It’s that time of year when the favorites lists start appearing! Instead of splitting my 2011 reads up by genre, I thought I’d pick favorites in each medium: print and audio. I chose a top ten plus a runner-up for each type. I shared my list of favorite reads yesterday, so today I’ll share my favorite 2011 listens!
Runner-up: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, read by Frank Muller
Muller’s dry, confidential reading style was a perfect match for this classic about a day in the life of a man in a 1950s Soviet labor camp. A deceptively simple listen with a main character worth rooting for.
#10: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, read by Humphrey Bower
This novel wouldn’t have made my list, I suspect, had the narrator been different. Humphrey Bower did a magnificent job narrating this very lengthy tome about an escaped convict starting a new life for himself in India.
#9: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, read by Margot Dionne
The Blind Assassin was my first experience with Atwood’s more realistic fiction, and I very much enjoyed it. It’s a story of sisters, of a book, and of truth versus fiction.
#8: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, read by Hope Davis
This young adult historical fiction story features a spunky girl caught between following her dreams and helping support her family. It’s read by Hope Davis, one of my favorite narrators.
#7: Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, read by Rebecca Lowman
Published in 1982, Annie on My Mind tells the story of Annie and Liza, two high school girls who, after meeting by chance in a museum, realize they are falling in love. Narrated by the soft-voiced Rebecca Lowman, it was a treat to listen to.
#6: Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell, read by George Guidall
Inspired by my positive experience with Homer’s The Odyssey on audio last year, I listened to Gilgamesh earlier this year and fell in love with it. Turns out works originally written for oral recitation work really well as audiobooks!
#5: Flight by Sherman Alexie, read by Adam Beach
My love for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on audio prompted me to seek out more by Sherman Alexie. Intense, unapologetic, and true, Flight is Alexie at his best.
#4: Dracula by Bram Stoker, read by Robert Whitfield
I did not expect to like Dracula, much less find myself enthusiastically naming it one of my top 5 audiobooks of 2011. This classic vampire horror story comes vividly to life on audio and makes the perfect chilling listen.
#3: The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cumming
Perhaps I’ve included this trilogy prematurely, seeing as I have not yet listened to the final installment, Goliath. Judging by the first two, though (Leviathan and Behemoth), this phenomenal pairing of book and reader will deserve its spot in my top three.
#2: The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, read by Simon Vance
Well…the first six books, at least! These are an absolute joy to listen to, and Simon Vance has quickly taken a spot at the top of my preferred narrators list. Historical fiction, with dragons, read by a man with a delicious British accent. How can you go wrong?
#1: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, read by Kristoffer Tabori
I’m rather at a loss for words to describe the masterpiece that is Middlesex as read by Kristoffer Tabori. I thank Reading Buddies for choosing the book and the countless bloggers who steered me toward the audio. Truly phenomenal.
What were your favorite audiobooks you listened to in 2011? Are there any you’d especially recommend?