Many of us living in the Washington, DC area or other metropolitan areas have experienced the boredom of long commutes.  I like to keep up with literature for pleasure and work, so I found listening to books on cassettes or CD’s the best way to stay relaxed in the car.  Only twice while commuting did I get so lost in the book that I made a wrong turn!

The first book on audio I recommend to all friends is Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry.  If you have seen the movie with Shirley Maclaine and Jack Nicholson, you do not know the story or the “real” characters.  You will be glad you tried the novel or the book on CD for this realistic story of a Texas widow who faces many challenges in addition to the ones highlighted by the character of Debra Winger in the film.  Movies can be fun if the book is well represented, but in the case of Terms of Endearment, the book or the CD is much better.  You’ll see when you try listening to Roses Prichard in the 1984 version which is unavailable for sale:  find it at your local library or used bookseller!

Some audio “readers” choose their titles by narrator, by favorite authors, or by bestseller titles at the public library when the waiting list for the hardback book is very long.  There is no right way:  choose any and all of the above ways and you will soon be an aficionado enjoying this pleasurable way to escape while commuting or traveling this summer!  And yes, you can still consider yourself a reader.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the heft of a book such as Chesapeake by James Michener?  As a Marylander and a Michener fan, I felt compelled to read this one, but where to find the time to read 1,026 pages?  I chose the “BOT” (Books on Tape) solution and I was not disappointed.  The director of this audio CD even recorded the sound of a blue heron squawking over the Bay and soon I was immersed in the history of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. The narrator is Larry McKeever and the cost is $95.00 from Recorded Books, so check out your local library for this selection.

Barbara Rosenblat and Davina Porter are two of my favorite narrators.  Ms Porter is a well-loved narrator at Recorded Books. and you can search for her titles on their site.  Did you miss Outlander by Diana Gabaldon on TV?  She and Barbara Rosenblat both read different books in this series as well as classics, romances, mysteries and children’s titles.

Barbara Rosenblat has won many awards for her “deft handling of characters and dialects” as she narrates.  Can you believe her website says she has over 400 titles so far?  She is known as an actress and a singer (“The Secret Garden” musical) in the US and UK!  Barbara reads Kathy Reichs, if you are a “Bones” fan, or enjoy Anne Frank Remembered by Mief Gies and Allison Leslie Gold, or Jeffrey Archer’s As the Crow Flies.  She also narrates Elizabeth Peters’ “Amelia Peabody series” and my favorite character by Peters:  Vicky Bliss in Borrower of the Night.

 Anne Frank Remembered (Unabridged) [Audio CD]

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters Unabridged CD Audiobook (Vickie Bliss Series, Book 1)

Speaking of mysteries, C. J. Critt will entertain you for hours as she narrates Margaret Maron, Janet Evanovich, Patricia Cornwall, and Linda Barnes’s suspenseful novels.  C. J. Critt is the best reader of Stephanie Plum books, in my opinion.  If you find an abridged version of the audio books, you will find a different reader.

Two for the Dough Unabridged Audiobook (The Stephanie Plum Series, Book 2)

Some readers are especially adept at reading children’s stories.  Alyssa Bresnahan is the reader of The Beautiful Stories of Life by Cynthia Rylant. Search for Ms. Bresnahan and check out the links to the various audio companies to see which of the narrators I have mentioned are still reading new and old classics, children’s books, mysteries and more.  Also note that many book review magazines, such as Bookpage,  include a page on audio titles.

There are many companies to choose for pleasurable listening trips; link to my sites when ordering.

Happy Listening in the Summer of 2015!

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