Best audiobooks of 2022, including George Saunders, John Darnielle, and more.

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I don’t think I’m alone in using audiobooks to motivate myself to a difficult task, whether it’s cleaning the house or beating the persistent army of knotweed that’s on its way. in my yard. According to my established rules, I may not listen to any recommended book until I have started on it. Is there a purer way to judge literary pleasure than a book that makes you happy to get down on your knees and wipe, even if you can listen to it? These are the audio books that made the hours of boredom fly by for me this year, the kind of stories and voices that swallowed me and spit me out hours later as if no time had passed.

Bad Actors book cover.

By Mick Herron, narrated by Gerard Doyle. Recorded Books.

The eighth story at Herron’s Slough House series, the origin of the Apple TV series slow horse, It’s just as good as its predecessors – this idea for the whole series, of course, I wrote here. Doyle perfectly captures the humor of Herron’s disaffected spies, housed in a grimy London office far from the heart of “the service” at MI6 headquarters. They’re kept there by higher-ups who can’t fire them but want to encourage them to leave, and the result is one part spy novel, one part music hall. Their director, Jackson Lamb, is one of the most important spooks stories, and for spooks who have been pushed to the sidelines, these slow horses see a lot of work.

Devil House book cover.

Written and narrated by John Darnielle. Macmillan Audio.

This amazing and exciting story is about a true crime writer who tries to solve the mystery of two murders that took place in an abandoned porn store in the 1980s. the store is a fun/artwork center by local youth. Trying to recreate the scene, the writer went to buy the long-vacant house where the murders took place. This is a scary story that doesn’t provide ready answers. What concerns the 1980s themselves is the decade of Darnielle’s own youth, a time when fear over Satanism and youth crime was at its height when the kids in podunk towns to find inspiration in the pre-Internet era. Darnielle’s quiet, uncharacteristic, and understated narrative is best suited to the story’s eerie nostalgia, its passion for the improbable and unattainable past.

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Carlotta book cover.

By James Hannaham, narrated by Hannaham and Flame Monroe. Leo Hachette.

Hannaham’s book is a celebration of a lost community and a found woman, Carlotta Mercedes, who returns to her native Brooklyn after serving 20 years in prison for her participating in a liquor store robbery. Convicted under her dead name, Dustin, Carlotta is unknown to many of her old friends and family, but her former haunts her in a different way. The morgue changed: “You know it’s over when they do yoga on the dead bodies of black people in Fort Greene.” Hannaham reads the story’s third-person narrative, which is interrupted by Carlotta’s own voice, performed here by transgender comedian Flame Monroe. Usually this kind of thing—not a silent drama or a traditional story, just a monologue—is ugly, but here the result is big, funny, and noble.

Dinosaurs cover.

By Lydia Millet, narrated by Paul Heitsch. Media Dreamscape.

This quiet story lacks the sharp edges typical of Millet’s work. But it’s cool, focused, and comfortable, but in a way that doesn’t seem escapist. After an amicable breakup with a gold digger friend, Gil moves from New York to Arizona, choosing to go far because he wants to “find something” for a change. The story takes place later, as Gil interacts with his neighbors, volunteers at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and becomes a lover of the birds of the desert Heitsch’s narration matches the tone of the story, making Gil, and the listener with him, a real connection with the world around him.

G-Man book cover.

By Beverly Gage, narrated by Gabra Zackman. PRH Audio.

Most of my audiobook listening is reserved for the record. I often find that I can’t really follow nonfiction—especially history—by ear, when it’s harder to turn a few pages back to remind myself of a person or idea that was mentioned. used to. But this re-examination of the man who founded the FBI is written with a strong sense of history. Even better, the audiobook is narrated by the great Gabra Zackman, who brings light and warmth to every sentence. This is an important act of American history, brought to life by the quintessential pro.

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Liberation Day book clothes.

By George Saunders, narrated by Saunders, Tina Fey, Michael McKean, Edi Patterson, Jenny Slate, Jack McBrayer, Melora Hardin, and Stephen Root. PRH Audio.

Each of the stories in this collection is typical of Saunders – full of narrators who don’t engage in strange, dehumanizing behavior or constantly develop feelings for putting others in that situation. -was performed by another actor, most of whom are familiar with television comedy and all. they are better at telling prose than popular fiction. Michael McKean’s work “Love Letter” is a very simple piece (a grandfather asks his grandson not to take the risk of helping a friend who is in trouble with the government) and combines the beautiful form of sadness and regret. But the high point was Fey’s reading of “The Mom of Bold Action,” a story about how easy it is for a woman who tries to be good to stop doing the worst.

Maid book dress.

By Nita Prose, narrated by Lauren Ambrose. PRH Audio.

Molly, the neurodivergent narrator of Prose’s sprightly mystery, works at a grand hotel in an unnamed city, and she likes him. He loves the tenacity, the hard work, the daily miracle of restoring rooms destroyed by immigrants to “a good state.” This becomes even more difficult when Molly discovers the corpse of an ordinary stranger, the tycoon whose trophy wife Molly fell in love with. Prose’s story brings the quirky fun of Mark Haddon The dog’s mischief in the night, showing the reader the world of the hotel and the mystery of murder through the eyes of someone who does not jump to normal conclusions. Ambrose’s story is a little masterpiece, showing not only the accuracy of Molly’s character, but the real joy he takes in it, making the character more endearing than his side.

Audiobook cover.

The second book in James’ Dark Star trilogy, an epic fantasy novel about African cultures and traditions, Magic Moon, Spider King This is the story of Sogolon, who is a supporter in the first book. Accused of being a witch, Sogolon seeks revenge on the black magic that robbed him of his happiness and made him live alone in the forest with only monkeys. One of the best storytellers in the business, Turpin calls Sogolon to life, his story a whirlwind of interest like the dangerous winds that nature creates in times of crisis.

Past book cover.

By Kathryn Miles, narrated by Gabra Zackman. Leo Hachette.

A self-evidently wrong puzzle, I often agree with critics who point out that the quality of many podcasts in the genre. Miles’s investigation into the unsolved 1996 murders of two women hiking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is a victim of that skeeze. Route recreates the difficult lives of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans, a couple from different backgrounds who separate their relationship by enjoying the wilderness. Miles also raises questions about law enforcement in national parks and the dangers faced by women hiking unaccompanied by men, and the soft case against those who suspected by the police of crime. This is the second book on this list narrated by the peerless Gabra Zackman, whose critical but not yet unmistakable perspective adds to the book’s power.

Vladimir bookcase
S&S Audio

By Julia Jonas, narrated by Rebecca Lowman. Simon and Schuster Audio.

The anonymous narrator of this story is a modest, female professor in her late 50s whose husband, the head of their department, has been accused of adultery. with individual students. He has known these activities for a long time, he knows how to see his students’ feelings about them, especially after he becomes erotic with a new faculty member in his 20s. young age. This is a silent story, whose narrator hides behind his face of strict adherence to gender and academic traditions an imperiously idiosyncratic appearance and a susceptibility to wild passions. He’s not complacent, but his unique combination of jadedness and ferocity—brilliantly delivered by Lowman—carries the book.


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