I listen to books more than I read them these days. I listen when walking the dog, driving in the car, cleaning up the kitchen or doing laundry. So pretty much when I'm not working or sleeping. Since I'm multi-tasking, I prefer a good, rollicking narrative over slow character development. Here are 10 books that in audio format made me look forward to walking the dog in 2016.
A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny. I'm a serious fan of the Chief Inspector Gamache series and look forward to the end of August each year, when a new book drops. You might dismiss these at a glance as cozy mysteries, but don't be fooled. Praise for the series from the New York Times: Penny writes with grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions. But her great gift is her uncanny ability to describe what might seem indescribable – the play of light, the sound of celestial music, a quiet sense of peace.
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter. If you haven't read or listened to this book, order it immediately. This is a masterpiece: an interlocking, continent-hopping, decade-spanning novel with heart and pathos to burn, all big dreams, lost loves, deep longings and damn near perfect. (Salon) I read it first, but listening brought back the joyful rush.
Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I’m a sucker for anything Jane Austen, and this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Cincinnati, was hilarious.
The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva. I look forward to early July each year, because that means a new Gabriel Allon thriller. Allon is an art restorer and an Israeli assassin. This is an addictive and terrific spy series, that captures living in the age of terrorism, bureaucracy, world politics, master spies in America, Britain and Europe, art restoration and the determination of Israel to survive as a nation.
The Chemist, by Stephanie Meyer. Yes, she wrote the Twilight series, but this thriller is surprisingly good. Female protagonist and lots of fun.
The Eight, by Katherine Neville. Published in 1988, The Eight has stood the test of time. Wonderful tale that takes place during the French Revolution and the early-70s oil crisis. Couldn’t put it down when I read it; couldn’t stop listening to it this year, either. If you like Dan Brown, you'll love this.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz. Lisbeth Salander is back and this book is a worthy successor to the original three. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the first audiobook I ever listened to.
The Golem of Paris, by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman. Somehow the authors mix Judaism, mysticism and a good old crime story together. This is the second in an evolving series. The first, The Golem of Hollywood, was great.
The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild. I just kept listening. It's a wonderful romp through the art world, featuring art, mystery, intrigue and yes, love, by a first-time author. Bravo.
The Trespasser, by Tana French. Ms. French is a brilliant writer. Her beat happens to be crime. Usually in Dublin. This thriller about a murder kept me guessing to the end.