The Audio Was Better.

In many of my book reviews and recommendations I suggest that you try the audio version.  Audiobooks allow us to move through our reading lists more quickly; we can “read’ while performing tedious tasks. Stories have been passed down orally for millennia. We have mouths and ears. We are supposed to tell and we are built to listen.  Most libraries have a well-rounded selection, and Librivox offers many titles free. See the list below for some books which this bookseller believes are better heard than read:

itleAuthorNarratorGenre(s)Why audio?
Once Upon a RiverDiane SetterfieldJuliet StevensonMagical Realism / British LiteratureThe voice of a storyteller with an unhurried pace
Lincoln in the BardoGeorge SaundersStar-studded cast including Rainn Wilson, Nick Offerman, and many moreAmerican Literary Fiction / Magical RealismLook at the names in the cast of actors; this is more than an audiobook.
The Member of the WeddingCarson McCullersSusan SarandonSouthern Fiction / Coming of AgeSusan Sarandon’s southern accent lends atmosphere.
HeftLiz MooreKeith Szarabajka, Kirby HeyborneAmerican Literary FictionStriking contrast between the two narrators lighlights the kindness of an unlikely hero.
Anything by David SedarisDavid SedarisDavid SedarisHumor, sometimes explicitHis books are funny to read, but Sedaris’ voice is necessary for full belly-laughs.
Anything by Liane MoriartyLiane MoriartyCaroline LeeChick litLee’s Australian accented-voice is the perfect medium for Moriarty’s chick-lit drama.
Merrily Watkins SeriesPhil RickmanEmma Powell (first narrator was Rebecca Lacey)Gothic/Crime Fiction/Mildly Parnormal/Ghost StoriesEmma Powell’s quiet, measured delivery evokes full moons and candles.
Flavia de Luce SeriesAlan BradleyJayne EntwistlePeriod British Cozy MysteryEntwistle captures Flavia’s mischevious nature perfectly.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache SeriesLouise PennyRalph Cosham, Robert BrathurstCrime fiction / Cozy MysteryCosham passed in 2014; he was the original – and perfect – voice of the courtly Armand Gamache; Robert Brathurst is a worthy replacement.
The Murmur of BeesSofia Segovia (translated by Simon Bruni)Xe Sands, Angelo Di LoretoMagical RealismJust like Julie Stevenson, these narrators bring life to the characters and set the perfect pace for a good story.
The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England and The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan EnglandIan MortimerJonathan Keeble, Mike GradyBritish HistoryHistory can be a dry read for some; these books, focused on social history, are narrated with an informal wamth that keeps the reader’s interest.