Before I start, I have to confess that for many years I was not a fan of audiobooks. This is something that has been pointed out to me by fellow bloggers who were keen advocates of the medium. I have now seen the light, mostly because of a regular commute which gives me time to listen whilst dealing with motorway traffic. I am now so enthusiastic about audiobooks that I recommend them to everyone !
At present I am listening to “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy. I have never read any Russian literature before and I am not sure that I would ever have attempted any in print but I have listened to quite a few classics and have enjoyed them very much in audio. It is a long book and has taken a few weeks to finish but I am on the last chapters and have long given up hope of any of the characters lightening up a bit ! I am going to need to listen to something short and jolly after this one as a change in mood.
The longest audiobook I have listened to so far is “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas which I really enjoyed despite the length of time it took to get through it. I also enjoyed “Middlemarch” by George Eliot which is another lengthy classic and “Wolf Hall” and its sequel by Hilary Mantel. I am interested to note that these are all historical fiction as they were written about periods before that of the author – I cannot determine why that makes it particularly enjoyable but I have realised that I have listened to very little contemporary fiction.
I have listened to quite a lot of non-fiction and probably enjoy this type of book best on audio. I highly recommend “A History of Britain in 21 Women” by Jenni Murray which contains excellent vignettes of important, feminist women and their achievements; “Dead Wake” by Erik Larson which is a history of the sinking of the Lusitania during WW1; “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance which is a memoir of growing up in poverty in rural America; “The Holocaust” by Laurence Rees which is a history of the genocide of the Jews in WW2; and “Blood in the Water” by Heather Ann Thompson which tells the sad story of the riot at Attica prison and the inmates’ attempt to find justice – a bit of a mixed bag there and probably something for everyone.
The book I have enjoyed the most though is probably the shortest and that is the reading of “Under Milk Wood” by Dylan Thomas and narrated by Richard Burton. It is an absolute delight and I have listened to it several times. The poem tells of the day in the life of a small Welsh town and is told through a number of voices It is truly poetry brought to life by some excellent speakers.
The joy of audio books is that I can still read whilst doing something else – driving, sitting on a bus, dusting, cleaning, cooking or tidying. I like the opportunity to try new things and the fact that it is so easy to download them on to my phone. All the narrators I have listened to have had good voices although I have speeded a few of them up when I thought their style was a bit leisurely.
I have quite a few audiobooks ready to read with my phone acting as a to be read list and I don’t think I would be without them now. I wonder what other things I have been saying “no” to I would really enjoy if I tried them !
Have a look at my Reading Challenges page on this website – I am starting to fill it with the books I read last year in my A to Z reading challenge. All in all, I have plenty of recommendations for you today !