The best four audiobooks for your next road trip

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It’s an ongoing discussion amongst me and my and my book-loving friends: Is listening to an audiobook mean you’re reading a book? Does listening to an audiobook “count” as having “read” a book?

Depending on my mood I say, “yes” listening to a great book is as ideal as flipping the pages on an e-reader or on an actual… gasp… book with paper pages! Other times I scoff and announce “no, listening is not the same as reading.”

Today though, as I head out for a three-and-a-half-hour road trip in my Toyota Prius hybrid I am scrolling through my phone trying to choose which audiobook to listen to. My traveling companions – my two poodles, Charlotte and Hazel and my cat, Ickis – are not too talkative on the highways and byways and I get bored of my own thoughts! To combat that I turn to audiobooks.

What are the four best audiobooks for your next road trip? Well, based on my truly subjective and more-than-likely biased opinion, here are my choices.

Best Audiobooks For Your Next Road Trip

 The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. This book was one chosen recently by the book club to which I belong and I was on the verge of requesting it from my local library when one of the book club members said, “the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks!” Wait! What? THE Tom Hanks? A fellow user of a manual typewriter for crafting novels and other prose? The star of several romantic comedies – one with Meg Ryan and a book store (You’ve Got Mail). Yes, please. I signed up for an account with Audible, downloaded the book and waited for my road trip.

This book was about ten hours long. Needless to say, I didn’t finish it on the drive. It was an okay book. I continued on with it when I was walking the dogs, hanging out at the beach and crocheting at night. This was a rags to riches to rags to riches story.

The book might have been more enjoyable and easier to follow in book form, rather than audio, but Tom Hanks and his narration kept me with the book long after I might have abandoned trying to keep up with the various threads. As the character Danny bemoans toward the end of the book, “The point wasn’t whether or not I liked it,” he admits. “The point was it had to be done.”

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Like many of you, I imagine the whole coronavirus pandemic changed your thinking and way of doing things. I feel like I was searching for… something… not even sure what and a friend recommended The Miracle Morning, Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Change Your Life Before 8 AM – whew that is one long title am I right? Author Hal Elrod offers simple tips that may not be life-transforming but gave me pause for thought and ideas on how to slow down, appreciate being in the present, regaining clarity and centering myself.

I don’t believe my life will be, or has been, as transformed as some of the reviewers wrote, I do like to have new ways to look at the way things are done. I am always open to new experiences and to ways to better enjoy life.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This has been a book on my shelves that I have had for, um… close to forty years. It is held together by duct tape, the pages are discolored and some are crumbling.

The Phantom Tollbooth has been a go-to for me and I read it every single year. I am counting down the days until my grandson is old enough to sit still and get lost in the magic and mystery that Milo and his ticking watchdog named, Tok get into. The book has nuances adults will grasp even though they may sail over a child’s head. The narrator has a great voice and no matter how many times I read it or listen to this book I discover even more to love about it.

I yearn for a long car trip – more than seventeen hours that’s how long this audio book is– so I can listen to my all time favorite book, The Assassin’s Apprentice. I have read the close to two-thousand page three book series at least a half dozen times.

I continually fall under the spell of young Fitzchivalry Farseer and his sometimes-friend, mostly frenemy The Fool. Fitz and his trials and tribulations are sometimes heart-wrenching and other times cause for celebration. Of all the fantasy books I have read in my life, and I have read a lot, Fitz is the one character who has remained with me.

The narrator has a wonderful accent. I have to admit I would be happier to be a passenger rather than the driver because I get so lost in the story that the road becomes a blur – not great when you’re on a long road trip.

What are your go-to listens when you’re in your electric vehicle on a road trip?


Written by Robbi Hess
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