Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Favorite Audiobooks

Since the number of audiobooks I listened to this year was about half of what I listened to last year, I thought it appropriate that I choose my top five, otherwise my top 10 would be almost 50 percent of what I listened to. That's kind of silly. Staying to five is a challenge because I listened to some great audiobooks this year, but I'm up for it.

Here are the five audiobooks that I felt overall were the best listening experiences of my 2012 year (note that they were not necessarily produced this year; I listened to them this year):

5. Mr Timothy. Written by Louis Bayard and narrated by Mark Honan for AudioGo. This audio kept me company on my drive back from Washington D.C. the week before Christmas (how appropriate). The time period and atmosphere were communicated beautifully through Honan's narration. He brought out the age and maturity levels of the characters and nailed the spunk of the young Collin. Louis Bayard is a brilliant writer and none of his eloquence or art was lost in Honan's translation. Wonderfully done.

4. The Wind Through the Keyhole. Written and narrated by Stephen King for Simon and Schuster Audio. Believe it or not, this was my first foray into King's written work. I've seen several of the movie adaptations of his work, but this was the first time hearing his actual words. And while I'm not typically a fantasy reader, I loved the layers of meaning in this story. The biggest shocker, however, is that King is a fantastic narrator. I typically shy away from audios narrated by their authors because writing a book does not make a person a good narrator. As a matter of fact, very few authors have the performance talent necessary to narrate their own work. But this was stellar, so it was a treat to hear King's own interpretation of his work.

3. Invisible Murder. Written by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis, narrated by Katherine Kellgren for AudioGo. Kellgren did such a spectacular job with the various dialects in this suspense thriller. The ease with which she handled all ages and genders made the audio flow so smoothly that the fact it WAS an audio simply faded into the background as the story took center stage.

2. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. Written by Matthew Dicks, narrated by Matthew Brown for Macmillan Audio. It's not technically a crime fiction audiobook, but there is a crime element. And regardless of genre, it's an amazing audiobook. The story is heartwarming but also extremely challenging. Brown had to bring out the additional dimension of imaginary friends, the dimension in which they reside and people are only tangentially connected. Brown nailed it; the recording is brilliant and unforgettable.

1. Gutshot Straight. Written by Lou Berney, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini for Audible, Inc. There are probably a lot of people tired of hearing me recommend Lou Berney this year. I had a copy of Gutshot Straight in print for quite awhile, but hadn't gotten around to reading it. So, I picked up the audio and kicked myself for not reading it sooner. However, had I read it sooner, I would not likely have picked up the audio and enjoyed the best listening experience of 2012. Ballerini did such a magnificent job narrating this all-around fun crime caper. He seemed to be on the same wave length with both Berney and Shake. I was entranced; I laughed; I exercised extra just so I could listen longer. Superb! My favorite audiobook of 2012.

There you have it! My favorite audios. Now let me know what you listened to this year that you really liked. Did anyone try audios for the first time? Anyone putting them on their list to try for 2013? The hardest list is next. Narrowing down my favorite reads of 2012. Check back on Monday. In the mean time, have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY READING!


Beth F December 28, 2012 at 6:01 AM  

Ack! I need to get to Gutshot Straight. *know* I'm going to love it.

bermudaonion December 28, 2012 at 8:32 AM  

I love all the best of the year lists but they always remind me of just how many great books I haven't read yet.

Jen December 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM  

Kathy, I'm with you! I have a box full of 2012 releases that I still desperately want to read! I can't believe how much great stuff I'll never be able to get to. But, in a way it's reassuring, too. I know I'll never run out in my lifetime!

Rhonda H. December 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM  

I was surprised to see King on your list :) Not sure how you feel about it, but I highly recommend the rest of the Dark Tower series on audio. I wasn't sure about King narrating this one because the other 7 were done by the great Frank Muller and George Guidell, but he was great.

I also loved Gutshot Straight (recommended by you :) and will look into these others.

trish December 29, 2012 at 3:14 AM  

I recently finished THE LAST MAN by Vince Flynn. The narration took a while to get into for me, even though the narrator has won many awards. But the story had me on the edge of my seat for the whole 12 hours of this book. Jen, you of all people should check out Vince Flynn! He's a new favorite of mine.

Mark Honan June 17, 2013 at 12:08 PM  

So glad you enjoyed my work on Mr. Timothy!
Cheers, mark.

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