Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this latest Top Ten Tuesday, participants have a Holiday/Seasonal Freebie, meaning that we can do whatever topic we want, preferably with a seasonable twist to it. Well, down here in Australia, summer has just rocked up and this usually means long drives to family homes for Christmas or to some magnificent stretch of beach for a well-deserved break. While I myself do not have any upcoming travel planned, this topic did get me thinking about trips and I had the idea to try and help those people with upcoming road trips, or any form of extended travel, choose an audiobook to keep you and any potential passengers entertained.
People familiar with my blog will know that I am a big fan of audiobooks; in many ways, they are some of the best way to enjoy a book from a talented author. However, not all good audiobooks make for great entertainment on a road trip. With that in mind, I have scrolled through some of my favourite audiobooks to find the ones I think would be the best for anyone taking a long trip. To make this list, the audiobooks I chose had to not only be amazing novels but also had to have an excellent narration and the ability to keep a driver or passengers’ attention on a long trip. While I know that some people are going to be experiencing particularly long trips in the coming weeks, I tried to feature audiobooks with shorter runtimes so that those who are taking shorter excursions (say a roundtrip of eight or nine hours) can get through an entire book without trying to make time at home to finish it off. That being said a few longer novels did end up making the cut, but all of these are great for longer trips. I also tried to avoid any novels that would require a great deal of prior knowledge or hard-to-obtain background information so that everyone in the car could enjoy the book without any need for explanation or lectures from those people more familiar with the series. To that end, I have tried to avoid any novels that are later entries in a series or which require some form of assumed knowledge about a franchise. While I have included a couple of tie-in novels, I tried to use those books that require only a smidge of familiarity with their respective franchise to enjoy, and I am confident anyone can easily enjoy any book I ended up featuring.
While I did have quite a few criteria to meet, I was eventually able to come up with a good list for this topic, including several honourable mentions. I am pretty happy with how this list turned out and I have personally really enjoyed each of the below audiobooks. I honestly believe that all of them would make for a great listen during an extended bit of travel or a road trip and each of them comes highly recommended.
Those in a mood for an exciting time of their road trip could do worse than check out this excellent and entertaining debut from last year, The Black Hawks by David Wragg. The Black Hawks is a great read that takes several compelling characters on an action-packed adventure across a dangerous landscape. Filled with betrayal, battle and clever twists, listeners will be well entertained with is book.
While there are several cool Star Trek novels that could make for great road-trip listening, I would personally suggest this fantastic tie-in to the recent Picard television show. Serving as an introduction to the darker Star Trek world Picard encounters in his new television series, there is a lot to love about this book and it is well worth checking out.
After recent developments in the phenomenon that is The Mandalorian, one of the Star Wars audiobooks I would strongly recommend is Star Wars: Ahsoka. The Ahsoka audiobook helps to expand on the character and presents listeners with a compelling and personal adventure. Narrated by Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka in the animated television series, this is a fantastic and timely audiobook to check out on the road this holiday.
Speaking of audiobooks that feature iconic characters being voiced by their actors, listeners will have an awesome time with this Veronica Mars tie-in novel, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line. Written by series creator Rob Thomas and narrated by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, this is an outstanding tie-in to the clever television show that also contains a compelling crime fiction story and people will be able to quickly power through this on the way to their destination.
Top Ten List (maybe add listening times):
The first entry on this top ten list is The Salvage Crew, a very clever and intense science fiction novel that is guaranteed to keep everyone entertained on your trip. Featuring the silky voice of the one and only Nathan Fillion, you will find yourself entranced with this audiobook, especially as the author backs up the awesome narration with a top-notch science fiction adventure story.
Those readers with a particularly long drive in their future and who are in the mood for an excellent standalone fantasy novel would do well to check out Race the Sands by the always impressive Sarah Beth Durst. Race the Sands is an extremely exciting and compelling novel that features great characters, political intrigue and clever worldbuilding, all set around people racing monsters in the desert. This is a very easy book to listen to and the miles will fly away as you listen to Race the Sands. Just don’t let the race scenes inspire you too much on the road; I don’t want to be responsible for you getting a speeding ticket!
If you want to laugh your way through an entire road trip you should definitely check out Redshirts by acclaimed science fiction author John Scalzi. Redshirts is a very entertaining parody of Star Trek and is essentially one big sendup of all the tropes, bad writing and over-the-top characters The Original Series is known for. Despite being a parody, Scalzi comes up with an incredibly clever story that gets extremely meta in places, while also introducing the listener to some very interesting characters who you become surprisingly attached to. Top that off with the narration of Wil Wheaton (who else would you want narrating a Star Trek parody), and you have yourself an exceptionally fun audiobook to listen to. My wife and I recently listened to this on a road trip ourselves and we were absolutely cracking up the entire time, and this comes highly recommended as a result.
Those drivers who would prefer a crime fiction novel should think about checking out The Holdout by Graham Moore. The Holdout is a standalone crime fiction novel that follows an infamous jury who found a notorious murderer not guilty and who must now find out who killed one of their members years later at a reunion. This is an extremely captivating book that features an amazing split-timeline narrative, showing the original trial and the murder investigation set in the present. This is a great novel and listeners will be on the edge of their seat for the entire trip.
Now if I had a particularly lengthy road-trip on the horizon one of the books I know I would be loading up Legend by David Gemell. While this might not be too practical for shorter trips, I would gladly do a trip twice if it meant I could finish this epic book in one go. Featuring an extended and desperate siege, Legend is one of the better fantasy novels I have had the pleasure of listening to and it does not take long for readers to get utterly enthralled with its impressive and thrilling story.
While there are a number of awesome Star Wars tie-in novels I could have included on this list, I decided in the end to go with Star Wars: Scoundrels. Scoundrels is an exceptional novel from one of the top authors of Star Wars fiction in the world today, Timothy Zahn. This is an excellent book that features fan favourite characters Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando engaging in an elaborate heist with a team of rogues and thieves. This is a perfect read for a longer car trip, and it is filled with several fantastic characters engaged in some good-old fashioned thievery in the middle of the Star Wars universe. Requiring very little knowledge about the Star Wars extended universe, this audiobook can be enjoyed by anyone even vaguely familiar with the series and is really worth a listen to.
Those looking for a new series to get obsessed about should use any upcoming road trips as an opportunity to try out the first book in the acclaimed Tomorrow series, Tomorrow, When the war Began. Essentially Australia’s answer to Red Dawn, this book follows a group of teenagers as they try to survive a sudden invasion of Australia by a foreign power. This is one of my absolute favourite series of all times and is probably some of the best Australian young adult fiction ever written. It is extremely easy to power through these audiobooks in a short amount of timer and they would be among some of my first choices if I had a long trip planned.
Any Discworld novel, by Terry Pratchett
I am kind of cheating by including an entire series here, but I could honestly listen to any of these books again and would not hesitate to recommend the entire Discworld series to anyone in the mood for a book that is wacky, clever, compelling and wildly entertaining. Practically any of these books would make for excellent entertainment during a car ride and I find it hard to believe that anyone would be bored while listening to them. While I love each of these books, I would probably recommend either Moving Pictures or Guards! Guards! (both with a runtime of 10 hours and 8 minutes) as they are great entry points to the series for new readers. An incredibly series to get into, you will not regret listening to them these holidays.
Another great read with a shorter runtime is Planetside by Michael Mammay. Planetside is an incredible novel and it is probably one of my favourite debut novels of all time. Mammay packs an intense and addictive story into this shorter audiobook, and listeners are treated to an outstanding and clever science fiction mystery novel, which sees an old veteran attempt to find a missing soldier on an occupied alien planet and instead uncovers a massive conspiracy. Listeners are guaranteed to be transfixed from start to epic finish with Planetside and it would be an exceptional novel to listen to while on a long drive.
For the final entry on my list, I have included The Anomaly by Michael Rutger. The Anomaly is a great horror novel that follows the makers of a web series as they explore an ancient cave in the Grand Canyon, only to find it filled with ancient terrors. This is a great novel for those who are in the mood for a scary book to listen to on their way home and readers will really love this amazing audiobook. I was particularly impressed with the dark, claustrophobic atmosphere that this audiobook produced and horror buffs will have an amazing time listening to this. That being said, maybe turn it off if you have to drive at night.
Well that’s my latest Top Ten Tuesday list. I think it turned out extremely well, and if you have some upcoming travel planned (or even just some time to kill in lockdown), you would do well to try any of the above books. Let me know which of the featured novels you enjoyed the most, as well as what audiobooks you would recommend for a car trip in the comments below and makes sure you drive safe these holidays.