Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 180,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
You must be logged in to read full text of reviews.
> Logged-in users can make lists, save searches, e-mail, and more!
> Click My Profile to create a username & password
> Try a free trial or subscribe today
March 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Audio Stars for Adults
This annotated list, covering fiction and nonfiction for a variety of listening interests, includes all Booklist’s starred reviews of audiobooks for adults published in 2017. We hope this gathering of the best of the best will aid you in your retrospective collection-development efforts. The list first appeared in the inaugural issue of our All Things Audio newsletter. Please click here to learn more and subscribe!
Anything Is Possible. By Elizabeth Strout. Read by Kimberly Farr. 8.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9781524774929).
Veteran performer Farr narrates magnificently, treating listeners to introspective, thoughtful, and humane interpretations of every individual among the colorful characters in nine interlocking stories.
Ararat. By Christopher Golden. Read by Robert Fass. 10.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781455127474).
With the discovery of a cave filled with ancient remains, scientists release a monstrous evil on the world. Fass builds the sense of dread to a fever pitch.
Beartown. By Fredrik Backman. Read by Marin Ireland. 13hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99 (9781508230977).
The only hope for Sweden’s remote Beartown is its junior ice hockey team, until an accusation of rape against its star player divides the town. Ireland perfectly captures this intensely compelling story, from a gunshot in the opening scene to the unexpected but immensely satisfying conclusion.
Beauty like the Night. By Joanna Bourne. Read by Kirsten Potter. 10hrs. Tantor, CD, $32.98 (9781515914044).
She’s a spy and he’s a thief, but they have a shared history—and she owes him a debt that he aims to claim in this delightful historical romp, narrated to perfection by Potter with sprightly dialogue, sparkling wit, and wry humor.
Behind Her Eyes. By Sarah Pinborough. Read by Bea Holland and others. 11.5hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427282279).
This compelling tale shifts from a deceptively mundane love triangle to a riveting and suspenseful page-turner. The trio of skilled narrators puts listeners inside the characters’ heads in this menacing tale of obsession and deceit.
Borne. By Jeff VanderMeer. Read by Bahni Turpin.12.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781504779753).
Turpin’s intimate and hypnotic reading mirrors scavenger Rachel’s thoughts, words, and emotions in this mix of survival sf drama and post-ecological-disaster novel, a complex, imaginative, open-ended, provocative, and gritty novel.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. By Junot Díaz. Read by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo. 10hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780525493990).Tony Award winners Miranda and Olivo fluidly deliver complicated passages, moving from Spanish to English, didactic to idiomatic, while maintaining a gleeful irreverence in the saga of “ghetto nerd” Oscar.
The Chalk Artist. By Allegra Goodman. Read by Orlagh Cassidy. 10.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $50 (9780385367745).
Cassidy’s mesmerizing reading propels Goodman’s latest novel—a contemporary portrait of dueling sensibilities, with subtle commentary on the upper and middle classes, literature and technology, and how they coexist—with genuine emotion and sincerity.
The Dead Zone. By Stephen King. Read by James Franco. 17hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99 (9781508218647).
Awakening from a five-year-long coma after an accident, John Smith discovers he can see the future when he touches a person or object, a skill with terrifying potential. Franco’s perceptive narration intensifies the power of King’s words.
Dear Ijeawele; or, A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Read by January LaVoy. 1hr. Books on Tape, CD, $15 (9780525494706). Compelling in print, Adichie’s advice for raising a feminist is made more so in audio with LaVoy’s thoughtful reading of the author’s empowering and practical suggestions for instilling confidence and respect in all members of society.
A Divided Spy. By Charles Cumming. Read by Jot Davies. 11.5hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427282057).
Davies reads the twisty espionage tale of trust and deceit to perfection, with impeccable pacing and timing, as ex–British spy Thomas Kell seeks his lover’s murderers.
A Duke in Shining Armor. By Loretta Chase. Read by Kate Reading. 11.5hr. Harper, DD, $24.99 (9780062791788).
Reading delights listeners with her animated and beguiling performance of historical romance filled with madcap adventure, witty repartee, a delightful mix of sensual and comical tones, and characters to cheer for.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. By Gail Honeyman. Read by Cathleen McCarron. 11hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9781524749705).
McCarron’s fabulous narration sets listeners firmly in Glasgow among a range of accents and eccentric characters—especially the prickly Eleanor—in this witty, warmhearted novel.
Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem. By Bill Nye. Read by the author. 12.5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $123.75 (9781501948992).
Self-confessed supernerd Nye employs his comedic timing and engaging enthusiasm to present his theories on just about everything, along with personal anecdotes and a call to action to keep science in the forefront.
The Force. By Don Winslow. Read by Dion Graham. 13.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $39.95 (9781504680608).
Graham’s dazzling performance of this gritty and provocative drama of a corrupt police detective takes listeners inside the complex issues through menacing tones and spot-on characterizations.
Glass Houses. By Louise Penny. Read by Robert Bathurst. 13.5hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427287397).
Bathurst’s cadence and pacing keep the complicated plotting under control while his voice reflects the dark mood and building tension in Armand Gamache’s thirteenth case.
Gone to Dust. By Matt Goldman. Read by MacLeod Andrews. 7.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781504768818).
Vacuum-cleaner dust surrounding the body may obscure clues, but that doesn’t stop Minneapolis PI Nils Shapiro from solving the crime in this debut mystery, with Shap and a host of others convincingly performed by Andrews.
Grant. By Ron Chernow. Read by Mark Bramhall. 48hr. Books on Tape, CD, $75 (9780525529224).
Bramhall’s compelling reading brings a sense of immediacy and intimacy to this magisterial, warts-and-all biography of a skilled soldier and a man of unrivaled decency.
House of Names. By Colm Tóibín. Read by Juliet Stevenson and others. 9hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $29.99 (9781508227908).
This fine retelling of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra’s tale of suffering, scheming, murder, and remorse sizzles in the hands of this team of fine narrators, who enliven characters and events in an intense and intimate novel.
Huck out West. By Robert Coover. Read by Eric Michael Summerer. 9.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $34.99 (9781681683812).
Having lit out “for the territories,” Huck Finn participates in key moments in U.S. history. Summerer’s delightful narration mirror’s Twain’s style and offers an opportunity to spend time with Huck and friends.
I See You. By Clare Mackintosh. Read by Rachel Atkins. 11hrs. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780804195140).
In this decidedly creepy thriller, Atkins’ haunting tones immerse listeners in a harrowing nightmare in which an ordinary woman’s world is invaded by a monster—with the unstated understanding that this could happen to anyone.
The Impossible Fortress. By Jason Rekulak. Read by Griffin Newman. 8hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $29.99 (9781508228806).
Newman’s earnest, endearing narration perfectly captures the confusion of a boy who doesn’t really understand girls, grown-ups, or himself in this wonderfully weird, 1980s-set tale of computer coding and first love.
Maarleveld’s wonderfully effective narration embodies amateur botanist Eliza Lucas, who, at 16, begins her tireless efforts to make South Carolina the center of the lucrative indigo-dye trade.
Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family. By Kathy McKeon. Read by Aedín Moloney. 8hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $29.99 (9781508229223).
Authentic-sounding voices and accents shine in Moloney’s reading of Irish immigrant McKeon’s memoir chronicling her life with the Kennedy family as personal assistant to Jackie Kennedy and sometimes nanny to John Jr. and Caroline in the 1960s.
Lady Susan. By Jane Austen. Read by Rosalyn Landor. 2.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781520064093).
Landor’s reading of this lesser-known Austen novella showcases the author’s rapier (and subversive) wit and her strong ability to create character out of dialogue alone. A perfectly delightful confection.
The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen. By Victoria Alexander. Read by Marian Hussey. 11hr. Harlequin, DD, $24.99 (9781538409381).
In this gentle and amusing historical romance, Hussey’s animated reading reflects the author’s comic timing and droll wit while providing apt portrayals of the eccentric cast of characters and their adventures.
The Last Hack. By Christopher Brookmyre. Read by Angus King and Avita Jay. 14.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $39.95 (9781538469538).
Narrators King and Jay create a host of distinguishing character voices to turn Brookmyre’s taut cybercrime thriller into compulsive and thrilling listening.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. By Kathleen Rooney. Read by Xe Sands. 9hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427282378).
Sands’ affectionate and expressive performance commands listeners’ attention from the first steps of this warmhearted, nostalgic, but never maudlin New Year’s Eve stroll through the streets of Manhattan in 1984, as octogenarian Lillian remembers her life and career.
Lincoln in the Bardo. By George Saunders. Read by Nick Offerman and others. 7.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $35 (9780553397598).
Join a record-breaking 166 narrators in an alternate existence where the words of ghostly beings and factual quotes from Abraham Lincoln’s contemporaries eddy through the audible ether in a foggy miasma that conjures Oak Hill Cemetery, where Lincoln’s young son, Willie, has been newly interred.
Lockdown. By Laurie R. King. Read by Pilar Witherspoon. 11hr. Recorded Books, CD, $102.75 (9781490623542).
The threat of violence looms in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller of a shooting at a middle school. Witherspoon’s masterful reading ramps up the tension.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel. By Heather O’Neill. Read by Julia Whelan. 12hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9781524749644).
Whelan immerses listeners in Depression-era Montreal, transformed by a touch of magic realism, and enchants with a fantastic mélange of strange characters and stranger events in a world that is both tragic and truly comic.
Lucky Boy. By Shanthi Sekaran. Read by Soneela Nankani and Roxana Ortega. 16.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $50 (9781524703028).
Nankani and Ortega voice the many-layered characters with subtle nuance in this heartbreaking novel that addresses two emotionally fraught issues of our time, illegal immigration and infertility.
Manhattan Beach. By Jennifer Egan. Read by Heather Lind and others. 15hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99 (9781442399983).
A trio of fine actors animates Egan’s intriguing characters and enlivens this vividly realized mix of literary thriller and historical fiction.
The Monk. By Matthew Lewis. Read by Nicholas Boulton and Georgina Sutton. 15hr. Naxos, CD, $73.78 (9781781980446).
Narrating this lurid eighteenth-century gothic tale of a salacious monk’s depredations, Boulton and Sutton excel in illuminating the flowery prose, melodrama, and pure terror.
Mr. Potter. By Jamaica Kincaid. Read by Robin Miles. 5.5h. Blackstone, CD, $24.95 (9781504743471).
Miles’ hypnotic narration spotlights Kincaid’s beautifully circular storytelling in this quasi-fictional tale of the illiterate Mr. Potter with a perfect balance of musicality and ease.
Nights of the Living Dead. Ed. by Jonathan Maberry and George A. Romero. Read by Stefan Rudnicki and others. 12hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781504783125).
A team of skilled narrators, led by Rudnicki, performs this collection of zombie short stories, all of which take place within 48 hours of the events in George A. Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead.
Prepare to be transported into the realm of the ancient Norse gods, and who better to tell these tales than their author, Gaiman? This top-notch audio harkens back to oral tradition, with a twenty-first-century sensibility, and is a truly all-ages production.
Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World. By Suzy Hansen. Read by Kirsten Potter. 10.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $34.99 (9781681686844).
In an authoritative alto, narrator Potter renders Hansen’s text crisply, with strong enunciation, especially on the many foreign names and terms. Her compelling and perceptive reading matches the book’s insightful message.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. Read by Elisa Donovan. 6.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $35 (9781524779672).
With authenticity and empathy, Donovan gracefully drifts from Sandberg’s story through the experiences of others, her voice ringing with the earnestness of the text, to communicate a profoundly moving message of hope and strength.
Out of Bounds. By Val McDermid. Read by Kathleen McCarron. 13hrs. Recorded Books, CD, $111.37 (9781501932007).
McCarron’s melodious alto enhances this intricate mystery, building tension and creating authentic characters, especially protagonist DCI Karen Pirie. Her performance underlines Pirie’s keen intelligence and warmhearted sympathies as well as her relentless pursuit of justice.
Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly. By Adrian McKinty. Read by Gerard Doyle. 10hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781504687652).
Doyle’s smooth, Irish-accented baritone hooks listeners from the opening scene in McKinty’s latest crime novel starring Sean Duffy, of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who is in trouble with the brass again and in deadly danger as he investigates the murder.
Prussian Blue. By Philip Kerr. Read by John Lee. 18hr. Books on Tape, CD, $55 (9780399566486).
Danger dogs Bernie Gunther, ordered to kill a Soviet agent or be killed in 1950s East Germany and, in flashbacks to 1939, investigating a murder at Hitler’s Bavarian mountain retreat. Lee’s pacing easily guides listeners from 1956 to 1939 and back again, and he deftly captures the fear and danger Bernie experiences.
The Ripper’s Shadow. By Laura Joh Rowland. Read by Alex Tregear. 12.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $60 (9781520061061).
Tregear’s reading enhances this London-set Victorian mystery, rendering characters and dialogue with authentic accents and reflecting the growing urgency and danger in the search for the killer of a photographer’s models.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. By Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. Read by Laurence Bouvard and others. 24.5hr. Harper, DD, $34.99 (9780062676986).
A talented cast of narrators proves that audio is the perfect medium for this romp across time, enriching its complex combination of linguistics, speculative fiction, witchcraft, and thrilling adventure, as a secret government group seeks to revive magic, which disappeared in 1851.
Seven. By Paula Cizmar and others. Read by Shannon Holt and others. 2hr. LA Theatre Works, CD, $29.95 (9781682660416).
In this provocative documentary play, seven award-winning female playwrights give voice to women’s issues around the globe, weaving the accounts of politically engaged women into a powerful drama that makes their poignant, personal stories universal.
Stay with Me. By Ayobami Adebayo. Read by Adjoa Andoh. 8hr. Books on Tape, DD, $66.50 (9781524781835).
Andoh’s sensitive, nuanced reading of Adebayo’s showstopper debut novel about personal and political upheaval in Nigeria grabs listeners emotionally from the opening sentence and refuses to let go until the final word.
Theft by Finding: Diaries, 1977–2002. By David Sedaris. Read by the author. 14hrs. Hachette, CD, $35 (9781478915768).
Avid Sedaris fans would likely commit 14 hours to listen to him reading a grocery list, but 14 hours of him reading selections of his own diaries? Sweet sassy molassey!
The Turn of the Screw. By Henry James. Read by Emma Thompson and Richard Armitage. 5hr. Brilliance/Audible, CD, $9.99 (9781536608397).
Thompson’s mesmerizing reading captures the emotional qualities of the tale, along with the nightmare tone, and creates a haunting and fully dramatic performance of a classic ghost story with a modern psychological twist.
The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. By Lyndsay Faye. Read by Simon Vance. 11.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $39.99 (9781681684239).
Even the most fanatic of the Baker Street Irregulars will find much to appreciate in Vance’s masterful portrayal of Holmes’ iconic characters in these short stories that capture the flavor of Doyle’s original tales with memorable characterizations, an authentic feel of Victorian London, and a gritty tone.
Wild Ride. By Julie Ann Walker. Read by Emily Beresford. 10.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $59.99 (9781520067797).
Beresford skillfully alters tempo and tone to convey a range and depth of emotions, from mirth to lust to self-doubt, while also naturally matching the rhythms of spoken and internal dialogue in this steamy contemporary romance.
The Women in the Castle. By Jessica Shattuck. Read by Cassandra Campbell. 13hr. Harper, CD, $27.99 (9780062657398).
Campbell’s wonderfully compelling performance illuminates the lives of four German women, wives of Hitler resisters, in this touching novel of the enduring human spirit.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. By Sherman Alexie. Read by the author. 12hr. Hachette, CD, $30 (9781478912811).
Reminiscences, recollections, reflections, poetry, and song all feature prominently in Alexie’s memoir, a heartfelt but complex look at his family relationships, mesmerizingly read in his distinctive voice.
Young Jane Young. By Gabrielle Zevin. Read by Karen White. 8.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $34.99 (9781681687322).
White cleverly captures the indignation, resignation, and resilience of each character in this funny, smart, and sometimes infuriating study of sexism and double standards.
> Try a free trial or subscribe today