Unfortunately, not every vacation goes perfectly. What you sometimes need is a soothing voice in your ear telling you everything will be OK. With that in mind, we’ve chosen some audiobooks you might want to turn to if your trip is going quite as planned.
The 2-hour plane delay
Passing the time in an airport lounge–be it somewhere hi-tech like Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport, with its fabulous water feature, or low-tech like the open-air hangar in Liberia, Costa Rica–is always made easier by a good book. But it can sometimes be hard to blot out the distractions of delay announcements and angry fellow passengers, so we suggest something short and juicy and funny to take your mind off the hubbub: David Sedaris’ self-read stories are the perfect, hilarious antidote to airport fury.
“Are we there yet?”
If you’re half an hour into your trip and the kids are already getting restless, what better way to calm them down than to make them listen to a story? Before he died, Roald Dahl recorded his “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and we can’t recommend it highly enough, especially as it will appeal to kids of all ages, including adults.
The flat tire
So you’re sitting by the side of Highway 61 just shy of Clarksdale, Mississippi–you were supposed to spend a happy afternoon at the town’s Delta Blues Museum, but instead you bust a couple of tires on the remains of a dead possum. AAA is on its way, but how to pass the meantime? We suggest listening to Sean Penn read Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles,” because even though you are–in the words of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”–a “rovin’ gambler” who is “very bored,” at least you’ll be in the mood for music when you finally make it to Clarksdale.
This is not what the room looked like online
Finally you make it to where you’re going, but the sad truth is that sometimes, hotel rooms resemble the TARDIS in Doctor Who–i.e., smaller on the inside than they look on the outside (or the website on which you booked your trip). But you can escape the tiny confines of your cell with a trip across the galaxies–just listen to the orotund British actor, Derek Jacobi, as he reads one of the classic novelizations of Doctor Who, “The Mind Robber.”
A week of rain
Sadly, there are some vacations where the weather simply won’t cooperate. If that’s the case, and if you can’t take your mind off of the skies, maybe you should listen to David Mitchell’s Booker Prize-nominated “Cloud Atlas.” Told with multiple narrators (thank god–it’s six interlocking stories, so the different voices help keep things straight), the novel comes alive in the ears as much as it did in the movie version starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.
Over too soon
And then, after months of planning and excitement, your vacation is over. Probably you can’t wait to get away again, and if that’s the case, you might want a new job to afford an even nicer trip. Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” read by Andrew Macmillan, will give you all the tools you need to find a better-paid gig and transform that week at the Jersey shore to a month in the south of France.