Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of 2012: Audio

 So audio!  My favorite topic.  Finding my favorites can be a tricky thing, because it has to be a great story, but the narrator also has to nail it.  Failure on either end will result in something unsatisfying.  Yes, a phenomenal narrator can make an average book good, but to be a five star favorite, everything has to work perfectly.  

I had no issues finding a few of these.  In fact, to assuage my guilty heart, I have a few at the end that ALMOST made the list.  So here we are, in no particular order:
























11/22/63 - Stephen King:   Uncle Stevie is an audio addict, so I never worry that his books are going to be narrating by some goober.  But the brilliance of the voice of Craig Wasson, combined with an amazing story of time travel and love and death, with Uncle Stevie behind the wheel doing his story-telling best?  By far, this book would be on my top 10 books EVAH.  I even wept at the end.  



















Broken Harbor - Tana French:  There are two givens in this world, complementary of Ms. French.  First, that she will always give us smart, literary thrillers with tangible, electric characterization.  And two, that her narrators will rock our world with their gorgeous little Irish accents.  She doesn't disappoint with this one.  Stephen Hogan, our narrator, had me riveted from the first word to the last.  



















Every Last One - Anna Quindlen:  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this was my first Anna Quindlen book, but it certain won't be the last.  I'd heard all about how this story pulls the rug out from under your feet, and does it ever!  I was shocked to the point of nausea, but the silky smooth voice of Hope Davis (who also expertly narrated "State of Wonder") made this one of the easiest but emotional reads in a long time.













The Fault in Our Stars - John Green:   Another first, if you can believe it, even though I think I've got most of his books sitting around the house.  I initially was tentative to listen to it because, do I REALLY want to hear about kids dying of cancer?  But it was so much more than that.  It was heartwarming and clever and it left me with a residual of hope and love, the narrator Kate Rudd completely embodying these young people.  I will eventually read all of Green's books, but I can't help but imagine this one will always be special to me.  














The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton:  This one slipped right under the wire at the end of the year!  I'd been waiting years for my library to get this book on audio, and was so excited when they finally did.  And it delivered everything I've come to expect of Morton...a gothic, twisted, multi-generational story of secrets and tragedy.  While her other books felt like they needed a hundred pages edited from the story, this one needed every glorious word, all spoken by Caroline Lee, who narrates all the Morton books.  Definitely my favorite Morton so far. 






















A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty - Joshilyn Jackson:  I'm not sure what more I could say about Joshilyn Jackson that I haven't already said, like, a hundred times.  She writes the best Southern women's fiction.  Gritty stuff, not this poofy flowery mint julepy stuff.  Laugh to keep from crying stuff.  And this little treasure measures right up there with "Gods in Alabama".  Dire topics with humor that only Jackson can deliver...AND NARRATE HERSELF.  If you haven't read her yet, you must.  Read this one, and do it on audio.  Now.  You will thank me later.


Runners up (because I have a guilty Catholic heart):

The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh (narrated by Tara Sands)
The Invisible Ones - Stef Penney (narrated by Dan Stevens)
The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty (narrated by Elizabeth McGovern)
Heft - Liz Moore (narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka)
Perfect - Ellen Hopkins (narrated by Aya Cash, Heather Lind, Aaron Tvelt, Tristan Wilds)

Well folks, that is it for 2012.  I am signing off now until some future time in 2013.  I'm going to take some time off, get caught up, and come back rejuvenated.  I may still post on Sundays...we will see.  Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Years!!!


27 comments:

Jackie Bailey said...

I'm going to try to find an audio copy of The Fault in Our Stars and try Tana French's next book in the same way. Great list. I love your audio book recommendations!

Have a wonderful Christmas! See you sometime next year.

bermudaonion said...

I'm taking notes because when you talk audio, I listen. I've only listened to 11/22/63 and I totally agree with you - I'm sure it's going to be on my list of favorites too.

techeditor said...

BROKEN HARBOR is also great on paper.

techeditor said...

BROKEN HARBOR is also great on paper.

Nise' said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well. The Invisible Ones is on my fav audio list of 2012. A Grown Up Kind of Pretty and The Language of Flowers are on my fav print list!

Tasha B. said...

Have a great holiday break, Sandy!

Trisha said...

I still have a hard time believing you listened to that King monstrosity! So long, so very very long...

Marie said...

Merry Christmas Sandy! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday. Thanks for leaving us iwht your favorites!

Brooke said...

A fantastic list and a useful one since my new job requires a LONG commute!!

Zibilee said...

I must agree with A Grown- Up Kind of Pretty. That was one hell of a listen. A lot of these others are on my ipod, and some I have in print. I think I will have to check out Morten's now that I know that the library has it, and I might go for Quindlen's even though I have it in print. Very nice list!

JoAnn said...

Well this gives me a few more audios for my wish list while we await your return. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Sandy. See you in 2013!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I knew this would be your best list! :--)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I knew this would be your best list! :--)

Alyce said...

I agree with Every Last One - I listened to that on your recommendation and it was such a powerful story! I loved 11/22/63 too, but haven't listened to the audio.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I put off reading everyone's top 10 lists bc that means one thing for me...buying books. I'm sold on Stephen King but torn on Tonya French. I want to read Broken Harbor but I kinda want the book along with the audio. I know...I know...I'm high maintenance ;P The Chaperone will be on my top 10 lists as well...Gulp, I bought the book after I listened...thanks for sharing that one!! :)

Jenners said...

I agree with you about Grow Up Kind of Pretty and Every Last One … and I loved the other books (the only one I haven't read yet was Kate Morton) but I did them in print! I don't think I could have listend to The Fault In Our Stars on audio -- I would have been sobbing while walking the dogs. Not good.

Have the most wonderful of holidays! I'll miss you on your break but I know you need it. Enjoy and I'll "see" you next year!

Darlene said...

Sandy, I wanted to pop in and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Yay for 11/22/63!! And Tana French also made my list as well, but in the print version. Looking forward to 2013!

Julie P. said...

Darn it. I didn't listen to any of these this year!

stacybuckeye said...

You know, I really should have done a separate list for audio. I loved Every Last One on audio too. Like you, it was my first but not last Quindlen book.

Literary Feline said...

I've slowly been getting into audio books and definitely plan to continue listening to them this next year. Sounds like you heard quite a few good ones this year!

Iris said...

I cannot wait to read The Fault in Our Stars. Then again, everybody has told me that I should start with any of the other books by John Green. Perhaps 2013 will be a year of John Green?

I hope you have a wonderful 2013, Sandy!

Melissa said...

Except for Ellen Hopkins(I love how her books look in print) I will listen to all these. I love your audio reviews!

Quirky BookandFilmBuff said...

Great list! I read The Fault in Our Stars in print, and I thought it was a lovely book. I'll be reading 11/22/63 soon. Happy New Year, Sandy!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I need to start a 2013 audio listen lost and you added to it. I LOVED Fault In My Stars and 11-22-63

Lana said...

Must listen to Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She reads it herself. If you are older or want to know what you mom is thinking, you will love this memoir of Anna Quindlen!

Care said...

Am so glad to read this. I am getting SO into audios it is almost scaring me. I especially like knowing when an author is also a good narrator. :)