Sue Grafton, Si Robertson and More: The Best Audiobooks for Holiday Travel
Thinking about your Turkey Day travel plans? With a storm slated to hit the Northeast just in time for Thanksgiving, you may find yourself facing delays on the roads and at the airport. How better to pass the time (and tune out squawking kids and noisy fellow travelers) than with a new book to listen to? However you plan on getting home for the holidays, we've got your en route entertainment here. From Malcolm Gladwell and Billy Crystal to Sue Grafton and Meryl Streep, there’s a host of new fall audiobooks available for download from big-name authors, narrated by your favorite stars. We’ve collected the coolest new titles here (many with samples!), so before hitting the road, load up your iPod with these great reads.
For a laugh
David Cross (who plays Tobias on "Arrested Development") and Bob Odenkirk (Saul on "Breaking Bad") are successful actors with big careers, but it wasn’t always that way. In “Hollywood Said No!”, the guys behind the cult sketch comedy program "Mr. Show" rehash their rejected scripts—and it’s hilarious stuff. The audiobook edition features an all-star cast of actors and comedians, including Mary Lynn Rajskub ("24") and "30 Rock’s" Scott Adsit.
They made a mint off of duck-callers—and now, the stars of television's "Duck Dynasty" are sharing their good old-fashioned, southern-fried wisdom with the world. Earlier this year, family patriarch Phil Robertson’s memoir, “Happy, Happy, Happy” shot up the bestseller lists. Now, his brother, Si, is entering the book scene with his own autobiography, “Si-cology 1.” Although he enlists his nephew, Jase, to help him read, Si narrates a good bit of the book, imparting choice nuggets of advice along the way: “The naked truth,” he drawls, “is much better than the best, best lie.” Spoken like a guy who knows.
From "SNL" to the Oscars, Billy Crystal has spent decades making us laugh. In his new book, “Still Foolin Em,” he’s back in action, this time offering his funny reflections on aging. “March 14, 2013, my 65th birthday. I got up in the morning, padded over to the bathroom, threw some water on my face, looked in the mirror—and my Uncle Al was staring back at me,” he cracks. “Somehow, overnight, it seemed, I’d turned from a hip, cool baby boomer into a Diane Arbus photograph.” It gets a little raunchier from there—but only slightly, and in a good way.
To stimulate your mind
It’s hour number three in a five-hour car ride and you’re totally spent from all that cracking up. If you’re in the mood for something a little meatier, move on to Malcolm Gladwell’s latest, “David and Goliath.” One of fall's most eagerly anticipated nonfiction titles, it’s an investigation into the power of underdogs, read by the New Yorker contributor himself. With his big, often counterintuitive ideas, Gladwell always delivers captivating fare, so let this one carry you through the final leg of your journey.
She was kidnapped at 14, held captive for nine months—and lived to tell the tale. But, in the years since Elizabeth Smart was rescued and reunited with her family, she’s mostly stayed out of the public eye. Now, in her own words, the newly married 25-year-old recalls her experience and recovery in “My Story,” which she reads aloud. If you’ve ever marveled at this young woman’s bravery, you’ll want to hear her riveting story in her own words--and, in her own voice.
For a thrill
The 23rd installment of Sue Grafton’s popular “alphabet” series starring private eye Kinsey Millhone begins with a pair of dead men. One, a local PI of ill repute, was shot, while the other, a vagabond, seemed to have died of natural causes. How will their lives intertwine? In her signature way, master storyteller Grafton reveals all in “W is for Wasted"--bit by suspenseful bit.
For the kiddos
So the kids are whining, “Are we there, yet?” and there’s still an hour of driving ahead. Seize the moment with a book that’ll keep their attention without rotting their brains. “The President Has Been Shot!,” about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, aims to help older kids understand what happened that fateful day in Dallas. And, fun fact: Adults may recognize the voice of narrator Will Patton, whose movie credits include "Remember the Titans" and "Armageddon."
This summer, Penguin Audio began rolling out a bunch of classic Roald Dahl titles featuring big stars. “Matilda,” read by Kate Winslet, came out in June, and there’s more on the way: In “Fantastic Mr. Fox and Other Animal Stories,” Chris O’Dowd ("Bridesmaids," "Girls") reads the title tale, "House’s" Hugh Laurie voices “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me,” and legendary British comic Stephen Fry narrates “The Enormous Crocodile.” But, our favorite might be “Boy,” read by "Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens. A beloved Dahl tale narrated by dreamy Matthew Crawley? We’ll take it.
Got a grumpy teen in the car? If he or she has a thing for vampires, get “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown,” by Holly Black. When you enter Coldtown—a gated community where monsters and humans coexist—there’s no getting out. Black’s dystopian saga centers on Tana, who wakens one day to find that her ex-boyfriend’s been infected by vampires. She’s got to save him—but how? This chiller of a yarn will satisfy the surliest teen passenger.
Hey, I know that voice!
When she starred in the 1986 film, “Heartburn,” based on Nora Ephron’s semi-autobiographical novel, Meryl Streep made the charming yet romantically challenged lead character even more magnetic, so fans will be delighted to know that the Oscar-winner narrates the recently released audiobook. Based on Ephron’s ill-fated marriage to newspaperman Carl Bernstein, “Heartburn” is Ephron at her witty, self-deprecating best. An absolute must for Ephron devotees and Streep disciples alike.
We love his catchy tunes and his colorful presence on The Voice’s judging panel. But you might not know that Cee Lo Green—the charming hit-maker behind songs such as “Crazy” and “Forget You”—worked doggedly to get to where he is today. In his memoir, “Everybody’s Brother,” the singer/songwriter retraces his path from South Atlanta to Hollywood, recalling the deaths of his parents when he was a kid, his rise in the music world and other personal and professional ups and downs.
Actor, director, graduate student, much-maligned Oscar host: James Franco isn’t afraid to wear lots of hats. People following his peripatetic career mightn’t be surprised, then, that now he’s trying his hand at fiction. In his first novel, “Actors Anonymous,” Franco weaves together the stories of a group of actors trying to make it in Hollywood. It’s said to be loosely based on Franco’s life, so if that seems entertaining—or, if simply hearing Franco read his first novel in the comfort of the car, train or airplane cabin sounds appealing—add this to your list.