Top audiobooks of 2010

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2011

My favorite audiobooks I’ve listened to this year:

Still Life, by Louise Penny, read by Ralph Cosham.

I took a coworker’s high praise of this mystery series with a grain of salt, but soon found that all she’d said was true. Cosham reads Penny’s beautifully crafted story expressively without being intrusive, leading listeners into the world of the small Quebecois village of Three Pines, where one of the town’s unassuming artists has been killed by an arrow in the woods.

The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White, read by Neville Jason.

This is an abridged version of the early years of the boy who would become King Arthur, amusingly and vivaciously read by Jason. Who wouldn’t want to learn about power by becoming a fish? For the young and young-at-heart.

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, read by Cynthia Holloway.

Miranda has lost her best friend Sal to a misunderstanding. She’s puzzled and scared by the crazy man who sleeps under the mailbox on her street. And she’s really, really hoping that her mom will win big on Jeopardy. This one really kept me off-balance throughout, wondering what was really going on in this quietly satisfying story.

Zorro, by Isabel Allende, read by Blair Brown.

I knew the story of Zorro – sort-of – and then I listened to Allende’s imaginative retelling, well-rooted in historical fact, and I appreciated the original caped hero all the more. Lyrical language, read by a pro.

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, written and read by Lisa Scottoline.

I got caught laughing out loud more than a few times while listening to this mostly uproarious book at work… I have to admit that I skipped past the two places where dogs died, but mostly, this is full of funny observations about life, motherhood, daughterhood, and having fun.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, read by Simon Vance.

The beauty of listening to this (and to the others in this series) is that I now know how to pronounce all the Scandinavian names. Long, convoluted, and perplexing (why am I doing this? Is there really a mystery? And, finally, aww – is it done already? When’s the next one out?), but the payoff is big.

Nation, by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs.

My advice is to read this in the privacy of your own home: there will be tears. There will also be great joy, deep healing, and pit-of-the-stomach fear, in this story of the meeting between a tsunami and a tiny island population. Can one islander and one shipwrecked Northerner build an community? This is perhaps Pratchett’s strongest, most emotional story ever, read very matter-of-factly by Briggs.

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