It’s summer, and it seems like lines at the airport have never been longer. We at Booklist have the perfect antidote to the frustrations of air travel: audiobooks! They’re a hands-free way to enjoy stories that help you escape the tedium at the airport and in the air. New titles and old fill the bill, so download several and enjoy.
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King, read by Stephen King and others
Good short stories can be as immersive and effective as novels in aiding our escape from the real world, and Stephen King’s latest collection works a treat. If you think of King only as a horror writer, you’ll be surprised at his storytelling skill and the places these tales take you.
Bossypants, by Tina Fey, read by Tina Fey
Even if you’ve already read this laugh-out-loud, award-winning memoir, you’ll want to make Fey your companion on your next trip. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s the only person to tell this story that will definitely provide an emotional lift.
Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen, read by Susan Erickson
Allen writes charming, timeless novels that explore relationships. Here, she tells the story of sisters and adds just enough believable magic to enchant listeners. Erickson voices the tone and characters that drive the story, which unfolds one secret at a time, lazily flowing to its satisfying conclusion.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold, read by Grover Gardner
Bujold creates engrossing science fiction adventures filled with authentic science and engaging characters, and Gardner’s smooth narration is guaranteed to distract listeners from the frustrations of the real world. This is a late entry in the series, but listeners can start anywhere.
Guardian of the Horizon, by Elizabeth Peters, read by Barbara Rosenblat
The Amelia Peabody mysteries by the late Elizabeth Peters offer so many pleasures: a no-nonsense Egyptologist/sleuth, adventurous romps through early 20th century Egypt with danger and fascinating excavations, a touch of romance, and so much more. Rosenblat embodies Amelia and enlivens all the characters and their antics.
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick
Sure, you’ve seen the movie and perhaps even read the book years ago. Time to revisit this adventure classic with Brick’s splendid, tension-building performance
The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, read by Katherine Kellgren
If you’re not bothered by odd looks when you burst into laughter with headphones in, try this smart and snarky tale of the perils of a glossy fashion magazine editor. Kellgren reads with such panache that it’s hard to resist the story’s allure.
Moonraker, by Ian Fleming, read by Bill Nighy
Bourne may be back in the theatres, but listeners can travel back a few decades earlier and enjoy the richer, less gimmick-riddled stories on which the Bond film franchise was based. Nighy voices a surprisingly effective Bond, both sympathetic and ironic, in this wonderfully entertaining escape.
One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson, read by Bill Bryson
Author and narrator Bryson always makes an amiable travel companion as he shares information—familiar and obscure—with his audience. Here he takes on a pivotal year in US history, 1927, when Ruth dominated the baseball diamond and Lindbergh ruled the skies. Engaging, rambling history filled with insights and amusing asides.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig, read by Kate Reading
Nothing like a good romance to take one away. Graduate student Eloise Kelly is investigating spies of the French Revolution for her dissertation, and story lines in the past and present entangle readers in espionage, danger, and, of course, romance. Reading’s narration can seduce the hardest heart.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle
Meet precocious, 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, intrepid investigator and mad scientist, in this first in a series of cozy mysteries set in rural England in the 1950s. Entwistle’s delightful performance animates this engaging tale.
Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein, read by Barbara Rosenblat
Headed to New York? Fairstein’s thrillers make great traveling companions. Not only are they engrossing, but they offer fascinating histories of NYC locations, famous and infamous, and New Yorker Rosenblat has all the voices down pat.
Security, by Gina Wohlsdorf, read by Zach Villa
Told from the perspective of what security cameras see in a fabulous, soon-to-be opened hotel, this novel propels listeners with lightning-fast switches among camera views, with danger visible from every angle. Building breathtaking suspense as mayhem looms, this audio book is so engrossing it should come with a warning label. Be careful you don’t miss your flight!
Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach, read by Shelly Frasier
Roach’s books are sure bets for fans of nonfiction at its most fascinating and outrageous, and all her titles are diverting on audio. Here Frasier leads listeners on a simply irresistible journey of discovery into the uses of cadavers.
If none of these is to your taste, there’s always George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. Even if you’ve read the books or followed the television serious religiously, you’ll find yourself transported from the humdrum of waiting in lines and sitting on cramped planes by Roy Dotrice’s mesmerizing reading. Immerse yourself in vicious political battles, gorgeous descriptions, and an increasingly grim tone as winter looms. Hey, TSA might not seem so bad by comparison.