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Audiobooks are a great way to multitask

Published 5:52pm Saturday, May 31, 2014

Some of my fondest memories from elementary school are of the times sitting in a circle or spread out on a the large rug in back of the classroom as my teachers read a chapter or two of a book aloud to us.

Though I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, it’s now a pleasant luxury to look back on — being able to sit back and listen.

It’s no wonder I finally unleashed my inner audiobook fanatic a little more than a year ago, but for very different reasons. After being an avid reader in college, I lost track of the habit once I reached the working world.

Audiobooks are a great way to maximize time and multitask by getting outside for a summer run or housework. My two favorite spots are to listen while driving or jogging.

As spring transitions to summer, here are my recommendations for summer page turners:

 “The Great Gatsby”

By F. Scott Fitzgerald, narrated by Frank Muller

To me, this is the Godfather of audiobooks. Give me the Minnesota native’s classical novel about millionaire Jay Gatsby as seen through the eyes of Nick Carraway any day over the mediocre film versions. Through a trend of celebrity narrators, I’ve seen a Jake Gyllenhaal narration promoted recently. Nothing against Donnie Darko (look it up on IMDB), but skip it. Frank Muller’s narration helps accentuate the beauty of Fitzgerald’s writing, and he gives each character a unique voice without going over the top.


By Michael Lewis, narrated by Scott Brick

For those of us who lacked skill on the baseball diamond, this enthralling account of sabermetrics and Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics turns America’s pastime into a thinking man’s game.

 “The Grifters”

By Jim Thompson, narrated by

Barbara Rosenblat

Cheers to Jim Thompson’s noir novel of conman Roy Dillon and his mother and conwoman Lilly Dillon. Barmara Rosenblat’s sultry narration makes it something to listen to in hot, humid weather with a cold glass dripping with condensation.

 “All the Pretty Horses”

By Cormac McCarthy, narrated by Frank Muller

Beautifully written; beautifully read. Cormac McCarthy — the greatest living American writer for my money — weaves a poignant tale of two teenager’s traveling by horseback from Texas to Mexico … and that’s all I’m giving away.

 “The Sun Also Rises” and “The Old Man and the Sea”

By Earnest Hemingway

What can be better than a little Ernest Hemingway in summer. These two classical novels are great summer reads. “The Sun Also Rises,” narrated by William Hurt, is probably the best bullfighting novel ever written, and the “Old Man and the Sea,” narrated by Frank Muller is one of the best fishing novels ever written.

 “Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History”

By Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio, narrated by Dylan Baker

Get the real story of how the CIA rescued the six “house guests” during the Iran hostage crisis directly from the man who pulled it off.

Though Ben Affleck’s Academy Award film version was great, the story is even better without the Hollywood embellishments.


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