Audible and general audiobook recommendations


#1

I recently started using audible on my smartphone. I get really crappy reception on my phone at work, including data, so an app which lets me download whole audio books at home and then listen to them at my leisure sounded good. My radio on my car is also stuck on AM radio, so the only semi-interesting thing I can listen to in the car to and from work has been Rush Limbaugh fused talk radio (why is there no NPR on AM radio?)

So it turns out, audible wasn’t just a good fit, it was a GREAT fit for me. I can listen at work, I can listen in the car to and from work. With no data used from my plan either.

I couldn’t find any other thread with recommendations for good audio books, so I’m making one. I’ll have my own small amount of recommendations in a separate post.

So fire away. This thread should be open to every genre and anything audio-related.


#2

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, The Savage Tales of Soloman Kane is amazing. Howard’s beautifully descriptive prose comes alive when narrated and Paul Boehmer does a sterling job.


#3

My radio on my car is also stuck on AM radio, so the only semi-interesting thing I can listen to in the car to and from work has been Rush Limbaugh fused talk radio (why is there no NPR on AM radio?)

There’s definitely an audiobooks thread somewhere in the archive, but have you considered podcasts? Not least because many NPR (and other public radio) shows also appear in podcast format.


#4

Is there any particular genre you’re interested in?

Random sampling of my favorite audio books. By favorite I mean both in terms of story and narration. This list heavily slants to sci-fi and fantasy, however.

Ready Player One
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore
Old Man’s War
Dresden Files series
The Name of the Wind
14
The Passage


#5

Name of the Wind +1


#6

I got busy at work.

Here’s the list of stuff I’ve tried so far, which has been excellent:

Marc Maron’s Attempting Normal. As much as I love his podcast, I was leery of his book until I heard David Sedaris come on the podcast and praise it and read from it. And it turns out, it is really good! Marc narrates it himself and does a good job.

Great Courses: History of the United States. This one is a mammoth. It’s really long and it’s done by 3 different professors. The first professor is the best at engaging the listener with his speaking style, but even the middle professor, who is the worst speaker of the three, has such fascinating material to work with that it doesn’t matter.

Great Courses: History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective. Professor Aldrete is an excellent speaker and the material he’s working with is absolutely fascinating. Some highlights for me include comparing early Mesopotamian and Egyptian empires and how geography had a huge role in shaping their respective cultures. I also love how following the couple of lectures on Alexander the Great, you run into several historical figures who fancied themselves as the next Alexander. And then usually the Professor dryly notes “they weren’t”. Heehee. I love it.

So that’s what I’m in the middle of currently. I reached the end of the second century A.D. or thereabouts.


#7

The Martian by Andy Weir. It is a space-geek story that remains the only audiobook to actually make me laugh out loud. Told with a very dry wit and lots of technical details, it is a marvelous story.


#8

Ooooh! He came on Science Friday to talk about that. I remember that from the days when I still had FM radio!

@GingerYellow: Tracking down podcasts I want to listen to, downloading them in advance, is just too much work. Listening to fresh air when it’s just on is fine, but going out of my way to download the podcast at hone so I can listen to it in the car or at work is too much, especially since not all interviews are equally fascinating or enlightening. Just one example.

I did try listening to the radio using my phone with the TuneIn app. It worked wonderfully for 3 days. But then I looked at the amount of data I was using up on my data plan. It was insane! I almost used up 2Gb out of my 3Gb of high speed data each month in those 3 days. So TuneIn app is not a good fit for my situation. But audible is.


#9

If you enjoy history, Shelby Foote’s gargantuan Civil War history is excellent on Audible. It’s not narrated by Foote… which I initially thought was a crime, but the whole series well over 100 hours long, and if Foote had read it in his wonderful Southern drawl it probably would have clocked in at 200+.


#10

Rock8Man – while I can’t speak to audible (although I hear there’s lots of awesome stuff), podcasts can be/are your friend. Although, for that matter, it might not be a bad idea to invest $80 in a new car radio. :)


#11

I haven’t done too many audiobooks, but the Hardcore History podcasts are especially interesting and well-made, if you’re into that sort of thing. It helps that Dan Carlin is a fairly engaging speaker (it’s pretty obvious he has some sort of radio background) and the series seems pretty well-researched, though I’m taking his advice and assuming that a lot of his interpretations would be disagreed with by other historians.

I just finished up the Eurasian nomadic tribes series and I’ve gone through the death throes of the Roman empire and the WWI series. Looking forward to more.


#12

@GingerYellow: Tracking down podcasts I want to listen to, downloading them in advance, is just too much work. Listening to fresh air when it’s just on is fine, but going out of my way to download the podcast at hone so I can listen to it in the car or at work is too much, especially since not all interviews are equally fascinating or enlightening. Just one example.

More trouble than tracking down audiobooks and downloading them in advance, really? At least with podcasts you can just subscribe, have it download automatically eveyr episode and never have to worrry about it again.

Anyway, audiobook recommendation threads here, here and here.


#13

My absolute favorites(as audiobooks specifically)

The Coming of Conan, The Cimmerian - Robert E Howard
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Dune by Frank Herbert
A Song of Fire and Ice, Books 1-3


#14

I’ll second the recommendation of the Dresden Files books. Recently got in to Audible myself and started with those (had snagged some eBooks as Kindle daily deals and the audio book versions were $3.99 since I had the Kindle version). Anyway, James Marsters reads all but book 13 and does a fantastic job. Really well done narrations that just flew by for me.


#15

Ooooh. That actually sounds pretty cool. I had no idea. What app do I need from the play store to do this subscribing to podcast thing?

As for downloading individual podcasts, yeah, I’d have to find 3 or 4 or 6 podcasts a day to download. But with the audio books I described, I get 48 to 84 hours of content all at once and don’t need to worry about it for a month or two.

But this subscription thing sounds good. If I don’t have to go to them, if they come to me, that sounds ideal.


#16

Holy crap yes. The Audible version is very good, I really liked the narration.


#17

Ooooh. That actually sounds pretty cool. I had no idea. What app do I need from the play store to do this subscribing to podcast thing?

Pretty much any podcast software will do that (I’m kind of struggling to believe I have to explain this on an internet message board about gaming). But Pocket Casts and BeyondPod are probably the best Android clients. Pocket Casts has the advantage of syncing across devices (and operating systems). Beyond Pod is better at handling fiddly podcast feeds (eg the Giant Bomb premium feed), but if you’re just starting out I doubt you’ll be using those much.

As for downloading individual podcasts, yeah, I’d have to find 3 or 4 or 6 podcasts a day to download.

Really not a problem. There are hundreds of amazing podcasts out there on every subject you care to think of, plus like I say a bunch of radio shows that also go out as podcasts. I’m subscribed to over 100 myself, most of them weekly shows - there’s always something waiting for me to listen to when I want it. Check the archives for the podcast recommendation threads, or just browse through the most popular ones on whatever app you choose and find some you like. Or name a topic or two and I’ll suggest some.


#18

On iOS I am a Downcast fan. You subscribe to the podcasts and every 24 hours (or on demand) it will just scan my subs and download in the background any new episodes.


#19

I spend 3 hours a day commuting in my car. I’ve recently discovered Deathlands series by graphic Audio (a movie in your mind). I’ve become a huge fan of their audio movies…er books! Their DC novel audio books are also quite enjoyable.

Deathlands is a interesting series that is bascially Fallout clone. Perfect as i complete Wastelands 2


#20

Dog on It

Detective story told from the perspective of a failed police dog. It great! The dog’s explanation for failing police dog school? I won’t spoil it but both the book and narrator will make you really feel that it is a dog telling the story.

The Sheriff of Yrnameer - excellent

Any of the Charles Stross Chulthu spy series

Amulet of Samarkand - Bartimaeus Trilogy - excellent

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman wrote and narrated - excellent