For many of us, the summer season is filled with travel and adventures. Our Summer Preview offered nearly 100 book recommendations that are perfect for diving into while you’re lounging by the pool or in the shade. But what about stories that can occupy your mind as you travel? Whether you’re preparing for a road trip or a flight, these audiobooks will help the time fly by. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination.
Margaret Atwood’s deeply unsettling novel has been buzzy this spring because of the release of the Hulu series based on the book. If you haven’t experienced the original, however, you’re truly missing out. Claire Danes’ narration is expressive and spellbinding. We predict that you’ll continue to hear Offred’s words in your head long after you’ve finished this tale.
Unless the lottery gods decide to smile upon you, your summer plans likely won’t include getting to see Hamilton on Broadway. We recommend the next best thing: listening to Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. Vowell, a radio personality, deftly handles the narration, while familiar voices (Nick Offerman, Patton Oswalt, and Fred Armisen) pop in and out to voice some of the most famous forefathers.
The Underground Railroad is certainly one of the most talked-about books to be released recently, and we think you’ll find Bahni Turpin’s narration equally memorable. Author Colson Whitehead tells the tale of a woman named Cora who escapes slavery and makes her way north via the Underground Railroad. Both the story and the narration have won critical acclaim. What are you waiting for?
Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies is the kind of book you want to clear your afternoon for. If you have anything to do… well, it’s not getting done. The audiobook version, narrated by Caroline Lee, is no less gripping. There’s been a death at Trivia Night, a fundraiser for Pirriwee Public School. Who is dead? And how did it happen? The intrigue and titular lies will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final chapters.
The uncut edition of Stephen King’s The Stand clocks in at a whopping 1,152 pages. Tackling a tome of that size can be pretty intimidating, but listening to Grover Gardner’s narration makes the task feel manageable. This one may take you a few days to get through, but it’ll certainly help any long hours spent traveling fly by.
Angie Thomas’ young adult novel The Hate U Give is one of the buzziest books of the year. It tells the story of a young girl who witnesses a white police officer shooting her friend Kahlil, an unarmed black boy. It’s a gripping narrative about the intricacies of racism, and listeners will be quickly swept up Bahni Turpin’s audiobook narration. Whether you choose to read or listen to it, this book is not to be missed.
The title of this book pretty much says it all. Comedian Amy Poehler not only wrote this hilarious memoir; she narrates the audio version, too. Listening to this book is the perfect way to start the vacation fun a little early, whether you’re driving or flying to your destination. There are also cameo appearances by Seth Meyers, Carol Burnett, and others. Yes please, indeed.
Outlander is legendary, and for good reason. This book has a fascinating mix of genres: There’s romance, of course, but there are also elements of fantasy. Whether you’re a newcomer to Outlander, or it’s an old favorite, this book just might make you sad that the plane ride and/or car ride is over when you arrive at your destination. Davina Porter narrates this audiobook, and will keep readers spellbound.
If you’re looking to get lost in a fantasy world this season, this is the audiobook for you. The world is in danger of succumbing to a deadly disaster that could destroy all life on the planet, but with the right training, one woman may be able to save it. This is the first in a trilogy, and the final installment is hitting shelves this August. The story is told through three female protagonists, and Robin Miles handles the narration.
This audiobook is ideal for science fiction fans. The tale kicks off when a young girl discovers a giant metal hand in South Dakota. She dedicates the rest of her life to learning more about the artifact and to hunting down the other robotic body parts. The story is broken into transcripts, interviews, and reports, and a full cast handles the narration.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve already read this series. If you haven’t listened to the audiobooks you are missing out on something truly magical. The entire audio series is narrated by Jim Dale, who gives each of the 200+ characters a distinct voice—no small feat. He brings J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world to life in brand new ways, and even though who listened to these recordings years ago will enjoy revisiting his narration.