Have I become an audiobook person?? No, absolutely not, don’t get your hopes up. I didn’t hate listening to LOTR, though I don’t think I would have managed it without Andy Serkis narrating it. And while I truly have no desire to become an audiobook person because I have so much trouble focusing, and I really don’t feel like taking the time to improve that, I did travel abroad for two weeks this year, and I had a lot of trains and flights to get on, so I thought it’d be good to take a few audiobooks for when I’m just not feeling a physical book, but have a lot of free time on my hands. And while I certainly did not listen to all five of these while I was in Portugal, just knowing that I was going to listen to one of them (you can definitely guess which one) made me think about if there were others that I might give audio a try. So, here’s the five audiobooks that I’d like to listen to this year.
(Edit: Can we please appreciate how hopeful I was about reading all the books while I was abroad only to forget my headphones and then spend over a week reading one book?)
I’m hopefully going to be listening to either Mansfield Park by Jane Austen or Persuasion while I’m in Portugal. Austen was a slow burn for me at first, back when one of my ex-friends convinced me to give Pride & Prejudice a go. It was her favorite Austen book, and we’d been exchanging recommendations for a few months, so I read it annnnnd didn’t hate it! It was actually really good, so I thought I’d give her another try, and what do you know, I discovered that Emma was definitely my favorite, I thoroughly enjoyed Northanger Abbey, and Sense & Sensibility held my attention enough that I wanted to keep reading Austen.
However, the copies I have are abridged ones that were mass marketed for what looks like the romance section, which is fine, but they have very bizarre covers, and I’d like to read Austen’s unabridged works, so I’ve been waiting until the flea market opens again this summer before I can start the hunt for a copy of Persuasion and Mansfield Park, which are the last two Austens I have left. I am permanently impatient, though, and summer feels like eons away, so I decided to snag the audiobooks of these two because reading Jane Austen while on a train through the Portuguese countryside? That honestly sounds like a dream.
I won’t lie, I’m honestly not sure about listening to The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It seems like it could be really fun, given that’s how the story is meant to be read, as a tale passed down through the generations, but I also remember not really liking the book. Then again, I was young and impressionable, and I didn’t really like anything that wasn’t boy wizard goes to magical school. Thus, I’m cautiously excited about listening to this. I think it’ll be fun to revisit it as an audiobook and hopefully garner an entirely new experience. (Edit: Apparently there isn’t an audiobook of this?? I am furious.)
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is kind of the one that started it all, even though it’s the next one on this list that I’m definitely going to listen to no matter what. I’ve been thinking about Phantom of the Opera for over a year now because I want to see it live again. It’s my favorite musical, and I haven’t read the book in ages, and since I’m apparently just listening to classics as audiobooks, I figured this would be a great way to revisit this book. I also think it’ll be helpful to start here with non-Serkis narrators so that I can slowly work into books I haven’t read before.
And, of course, we’ve got The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I know this is going to be controversial, but The Hobbit is pretty low on my favorites of Tolkien’s legendarium (it’s last if we’re just talking about the trilogy and The Silmarillion as the other books), but given that Andy Serkis also narrated this, I know it’ll be a memorable experience. I’m definitely going to be listening to this book while in Portugal, likely on portions of my flight over, and while I expect to zoom through it in comparison to LOTR, I’m excited to kick off my travels with my favorite author & narrator.