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Beginner's Guide to Audiobooks: Staff Favorites

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Library staff share their favorite audiobook titles.

  • The Great Alone

    2018 by Hannah, Kristin

    One of my favorite audiobooks because of the scenic, Alaskan backdrop of the story. Listening to it made me feel like I was there! Recommended by Paul.

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  • The Best of Me

    2020 by Sedaris, David

    Authors who work on radio and podcasts usually are experts at communicating through the spoken word and keeping a listener's interest. Their written books often make the best audiobooks, especially when they are read by their authors. The great examples are David Sedaris and his fellow NPR performers. Recommended by Steven and Rick.

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  • Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a True Story)

    2020 by Nayeri, Daniel

    I just finished this, and I was honestly devastated. It felt like listening to a best friend tell me stories, and I never wanted it to end. Recommended by Caitlin.

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  • My Lady Jane

    2016 by Hand, Cynthia

    I loved this audiobook. I thought it was a cast narration and was so surprised to discover that there is only one, very talented narrator. It’s oodles of fun and the voices are very distinct, so it’s easy to tell the characters apart. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • The Poet X

    2018 by Acevedo, Elizabeth

    I am huge fan of anything by Elizabeth Acevedo—I think her books are a good gateway to the audio format. Perfect for new listeners. Recommended by Allyson.

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  • The Book of Unknown Americans

    2014 by Henríquez, Cristina

    I love this title because chosen narrators share the diverse ethnicities of the characters they portray. Recommended by Nancy.

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  • Patsy: A Novel

    2019 by Dennis-Benn, Nicole

    I recently listened to Patsy and loved it—the reader is good, not great, but her patois was great to listen to and made the story so authentic. It's also really well-written. Recommended by Vanessa.

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  • Mexican Gothic

    2020 by Moreno-Garcia, Silvia

    The narrator has such a powerful voice it adds to the entire aesthetic of the book. Recommended by Jimmy.

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  • How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

    2017 by Singh, Lilly

    She narrates it herself! It's really funny, and it has great messages about life in general. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America

    2020 by Thomas, R. Eric

    I have listened to this book twice and read it in print once. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thomas reads the audiobook and it is absolute perfection. Lin-Manuel Miranda called him, "Sedaris-level laugh-out-loud funny," and he is right. Only, he might be better than Sedaris? And Casey McQuiston says, “Hilarious, revelatory, hopeful, incisive—Here for It feels like splitting dessert with your funniest friend, if that friend was also your smartest professor and a devastatingly sharp pop culture historian.” Will you just listen to this book, please? Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Wedding Date

    2018 by Guillory, Jasmine

    Listening to romance can be a little tricky because of the steamy scenes, but they can also be the perfect fun read for when you're looking for something you know will have a happy ending. All of the books in this series are a delight. (We recommend headphones if you don't want anyone to overhear!) Recommended by Allyson and Becca.

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  • Anansi Boys

    2005 by Gaiman, Neil

    Exceptionally talented audiobook narrators are understandably much in demand and often narrate dozens of titles. Lenny Henry is an actor who has done comparatively little audiobook narration despite having a richly resonant voice and great skill at depicting characters. This is why I treasure Henry's hilarious work on Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. The rarity of his work makes it special. Recommended by Steven.

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  • 11/22/63: A Novel

    2011 by King, Stephen

    Hands down, my favorite audiobook is Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Narrated brilliantly by Craig Wasson, this novel is a whopping 30 discs, but it seems like 5 to me. Recommended by Deborah.

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  • How to Train Your Dragon

    2013 by Cowell, Cressida

    I love teen and youth audiobooks, especially if they're read by the author or someone fun! Like how David Tennant reads the How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell) audiobooks. Recommended by Lynna.

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  • The Midnight Library

    2020 by Haig, Matt

    We are intrigued by the idea of time travel and recommend this book as a light commitment of time with a sharp focus on one person’s experiences living alternate lives. And we're suckers for a British accent! Recommended by Deborah and Cecilia.

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  • Master and Commander

    2012 by O'Brian, Patrick

    Simon Vance reads all of the Master and Commander books by Patrick O'Brian in the same even, well-enunciated voice whether the main characters fall in love, fight off pirates, and discuss sea birds. It's an awesome audiobook but definitely a style choice. Recommended by Martha.

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  • The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle

    2018 by Uss, Christina

    I really this audiobook, narrated by Jennifer Barnhardt, who somehow single handedly makes it sound like a full cast recording. It's great when the narrator allows you to forget you're being read to, and it's really special when someone just blows your mind with their character work. Recommended by Caitlin.

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  • The Boston Girl: A Novel

    2014 by Diamant, Anita

    The set-up—a woman telling her story to her grandkids—is perfect for an audiobook, and the reader is amazing. Recommended by Vanessa.

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  • American Gods

    2001 by Gaiman, Neil

    This was one of the best audiobooks I've ever read. I would often drive to get to work early so I could sit in the parking lot and listen to a bit more of the story before starting my day (yes, the story is that captivating)! Recommended by Caitlin.

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  • The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories

    2020 by Evans, Danielle

    This is an excellent collection of short stories, and each story is narrated by a different voice actor. It's also a good gateway because the stories are short, and you get a variety of really talented voice actors. Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson

    2010 by Green, John

    This book had me laughing and crying hysterically. It is very good. Recommended by Vanessa.

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  • The Happy Ever After Playlist

    2020 by Jimenez, Abby

    One of my top three romance reads of 2020. I loved the characters, the plot, the involvement of a dog, and how each chapter had a dedicated song. It’s a multiple perspective romance, so there are two narrators, which enhanced the story. Recommended by Tiffany.

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  • The Book of Lost Things

    2006 by Connolly, John

    This is one of those rare all-ages novels that an entire family can enjoy on a car trip. Recommended by Steven.

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  • Scythe

    2017 by Shusterman, Neal

    The narrator is amazing, and his reading style just adds to the suspense and well-developed story line. Recommended by Jimmy.

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  • Nothing to See Here

    2019 by Wilson, Kevin

    Definitely amongst my top ten audiobooks of all time. This book is hilarious and dark and just fantastic. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Mirror & the Light: Wolf Hall Trilogy Series, Book 3

    2020 by Mantel, Hilary

    I have loved listening to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy on audio and recently learned that the voice of the actor who reads the third one (Ben Miles) was the voice in her head when she wrote it because he performed in the stage production of Wolf Hall. Recommended by Jessica.

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  • Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death

    2020 by Lennon, Thomas

    Thomas Lennon is an actor from The State and Reno 911, in addition to authoring this series. He narrates the audiobooks and voices all the characters. He brings them to life the way he envisioned them. A very funny series. Recommended by Rick.

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  • There There

    2018 by Orange, Tommy

    The ensemble cast is absolutely perfect for this novel, with not only constantly shifting points of view, but also shifting tenses. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Going Bovine

    2009 by Bray, Libba

    This book is fully bonkers and an absolute delight. Recommended by Becca and Shelley.

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  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    2008 by Larsson, Stieg

    Simon Vance’s narration of the entire series is great. Recommended by Jessica.

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  • Lovely War

    2019 by Berry, Julie

    This is a book that has so many characters on the page that it needed a full cast to be fully heard, and it delivered. Kirkus calls it, “an unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired.” Recommended by Becca.

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  • Life

    2010 by Richards, Keith

    It is 24 hours long, but it didn't feel that way. There is a smooth transition from story to story that makes it feel like you are just hanging out listening to some old barfly talk about his glory days. Recommended by Rick.

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  • Sadie

    2018 by Summers, Courtney

    Because this book is written as a podcast it is the perfect listen. The dual narration is spot on. Skip the print and go straight to audio for this one. Recommended by Becca.

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  • A Gentleman in Moscow

    2016 by Towles, Amor

    Nicholas Guy Smith's narration brought Count Alexander Rostov to life and pulled me into his story. I didn't want the book to end. Recommended by Margie.

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  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

    2016 by Noah, Trevor

    I don't always love audiobooks read by the author, but his was great. Recommended by Margie.

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  • Ready Player One

    2011 by Cline, Ernest

    There is a small selection of novels that we will always recommend in audiobook over print. This is one of those titles. It's the perfect blend of narrator and story. We don't know anyone who has listened to this book and not enjoyed it. Recommended by Becca and Shelley.

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  • The Ex Talk

    2021 by Solomon, Rachel Lynn

    I started this audiobook one weekend and rescheduled my daily activities so I could listen to it nonstop. It's got a few romance tropes (enemies to lovers, fake relationship, workplace romance), lots of steam, and really likable characters. I even chuckled out loud to some things, which rarely happens with romance books—I think the wonderful narrator may have played a big part in that! Recommended by Tiffany.

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  • Boyfriend Material

    2020 by Hall, Alexis

    The perfect blend of charm and wit, with enough substance that you really care for the protagonists. The steam is relatively low, so you don't have to worry too much about who might overhear your listening. One narrator voices all of the characters. Recommended by Becca and Allyson.

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  • But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present As If It Were the Past

    2016 by Klosterman, Chuck

    Not only am I a fan of this author's pop-culture-drenched collections, but hearing his snarky, dry, sarcastic (without even knowing you're being sarcastic anymore) delivery, makes it that much more enjoyable. Recommended by Rick.

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  • The Night Circus: A Novel

    2011 by Morgenstern, Erin

    While Jim Dale is best known for voicing the Harry Potter Series, this is another fantastical magical realm written for adults. Enchanting. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The March: A Novel

    2005 by Doctorow, E. L.

    Exceptionally talented audiobook narrators are understandably much in demand and often narrate dozens of titles. Joe Morton has done comparatively little audiobook narration despite having a richly resonant voice and great skill at depicting characters. The rarity of the work makes it special. Recommended by Steven.

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  • The Driver: A Novel

    2017 by Hanson, Hart

    I laughed aloud more than once. It is clear that Hanson (as a showrunner for Bones) knows characters and dialogue and that is where this novel shines. I'm not sure how I would have rated it if I didn't listen to the audio, but the narration is so good that it cemented a 5 Star read for me. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Revenge of the Witch: Wardstone Chronicles / Last Apprentice Series, Book 1

    2005 by Delaney, Joseph

    One of the audiobooks from my junior high days! I am all about spooky stories of magic and witches! Recommended by Jimmy.

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  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone

    2011 by Taylor, Laini

    This is one of those audiobooks where the narrator sounds EXACTLY as you would imagine the protagonist's voice in your head. A fabulous series. Recommended by Shelley and Becca.

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  • A Distant Mirror

    2005 by Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim

    I got lost in this sweeping history. Character, history, and sparkling prose combine to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe. Listening to these stories transports me to another world. Recommended by Martha.

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  • Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

    2017 by Saunders, George

    There are 166 individual narrators who contributed to this audiobook (many of whom are celebrities), and it makes it one of the most unique audio experiences you can find. This is more of an advanced beginner title, but I think you can handle it. Recommended by Becca.

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