By Glory Benacka | Nov. 5, 2018
’Tis the season for over the road travel. The right audiobook can turn a sleepy long distance drive into an entertaining laugh-out-loud or dramatically gripping road trip. New audiobook titles arrive weekly at the library and digital audio is available through the virtual library for streaming and downloading audiobooks too. Here are a few of my recent favorites that should keep you awake, intrigued and on the edge of your car seat.
“Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002” by David Sedaris
Time: 14 Hours
Ideal Listeners: An entertaining crowd pleaser for a car full of adults who won’t mind adult language & content.
Read by David Sedaris himself, this is his humorous edit of his personal diaries. Most of his diary entries are written in short paragraphs and sentences, but build throughout as recurring family members, friends etc. move through the years alongside Sedaris. Sedaris’ signature laugh-out-loud style of writing will keep you entertained throughout. Theft By Finding includes backstory and comments on his writing career too which is fun for writers or if you’ve read any of his other books. A look inside the mind of one of our most beloved American humor writers.
Listener Bonus: This is a great title for those trips where you may be starting and stopping often or gabbing along the way, as you can easily pick up where you left off as you get in and out of the car.
“The Martian” by Andy Weir
Time: 11 hours
Ideal Listeners: An exciting adventure and survival story for the whole family.
Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after his crew emergency evacuates the planet, without him. Even if you’ve already seen the movie, the audiobook is a nail-biter and includes more side adventures than they had time for on the big screen. As Watney navigates his way through this survival story, Macgyvering NASA equipment to grow potatoes and road trip across Mars, you feel extra comfortable and safe in whatever car you’re driving to your own destination.
Listener Bonus: Sounds like a big budget Hollywood production with multiple voice actors reading the story to you dramatically!
“From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death” by Caitlin Doughty
Time: 5 ½ hours
Ideal Listeners: Good for grownups and teens who appreciate macabre curiosities.
American mortician Caitlin Doughty takes you on a worldwide funeral tour. If not already apparent, this is probably not the best choice if you have little ones or squeamish car passengers. That said, this author-read audiobook piqued my curiosity and Doughty’s morbid humor pulled at my heartstrings more than once. From Bolivia to Japan, America to rural Indonesia you will most certainly learn something new you never knew you wanted to know.
Listener Bonus: Doughty touches on the future of mourning, which includes a tender visit to a modern Japanese columbarium of glowing Buddhas. Full of conversation starters.
“Circe” by Madeline Miller
Time: 12 hours
Ideal Listeners: A car full of ladies will appreciate this female empowerment tale.
A fresh and modern retelling of the Greek Goddess Circe’s life. Daughter of the god of the sun and a nymph, you are thrust into the story of her immortal life from her birth in the palace of Helios, a mighty Titan. I enjoyed meeting the Greek Gods and Goddesses through Circe’s personal familial relationships as she grows up. Circe is a strange child and her special powers of witchcraft unravel dramatically as she learns she can transform gods into monsters, threatening Zeus himself. Banished to a deserted island, adventures and visitors come and go, as she hones her Goddess skills including gardening and exotic animal handling. Famous visitors such as Odysseus and Hermes intertwine their stories with her own.
Listener Bonus: Brush up on Greek mythology while listening to the beautiful smooth voice of British actress Perdita Weeks.
“The Monk of Mokha” by Dave Eggers
Time: 8 ½ hours
Ideal Listeners: A coming of age story teens and grownups will appreciate.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a passionate young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco dreams of elevating the ancient art of Yemeni coffee while becoming caught up in a civil war. Working as a doorman in San Francisco, Mokhtar literally stumbles upon the history of coffee in Yemen. His journey takes you through the fascinating process of becoming a coffee Q Grader as he learns the art and economy of coffee beans. An international entrepreneur, Mokhtar’s story also takes us deep into the tribal and rugged mountains of Yemen in search of the best beans. This gripping true story masterfully navigates the complications of civil war too, without sacrificing a single detail of Mokhtar Alkhanshali’s personal quest.
Listener Bonus: An insider visit to Yemen and Mokhtar’s American Dream told alongside what it really takes to get a cup of coffee will stay with you, long after the story ends in a good way.
Check back on Nov. 19 for Ashley Will’s picks for great audiobooks!