Listening to audiobooks is a fabulous way to pass the time on a long road trip. The right narrator can make a book come to life in a unique way, impacting a 'reader' the same way the print version would, but with a little extra aid to the imagination. Whether you're on a road trip for vacation or driving your possessions in a Penske rental truck to your new home, these audiobooks will make the journey as memorable as the destination.
Are you moving crosstown or cross-country? Are you driving down the coast or making a multi-city round-trip tour? Here are the perfect audiobooks for any trip, from short to long.
Route: Manchester, NH, to Boston Audiobook: David Sedaris, Live at Carnegie Hall, read by author Duration: 1 hour Why: Sedaris' deadpan delivery makes his hilarious stories even funnier. Reviewers warn that you may have to pull over from laughing too hard…
Route: Milwaukee to Madison Audiobook: Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, read by Toby Stephens and a full cast Duration: 90 minutes Why: BBC Radio's full-cast adaptation makes this classic noir fiction extra-hard boiled.
Route: New York City to Wilmington, DE Audiobook: Woody Allen, Without Feathers, read by author Duration: 2 hours 13 minutes Why: If you like Allen's absurdist New Yorker stories, you'll love hearing them read in his own inimitable voice.
Route: San Francisco to Los Angeles Audiobook: Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, read by David Suchet Duration: 6 hours 8 minutes Why: Christie's first book is deliciously good, and David Suchet's facility with accents and voices makes the audio version wildly entertaining.
Route: Washington, DC to Charleston, SC Audiobook: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, read by Derek Jacobi Duration: 9 hours 5 minutes Why: Brought to life by the amazing Derek Jacobi, the brilliant, moody detective is a great road trip buddy, and short stories are perfect for the attention span-challenged.
Route: Kansas City, MO to Birmingham, AL Audiobook: Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, read by Sissy Spacek Duration: 12 hours Why: This beloved American classic stands the test of time, and is an evocative choice for a deep South road trip.
Route: Boulder, CO to Nashville, TN Audiobook: Kathryn Stockett, The Help, read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin and Octavia Spencer Duration: 18 hours 19 minutes Why: The three distinct narrators voicing different main characters actually enhances the experience of reading this critically acclaimed book.
Route: Salt Lake City, UT to St. Louis, MO Audiobook: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, read by Anthony Heald Duration: 20 hours 29 minutes Why: You'll be surprised by how modern and compelling this great Russian novel is — and think of all the well-deserved bragging you'll be able to do!
Route: Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA Audiobook: Stephen King, Duma Key, read by John Slattery Duration: 21 hours 15 minutes Why: Critics called this thriller Stephen King's best book in 15 years, and Mad Men's John Slattery gives it a dry, thoughtful reading that will have you on the edge of your driver's seat.
Route: Chicago to Miami Audiobook: Keith Richards, Life, read by Keith Richards, Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley Duration: 23 hours Why: Richards' deeply personal and entertaining memoir gets even more rock n' roll in this audiobook/performance, featuring Johnny Depp.
Route: Round-trip Multi-City Tour: New York - Memphis - Houston - LA - Portland - Boise - Minneapolis - Chicago - New York Audiobook: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter Collection, read by Jim Dale Duration: 117 hours Why: Jim Dale's virtuosic performance has won awards and acclaim for bringing these phenomenal books magically to life. Your next long haul is the perfect opportunity to listen to the full saga from beginning to end.
What audiobooks would you recommend? Please let us know in the comments!
(Images: Flickr user DrDAD, shared on Creative Commons; Amazon.com.)