If you don’t know yet, I am crazy about audiobooks. And now that I’m in graduate school, it’s harder than ever to make time to read physical books (besides textbooks).
I’ve found that audiobooks are a great way to achieve my reading goals while making monotonous tasks like chores, the morning commute, and cooking more interesting.
Here are some more of my favorite audiobooks, ranked by narrator:
Nicola Barber, Call the Midwife
I love the BBC Call the Midwife series, and highly recommend it for your next binge watch on Netflix (why is childbirth so beautiful?!). Loving that series led me to investigate the source material written by Jennifer Worth. Genre-wise, it’s a little confusing. It reads a lot like nonfiction, but names and details were changed, according to the real nuns of Nonnatus House, and apparently not all of Worth’s characters were entirely factual. So I suppose it’s historical fiction.
Regardless, Call the Midwife is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It portrays the very real struggles, hardships, and joys that women on London’s east side faced following the second World War. I had never even heard of workhouses before reading this series … I’m still in shock that they even existed.
The reason I recommend this in audiobook is because Barber does a fabulous job with all the accents. I don’t think reading the physical book would have been quite as enjoyable because there are so many cockney accents, and I’m not great at *hearing* cockney accents in my head while reading.
Robert Ian Mackenzie, 44 Scotland Street
I think this Goodreads reviewer describes the series perfectly: “…What [Smith]’s created is this wonderful and funny character study. Like Seinfeld, nothing much happens, but you really, really enjoy the ride.”
I have grown to love the characters of 44 Scotland Street. Their small dramas, failures, and triumphs are so charming, heartwarming, and hilarious. And the dry wit and humor make the series funny in the way that only dry humor can be enormously funny. If you love the U.K. or all things BBC, it’s definitely worth the read. Robert Ian Mackenzie does a lovely job with the various degrees of Scottish accents. Listening to this series is a delight!
Read more about my love of 44 Scotland Street here.
Thandie Newton, Jane Eyre
I love listening to nonfiction on audiobook, but I also enjoy classics on audiobook. I am not a huge reader of the classics, but somehow I find listening to them much more enjoyable than reading them. I think it’s easier to get caught up in the beauty and flow of the language when you’re listening.
This lovely version of Jane Eyre is gorgeous. Newton’s serene, restrained at times, but powerful voice brings this intimate tale to life. I love how she doesn’t need to shout, doesn’t need to over-dramatize Jane’s experience to make it feel so vivid and so true. If you haven’t tried out Audible and gotten your free book with trial, I highly recommend downloading Newton’s narration!
Caroline Lee, Big Little Lies
Who doesn’t love a great Australian accent? I remember watching Mary-Kate and Ashley’s movie Our Lips are Sealed as a 10-year-old and longing to visit Australia, meet cute boys, and, of course, save the day.
Not only is Big Little Lies a great book (read more thoughts here), but Lee’s narration is really good. You feel the full scope of emotion, heartbreak, and drama in her voice throughout the story. And she’s funny too. She makes Moriarty’s already funny and dramatic book funnier with her narration.
I was so entranced by this book that I literally just sat around the house listening to the CDs through my computer. Highly recommend picking up the audiobook for this one.
If you missed part one of my audiobooks by narrator series, check it out here.