What'r your favorite audiobooks?

I’ve suddenly found myself hooked on audiobooks. Ever since I started listening to XM Radio and discovered their “Sonic Theater” station. For awhile, I would just listen to Sherlock Holmes on the way home, then my commute got longer so I got to hear Orson Scott Card’s Universe (the Ender books are SOOOO good, and even better in audio format).

Then I discovered that my local public library offers audio downloads! So I went shopping for a new XM receiver that could play MP3s (I bought the Delphi SKYFi3), which has gotten many more miles on it than my last “mp3” player (it was a Sony and was more trouble than it was worth).

So far I’ve listened to a couple of the Orson Scott Card books (even though I’ve already read them all in print form), Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series (excellent dramatization, one of the best I’ve heard), the latest Janet Evanovich (I like pulp, okay?), and am currently listening to the sequel to “Eragon.”

I’ve debated getting an Audible.com membership, but I plan on exhausting what the public library’s site has to offer first (it being FREE and all).

Anyway, I’d like to know if there are any particular audiobooks out there that I shouldn’t miss. Or any that I should avoid because they’re liable to put me to sleep (which would be bad since I’m normally driving while I listen to them). I was hoping to be able to listen to the whole Harry Potter series again, but was disappointed to discover that they’re being offered exlusively on iTunes. Bah.

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

I enjoyed reading it, I loved listening even more. It was read by two people (a guy for Henry and a woman for Clare) and it added something extra to be able to listen to it I felt.

And if you can get them, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. The first four books are read by James Marsters.

The BEST I’ve heard (and I’ve listened to a lot) was the Lord of the Rings Trilogy read by Rob Inglis. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I was done, I wanted to listen all over again.

I also loved the audio version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

My favourite is Neil Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys” as read by Lenny Henry. It’s a perfect match between voice actor and material. If ever a movie is made of this book, I want Henry to play Fat Charlie (and a bunch of other characters as well).

Second favourite is a tie between the first three books in Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series, as read by James Marsters, formerly of that Buffy TV thingy.

Psst. Summer Knight recently came out in audiobook, read by James Marsters.

I’ve got the Harry Potter series on CD and ripped them to MP3 to listen to at work. They’re fantastic–Jim Dale, who read for the American market, got into the Guiness Book for the number of unique character voices in Order of the Phoenix. He really does a great job with them.
I also really enjoy the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, although both narrators that read for the series read well, neither can really pull off great character voices other than Roland, who always seemed perfect. Anyway, I enjoy them enough to listen to them repeatedly. I have a lot of audio books because of the nature of my work.
I also love Salman Rushdie’s books, especially Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which he reads himself.

We really enjoyed Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, read by the author. I found a sequel later, read by someone else, and it wasn’t nearly as fun.

I always rave in these threads about I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, read by George Guidall. George is an incredible reader, who differentiates the character voices and also does accents beautifully. The book is pretty swell too, and long–over 30 hours. This audiobook had me running out to the car each morning to find out what happened next. (In fact, while posting this, I decided to get it out of the library again. Thanks!)

Also, the Lemony Snicket books, most of which are read by Tim Curry. He did such a beautiful job on these I nearly cried when he wasn’t cast as Count Olaf in the movie.

"Letting Go of God " by Julia Sweeney.

The only audiobook I’ve listened to is the Silmarillion, but it was really good, especially the Ainulindale, which is what I purchased it for, since it is very biblical in tone. I don’t remember the version, though, but I can’t see how you can go wrong with the Silmarillion.

I read an exerpt from that. It was pretty good.

Yes, yes, YES! I had read American Gods, and liked it a lot, but Lenny Henry reading Anansi Boys is freaking brilliant.

Also, Keith Szarabajka reading Fear Nothing and Seize the Night by Dean Koontz. The former is better than the latter, but both fun. Hearing them made me realize Koontz is doing a kind of prose poetry, which really benefits from reading aloud. (Oh, and I absolutely, positively hate a lot of recent Koontz, but I still like these stories, to give you a gauge.)

Don’t know if this is your cup of tea, but I really enjoyed Crocodile on the Sandbank, read by Barbara Rosenblat (watch out, there are other versions not as good). Amelia Peabody is a rip - she’s so haughty and superior, and yet a lot of her self-opinion is well earned, and the book is just fun.

Don’t know about you, but my library system has CD audiobooks, and I just rip them to my mp3 player. I confess sometimes I’m too impatient and I get stuff from Audible too.

Tim Dorsey’s Torpedo Juice on audio is amazing. Simply hilarious. Be careful that you don’t drive off the road in fits of laughter. The reader is superb.

I came in hear to say that. That was an excellent one.

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde was very good also, and got me into the Thursday Next series (even though it’s third.)

Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions. I’ve managed to find a few of them on my public library’s site. They have a really crappy selection of audiobooks on actual CD, though, or else I’d be checking them out, too.

The Dresden Files sounds worth checking out - I know Marsters can do great voices (after watching him on Buffy, I was amazed to realize he wasn’t really British). Turns out my husband used to know Jim Butcher from back in his LARP days. Small world, eh?

I love the Harry Potter audiobooks–I’ve pretty much been listening to them nonstop in my car for the past year. Jim Dale is a combination of awesome (Harry, Hagrid, Snape, Dumbledore, and many more) and really annoying (Hermoine–I get so tired of “Harreeeeeeee!”–Trelawney, Luna, and anyone else who’s supposed to have a “dreamy” or “spacy” voice) but mostly he does a fantastic job with the stories.

My other all-time favorite audiobook, which might be a bit tough to find but is worth it if you like cats at all, is The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, read by David Hyde Pierce. His voice is perfect for the story. I loved it so much I named one of my cats after one of the book’s characters.

Also agreed on the Lord of the Rings series–Inglis is unbelievable. Unlike Dale, I don’t recall Inglis ever having a bad voice, but they’re all distinct enough that you can tell who’s talking even before he tells you.

I’ve listened to both Jim Dale and Stephen Fry(he does the Brit version of the audiobooks) versions of HP books and like Fry more.

Same here. They’re both good, but Fry does a better Dumbledore, is easier to listen to (less frenetic?) and, as winterhawk pointed out, is Harreeeee -less.

I really liked Stephen Hoye reading Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip, Jenny Sterlin reading The Trial of Elizabeth Cree by Peter Ackroyd and Lisette Lecat absolutely is Mna Ramotswe in all of Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies #1 Detective books.

Worst audiobook, ever? The Master Butchers Singing Club read horribly by the author, Louise Erdrich. Skip it and read the print version, it’s a good book, but Ms. Erdrich reads it like she’s in an undergraduate poetry seminar – random words accentuated, pauses in peculiar places, statements spoken as questions - ugh.

The Adrian Mole books are hysterical. No idea who the narrator is but he’s very good.

Anything read by Rosenblat is terrific. I look for books read by her. As terrific as people say Jim Dale is with the various voices in Harry Potter? Barbara Rosenblat is better. The whole “Amelia Peabody” series (which begins with that book) is great. The author is Elizabeth Peters, and I believe she’s officially done with the series.

The “His Dark Materials” trilogy is supposed to be good. It was recommended by a friend who works in a children’s book store. I’ve only listened to the first one (The Golden Compass) and though it’s “narrated by the author”, that only refers to the nonspoken part. All dialogue is actually done by actors. Go for it.

Will have to check out Anansi Boys - we love Lenny Henry and Gaiman.