Monday, December 16, 2013

A few of my favorites of 2013...Audios

 Surprise, surprise!  Here I am with an actual proper post!  It is amazing how out of practice you get with this thing.  But I couldn't let the year pass without doing a favorites list.  They are so much fun...I love doing them, and I love reading everyone else's.

As usual, I'm going to break things down in groups, and start with my favorite, audios.  In my audios list, there is a mixture of biographies and fiction and YA.  When I break out my lists for fiction and YA, those will only be what I read in print.

It is hard sometimes to really isolate the root of the awesome in audios.  Is it great writing?  Is is phenomenal narration?  Sometimes it is both.  In the list below, rest assured that the moons have aligned and you will be treated with the best of everything.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt

There is nothing fun about teen angst, coming of age, and AIDS in the 80's, but this debut novel is worth the tears and heartbreak.  It is gorgeously written, a masterpiece, and ultimately filled with hope.  While the narration of Amy Rubinate was solid, the real attraction here are the words.  In my review, I gave it 4.5 stars but over time, the story has stayed with me, and I feel it deserves a place on this list.

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

Well, here we are, more crying.  But I'm sure none of you are surprised to see this book on any list because it grabbed the world by the heart and squeezed.  Truly one of the most precious  and touching books you will read (or listen to) this year, about a young woman at odds with her life and her quadriplegic employer.  The narration of Susan Lyons was excellent, but the real highlight was the message.

 Rod - Rod Stewart

You don't have to be a fan of this guy or his hair to enjoy this audio.  Although he was a musical presence in my youth, I always thought he was a sleazy oaf.  But please believe me when I say that this is the most fun you will have listening to an audio.  His antics, his self-deprecating humor, his raw honesty, brought to life by the impeccable narration of Simon Vance, was an 11 hour belly laugh.

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson

I'll give credit to Isaacson for doing a great job of making this biography extremely readable, but the raw data...Jobs' quirky personality, his career path, his brilliance, his vision...really made this read a winner.  Whether you like the guy or not, whether you are an Apple addict (like me), the facts themselves are nothing short of mind-blowing.  Dylan Baker as narrator became Jobs, throwing in all the passion and enthusiasm that you would expect in a book about this great man.


 The Dinner - Herman Koch

This was another fun book to listen to for many reasons.  Snarky commentary on the rich?  Unreliable (and possibly sociopathic) narrator?  Unexpected twists and turns, never knowing what was coming at you from around the corner?  Good stuff.  And I may be partial to delightful little British accents in my narration, like Clive Mantel here, but you could tell this guy (who normally narrates children's books) was having a ball.  It has been optioned for a movie, to be directed by Cate Blanchett.

The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

I have a hard time verbalizing how much I love Kate Morton and her meandering, long-winded, gothic storytelling.  Her novels have at least 200 extra pages in them, but somehow I am still disappointed that it is over when I turn the last one.  The extra added punch that makes these stories so magical is the narration of all of them by the amazing Caroline Lee.  If you are a Morton fan, you must not miss this one.

Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple

This was definitely the "it" book to listen to this year.  To start with, our protagonist, Bernadette, was larger than life.  Strange, lovable, and completely full of piss and vinegar.  I laughed my way through this one.  But the narration by Kathleen Wilhoite?  Probably some of the best narration I've ever heard EVER.  They have optioned this for a movie, and I'm not surprised in the least.

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

This was certainly the year for Rainbow Rowell for me.  I've read all three of her books, and I would now consider myself a Rowell fangirl.  I implore you...just read her.  Her books are perfection.  They are gritty and real, but ignites a chemistry in her characters and creates a preciousness that turns people like me (cynical and snarky) into mush.  Our narrator, Rebecca Lowman, did an amazing job...the perfect mixture of youth and wit.  I promise you that with any of Rowell's books, you will fall in love with her characters so hard that you won't want it to end.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about my favorite Fiction reads in print!  See you then! 


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Same for four of mine! But I might be too lazy to do a post, so I'm glad you did one for me! :--)

JoAnn said...

I loved the Me Before You audio!! Tell the Wolves I'm Home was amazing in print and Where's You Go Bernadette was very good in print, too (kinda wished I listened to that one though). Kate Morton's books are always an audio treat.

I'm adding Fangirl and Steve Jobs to my audio wish list. Thanks, Sandy.

bermudaonion said...

I've listened to 3 of those and loved all of them. I need to check out the rest of them.

Unknown said...

I listened to the audio of Bernadette and loved it. I've also read the print version of Wolves and The Dinner and loved them both. Steve Jobs is already on my wishlist thanks to your original post, but I think I'll have to add the audio version of Me Before You to my list as I was planning to try the print version anyway. Thanks for a great list!

Vasilly said...

I haven't read any of these books yet so it might be nice to listen to them on audio. Nice list!

Anonymous said...

I ditto everything you said about The Dinner, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and Fangirl! Off to see if my library has Tell the Wolves I'm Home.

Iliana said...

What a cool list. I know some of these I have on my must read and I'm there with you on the love train for Me Before You. What a great book. Still need to read Fangirl and I can't wait!

Heidenkind said...

Put the Where'd You Go Bernadette audiobook on hold at my library!

Literary Feline said...

I am going to have to try listening to The Secret Keeper, I think. I couldn't get into it when I tried to read it. I'm sure it was more me--at the time, I needed fast paced and Kate Morton is not that.

Great list, Sandy!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I'm totally with you on the chemistry between Rowell's characters. I read Fangirl and just adored Cath and Levi.

Anna said...

Well, I definitely need to read Moyes and Morton for sure!

Anonymous said...

The only one I've read is Bernadette and I wished I had listened to it because I think I may have liked it better.
I love reading these lists! Makes me wish I had more time to read.

Michele said...

Ditto on Rowell. She is just plain WOW. Me Before You was one I've been holding off on and I'm guessing that you want to tell me not to. Sigh. I cave, I cave! (And yes, yes, yes to anything Kate Morton!)