Oh geez, I had grand plans to have this post done last week. Well, the best laid plans…
I had considerable ups and downs with audiobooks in 2017. There were the ones I loved, loved, loved. And there were equally as many that I hated, hated, hated. Incidentally, two happen to be on the New York Times notable books list. And I didn’t hate the audiobooks because of their performances, so as always remember, I’m just one opinion and “best of” lists are always subjective. But for those who care to know what I loved listening to this year, here’s the list:
5. Becoming Bonnie – I’m not sure how much creative license Jenni L. Walsh employed in this book, but it was FUN. And Susan Bennett did a top-notch job narrating it. I especially appreciated her portrayal of Bonnie’s friend Blanche. You can read my review of the audio for AudioFile Magazine here.
4. Rather Be the Devil – I am a late convert to Ian Rankin, but boy am I glad I finally got there. And James MacPherson is so perfect for Rebus. He’s had many books to perfect the character and it seems as though he understands the curmudgeon inside and out. Love the series, love this installment and you can read what I said for AudioFile Magazine here.
3. Bluebird, Bluebird – Attica Locke isn’t a book-a-year author, but when her new titles come out, I snatch the chance to read them–or in this case listen. And I’m glad I listened. JD Jackson’s rich voice added generously to a story that already had considerable heft. AudioFile also picked this as one of their top mystery/suspense audios of the year. You can see how it reviewed the narration here.
2. The Western Star – Walt Longmire, George Guidall, need I say more? Thirteen doesn’t appear to be an unlucky number for Craig Johnson. The series has not soured for me at all; Guidall continues to pick up all the nuances, the shifts in tone, the humor, the gravity, the compassion…all. of. it. This is hands down my favorite series on audiobook. Craig Johnson and George Guidall continue to deliver pure bliss. My review for Audiofile Magazine is here.
1. Born a Crime – Trevor Noah narrates his own book. Sometimes this can be a dicey situation, but since Noah is a performing artist in his regular job, he had nothing to worry about. This memoir is nothing short of amazing. I wanted there to be more. The end came way too soon. I laughed and cried. I was dumbfounded and awed. I learned and did I mention I laughed? Noah is, of course, a comedian, so in his book, he does what he does best–make people laugh. He takes some of the darkest hate and presents it as consumable for his audience. Which isn’t to say he dismisses it or treats it casually. This is his story after all. He simply finds the humor that helps so many survive the darkness and the absurdity that often causes humans to scratch their heads or scrunch their noses in bafflement. Trevor Noah is a tremendously talented story teller and he has an unforgettable life story. If you haven’t listened to this one yet, please don’t miss it. You’ll be glad you didn’t.
That concludes my favorite audiobooks for 2017. Next up (no promises on exact date), my favorite non-fiction. Please check back and happy reading…and listening!