The Joys of Audiobooks

Roy Mackenzie | September 8, 2016

Is it cheating to listen to a book rather than actually “read” it?  That’s what I’ve been accused of by my sister-in-law (another librarian!), but I beg to differ.  My commute to and from the library gives me a fair  amount of time in my car, and listening to audiobooks makes the ride much more enjoyable despite the traffic.  And I don’t just listen while driving, I also listen while sewing, knitting, or cooking at home.  

I just really enjoy having a book read to me. I’ve sometimes wondered if I’d like a book as much if I wasn’t listening to it. On a few occasions, I’ve wondered if I might have liked it more, but, to me, it all depends on the narrator. Some of my favorite narrators are Barbara Rosenblatt, Scott Brick, Graham Malcolm and John Keating. 

Missing Downton Abbey? Who isn’t? Consider trying Julian Fellowes’ (creator of Downton Abbey) new novel Belgravia, which is set in Brussels and London in the 1800s and follows the intersection of two families. Scandal, love, and loyalty lie at the heart of this wonderful story narrated by British actress Juliet Stevenson. She does a wonderful job with all the voices and might only be improved upon if narrated by Mr. Fellowes himself!


I’d also recommend Boston Girl by Anita Diamant in audio.  It’s narrated by Linda Lavin who brings this story alive with the greatest enthusiasm, compassion, and humor. It’s the story of Addie Baum, a teenager in early 20th century Boston and what life was like growing up in the North End in an overly protective home where Addie wants only to experience all that life has to offer.


My favorite series is An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor.  It’s set in 1960s Northern Ireland in the fictitious town of Balleybucklebo. Narrated by John Keating who gives voice to Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and some of the most distinctive characters in County Down. I look forward to each and every new book that’s published (or should I say audiobook).  


Books on CD are not the only choice here at the library.  If you haven’t already, try Overdrive our digital library catalog of e-books and audiobooks.  Hoopla is another service the library offers for audiobooks, e-books, music and movies!  

So slide a CD into your player or download a digital audiobook to your phone and enjoy the pleasure of listening to the stories unfold.  But if you’re driving, you may miss your exit!

Anne Clark
Reference Department