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Subject: Audio books
Date Posted: 2/2/2009 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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I am going to have to be driving to the beach on Monday afternoon and will be returning home on Tuesdays.  This is about a 2-2 1/2 hour drive for me. I was wondering if someone could reccomend some good audio books?  I have never listened to a audio book so I don't know if I will like it.  I have always preferred reading books but I think the radio may get boring after awhile and I could also catch up on some books that I normally would not have time to read right now.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 2:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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The Girls was a book about conjoined twins that I didn't think that I wanted to read.  I listened to it on a long drive and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Because it is told from journals by both girls, it was especially good for audio reading.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 6:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I dont' know any that are that short but for some longer ones I've enjoyed 'The divine secrets of the yaya sisterhood' and 'little altars everywhere' by rebecca wells. I also like the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich on audio. I've also listened to Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street books and Susannah's Garden..Susannah's Garden I found more interesting than the others..I've also listened to a couple of the Eve/Roarke books by  JD Robb. My latest audiobooks have been Karen Marie Moning's highlander series though almost everything I start off listening to I end up finishing with the book except for the evanovich and wells stories.

oops forgot! sometimes I Like to listen to chilren's books - A  Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck is awesome on audio - a woman narrates it really well. I also lik ejudy blume's tales of a fourth grade nothing series with sheila and fudge..they're pretty entertaining.

Last Edited on: 2/3/09 6:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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We take a lot of long drives.  We live in Maine, hubby's family is in PA (9 hr drive) and my family is spread all over the country, so we atleast once a year have 2 or 3, 14 hour days in a row. We take turns picking the audio books, so I have listened to everything from Chronicles of the Edge, which was a good but gross, young adult fantasy series to The Historian, one of my favorite books.

My advise is to get one that the author isnt from a foreign country. I have found that when they have an accent, it can be very difficult to undestand them. For a short trip, there are many abridged stories, especially mysteries that are about 4 hours long, so you can listen half there and half back. Check the Library for audio books you can borrow, that is where we get most of ours.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I really like Sydney Sheldon audiobooks...the abridged ones are about 3 hours each.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I listen to a lot of audiobooks on my commute and while travelling.  I find that I like mysteries best for this.  I don't want an emotional book while I'm driving, and I definitely don't want any love scenes!

Although they aren't really mysteries, audio books by Alexander McCall Smith are really well suited for long trips.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I do a lot of driving for work, and I've started listening to audiobooks in the car.  I usually only listen to audiobooks of stuff I don't want to read or have already read and enjoyed. 

Currently I'm listening to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (26 hours on CD!) because I thought it might be too tedious otherwise.  I think I was right :-p  Next up I'm planning to listen to Sue Grafton's series...I read one years ago and have always thought of catching up, but can't say I want to invest the time reading all of them.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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Your suggestions are great.  I hope I can find some at the library that I don't already have in book form.

Date Posted: 2/3/2009 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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The Historian was wonderful as an audio....I didn't want it to end.  It was so rich and magical.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2008
Posts: 5
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 Audiobooks that I have enjoyed are the Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Date Posted: 2/6/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 13
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Your trip time is a big drawback. One-way is too short to listen to a 2 cassette book (3 hrs.) which is a seriously abridged book, but if you listen to the same book in both directions you've got about 4 1/2 hours and that's good for a 4 tape book which is somewhat abridged.

To me, the reader is as important as the author. I like readers (often called performers) who can simulate a different voice for the different characters. Jim Dale who reads the Harry Potter books is an excellent example of this--you really believe he is all those characters. But those are all recorded unabridged so they are a major commitment in time.

Some series are read by different readers for each book. Patricia Cornwell books, for instance, have been read by Blair Brown, Jill Eikenberry, Kate Burton, Kate Reading, Carolyn McCormick, and Lindsay Crouse (definitely the worst of the lot IMHO). But other series have a single voice. Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries are read by Judy Kaye who is Kinsey Milhone. You'll love her voice.

My advice is to go to the library and check out about 20 books (if they'll let you have that many at once--shame on libraries which do not!) which are the right length for your trip and which interest you. When you get home, play each for about 5 min. and toss out the ones that don't appeal on that first bit of listening. On your trip, take about twice the amount of listening as you have time for because if you decide after one side that you don't like the book you'll have a backup.

Don't be afraid to listen to a book you've already read with your eyes. Sometimes the voice of the reader will present a different perspective than you had when reading alone and you'll hear it as a different book.

I've been speaking in terms of tape cassettes as that's the format I prefer over CD though I can play both in my car or home. IMHO tapes work best because you can stop at any point, remove the tape, then put it back and it will be in the correct position to start where you left off. With a CD you have to memorize where you were and then skip to that point when you restart. Always be sure to fast forward the tape to the end before flipping it to hear the second side.

I love listening to books both in the car and at home while I'm quilting. I have a big personal collection and listen to the same books over and over again. This allows me to multitask--sew and listen, drive and listen, whatever.



Last Edited on: 2/6/09 8:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2009 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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Thanks for all you recommendations.  I will be heading to the library at lunch Monday to see what they have.  I will post about how I liked them when I get back Tuesday night.

Subject: Audio Books
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2008
Posts: 8
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The Secret Life of Bees is excellent.

Date Posted: 2/14/2009 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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I went to the library this past Monday and checked out Shiver by Lisa Jackson.  The story is good but I have to get use to someone reading it to me.  The reader of this book is not very good.  So far I have listened to 4 CD's out of 13.  So this should keep me going for at least 3 weeks.  I mainly just listen to them one day out of the week. 

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,068
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I so agree with Betty R. in that some of the best books you will listen to are books you've already read.  Three of the absolutely most awesome listens I've had since I started with audios ( and I read a lot as a commuter and while gardening and walking), are revisits to books I've already read, two many times.  They are: Water for Elephants, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and right now, To Kill a Mockingbird.

And she's right in take more than you think you could possibly listen to.  While my husband will frequently listen to the end or close to the end of a boring book or a good book with a lousy reader, I won't.  Our last trip back home, 15 hours through a blizzard, saw us starting and stopping at least 4 before we found one that was just right for that kind of ride.  You never know what will strike you right, and when.


Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 23
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"Going Postal" by Terry Pratchett (33rd book of the discworld series) is hilarious if you want a good laugh...story actually could be used as a template to reserect our present day postal service.  I drive 62 miles each way to work and have listened to a lot of books on tape, cd, dvd, mp3...Going Postal is my favorite.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,570
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My favorite audio book so far was The Poisonwood Bible.  I loved reading the book but truthfully I tend to skip any paragraph my brain tells me is either repeated info or not essential to the story on the first read of a book.  The reader of this unabridged book was fantastic!  She had a great voice and accent for each of the four story tellers of the book, all women/sisters.

Another one that is great is the Dogs of Babel.  I put the book down after 100 pages but always intended to finish it.  When I ordered the tapes by accident I listened to it on my way to work.  It was so much better audio than paper.

I also listened to the unabridged of A Thousand Splendid Suns and I know that I wouldn't have read the book otherwise. 

On my bookshelf are several short abridged novels like Big Stone Gap and the Copper Beach and a couple others that my Mom and Dad listened to and then left at my house.  I would be happy to do a deal 2 for 1 on those if you are interested.

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2008
Posts: 7
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I think David Sedaris is a good listen. His book is made up of short and funny stories. I enjoyed his work. I think Sophie Kinsella's work will also be fun. I have only listened to Undomestic Goddess but I am looking forward to the Shopaholics series.

Flobee -
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2006
Posts: 2,854
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Thanks for the suggestions, I listen to books all day at work and am running out of ideas!

The Big Stone Gap series is good, Debbie Macomber series, Sweet Potato Queens. Dorothea Benton Frank. I picked up two books because they were read by Hugh Laurie (House) and his English accent got to me before the first disc was over. Harry Potter is wonderful!

I don't know about your library, but you have to watch some of the tapes, they are getting old and break or hang up but they are easier to keep your place.

Date Posted: 2/25/2009 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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I didn't think I'd care for audio books but I have been listending to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander sereires (which I had already read the traditional way) and it gives it a whole new spice to hear it read as if Claire were teliing the story herself.  However they are very long books and therefore very long audios.  (I don't do unabridged.)  Outlander was I thhink 25 CDs, I bought it with a gift card (it cost $50 at B&N.)  The others I checked out from the library and copied to my Ipod.  Sometimes I can listen while I'm at work depending on what I'm doing and who's around, I"m about halfway through book 2 in the series.  Part of it takes palce in France and the reader does a really good job with the French words and phrases, very authentic.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 4,470
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Last Edited on: 4/1/11 4:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Audio books- a great way to hear books you might not otherwise read
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 2:53 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 917
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I got started with the Harry Potter books in 2002 and have branched out since then.  I use them to listen to as I do chores or to get away from the tv.  I decided to try listening to books that I had on my TBR list but were lower down on the list, ones I just hadn't been able to get to for a while.  That has been a good way to get in an extra 15 books a year for me.

I am with Betty, the readers can really make it.  Jim Dale of Harry Potter truly set the standard for me.  I fell in love with the lady who reads the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  She has such a nice voice and I never would have been able to figure out the correct pronunciation of many of the names and places in Botswana.  I have listened to all the books in that series exclusively with audio tapes.

I also used books on tapes to help me chill out about politics in the 2004 elections.  I got so wired from listening to the news during that time I was driving myself and hubby crazy. Then I read Harry Potter 6 and was really bummed out about the death of a main character.  So decided I needed some cheering up.  I chose Jeeves and Wooster and it was just the ticket!  I love british humor and this was so different from our modern day that is perked me right up.

I love using my library for most of these, only buy those I know I wll listen to again.  Another unexpected find was a YA series Percy Jackson and the Olympians...if you like greek mythology this is so much fun!

Date Posted: 3/24/2009 3:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2007
Posts: 4,461
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I travel for work sometimes and will pick up an audio book for the drive. The library where you live should have a great selection.

Subject: Lots of good audiobooks out there
Date Posted: 3/26/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2008
Posts: 4
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I have a long commute and listen to books every day.  Some of the best I've heard:

  • Harry Potter series--Jim Dale is terrific
  • Twilight series--I'd listen on in the car and pick them up where I left off with the book at home.  The actress who reads them is a very good bella.
  • The Host--I don't think I could have read the book--took a little while to get into it, but it was worth the time
  • Pillar of the of the earth--another looong book but very enjoyable

Granted, none of these are appropriate for a short drive, but if you have more time . . .