Tuesday 16 July 2019

Listen up! The best audio books for your holiday

Becoming Michelle Obama
Becoming Michelle Obama
Milkman
Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
A Delicate Truth
The Handmaid's Tale
Lincoln in the Bardo

A guide to the essential audio books to listen to this summer.

Milkman by Anna Burns

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(read by Bríd Brennan)

Bríd Brennan's musical lilt brings a great sense of place to Anna Burn's Northern Ireland-set bestseller. On top of that, Brennan appears to relish every line of the work that she is narrating in every single sentence. Little wonder that Audible fans have hailed it as one of the best audiobook narrations out there.

Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

(read by Nick Offerman, Lena Dunham & others)

An all-star cast - 166 readers in all - bring Saunders' Booker-Prize winning novel to life in a seven-hour odyssey. Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon and David Sedaris make up the many characters in Saunders' Civil War-era opus. The author himself plays Reverend Thomas, a man haunted by son. The verdict from Publishers' Weekly? "If fiction lovers listen to just one audiobook in 2017 - or ever - it should be this one."

A Delicate Truth written and read by John le Carré

Who better than the author themselves to helm an audiobook? Le Carré's 23rd novel, a gripping post-Iraq inquest into the privatisation of war, seals his reputation as a consummate reader of his own work, even into his eighties.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

(Read by William Roberts)

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilisation. Essentially, Bryson is taking on subjects and ideas that might bore most people, to make them fun for people who might not readily think they have an interest in science. And, in his journey around the universe, or the story of "how nothing became something", Bryson's humour and lucid observations are offset perfectly by Roberts' sardonic and engaging narration.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling

(read by Stephen Fry)

Along with actor Jim Dale, Stephen Fry has narrated the Harry Potter books, and in this, the fourth novel from the franchise, he is particularly delightful. Hardcore fans are often divided as to whether Dale or Fry is the better companion, but the erudite Fry appears to nudge it by a margin.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

(read by Claire Danes or Elisabeth Moss)

As one might imagine, actress Claire Danes makes an already suspenseful tale all the more powerful. This audiobook was originally released in 2012, long before Atwood's tale of Gilead was made for the screen, and Danes makes for a steady guide through the confusing, horrifying dystopia. Moss, who brought Offred to life in the later screen adaptation, reads the updated version of the audiobook as brilliantly as one might expect.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

(read by Cathleen McCarron)

If ever there was a book that was crying out for the conversational medium of audiobooks, it's this smash hit. The extraordinary tale of Eleanor Oliphant pings to life with McCarron's lively narration - she flits from character to character perfectly, and manages to move effortlessly through the character's various accents. A special Q&A between the author and narrator is included as an extra.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

(read by Meryl Streep)

Meryl Streep starred in the 1986 film adaptation of Nora Ephron's bittersweet novel about marital ups and downs, and counted herself as one of Ephron's close friends. Streep does self-deprecating humour pretty well already, and is flawless at making the complex protagonist Rachel Samstat both pitiful and someone we all want to root for.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

(read by Michelle Obama)

The former first lady's own personal story is quite the remarkable tale, and her own narration makes this already confessional work seem all the more intimate and moving. Expect heartfelt passion, occasional dry humour and no shortage of power.

Tanya Sweeney

Indo Review

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