5 Better Than the Book Audiobooks [Vol. 1]

It’s no secret that audiobooks are my jam! Here are a few books that I recommend you listen to versus reading the print version (if you can).

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

Narrators: Octavia Spencer, Bahni Turpin, Jenna Lamia and Cassandra Campbell. Edge of your seat dramatic. The audiobook version is FANTASTIC! The narrators (all of them) did an amazing job getting the Southern drawl of the ladies, as well as giving each of their characters a unique voice and attitude. I was thoroughly engrossed the entire time, and had no difficulty following along with the shifting points of view.

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

Narrator: Neil Gaiman. Unforgettable characters and imaginative alternate city. I was transported to the magical underbelly of London Below, engrossed with the characters I “met” along the way – especially Richard Mayhew – he’s one I will not forget anytime soon.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Narrator: Kirby Heyborne. Crazy Creepy. This is not exactly a horror book, but it will definitely creep you out and make your flesh crawl sometimes. And the voice of Baby – a grave digger gone crazy – oh my gosh, the Southern drawl tinted with a bit of manic frenzy is the stuff of nightmares!

Phantom, Jo Nesbo

Narrator: Robin Sachs. I adored the fact that I could get the proper pronunciation for names & places. The narrator, Robin Sachs, is excellent and he managed to get me totally immersed in the story from beginning to end. His voice and intonations captured the personality of Harry Hole and in my mind, he became him.

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy, Laini Taylor

Narrated by Khristine Hvam. OMG these books! Not only do I love the story, but listening to the audiobooks just takes it to another level thanks to the excellent narration by Hvam.

Which audiobook would you recommend over the printed version?


// Comments //

  1. I haven’t read Neverwhere but have loved every other Gaiman audio I’ve tried — such great narration!

  2. Care

    Dec 04

    I would have to say that Moby Dick is one that if you really want to try and and are intimidated to do so, LISTEN to this because the words spoken are magical! (and in those boring parts? yes, there are a few – I’m sorry! – when I zoned off, I didn’t mind that I didn’t replay…)

  3. Heather B

    Oct 30

    Neil Gaiman should have to narrate everything. His voice is so wonderful. I prefer all of his stuff in audio form because I like to have him in my ear holes. 🙂

    TIF mentioned Ready Player One and I second that! Wil Wheaton narrated it and he did a fantastic job!

    I wish the A Song of Ice and Fire books were better on audio, because I would love to listen to them, but I listened to the first one and just did NOT like Roy Dotrice as a narrator at all.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Nov 05

      @Heather B I’m listening to the fifth Song of Ice and Fire book on audio and sometimes switching to reading. I’m finding neither option particularly pleasurable but it might be because George Martin is wayyyyy too detailed in this book.

  4. I completely agree that there are books that are better on audio that reading. I haven’t tried any of these, but I love Bahni Turpin. She narrates a UF/Dystopian series that I love, Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane.

    Books I would highly recommend on audio that I would’ve never have read:
    – The Martian by Andy Weir narrated by R.C. Bray
    – As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride written and narrated by Cary Elwes (Westley) and many of the cast and crew make appearances too.
    – Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta narrated by Robert Petkoff. This was a new-to-me author, but a favorite narrator of mine.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Nov 05

      @Melanie going to try and get the audio book for The Martian based on your recommendation.

  5. maria helena

    Aug 02

    I’ve been thinking about trying Nesbo’s books on audio, but have been hesitant because of the pronunciation issue. Good to hear that you think they did a good job.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Sep 09

      I think I’ve read all the Nesbo books on audio and it’s been great.

  6. I feel the same way about The Help. Excellent movie. Excellent audio. I could not read the book. Too much dialect. The audio version tho. So funny and engaging.

    I’ll have to check out some of the others you have. I’m so particular about audios. Has to have right speaker. Ever try Kitchen Confidential or one of JJ Abrams? Both are read by authors and they do a fantastic job.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jul 29

      @Bree I’ll have to see if my library has the audio book for Kitchen Confidential. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. trish

    Jul 27

    Love the audiobook version of Beautiful Ruins and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Both were so good!

    A couple on your list I will be adding to my TBL pile!

    trish – tales from trish

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jul 29

      @Trish I love your comment because I was on the fence about listening to the audio for Beautiful Ruins. Now I’m adding it to my queue.

  8. I became acquainted with audiobooks this summer during a cross-country roadtrip (we listened to the entire HP series). There are some AWFUL audiobooks out there- the voices are just too insipid or whiny to bear listening to, but when you get a good narrator, it can really be a whole new perspective on a story! Thanks for these recommendations- I really want to check out Daughter of Smoke & Bone on audio!

  9. Interesting post – I normally favor the printed book, though you are right – the right narrator can make a big difference (and the wrong one can kill a book!). I really enjoyed listening to Neil Gaiman read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and think I might have liked the print book less – he is just such an amazing narrator! I’ll have to check out the other one of his you mentioned.


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  10. Tif

    Mar 17

    I have only listened to The Help, but wow that one was good!! Another one I would recommend is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (I’m currently in the middle of this one and it is so much fun!). Oh, and maybe The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. I will have to check out these other titles on your list as well.

  11. Jess

    Mar 13

    DSOM is an amazing audio. The voices are just so spot on and her performance is amazing. I’ll have to try these recs.

  12. Danielle

    Mar 12

    I could not agree more with you about The Help! That audiobook was like watching a movie it was so entertaining! If all audiobooks put half as much effort into becoming their characters, I would enjoy audiobooks so much more!

  13. I can’t seem to get into audio books, but the audio cast of The Help sounds amazing. Maybe that will be a good place for me to start.

  14. Lindsey

    Mar 11

    The post came at EXACTLY the right time! I’m planning on giving audio books a try since I seem to be falling behind on my reading schedule and was at a total loss of where to start. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. Kim

    Mar 11

    Hmm. I may have to go back and listen to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight on audio just for comparison.

  16. Also, I am always a HUGE fan of anything Neil Gaiman narrates. He is incredible as a reader. Just brilliant. I haven’t gotten to Neverwhere yet but it is on my list and has been recommended to me time and time again. Excellent voice for reading. Great choice.

  17. YES. YES!! I love this post. I just finished my re-read in print + audio of Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor this morning and OMG OMG YES YES YES to Khristine Hvam. She’s one of the narrators I will actively search for and seek books that she is reading JUST to listen to them (I found out today that she read Archetype by M.D. Waters, which is on my to-read list, and that made me really excited.) I love Kirby Heyborne but Rotters is still on my to-read/listen list – I haven’t gotten to it yet! So glad you liked it so much! And 100 times yes to The Help. I can only say good things about that one, both the print and the audiobook. Phenomenal.

    I enjoyed The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, read by Nick Podehl – he is a HUGE favorite of mine. I also enjoyed Podehl reading the Chaos Walking Trilogy with the addition of Angela Dawe and MacLeod Andrews (another favorite!). I think in both of the series instances the narrators added SO MUCH to the overall stories, which were really incredible on their own.

  18. fishgirl182

    Mar 11

    Totally agree on Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Hvam is awesome and I downloaded another series she reads just to hear more of her. I will also add Will Grayson, Will Grayson to this list and City of Thieves (read by Ron Perlman) which is one of my favorite audiobooks.

  19. I agree 1005 with your picks. I haven’t listen to Phantom or Neverwhere yet but they sound great from your description. I highly recommend The Kitchen House too! Great audiobook.

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