Audiobooks are my favorite way to pass the time on the way to work, and some books just lend themselves to audio production. They also make a great holiday gift!
In 2022 I made it through more than seventy audiobooks from Libro.fm. Here are the standouts:
My First Popsicle: An Anthology of Food and Feelings by Zozia Mamet
This enormous and diverse collection of entertaining essays comes from folks, famous and not, with some read by the author and others by a cast of talented readers. I found the range of stories nostalgic, hilarious, warm, affirming, sad, and overwhelmingly kind, as the authors shared slices of their lives and the food that is meaningful to them.
The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Book by Jerry Seinfeld
Doesn’t matter if you watched the show or not, this audiobook is a treat for hearing all the great voices of comedians Jerry has had on his show. Edited around themes, it also includes behind the scenes material for special episodes, details about how it came about, and more.
Your Table is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maitre D’ by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina
I love a juicy memoir and I love food writing. This one traces the author’s life working in notable NYC restaurants. Spicy.
Once Upon a Tim by Stuart Gibbs
Audiobooks for kids are perfect for long car rides, but also every day rides to after school activities. This new series is aimed at elementary school readers, and the audiobooks are hilarious, cast with three voice actors, and include some pretty funny sound effects!
Liberation Day by George Saunders
Saunders has earned his reputation as a short story writer, but he’s also highly attuned to the performance of his work. If Lincoln in the Bardo was a wonder on the page, the audiobook was almost a different, but equally compelling, work of art. This collection is similar, and we’re lucky again to have Saunders read some of the stories himself, with others by amazing performers who bring great character and sensitivity to their readings.
Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson
A medical mystery is a rare and fun sub-genre and this one also brings suspense! Our protag is a very average Scottish student doctor and also a recovering addict on probation, newly hired at a chaotic – and inferior – London hospital. When there is a death that doesn't make sense and the police are called in, our protag feels like he's under suspicion and unnerved by it. He’s sort of fallen into all of this, including friendships and relationships, and his reluctance and low expectations fight with the fear he’ll end up accused, disgraced, maybe imprisoned, or something worse. The audiobook bonus is the gorgeous brogue of the audio actor, Greg Miller Burns. Tiny, gruesome -- and true -- stories of real medical murderers throughout history are interspersed – an unexpected extra!
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
Several voice actors perform the chapters narrated by the different characters in this beautiful story of an ancient mermaid caught by a fisherman. Aycayla is rescued by an islander and nursed back to health. Almost a fairytale or a modern myth, but not one that has a simple ending.
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Maybe it’s in the listening, but this one would make a great movie. This collection starts off briskly with LeVar Burton reading a chilling story. Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse is like a list you might make for yourself. The title story, My Monticello, is novella-length, but with the structure and tension of a short story. Try this in audio – it’s perfect for readers who enjoyed José Saramago’s Blindness or The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
This thriller is a slow build and would be great for a book group. Our protagonist and her husband are both English professors, comfortable empty nesters, with a cabin on the lake, enjoying their privilege. But the husband is under review for sexual relationships with students. And our protagonist, tirelessly hosting and meal planning and parenting and gifting and house cleaning, is asked to step away from teaching for being complicit in her husband's affairs. New to the faculty is Vladimir, a 30-something on tenure track, an up and coming writer with a wife, also a writer, doing adjunct. They are both overwhelmed with new parenting and begin socializing with the older couple. This story is a bit sly and if you are like me, it will surprise you.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Rounding out the year is this fantastic audio recording of the kids’ classic novel Redwall. This is an exciting tale about Matthias, a young brave mouse, and the defense of Redwall from the band of rats led by Cluny the Scourge. Filled with puzzles, adventure and intrigue. Narrated with wonderfully rich character voices by English actor Ariyon Bakare.
Those are my picks for audio 2022 - and I’m ready to make my list for 2023!
Libro.fm partners with more than 1,900 independent bookstores to provide them with audiobooks for their online stores. On the first day of every month, Libro.fm’s new Advanced Listening Copies (ALCs) become available to booksellers.
Libro.fm is the audiobook partner of Third Place Books.