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Audiobooks: One Librarian's Favorites

Whether you are a fan of audiobooks or have never listened to one and don't know where to begin (and whether you are looking for something for children, teens, or adults), this list of audiobooks covers some of the best listening experiences the medium can offer according to Kristi, Collection Development Librarian. 3/2013

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

A swashbuckling adventure set in a world where great airships ply the skies-- and where there are unknown lands and strange creatures to be discovered.

Perfect for young, old, and in between, this Full Cast Audio production feels like an old time radio show, complete with music, sound effects, and unique voice actors for every character. There is something for everyone in this story that perfectly balances several diverse elements from steampunk to adventure to pirates to zoology, and even a little romance. First in a trilogy.

Teen Fiction 2006

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Living in a devastated future where most people escape their dreary lives by living inside an online virtual reality video game, high school student Wade uses his encylopedic knowledge of 1980's pop culture to unlock a valuable prize.

This fun, nostalgic, action-packed celebration of nerd culture is narrated by an icon of nerddom as well, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton. And in a fantastic moment of meta-ness, Mr. Wheaton even name-checks himself.

Adult Fiction 2011

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The boy wizard discovers the magical world of Hogwarts and joins his friends on a quest to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort.

Narrator Jim Dale, who creates a unique voice for every character in the books, is absolutely amazing. I don't know what else to say.

Children's Fiction 1999-2007

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

When two teens meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined, going in new and unexpected directions, and building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

I'm a real sucker for teen fiction audiobooks with alternating narrators. Listen to this hilarious, poignant, sparkling and alive audiobook, and you will be too.

Teen Fiction 2010

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

From her disastrous honeymoon cruise to the oversold joys of breastfeeding, comedic actress and writer Tina Fey puts her unique and endlessly funny mark on modern life, love, marriage, and motherhood.

Listening to Tina Fey talk about her life and work, it's easy to pretend that we are just two friends hanging out on a Saturday night. And there is a special bonus just for audiobook listeners: the full audio of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's iconic Sarah Palin/Hilary Clinton Saturday Night Live sketch.

Adult Nonfiction 2011

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Six-year-old Ender Wiggin and his siblings at Battle School are being tested and trained to determine whether they possess the abilities to remake the world-- if the world survives an all-out war with an alien enemy.

In the afterword, the author says, "The ideal presentation of any book of mine is to have excellent actors perform it in audio-only format." This is so true. Different narrators read the sections told from the various character's points-of-view, adding to the emotions of the story and our connection to it.

Adult Fiction 2004

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

Another Full Cast Audio production, I was completely immersed in this world and invested in the journey of these strong and fascinating characters. If you're a fan of The Hunger Games (a pretty good audiobook itself), this book has many qualities that are reminiscent of that story.

Teen Fiction 2009

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

In a time when the civil rights movement is in full force, three women, Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter, start a movement that puts them all at risk. They show the town that, whether black or white, women can unite.

This audiobook is so engrossing (and so long) that I made up excuses to drive places just so I could be in my car to listen to it. Four different women bring the story to life, including Octavia Spencer, who reads the part of Minny (which was actually partly inspired by her) and would later go on to win an Oscar for the same role in the film.

Adult Fiction 2009

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

An audiobook is the ideal format for this story of a teen listening to the voice of his friend. The idea that we are hearing her voice just as he is increases the novel's impact and emotional engagement.

Teen Fiction 2007

Downloadable Audiobook via OverDrive

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Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.

This may have been the title that began my addiction to alternating narrator audiobooks. I enjoyed it so much that I specifically sought out other audiobooks also narrated by Carine Montbertrand.

Children's Fiction 2004