned into an acclaimed TV show, but it is in the book where the characters and story really shine. The main character Claire Randall is a World War II combat nurse who is transported back to 1743 while on a honeymoon in the highlands, and the story that follows is truly enrapturing. Historical fiction fans should look no further!

  • Circe by Madeline Miller; narrated by Perdita Weeks | Libby / CD

Okay, maybe you should look further, because Circe is just as good Outlander is! While not exactly “historical” fiction, Circe does take place deep in the misty past of Greek mythology. Told from the perspective of the titular goddess that Odysseus and his crew encounter during the events of Homer’s Odyssey, Circe turns the epic on its head by offering a different, sorely-needed female perspective. It is a breath of fresh air in the literary world, as it flouts the male monopoly of the literature of antiquity and gives it new life. The audiobook format of Circe is also brilliantly performed, so there’s really no reason to not pick it up today!

  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin; narrated by Roy Dotrice | Libby / CD

A bit of a disclaimer — I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series, of which A Game of Thrones is the first title. I’ve read the books, watched the show (seasons 1-4 are, in my opinion, some of the best television of all-time), and devoured the sprawling fantasy universe that author George R. R. Martin has meticulously crafted. After all that, I thought I was done, until I picked up the audiobooks and was entranced all over again. There is a lot of complexity to grapple with for first-time readers – names, dynasties, titles, places, things, creatures, kingdoms, cities, etc. – but Roy Dotrice does an amazing job of keeping the story on track. If you’ve ever thought about getting into the A Song of Ice and Fire series but don’t know where to start, then I highly recommend picking up the audiobook version!

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey; narrated by Tina Fey | Libby / CD

We’ve come full-circle, with a self-read biography rounding out my list of recommendations. Unlike Hero of Two Worlds, however, Tina Fey’s Bossypants is an absolute riot of an autobiography. Okay, okay, admittedly I haven’t actually read the book, but my sister – a die-hard 30 Rock fan – has, and she says the audiobook version is even funnier than the book version since it’s read by Fey herself. And if it’s good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me!

Oh, and last but not least, here are some recommendations from other BPL staff members! Happy listening!

– Public Services Manager Jen:

  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; narrated by an ensemble cast | Libby / CD

“It’s like a bizarro old-time radio program. The ensemble cast is all-star, and is what makes it so good!”

  • Any Ruth Ware title | Libby

“The stories are predictable, but I always enjoy them anyways.”

– Public Service Associate Mary:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert; narrated by an ensemble cast | Libby / CD

“Still working my way through this one. It’s got a big, diverse cast, which really helps in following along with the story. They also use background audio; there is one scene in the desert where the wind is blowing and they play that sound in the background. It’s really cool and makes you feel like you’re part of the scene.”

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith | Libby / CD
  • The Virginian by Owen Wister; narrated by Jack Garrett

-Public Service Associate Autumn:

  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells, narrated by Kevin R. Free | Libby / CD

“The voice actor is really good, and it’s one of my favorite stories.”

-Public Service Associate Juliana:

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, narrated by David Pittu | Libby / CD

“Clocking in at 32 hours, it’s a long one. But it’s so good you will actually finish it.”

  • M Train by Patti Smith, narrated by Patti Smith | Libby / CD

“One of my favorite books read by the author who is one of my favorite artists.”

– Adult Services Manager Whitney:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama; narrated by Michelle Obama | Libby / CD