Sometimes a book is just a book, but other times it’s an experience that captivates and consumes you—for me, that experience is made richer as a listener. Over and over again this year I’ve been astounded by the marriage of a stellar narration and an incredible story. Traffic jams, my commute to the office, grocery shopping, dog walking, and gym workouts all fly by when I’m listening to a compelling book. This June, celebrate Audiobook Month with ten of the recordings I’ve enjoyed the most.
Without doubt my favorite audiobook of all time. And I don’t say this lightly. I’m a huge Springsteen fan, and hearing him deliver the stories of his life as though he were sitting by the fire enjoying a late-night catch-up session with a good friend was as unique and thrilling a listening experience as I imagine I will ever have.
Read by Bruce Springsteen
Who doesn’t love “Star Wars”? When I was a kid, Episode IV, V, and VI were mandatory movie watching, and I know I’m a better person for it! Listening to Carrie Fisher speak openly about her time on the “Star Wars” set (not to mention her offscreen relationship with Harrison Ford) was incredibly compelling and added a new dynamic to the films.
Read by Carrie Fisher and Billie Lourd
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this dark story—the sequel to YOU—winds up being so funny, charming, and totally engaging, but trust me, it does. You want to hate the main character because you should—I mean, he’s spent years literally hiding bodies—but you don’t, you love him. Santino Fontana should win every award for narration because the voices he employs for this recording are simply spectacular.
Read by Santino Fontana
This was an incredible personal journey to take with Glennon Doyle Melton. The ups and downs of her life, her marriage, and parenthood immediately drew me in. She was relatable, funny, and insightful, and I loved every minute of this recording.
Read by Glennon Doyle Melton
In THE DEAD ZONE, a reluctant clairvoyant sees a terrible future ahead for mankind. While this is already an established classic in print and film, the audio edition upped the ante by casting James Franco as narrator. Riveting and socially relevant, this pitch perfect performance is truly a must-listen recording, whether you love Stephen King, James Franco, or just really good fiction.
Read by James Franco
I brought this home to my children and was thoroughly delighted when they plopped down on the floor to draw pictures of their favorite pig family while listening to Olivia bounce from the beach to the art museum to the circus. The Olivia books have always been some of our favorite reading, and it thrilled me that listening to them together opened up a new avenue of family creativity.
Read by Dame Edna Everage
I’m a huge lover of historical fiction, particularly when it’s centered on strong and intriguing female characters. This is the story of Margaret and Mary Tudor and their sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon, who became the queens of Scotland, France, and England respectively. Bianca Amato is Philippa Gregory’s longtime narrator, and her performance added such depth and emotion to the story that I nearly went back and listened to all the titles in the series I had already read in print because I so enjoyed the recording.
Read by Bianca Amato
THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING is Joan Didion’s powerful memoir of the year that followed her husband’s sudden death. This audio is both incredibly heartrending and utterly beautiful. The narration really stands out to me because this wasn’t read by the author, and yet repeatedly over the course of my listening, I felt that the delivery was so profoundly personal and raw that the honesty of the writing seeped into every single sentence.
Read by Barbara Caruso
It’s summer. You need a break from it all. The kids. The job. The stress. Look no further. This is romance audio at its delicious best. The story, the characters, and the narration are all as good as it gets. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it! You will not be disappointed, but you will spend all of your time trying to find more audiobooks written by Christina Lauren and read by this talented duo.
Narrated by Jonathan Cole and Sebastian York
I’ve been a fan of Cassandra Clare’s stories for as many years as she’s been publishing them, and so I was thrilled when she added the Dark Artifices series to her Shadowhunter world. There’s nothing I love more than a good YA series—except a great YA series with exceptional narrators! When LADY MIDNIGHT came out last year I dove right into it, and narrator Morena Baccarin (Homeland, Firefly, Deadpool) does not disappoint!
Narrated by Morena Baccarin