Is there anything better than a beautifully narrated audiobook, a cozy blanket and a cup of tea (or coffee, I guess, if you're one of those people) on a cool autumn day?
No. The answer is no. I admit it: I'm a person who enjoys a bit of atmosphere, a bit of gloom. The bare branches with the vibrant autumn leaves whisking down the street, the overcast sky and crisp air. It's enough to make anyone feel just a little bit more magical.
Whether you're curled up in your favourite squishy chair or taking a walk on a beautiful day, a superbly narrated story is a great way to spend the time. What follows is not just a list of books, but a collection of books that are particularly great audiobook experiences. These books are selected because they're great stories and they sound great coming at your ears. Some of them are narrated by a single voice, some of them by men, some of them by women, and some of them by a full cast of dialogue-characters. I hope you enjoy!
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1. Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling, Narrated by: Jim Dale/Stephen Fry
Do I need to describe Harry Potter here? I'm pretty sure I don't need to describe Harry Potter here.
p.s. If you can get a hold of the Stephen Fry version, do.
Neil Gaiman, Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral, drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Though he hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Philip Pullman, Narrated by: Philip Pullman & cast
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armoured bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take stolen children. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavours? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want. But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other...
Lewis Carroll, Narrated by: Jim dale
On an ordinary summer's afternoon, Alice tumbles down a hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world with even stranger characters, she meets a grinning cat and a rabbit with a pocket watch, joins a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and plays croquet with the Queen! Lost in this fantasy land, Alice finds herself growing more and more curious by the minute...
Erin Morgenstern, Narrated By: jim dale
The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway - a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.
Susanna Clarke, Narrated by: simon prebble
At the dawn of the 1800s, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history when most people believe magic to be long dead in— until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth to become Norrell's student: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
Joanne M. Harris, Narrated by: allan corduner
The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself.
donna tartt, Narrated by: Donna tartt
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.
Diana Gabaldon, Narrated by: davina porter
Claire Randall is leading a double life. In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"— in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord... 1743.
Agatha christie, narrated by: Dan Stevens
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, a millionaire lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
11. The Magicians
lev grossman, narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory.
12. A darker shade of magic
v.e. schwab, narrated by: steven crossley
Kell is one of the last Antari-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
13. her fearful symmetry
audrey niffenegger, narrated by: bianca amato
Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers — normal, at least, for identical “mirror” twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn’t know existed has died and left them her amazing flat in a building by Highgate Cemetery in London.
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Also, I'm dying for a good recommendation: what are your favourite audiobooks? Let us know in the comments!