With my brother playing college baseball in Tucson, Arizona, my family takes many long drives through the desert during baseball season. It’s about 8-9 hours from Santa Barbara to Tucson, depending on traffic, but it can feel like forever. The best way I’ve found to pass the time is by listening to an audiobook. My parents and I recently drove to Tucson for my brother’s opening weekend, so I listened to the audiobook for Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, and it made me realize that there are few things better than a good audiobook.
I’m not discriminating between the audiobooks where a narrator reads the text word for word or a theatrical adaptation. Both can be great audiobooks. For example, the Sinner audiobooks consists of a female narrator readings Isabel’s chapters and a male narrator reading Cole’s chapters, and it’s amazing. The audiobook for The Lord of the Rings is a theatrical adaptation, not a narrator reading word for word, but a cast of actors reading scripts like a radio play.
Now, there are several standards for good audiobooks, the most important being that even if they are adapted, they are still close to the book. You obviously need a good voice for the narrator(s) or characters. Nothing kills an audiobook faster than a grating voice. But if it well done, an audiobook can be a great way to relive a book without reading a print copy.
I love audiobooks because they allow you to relive the story without the “work” of actually reading the book again. This might sound lazy or sacrilegious, but life can get busy and tired, and sometimes I want the easy way to relive a story. Plus, reliving the story via audiobook gives the story a new dimension. It’s in between reading and a film adaptation. It maintains the integrity of the written words, but adds a flare of drama to the experience.
Audiobooks also allow you to “read on the go”. You can listen in your car, while you exercise, or anytime you want. They’re really quite versatile. And so much fun. I love the narrators in Sinner and the actors in The Lord of the Rings. Some of my other favorite audiobooks are the theatrical adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia books, all of them, and Neverwhere by Nail Gaiman. And if you know of other excellent audiobooks, let me know in the comments! I’d love to check them out!