Summer is vacation time, and for our family, it usually means long hours logged in the car on the way to the beach or to visit family. Over the years, I have discovered that car trips are much more enjoyable and argument-free if we have an audiobook to listen to. When my kids were young, I thought it was particularly challenging to find a book appropriate for children but would not make the adults want to jump out of the car. Unfortunately, now that our kids are adults, I’ve discovered that finding a book that everyone will enjoy is even harder.
Tips For Using Audible For Your Road Trip
Back in the day, the way we listened to books was to either rent or buy books on tape and later on CD. However, now we have Audible, where we can choose an audiobook from their vast selection, upload it onto our phone with the Audible App and then play it through the car’s stereo system. I love Audible because you can browse bestsellers, books by genre and read reviews of both the novel and the narration.
The downside of Audible is that the books are expensive–most new releases run between $25 and $35. Initially, I signed up for their gold monthly plan, which costs $14.95 per month whether you buy a book or not. For this plan, you get 1 credit per month, which depending on the reduced membership price of the book, may or may not cover the entire cost of your novel. If you travel a lot or you think you will listen to audiobooks while commuting or exercising, a membership may be worth it for you. Since I only buy audiobooks a handful of times a year, I determined that membership is not cost-effective for me.
One of the most important things to consider is the length of the audiobook in relation to the duration of your round trip. You don’t want to be raptly listening to a suspenseful mystery novel only to come to the end of your travels well before you find out whodunnit. To avoid this problem, a good rule of thumb, unless you are really dedicated to listening every minute you are in the car, figure 1 hour of the audiobook for 2 travel hours. And for shorter trips, you may want to consider purchasing a collection of short stories or essays or an abridged version if available.
Audible Books That Were A Hit With My Adult Crew
While we definitely have chosen some clinkers in the past, there are several audiobooks that, quite surprisingly, were universally appreciated.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (15 hours and 6 minutes) is a fascinating historical novel about two women and two world wars. The first is American Charlie St. Claire, who is an unmarried and pregnant collegiate mathematics whiz. The story begins in 1947 when Charlie escapes her parent’s expectations and runs away to locate her cousin, Rose, who went missing in Nazi-occupied France during the war. Her only clue to the possible whereabouts of her cousin is a name and address in London. When Charlie arrives at the address and knocks on the door of 10 Hampton Street, Pimlico, London, she is totally unprepared for disabled, drunk, gun-wielding Evelyn Gardiner. The story jumps between Charlie’s search for her lost cousin and Evelyn’s experience as a member of a real-life network of female spies operating in Europe during WWI. Between the mystery about what happened to Rose and the suspenseful experiences of Eve’s life as a spy, we were riveted by this excellent tale of the true life and the little-known experiences of women in war. The narration by Saskia Maarleveld was fantastic, and her voices and accents for the various characters were spot-on.
The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a great listen for a shorter trip (7 hours and 2 minutes). It is the perfect book for bibliophiles, as it is a love story about books and bookstores. A. J. Fikry is the owner of Island Books, a small failing bookstore on fictional “Alice Island” off the coast of Massachusetts. Grieving the death of his wife and the decline of his beloved store, Fikry is short-tempered, bitter, and cynical. The novel begins with his meeting with Amelia Loman, a publishing sales rep., who is taken aback by his hostility and rudeness. His copy of a valuable edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tamerlane is stolen, and a small mysterious bundle is abandoned in one of the aisles of his bookstore. And so begins the transformation of his life and the opening of his heart. I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who loves books and a good tale.
Another Audible book for both mystery and book lovers is The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel Of Obsession by Charlie Lovett (11 hours and 19 minutes). Peter Byerly is a recently widowed antiquarian bookseller and restorer who escapes his grief over the death of his beloved wife by moving from his home in North Carolina to a country village in England. As he roams the countryside, exploring bookstores and private collections, he comes across a watercolor portrait of a woman that bears a striking resemblance to his dead wife between the pages of an early Shakespeare Folio. Byerly’s research into his wife’s doppelganger leads him to Victorian and Elizabethan England, where he strives to uncover one of the greatest mysteries of all time–Who actually authored Shakespeare’s Plays?
Other Audiobooks To Consider
- A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (9 hours and 9 minutes)
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (13 hours and 39 minutes)
And for something completely different but funny:
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (5 hours and 35 minutes)
Happy travels and Happy Listening!
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6 thoughts on “Audible Books To Turbocharge Your Summer Road Trip”
I too have some long summer car trips ahead of me. Thank you, you gave me some great suggestions. It’s nice having all this technology today it does make those long trips less boring. Hah I would have loved it when I was younger traveling on family car trips. My mom told me when she was a little girl in West Texas aka dirt roads, when they approached an on coming car they would have to quick roll up the windows so the dust wouldn’t get in the car. Yep, I love me some technology!
Thanks, Deborah. I love your story about your mom’s experience driving on the dirt roads in West Texas. It reminds me of my grandmother telling me that when the whistle from the steel mill would blow, they would have to run out and pull the clothes off the line or they would be covered in black soot! Modern conveniences are the best.
These look like great recommendations! I can vouch for Bossy Pants and The Night Circus– 10/10! I’ve got a couple of long car trips coming up and I look forward to listening to some of your other suggestions!
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I wish you happy travels!
Thanks for the suggestions! I think I will have to try “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.” I am a sucker for a plot that features a bitter curmudgeon whose heart is softened by an unlikely adult, child, or pet.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. I think you will enjoy A.J. Fikry. It’s a great book to listen to on the way to the beach.