Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2021: Audiobooks In My Ears

I'm almost gleefully smug at how easy it was to add twelve books to my reading total this year. All I had to do was get in the car and drive. Alone. In this way, I could participate with my books, yelling out things like "Oh no, oh no!" "You TELL him!", an assortment of obscenities, and lots of raucous laughter.

1. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas. Novel.

2. The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead. Novel.

3. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr. Novel.

4. Little Bird of Heaven - Joyce Carol Oates. Novel.

5. The Personal Librarian - Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. Novel.

6. The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver. Novel. 

7. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling. Novel.

8. Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage.

9. Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo. Nonfiction.

10. Why Not Me? - Mindy Kaling. Memoir.

11. A Carnival of Snackery - David Sedaris. Diaries, Humor. 

12. The Splendid and the Vile - Erik Larson. Nonfiction.


I was vastly entertained by the books and their narrators. The only one that I would unlisten to if I could is All the Light We Cannot See. I found the fragmented structure of the novel frustrating and unnecessary. 

Little Bird of Heaven started out strong but seemed to run out of gas towards the end. I still liked it, though.

I was delighted that The Hate U Give and The Underground Railroad both had the same narrator, Bahni Turpin. She's so good. I'm going to look for more audiobooks with her name on them.

Barbara Kingsolver read The Lacuna herself. She's a talented reader.

David Sedaris read A Carnival of Snackery himself, and I loved the inspired choice of Tracey Ullmann for the UK/Australia entries.

I thought Gabra Zackman made some great narrative choices in the psychological thriller Baby Teeth. I was glad that she didn't make Hanna's voice too little-girlish, instead she went with a flat tone that added to the character's menace. I was also glad that she softened Alex's accent, not making him sound too Swedish. After all, he had lived in the United States for twenty years.

The book I'm driving down the road with right now is Billy Summers by Stephen King, and because of its length, it will be the one that travels with me into 2022. Audiobook + automobile = no limits to my reading enjoyment.


Sam said...

I've become more and more a fan of audiobooks over the years. The biggest change in them in the last several years is in the quality of the narration...just gets better and better. 24 of the 130 books I read this year were audiobooks...totally agree with you on the one you would unlisten to if you could. I read it soon after it was published and was very frustrated by it.

Bybee said...

Sam, Whew! What a relief! I thought I was the only one.

Care said...

WOOT WOOT! Bahni Turpin *IS* a talented narrator, yes. Happy 2022 - looking forward to more corresponding and sharing books this year. (LOVED your latest letter, btw. You are funny.)