Better in Audio

Could a book be better in audio?  These audio books prove that sometimes listening can be better.  Compiled by the subscribers of the Fiction_L mailing list.

Fiction | Nonfiction | Children's/YA

Fiction

Mitch Albom. Read by Erik Singer. Five People you Meet in Heaven
Eddie awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?" (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Jane Austen. Read by Kate Reading. Pride and Prejudice
A headstrong young woman and her aristocratic suitor must overcome their respective impediments to a happy ending--his pride must be humbled and her prejudice dissolved. The consummate artistry of the author transforms this effervescent tale of a rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Nevada Barr. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Flashback
Fleeing from a marriage proposal, Anna Pigeon takes a post as a temporary supervisory ranger on remote Garden Key in Key West. When a mysterious boat explosion--and the discovery of unidentifiable body parts--keeps her anchored to the present, Anna finds crimes of past and present closing in on her. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Nevada Barr. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. High Country
It's fall in the Sierra Mountains, and Anna Pigeon is slinging hash in Yosemite National Park's historic Ahwahnee Hotel. Four young people, all seasonal park employees, have disappeared, and two weeks of work by crack search-and-rescue teams have failed to turn up a single clue; investigators are unsure as to whether the four went AWOL for reasons of their own - or died in the park. Needing an out-of-park ranger to work undercover, Anna is detailed to dining room duty; but after a week of waiting tables, she knows the missing employees are only the first indication of a sickness threatening the park. (Unabridged CD)
James Lee Burke. Read by Mark Hammer. Dave Robicheaux series
Burke's mystery series features a New Iberia, Louisiana police detective.
Mary Higgins Clark. Read by Linda Emond. Mount Vernon Love Story
Clark's first novel looks at the life of George and Martha Washington. (Unabridged Cassette)
Susanna Clarke. Read by Simon Prebble. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory. But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. (Unabridged CD)
Anita Diamant. Read by Kate Nelligan. Last Days of Dogtown
Based loosely on a true story of a historic community, this novel is set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s. Peopled with widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, free Africans, and "witches," it resurrects a forgotten sector of society. (Unabridged CD)
 
Charles Dickens. Read by Jim Dale. Christmas Carol
A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future. (Unabridged CD)
Laura Esquivel. Like Water for Chocolate
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. (Unabridged Cassette)
Janet Evanovich. Read by CJ Critt. Stephanie Plum series 
The adventures of a female bounty hunter.
Jasper Fforde. Read by Simon Prebble. The Big Over Easy
Detective Jack Spratt, recently unable to convict three wily pigs in the murder of a certain wolf, meets the challenge of a new case when Humpty Dumpty is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shady part of town. (Unabridged CD)
Jasper Fforde. Read by Emily Gray or Elizabeth Sastre. Thursday Next series
In a world where one can literally get lost in literature, Thursday Next, a Special Operative in literary detection solves literary crimes.The first book in the series is The Eyre Affair.
Helen Fielding. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason
Lurching from the cappuccino bars of Notting Hill to the blissed-out shores of Thailand, everyone's favorite Singleton Bridget Jones begins her search for The Truth in spite of pathetically unevolved men, insane dating theories, and Smug Married advice. She experiences a zeitgeist-esque Spiritual Epiphany somewhere between the pages of How to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It (can self-help books really help self?), protective custody, and a lightly chilled Chardonnay.
Jonathan Safran Froer. Read by Various Artists. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is a precocious Francophile who idolizes Stephen Hawking and plays the tambourine extremely well. He's also a boy struggling to come to terms with his father's death in the World Trade Center attacks. As he searches New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he left behind, Oskar discovers much more than he could have imagined. (Unabridged CD)
Neil Gaiman. Read by Lenny Henry. Anansi Boys
n this magnificent work of literary magic, Gaiman returns to the territory of his masterpiece, "American Gods," to once again plumb the dark recesses of the soul. (Unabridged CD)
Amitav Ghosh. Read by Firdous Bamji. Hungry Tide
Off the eastern coast of Inda lies an extraordinary cluster of islands known as the Sundarbans. It is a raw but a beautiful sea--a place of man-eating tigers, river dolphins, huge crocodiles and devistating tides that sweep across the terrain without remorse. In this exotic land, marine biologist Piya, fisherman Fokir and translator Kanai meet. As they travel deep into the remote archipelago, they experience a territory at risk not only from natural disaster, but also from human foolishness and volatile politics. (Unabridged CD)
Arthur Golden. Read by Bernadette Dunne. Memoirs of a Geisha
A fisherman's daughter in 1930s Japan rises to become a famous geisha. After training, Sayuri's virginity is sold to the highest bidder, then the school finds her a general for a patron. When he dies, she is reunited with the only man she loved. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Marc Haddon. Read by Jeff Woodman. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Despite his overhwleming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Tony Hillerman. Read by George Guidall. Leaphorn/Chee series
A southwestern mystery series starring Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Chee and FBI Agent Joe Leaphorn.
Khaled Hosseini. Read by Khaled Hosseini. Kite Runner
Amir, a rich man's son, grows up in Kabul as playmate and master of Hassan, an ethnic Hazara, a despised Afghani minority. Amir, who tells the story, has ambivalent feelings about both his father and his ultra-loyal friend as the monarchy falls, the Soviets invade, and Afghanistan is thrown into turmoil. (Abridged CD)
Jan Karon. Read by John McDonough. Mitford series
Beginning with At Home in Mitford, this series will delight as it draws into the life of Father Tim, an Episcopal rector who finds himself running on empty and longing for change. His bachelor existence is changed and enriched by a lovable cast of characters, including a stray dog, a lonely boy, and a comely neighbor.
Jonathan Kellerman. Read by Various Artists. Alex Delaware series
Beginning with When the Bough Breaks and up through the most recent Gone, Kellerman pairs a child psychologist with an LA Police detective in a series of psychological thrillers.
Sue Monk Kidd. Read by Jenna Lamia. Secret Life of Bees
During the summer of 1964 in rural South Carolina, a young girl is given a home by three black, beekeeping sisters. As she enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, she discovers a place where she can find the single thing her heart longs for most. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Stephen King. Read by Frank Muller. Dark Tower series
King's epic story of Roland the Gun Slinger and his band of travellers who seek the Dark Tower. Muller reads the first four books; another reader took over in book five. (Unabridged Cassette)
Barbara Kingsolver. Read by Barbara Kingsolver. Prodigal Summer
In this collection of three stories of human love, which take place in the mountains of Appalachia, a reclusive wildlife biologist, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, and a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors all discover their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Dean Koontz. Read by David Aaron Baker. Forever Odd
Returning to the unique world of the eccentric town of Pico Mundo, Koontz brings back the beloved characters from his runaway bestseller "Odd Thomas" for this sequel. (Unabridged CD)
Dean Koontz. Read by David Aaron Baker. Odd Thomas
Dead people try to communicate with a short-order cook, who serves as a small desert town's reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy with a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill, and he is rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Gregory Maguire. Read by John McDonough. Wicked
This re-creation of the land of Oz, tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn't so wicked after all. Past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Wicked just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature. (Unabridged CD)
Yan Martel. Read by Jeff Woodman. Life of Pi
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship in the Pacific, one solitary lifeboat remains, carrying a hyena, a zebra, a female orangutan, a Bengal tiger, and a 16-year-old Indian boy names Pi. His story is a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound listerners in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will as one character puts it, make you believe in God. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Steve Martin. Read by Steve Martin. Pleasure of My Company
Daniel Pecan Cambridge, 30, 35, 38, or 27, depending on how he feels that day, is a young man whose life is rich and full, provided he never leaves his Santa Monica apartment. After all, outside there are 8-inch-high curbs and there's always a horrible chance he might see a gas station attendant wearing a blue hat. So he stays home a lot. And a good thing too, or he would have never been falsely implicated in a murder, never almost seduced Philipa, never done the impossible task of jogging around the block with Brian, never ironed his pillows, and never won the Most Average American essay contest. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Cormac McCarthy. Read by Tom Stechschulte. No Country for Old Men
Llewelyn Moss is hunting antelope near the Texas/Mexico border when he stumbles upon several dead men, a big stash of heroin, and more than two million dollars in cash. He takes off with the money--and the hunter becomes the hunted. (Unabridged CD)
Ian McEwan. Read by Jill Tanner. Atonement
In "Atonement" he takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941, from London's World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999. (Unabridged Cassette)
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus. Read by Julia Roberts. Nanny Diaries
Deftly skewers the manner in which America's over-privileged raise "les petites over-privileged" as if grooming them for a Best in Show competition. Written by two former nannies, this alternately comic and poignant satire punctures the glamour of Manhattan's upper class. (Abridged CD & Cassette)
Ann Patchett. Read by Anna Fields. Bel Canto
A terrorist takeover at an embassy party brings together an unlikely assortment of hostages. Forced to reach out across the chasms of language, politics, and culture, the hostages, and their captors, must change their established beliefs, if they are to survive. (Unabridged Cassette)
Elizabeth Peters. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Amelia Peabody series
Amelia Peabody and a cast of characters investigate mysteries on an archaelogical dig in Egypt.
Jodi Picoult. Read by Various Artists. My Sister's Keeper
Picoult tells the emotionally riveting story of a teenage girl who, conceived as a bone marrow match for her sister, decides to sue her parents for the rights to her body. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Amada Quick. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Wicked Widow
Madeline Deveridge is all too aware of the whispers behind her back -- the rumors that she dispatched her husband and then concealed her crime. But Madeline has a more pressing problem: She fears that she and her beloved aunt are being haunted by the ghost of her late husband. Impossible as it seems, Madeline summons the only person with the power to help her uncover the truth -- Artemis Hunt. Brilliant, relentless, and reclusive, Hunt is driven by curiosity to meet the infamous Wicked Widow. (Unabridged CD)
Philip Roth. Read by Ron Silver. Plot Against America
In this alternate history, Pulitzer Prize-winner Roth considers what it would be like for his Newark family--and for a million such families all over the country--during the menacing years of a Charles Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews would have every reason to expect the worst. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Alexander McCall Smith. Read by Lisette Lecat. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
In contemporary Botswana, sleuth Precious Ramotswe decides to go against tradition and start her own business--a detective agency. Soon she is in the thick of several perplexing cases.
Evelyn Waugh. Read by Jeremy Irons. Brideshead Revisited
The basis of the award-winning television miniseries tells the story of the Marchmain family. Aristocratic, beautiful and charming, the Marchmains are indeed a symbol of England and her decline in this novel of the upper class of the 1920s and the abdication of responsibility in the 1930s. (Unabridged Cassette)
Jennifer Weiner. Read by Johanna Parker. Goodnight Nobody
A mother of three and New Yorker at heart, Kate Klein finds her new life in suburban Connecticut rather unpalatable. But then, something interesting happens. Another local supermommy is murdered, and despite being warned off by the police, Kate can't help investigating. Restricting her sleuthing to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings--when the kids are at nursery school--Kate discovers the murdered woman led a life full of secrets. (Unabridged CD)
Rebecca Wells. Read by Judith Ivey. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
When theatre director Siddalee Walker inadvertently reveals some of the less-savory facts of her Louisiana childhood to the New York Times, the article brands her morther, Vivi, a "tap-dancing child abuser." Vivi virtually disowns Sidda, but the Ya-Yas sashay in and conspire to bring everybody back together. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Rebecca Wells. Read by Judith Ivey. Ya Yas in Bloom
Reveals the roots of the Ya-Yas' friendship in the 1930s and roars with all the raw power of Vivi Abbott Walker's 1962 T-Bird through sixty years of marriage, child-raising, and hair-raising family secrets. (Unabridged CD)
Tom Wolfe. Read by Dylan Baker. I am Charlotte Simmons
As Charlotte encounters the paragons of Dupont University's privileged elite, she is seduced by the heady glamour of acceptance, betraying her values and upbringing before she grasps the power of being different and the exotic allure of her innocence. (Unabridged Cassette)

Nonfiction

Dave Barry. Read by Dick Hill. Dave Barry's Money Secrets
The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer reveals everything listeners need to know--and more--about the stock market, big business, and the art of making and losing money. (Unabridged CD)
John Berendt. Read by Jeff Woodman. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Genteel society ladies who compare notes on their husbands' suicides. A hilarious black drag queen. A voodoo priestess who works her roots in the graveyard at midnight. A prominent antiques dealer. And a redneck gigolo whose conquests describe him as a "walking streak of sex". These are some of the real residents of Savannah, Georgia, a city whose eccentric mores are unerringly observed and whose dirty linen is gleefully aired in this utterly irresistible book. At once a true-crime murder story and a hugely entertaining and deliciously perverse travelogue, this work is as intoxicating as a half-a-dozen mint juleps. (Unabridged Cassette)
Jill Connor Browne. Read by Jill Connor Browne. Sweet Potato Queen books
The Sweet Potato Queens share with listeners the valuable wisdom about how they went from being Cute Girls to Fabulous Women.
Tony Hendra. Read by Tony Hendra. Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul
In this intimate memoir, Tony Hendra tells of meeting his friend and mentor Father Joe in a monastery after getting into trouble as a teen. Toward the end of Father Joe's life, the relationship strengthens once again, ending simultaneously in the deepest kind of loss and the most heartening redemption imaginable. (Unabridged CD)
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Read by Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics
Levitt (economics, U. of Chicago) and writing collaborator Dubner (a writer for the New York Times and The New Yorker) dub the material in this work "freakonomics" because Levitt uses analytical tools from economics to address a range of questions that, at first glance, might seem to be far removed from the discipline of the "dismal science." They consider questions such as how to determine if teachers are aiding in students' cheating on standardized tests, the impact of information asymmetry on the operation of the Ku Klux Klan, how the organizational structure of crack gangs resemble other businesses, and the influence of parents on child development. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. (Unabridged CD)
Frank McCourt. Read by Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes
An unflinching vision of life on the dole in Ireland told with humor and grace.(Abridged CD & Cassette; Unabridged Cassette)
Frank McCourt. Read by Frank McCourt. Tis
Memoir covering McCourt's American journey from impoverished immigrant to teacher and raconteur. (Abridged CD & Cassette; Unabridged Cassette)
Azar Nafisi. Read by Lisette Lecat. Reading Lolita in Tehran
This is the story of Azar Nafisi's dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. They were unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Nafisi's account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl or protests and demonstrations. Azar Nafisi's tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women's lives in revolutionary Iran. (Unabridged CD)
David Sedaris. Read by David Sedaris. Holidays on Ice
Sedaris gives voice to his biting sensibility with his first collection of comic stories and essays. (Unabridged CD)
David Sedaris. Read by David Sedaris. Me Talk Pretty One Day
A recent transplant to Paris, humorist David Sedaris, bestselling author of "Naked", presents a collection of his strongest work yet, including the title story about his hilarious attempt to learn French. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)

Children's/YA

Meg Cabot. Read by Anne Hathaway. Princess Diaries
Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne.
C. S. Lewis. Read by Various Artists. Chronicles of Narnia 
The story of four children who step through a wardrobe and discover a magical world.
Ann Martin. Read by Judith Ivey. Corner of the Universe
The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town. (Unabridged Cassette)
Garth Nix. Read by Tim Curry. Sabriel (Book 1)
Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead. (Unabridged Cassette)
Garth Nix. Read by Tim Curry. Lirael (Book 2)
When a dangerous necromancer threatens to unleash a long-buried evil, Lirael and Prince Sameth are drawn into a battle to save the Old Kingdom and reveal their true destinies.(Unabridged Cassette)
Garth Nix. Read by Tim Curry. Abhorsen (Book 3)
Abhorsen-In-Waiting Lirael and Prince Sameth, a Wallmaker, must confront and bind the evil spirit Oranis before it can destroy all life.(Unabridged Cassette)
Christopher Paolini. Read by Gerard Doyle. Eragon (Book 1)
In Alagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Christopher Paolini. Read by Gerard Doyle. Eldest (Book 2)
After successfully evading an Urgals ambush, Eragon is adopted into the Ingeitum clan and sent to finish his training so he can further help the Varden in their struggle against the Empire. (Unabridged CD & Cassette)
Philip Pullman. Read by Philip Pullman and a Full Cast. His Dark Materials series
Lyra Belacqua, her daemon, and a cast of characters aim to save the world.
Louise Rennison. Read by Stina Nielson. Georgia Nicholson series
Starting with Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging, Georgia Nicholson relates her humorous adventures through her journals.
J.K. Rowling. Read by Jim Dale. Harry Potter series
The adventures of Harry Potter at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Lemony Snicket. Read by Tim Curry. A Series of Unfortunate Events
After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune. The first book in the series is The Bad Beginning.