The Best Audiobooks of 2018
There are some audiobooks that are just enjoyable. And then there are some that capture your imagination, thrill you, or change your outlook. The perfect combination of story and narrator. The thrill of a well-placed sound effect. These things can set an audiobook above the rest. We’ve chosen our favourites, what we think are the best audiobooks of 2018, so you can catch up on what you’ve missed, or revisit them:
Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon
A poignant and gripping listen from Joanna Cannon, the author of the bestselling The Trouble With Goats and Sheep. Florence Claymore is living in a care home. Despite her dementia, when a man named Gabriel Price arrives at the home, she recognises him as someone she used to know. Except the man she used to know is supposed to be dead. Together with her best friend, Elsie, Flo tries to work out what’s happening. The narrator, Paula Wilcox, is able to embody the touching loneliness of Flo and also some of the funniest moments. A perfect combination of story and reader.
The Order of Time – Carlo Rovelli
Time is a very strange thing, as this audiobook recognises. It is short but profound, full of complex subjects explained in simple language. Our idea of time has changed rapidly. We now know it flows at different speeds in different places, that it is affected by significant changes in gravity, and the present is a strange concept that, in the vastness of the universe, seems almost meaningless. It may take several listens to grasp some of the ideas in this book, but with Benedict Cumberbatch narrating, that won’t be a difficult task.
Educated – Tara Westover
Tara Westover was born to a family of survivalists. Her family grew up preparing for the End of Days. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals. At 16 Tara began to educate herself, and learned enough to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she learnt for the first time about the civil rights movement and the Holocaust. From there, her quest for knowledge took her to Harvard and a PhD at Cambridge University. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
There There – Tommy Orange
Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand. All of them are there for the cultural celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powwow with darker intentions. There There is read by a cast of Native American actors, which feels like the only way to experience this book, and easily makes this one of the best audiobooks of 2018.
Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
This is the sort-of follow up to Matt Haig’s bestselling mental health memoir Reasons To Stay Alive. In Notes on a Nervous Planet he looks outward at how the modern world affects our mental health. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? And how do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? If you’re looking for a book to help you relax and stay calm when everything around you seems to be the opposite, then this is the audiobook for you.
Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
The small book that J. K. Rowling wrote, with the voice talent of Andrew Lincoln, and the immersive experience of the Quidditch World Cup match at the end, has turned into a wonderful audiobook. The narration is fascinating, with in-depth information on the development of quidditch and the most popular fouls, but the true joy is the bonus content at the end of the audiobook. Make sure to listen to this one if you haven’t already!
Lies Sleeping – Ben Aaronovitch
This is a late inclusion to the best audiobooks of 2018, as it was only released in November! However, the voice talents of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith make it a worthy addition. Detective constable and trainee wizard Peter Grant returns to bring Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, to justice. To save his beloved city Peter’s going to need help from his former best friend and colleague – Lesley May – who brutally betrayed him and everything he thought she believed in. And, far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch . . .
Stories For Boys Who Dare to Be Different – Ben Brooks
Prince charming, dragon slayer, mischievous prankster… More often than not, these are the role-models boys encounter in the books they read at home and at school. As a boy, there is an assumption that you will conform to a stereotypical idea of masculinity. What if you prefer to pick up a book rather than a sword? What if you want to cry when you’re feeling sad or angry? Stories For Boys Who Dare to be Different is full of information about boys who changed the world without matching the traditional masculine ideal, and are great with it!
Lethal White – Robert Galbraith
A second entry for J. K. Rowling on this list (when does she sleep?), although under her crime-writing pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. If you enjoyed her latest creations, private investigators Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, then you’ll want to listen to their fourth outing in Lethal White. Strike and Robin set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. Robert Glenister’s narration adds an extra joy to this thrilling plot, taking on the regional accents with ease.
Fire and Fury – Michael Wolff
You’d be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed by the news in 2018. Everywhere we turn there seems to be another outrageous thing happening. But Fire and Fury is here to help understand at least one thing – how Trump is running the White House. Thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. Among other things, he writes about what President Trump’s staff really thinks of him, what the secret to communicating with Trump is, and what the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers. If only this wasn’t a true story!
Do you think these are the best audiobooks of 2018? Are there any you would like to see on this list? Let us know in the comments!
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