7 First Audiobook Recommendations to Convert Reluctant Listeners
Amy Flinders recommends seven great listens to choose as a first audiobook that will convert even the most reluctant listeners!
There are many reasons why some people think audiobooks might not be for them. I know, because I used to be one of those people. I thought my tiny attention span wouldn’t be able to tolerate listening to the same person read for ten hours. Or I thought that it might not feel like I’d really ‘read’ a book. I now hang my head in shame and admit how wrong I was. All I needed was a great first audiobook.
Alright, the fact that I work in an environment where I can’t move for audiobooks probably had something to do with my conversion. But I also think that selecting the right book is very important when you take that first leap into the world of listening. With that in mind, here are seven audiobooks that are perfect for first-time listeners:
A Book for Her – Bridget Christie
Why? Laugh out loud!
If you’d like to start your new life as an Audiobook Fan with a non-fiction title that’ll engage your brain and make you laugh then this is the book for you. A Book For Her is a scrap book of anecdotes, scripts, stand-up comedy and social commentary. This makes it perfect for those who think they might lose concentration when listening to a narrative. Comedian Bridget Christie’s approach to contemporary feminism is always inclusive and never preachy. Her narration is warm and conversational, and she can move effortlessly between silly and serious. A word of warning – if you listen to this book in a public place, you will burst with uncontrollable laughter in front of total strangers.
A Book for Her is available to download and stream.
Room – Emma Donaghue
Why? A great narrator.
One vital aspect that can make or break an audiobook is the narration. It’s frustrating when a story is disrupted by a dodgy accent, a bad attempt at imitating the opposite gender, or a voice that isn’t easy on the ears. The narrator of Room, Adam Sims, is probably one of the best audiobook narrators I’ve come across. He skilfully conveys each individual character with subtle changes in his voice and each one is unique and distinct. This makes all the difference in a book where the characters relationships anchor the narrative. Especially as it tells the story of a young woman being kept prisoner in a locked room with her young son! The way Adam Sims brings the story to life with his expert characterisation definitely makes Room a great choice for a first audiobook.
Room is available to borrow on MP3 CD Listening Books number 12830.
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Why? An intriguing mystery.
One way to get yourself hooked on an audiobook is to play detective! This classic Agatha Christie book doesn’t feature the famous Poirot or Marple, but it’s an exciting, standalone story that will leave you desperate to know who the killer is. It works very well in audio, with a mysterious and tense atmosphere, haunting music, and chilling characterisations.
And Then There Were None is available to download and stream.
Moondust – Andrew Smith
Why? Similar to a podcast.
Journalist Andrew Smith investigates how the experience of walking on the moon changed the lives of the astronauts in the Apollo moon programme. Nine of them were still alive at the time the book was recorded, and Andrew Smith interviews them all to try and find the answer to the evidently troubling question: ‘Where do you go after you’ve been to the moon?’ It’s a really engaging listen and a great choice if you haven’t tried much non-fiction before. Smith’s style is both informative and informal, sounding a little less like an audiobook narration and more like a documentary or podcast.
Moondust is available to download or stream.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
Why? Familiar and fun.
Want to enjoy the experience of being read to without focusing too much on the narrative? Listening to a story you already know well can be a great way to introduce yourself to audiobooks. Even if you haven’t read the book or seen the film before, most people are aware of The BFG. It’s a magical, heartwarming story for all children aged 8 to 108. This downloadable version includes music and sound effects designed at Pinewood Studios and an energetic, versatile narration from actor and comedian David Walliams. There’s a lot to keep your ears entertained over the relatively short four and a half hour length!
The BFG is available to download and stream.
Tony Hogan Brought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma – Kerry Hudson
Why? Brilliant visualisation.
Don’t let the title put you off! Hudson’s tale of a working class Scottish girl trying to find her way in the world is beautifully told and often funny. I love this book for the way the author uses language to conjure up relatable images from the world she’s created. There was a lot of smoking and drinking in this book, and I felt like I had a cough and a hangover by the end of it! The narrative follows Janey right from birth to her mid-teens as she fights her way through the harsh realities of growing up on various council estates in the 1980s. This isn’t a story with umpteen plot twists and cliff hangers at the end of every chapter, but if you love character-driven books and visceral storytelling that really immerses you in the environment, then this is definitely a good first audiobook.
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma is available to download and stream.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Why? Fast-paced thriller.
I’m sure I don’t need to provide a summary of this very popular book and film series! However, in a nutshell: Katniss, a teenager living in a dystopian future, is selected along with eleven other children to fight to the death on an annual television show called The Hunger Games. It’s perfect for those who are after an audiobook that will whisk you through an exciting, action-packed journey. It doesn’t get too bogged down with hefty language and extensive character development. I’m not sure what you call the audio equivalent of a page turner (file-whizzer?), but whatever the term, The Hunger Games is definitely it.
The Hunger Games is available to download and stream.
What audiobooks would you recommend to reluctant listeners?
If you liked these recommendations, you may also like 11 Famous Actors and Actresses Who Read Audiobooks or 13 Audiobooks for People Who Like a Period Drama.
This post was written by Amy Flinders.