We’ve all been there before… You’re caught in the middle of a reading slump. You’ve just finished a massive read, but you don’t want to commit to another big one. Your GoodRead Reading Challenge is laughing in your face as you wonder how are you ever going to hit that target before 2018? The answer is by listening to some of these excellent audiobooks that are very high in quality but short in listening time. So here they are in order of length…Enjoy!
Blood On Snow (Jo Nesbo)
Duration: 3hrs 51mins
Genre: Nordic Noir
Summary: Here the author of the famous Harry Hole series writes about Olev, an extremely talented ‘fixer’ for one of Oslo’s most powerful crime bosses. Olev has it all worked out until his heart betrays him and his ability to think straight. A fast, tight, darkly lyrical novel that features the perfectly sympathetic antihero.
Highlight: Patti Smith’s performance as the narrator. At first you think it wont work, but her dry, sardonic tone fits the story magnificently.
Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
Duration: 3hrs 40mins
Genre: The Timeless Classic
Summary: Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters looking for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their backs and a hope that one day they will find a place of their own to live ‘off the fat o’ the land.’ The two men find work on a ranch but it isn’t long before trouble finds them too.
Highlight: The ending, always the ending of this one…:'(
Heart Of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
Duration: 3hrs 51mins
Genre: The Ageing Classic
Summary: Yes, some of the writing has aged terribly along with some of the worldviews expressed. But, this tale of adventure deep into Africa should still be regarded as a classic. Captain Marlow tells a story of immense claustrophobia and creeping madness as we follow him into the colonial Congo in search of an ivory trader gone rogue.
Four-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh, who also recently starred in Dunkirk, does an excellent job at the narration. He reads like he is telling a campfire ghost story and this makes it a tale that will grip your heart from beginning to end.
Highlight: The ivory trader Kurtz who dominates the story despite not appearing until the end.
The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
Genre: The Must Read
Summary: A shepherd boy goes looking for treasure and so begins one of the most famous allegorical stories ever told. Paulo Coelho beautiful tale will inspire you to also take risks and go looking for your treasure. This is a story that you will want to share and revisit for a long time time after.
Highlight: Jeremy Iron’s narration gives the story even more gravitas and meaning.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Haruki Murakami)
Duration: 4hrs 25mins
Genre: The Japanese One
Summary: Murakami may be regarded as one of the greatest writers of his generation, but he is also an avid and competent runner. This short biography will give you an insight into how his mind works and why he always returns to the simple thrill of running time and time again. You may even feel the need to lace up your own runners!
Highlight: The relaxed and free flowing nature of this book make it an easy listen.
Ablutions (Patrick DeWitte)
Duration: 4hrs 31mins
Genre: The Darkly Comic One
Summary: This is one of DeWitte’s earlier novels and shows glimpses of his skill as an observant writer who can spin any sort of yarn with plenty of dry humour. The novel follows the day-to-day life of a barman who morbidly amused by the decedent decay of his surroundings, takes notes of patrons as they fall into their nightly oblivion. For most of the book, he doesn’t seem to realise that he is falling spectacularly too with them.
Highlights: The author reads this one himself so we get to experience the story as it should be read.
The Spinning Heart (Donal Ryan)
Duration: 4hrs 48mins
Genre: The Irish One
Summary: This multi-character novel perfectly encapsulates life in Ireland after the financial crash. Dangerous tensions float to the surface of a typical Irish town as a vast number of characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Wry, vulnerable, all-too-human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation.
Highlight: Wayne Farrell amazes with his narration by giving each character a unique voice.
I Found My Tribe (Ruth Fitzmaurice)
Duration: 4hrs 52mins
Genre: The Inspiring One
Summary: And here I leave you with the best at last. The Alchemist might have the nice stories and metaphors but this story highlights the realities of life. If you want to find out the true meaning of words such as love, devotion, soul-mates, friendship, family and raw emotion listen to this. Make sure that you leave your pity at the door when you do.
Highlight: The author reads this one herself giving the story real heart and making the experience of listening much more personal.