Thought I'd make my first post here to Tildes about some of the last few audiobooks I've listened to and rank them from least favorite to favorite in this particular batch. I obviously lean more...
Thought I'd make my first post here to Tildes about some of the last few audiobooks I've listened to and rank them from least favorite to favorite in this particular batch. I obviously lean more toward science fiction stories, however, when it comes to audiobooks narration makes all the difference. A not-great book can get elevated by a great narrator and a great book can get destroyed by a poor one. Would love to hear your guys thoughts on these books and let me know suggestions on what I should listen to next based on what I said I liked.
#10 - Infinite - Jeremy Robinson / R.C. Bray
This is likely a case of Bray saving a book for me and keeping me in it. The overall concept of this story is interesting however about 2/3 of the way through it the scenarios the main character was encountering just became silly and the ending became obvious. An interesting concept that I think just got drawn out far too long.
#9 - How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius - Donald J. Robertson / Donald J. Robertson
Was interested in reading a bit more about stoicism. Robertson's book is likely one of the best you'll find on Aurelius and the stories and summaries he uses are quite good for getting the overview I was looking for. I've sent this book to friends who found it really useful in thinking about how they handle anxiety and framing things that happen in their lives. My only knock on the book is that Robertson's voice makes me sleepy.
#8 - Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons - Ben Riggs / Sean Patrick Hopkins
If you are a D&D or TTRPG fan who is interested in where the game came from this is an excellent book to give you an overview of what was happening inside the company during some of its most difficult times. It tells a story that many people THINK they know but reveals much that most people didn't and really reshapes your ideas on those involved.
#7 - Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman / Neil Gaiman
This feels like a passion project of Gaiman's and was a fun primer on Norse Mythology that told some great tales and left me wanting more. Gaiman is also a fairly decent narrator as well which isn't always the case with an author doing their own audiobook. If you want to hear tales of Loki, Thor, Odin and others that don't involve Marvel's twist on them listen to this book.
#6 - Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch / Jon Lindstrom
This book took me by surprise by how much of a human story got told in what could have easily been a science fiction technobabble concept. The really cool plot, engaging characters, and a really good narrator make this an easy recommendation. The ending wasn't quite what I hoped for but the journey on the way to that ending was excellent.
#5 - Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing / Simon Prebble
This is one of those books where I have to say go in and read this completely blind - don't look up anything about it at all. It's a true story (although honestly, you'll question it given how crazy parts are, but it's all true). The writing is so descriptive you'll almost feel the cold on your face as you follow the story of a crew trapped and fighting for survival in the Antarctic waters. So many gut punches along the way, the narration is on point, and this is a must-listen.
#4 - An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield / Chris Hadfield
If there was a book I'd hand to a young teen and say listen to this for general life advice on reaching your goals this would be it. Chris Hadfield knocked it out of the park and his life story is amazing. The way he views problems and solves them, how he sets goals and plans to achieve them, and his general philosophy on it all makes me want to be like him. If you want a self-help book disguised as an amazing life story get this one.
#3 - Bobiverse (Books 1-4) - Dennis E. Taylor / Ray Porter
Ray Poters is one of my favorite narrators and what he was able to do with Taylors' really quirky science fiction world is wonderful. Bob is a human who died suddenly however had his mind transferred to a computer system attached to a space drone. What comes after that is a story of finding meaning in the universe, helping to save humanity, exploration and discovery, the meaning of self and personality, the meaning of life and love, and so much more. I really look forward to this universe getting more books and also recommend people check out Taylor's other books which are great light science fiction reading.
#2 - Red Rising (Books 1-3) - Pierce Brown / Tim Gerard Reynolds
There may be recency bias on this one as I just finished these first three books (currently reading #4) and absolutely loved them. There were many times I'd be listening on my commute to or from work and I'd just sit in the office parking lot or my driveway not wanting to turn the book off. Brown has created an amazing world of classism and politics that will tickle your "Game of Thrones" bone quite nicely. I'll say in book 1 you need to get through the first 1/4 of the book before things really take off but once the story makes that shift you won't be able to put it down. Reynold's accent and general narration is great, so good in fact that while I'm going through the fourth book it kind of miffed me that they went to multiple narrators.
#1 - Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir / Ray Porter
This book better be made into a movie! Weir has written some books that were great (The Martian) and some that were just ok, but this might be his greatest work. The character development and interactions between the two main characters of this story is nothing short of amazing. Again go into this one blind, know it's great but don't go looking for why. I think it's one of the few books I've listened to recently that has made me cry both from laughing and from sadness. Without a doubt, if there was only going to be one book I'd recommend that you listen to this is it.