My Favourite Audiobooks of 2019

Wednesday 25 March 2020

No comments
Image of audible book the name of the wind on a spotted sheet

2019 was the year that I REALLY got into audiobooks. I had tried the 30 day free trial on Audible a few times but it wasn't until a friend recommended the below, and I was in a job with a long commute that I started to really appreciate audiobooks and became a member. So yes, March is very late to discuss a 2019 faves but with these free evenings, I am finally getting time to blog again. It is also the perfect time for people to take up listening to audiobooks, especially with free audible for the little kiddlewinks in your life!

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Audible Book Cover  

Narrated by Jot Davies, Stuart Turton's The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was an incredible way to dip my toes into the audible waters! At 16 hours and 41 minutes, I thought I'd invested my first credit well and I certainly did! The novel is about a man who wakes up in a body that is not his own but with some of his traits and some of anothers. He is given eight identities and eight days to find out who is responsible for the death of Evelyn Hardcastle and his own destiny. Each identity has their own part to play, knowledge and characteristics and as a mammoth of a book it can take some time grasp each character but when you do it is completely worth it.

Each unique and mysterious character deepens the story and sweeps you in further and further. Moving from creepy scenes to the wilds of the party, there is not a point during The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle where you not second-guessing! I realised I've strayed from the plot but I highly recommend giving this novel a read or a listen!

The Name of the wind Audible Book Cover

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Narrated by Rupert Degas,  Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind was constantly recommended to me for years,  but as a pretty hefty book I just never got round to it. As book 1 in the Kingkiller Chronicles, I knew I would be getting myself into a series that wasn't finished yet, and it still isn't! As I am typically a binge reader when it comes to series I put it off but when I saw The Name of the Wind is one of the audible sales I couldn't resist and at 28 hours and 3 minutes I knew it would fill my work commutes at the time.

Told by the main character Kvothe we are swept into a magical world as we follow the young man growing up in a mortal world interlinked with the fae. A beautiful fantasy novel, I felt the world-building around me, growing with Kvothe's story and his life. But what I found most interesting was that the stories about Kvothe seemed so much more outlandish than the story unveiled before us. Not only did I not want the book to end but I didn't want to leave the world either. I needed to know more about how his life unfolds after, or what was happening in the gaps he wasn't sharing with us, the reader. Luckily I picked up the second book 'The Wise Mans Fear' in a second-hand book shop recently, but I am reluctant to start it until the idea of a published third book is on the horizon!

The Bell Jar Audible Book Cover

The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath

One of my favourite finds of this 2019 was the selection of audiobooks narrated by Maggie Gyllenhall. I have read The Bell Jar numerous times but listening to it with Maggie's ethereal voice brought the novel even closer to my heart. If you are going to listen to one audiobook, I recommend this one.

At a reasonable 7 hours and 24 minutes The Bell Jar, the only novel written by Slyvia Plath follows Ester Greenwood as she embarks on a summer internship at a magazine in New York. The internship begins the downfall of Ester with a series of events that see a decline in her mental health. The novel follows these darkest moments of Ester's life, pushing through various suicide attempts and treatment plans in 1950's America.

The Bell Jar is one of the best things you will ever read and this edition is requisite.

neverwhere Audible Book Cover

Neverwhere, a BBC Dramatisation by Neil Gaiman

Although I LOVE Neverwhere the novel by Neil Gaiman, which I reviewed here. I also love this dramatisation so much I have listened to it multiple times. The story follows Richard Mayhew after he's moved to London when one simple act of kindness gives him the glimpse into another part of London and that changes his life forever. Richard's act of kindness was rescuing a beaten girl named Door from the street of London and letting her recover in his apartment after she declined the hospital for fear of assassins Croup and Vandemar. From then on he is invisible to London, having to search for Door and entering a dangerous new life in London Below.

An urban fantasy story to completely lose yourself in Neverwhere will make sure you never look at London the same way again. Complete with an incredible cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Natalie Dormer and James McAvoy, Neverwhere is 3 hours and 48 minutes of absolute escapism.

the crimson petal and the white Audible Book Cover

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber 

Narrated by Jill Tanner, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White was the heftiest audiobook I listened in 2019 at 41 hours and 32 minutes and I am so glad I did it. I studied Neo-Victorianism at University and loved the TV adaptation of the novel but every time I went to read it the tiny font put me off. So this audible edition was perfect.

Set in Victorian England the novels tells the tale of two very different women, Agnes and Sugar, with one man in common, William Rackham. Whereas Agnes is the Victorian ideal of a woman Sugar is a confident, well-read prostitute. So as Agnes' health declines and William's fortunes grow it soon becomes that his favourite prostitute becomes his daughter's governess and in turn his live-in mistress. But unfortunately for Sugar it does not all go in her favour...

daisy jones and the six Audible Book Cover

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Another amazing listen with a stellar cast, Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a must listen or read! It's 9 hours and 3 minutes felt like seconds as I was enveloped in the story about a fictional rock band from 1970's recording an album. In an almost documentary style the story is told from various members of band, friends and family, circling rumours in truth and showing the roots of creativity.

For me, Daisy Jones and the Six tells of the passion and the people behind art and music and everything that goes into it.

a room of ones own Audible Book Cover

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

I picked up Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own after I saw that it was narrated by the lovely Juliet Stevenson. The book fell blissfully in my ears as I listened to it in full one afternoon, with the feminist question of if women can write and if this was a dangerous space for a woman to be in. Woolf drove the question of place, poverty and education with the conception that 'a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'. Reflecting that freedom allows women to write and that although women are sensationalised in fiction it is the patriarchy that limits them in reality.

This extended essay is essential listening.

nigel Audible Book Cover

Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs by Monty Don

Read by the man himself, Monty Don's Nigel, My Family and Other Dogs was my final audiobook but of 2019 and my gosh did it fill my heart with love. At a short and sweet 5 hours and 50 mins I listened to this book on a trip there and back down south to visit my Grandma, and crying on the M1 is not fun! Well, nothing on the M1 is fun.

Monty Don's golden retriever Nigel was an unexpected TV star when he started gaining fans on Gardeners' World and in the novel, Monty explores his deep bond with Nigel and other family dogs in what is very much a pooch-esque memoir. Heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time, every dog lover should read this.

Read More