Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. The official topic for this week’s Top Tuesday revolved around Bookish Wishes, however, I am going to do something a little different and instead head back to my favourite format, audiobooks, with a list revolving around suggested books to listen to on road trips.
A couple of years ago I did a fun list where I presented my top ten suggestions for audiobooks that would be awesome for a road trip. Road trips are always a great time to listen to some fantastic books, and I have personally had a great time listening to audiobooks while driving. I actually just got back from a big road trip a few weeks ago where my wife and I listened to several impressive audiobooks as we made our way around Australia. These cool audiobooks, several of which made the list below, proved to be incredibly entertaining, and the long hours of driving just flew by as a result. So, I thought that this would be a great time to update this list, especially as I have listened to some more epic audiobooks since the last time, I wrote this list.
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, 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. I also tried to avoid anything that was a particularly extreme example of a genre (like fantasy or science fiction), and instead looked to include novels that would appeal to a wider group of readers. 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.
One of the most purely entertaining and impressive Star Wars audio production, Doctor Aphra is a wonderful listen that covers the storyline of a particularly fun character from the comics. A great story combined with an awesome cast, including Emily Woo Zeller perfectly capturing the fantastic main character.
An old favourite of mine, Tomorrow, When the War Began is the exceptional introduction to the brilliant Australian young adult Tomorrow series by John Marsden. This audiobook is very easy to get into and you will swiftly fall in love with this amazing series.
Come for the Fillion and stay for the unique science fiction story.
An insanely addictive science fiction thriller, Planetside is a particular favourite of mine and the audiobook, featuring the voice of the excessively talented R. C. Bray, is a great listen that will appeal to everyone.
Top Ten List:
It is appropriate that the first entry on this list be the book that inspired me to go back and revisit this topic with the impressive World War Z by Max Brooks. I had been meaning to read World War Z for ages and finally got a chance with my recent road trip when we listened to the massive, full-cast audiobook version of this iconic zombie novel. I instantly fell in love with the complex story and elaborate take on a zombie apocalypse, especially as the entire novel was enhanced by an incredible cast of narrators. Fantastic actors like Mark Hamill, Alan Alda, Alfred Molina and more, did an incredible job telling this brilliant and powerful story, and the entire production is just perfect. A truly awesome audiobook that made a massive drive go by extremely quickly. Highly recommended!
If you want to laugh your way through a quick road trip, then you should think about listening to quirky science fiction author John Scalzi’s Redshirts. A comedic and meta homage to classic Star Trek, Redshirts imagines a fictional, Enterprise-esque spaceship that faces episodic danger that always leads to the death of its lower ranked crew members. When the crew start to notice just how deadly their job has become, they go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it, even if that means escaping to the strangest of places. Incredibly funny, but with some real heart to it, Redshirts is a great book to listen to, especially with its narration from Wil Wheaton himself.
One amazing mystery novel that would keep me very entertained on a long trip is British comedian Richard Osman’s debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club. Following four senior citizens as they attempt to solve complex murders around their retirement village, The Thursday Murder Club has an excellent mixture of mystery, humour and likeable characters, and proves to be quite the addictive read. Throw in the perfect narration from actress Lesley Manville, and you have an exquisite listen that is guaranteed to keep you alert and happy all the way to your destination.
Any Discworld novel, by Terry Pratchett
It is no secret that we at The Unseen Library love the incredible Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, with every novel in this impressive series being extremely compelling, clever and hilarious, all at once. Thanks to the series’ great audiobook adaptations, I honestly could have filled every single entry on this list with Discworld books and called it a day. However, as I am limiting this to a single entry, I will instead recommend either a standalone novel, such as Moving Pictures, Pyramids or Small Gods, or one of the cool City Watch novels like Guards! Guards! All of these would be exceedingly high on my list of potential books to listen to on a road trip, and I know I would be very entertained the entire way through.
Just like with my Favourite Books of 2021 list last year, I couldn’t decide on which Jeremy Robinson novel to feature over the other. Both of Robinson’s 2021 releases, The Dark and Mind Bullet, would be perfect for a road trip as they have some very intense and exciting stories to them. While Mind Bullet probably has the narrative that would appeal to the most passengers, its connections to Robinson’s other may confuse new readers. The Dark on the other hand is a much more standalone read, although its darker, horror tones may have less of a fanbase. Both novels however are very, very good reads and their audiobook versions, which feature the incredible voice of R. C. Bray (one of my favourite audiobook narrators), would serve as outstanding entertainment for any long drive.
Anyone interested in a fantasy epic for their road trip experience would be extremely smart to check out the classic novel, Legend, by the late, great David Gemell. Legend, Gemell’s iconic debut, imagines the ultimate fantasy siege with a massive, unbeatable army besieging an impregnable stronghold garrisoned by a small force of heroes. This outstanding fantasy battle plays out perfectly as an audiobook and you will be enthralled throughout your entire road trip.
If you wanted to try out a Star Wars story for a long drive than your best bet is probably going to be the Star Wars Legends novel Scoundrels by the superbly talented Timothy Zahn. Despite no longer being canon, Scoundrels has one of the most appealing, fun, and compelling stories out there as it follows several of our favourite scoundrels, including Han, Chewie and Lando, as they embark on an elaborate heist. Containing one of the best Star Wars stories out there, as well as the amazing talents of narrator Marc Thompson, Scoundrels will ensure a very entertained car.
If you’re the sort of person who wants non-stop action for their road trip than you really should load up Mark Greaney’s impressive first thriller, The Gray Man. Following a legendary spy/assassin as he runs a gauntlet of bad guys throughout Europe, this slick novel never slows down and you will love all the thrills, twists and elaborate situations. Set to be a major film in the next few months, an upcoming road trip would be the perfect opportunity to read ahead and the fantastic narration from Jay Snyder really brings the story to life.
I had to recommend the Harry Dresden series somewhere on this list and the best option to listen to is probably the first novel Storm Front. Serving as the perfect introduction to Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy series, Storm Front has a great story to it and you have to love the narration from outstanding actor James Marsters. It won’t take long for you to become addicted to this series on your road trip and before you know if you’ll have listened to every single magical adventure.
The final entry for this list is another production we listened to on our recent road trip, the audio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s iconic The Sandman comic. Performed by an extremely awesome team of actors, including James McAvoy, Taron Egerton, Kat Dennings, Michael Sheen and more, this is a perfect way to enjoy this complex comic and you will have a brilliant time with its elaborate and insanely inventive narrative. We powered through this on our road trip and have already started the second act of it, which would also be a great bit listen for a drive. A fantastic and epic comic turned into an even better audiobook.
Well, that is the end of this latest list. I think it turned out pretty well and if you have some upcoming travel planned you would do well to try out any of the above books. Other outstanding audiobook suggestions can be found in my best audiobooks lists of 2020 and 2021, so you’ll have plenty of ideas for your next drive. Let me know which of the featured audiobooks you enjoyed the most, as well as what productions you would recommend for a car trip in the comments below.