10 audiobooks for summer listening
From Harry Potter to Lolita, we've got the best books for your ears as you hit the beach.
Throughout the summer, EW has been rolling out lists of some of our favorite books of all time. So far, we’ve suggested celebrity memoirs, heart-stopping thrillers and big fat beach reads to devour in the sun. This week’s installment should excite readers gearing up for long drives and those who hate squinting in the sun. Enjoy EW’s 10 favorite audiobooks for summer.
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series
Read by Tony Award winner Jim Dale, who gives a phenomenal performance across all seven books (and is known as “the voice of Harry Potter”), these audiobooks take Rowling’s imaginative storytelling to the next level. And what better way to celebrate the weekend of J.K. Rowling’s 50th birthday — not to mention the boy wizard’s birthday — than by reliving the friendships of Ron and Harry and Hermione, the deadliness of Voldemort, and all your favorite Hogwarts moments?
Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
Still reeling from Go Set A Watchman? Go back to basics with the book that started it all. Your hot, long summer day will be improved by listening to Hollywood’s Sissy Spacek (of Carrie fame) read about the Great Depression, Atticus Finch and Boo Radley.
Robert Evans, The Kid Stays in the Picture
Here’s a historic and vivid account of Hollywood’s “bad boy” Robert Evans that chronicles his rise into show business thanks to studio projects such as The Odd Couple and The Godfather. The narrative, which spans the twists and turns detailing Evans’ life (as well as his relationships with famous actors such as Phyllis George and Ali MacGraw) are made all the more poignant by the fact the author narrates his own life story.
Kathryn Stockett, The Help
Stockett’s tale of three young women growing up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s is a true story of courage, hope and fighting for what you believe in. The movie is a worthwhile adaptation with stand-out performances by Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer, but you’ll really feel the hearts and souls of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny in the audiobook, which features a variety of readers, including Spencer, Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin and Cassandra Campbell.
Keith Richards, Life
There’s no voice quite like Keith Richards, but Johnny Depp — who narrates the autobiography of the famed Rolling Stones front man — does a commendable job of bringing Richards’ story to life. Don’t worry: there’s no slurring, dread-locked pirate impressions to be found.
Vladamir Nabokov, Lolita
You don’t have to worry about reading about taboo topics when you listen to the audiobook of what is considered Nabokov’s most controversial (and popular) novel of the 20th century. English theater actor Jeremy Irons tackles the story with an elegant and personal flair.
Tina Fey, Bossypants
Reading Fey’s hilarious life story, complete with anecdotes from her SNL days and funny moments from her marriage? Good. Listening to Fey recount these personal experiences by reading them herself? Even better.
The John Cheever Audio Collection
Listen to the best of author John Cheever in one sitting (okay, maybe one vacation) with 10 short stories by the award-winning Massachusetts-based author, read by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, actor Peter Gallagher and Cheever’s son, Ben.
David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
For the days that seem to drag (and even ones that don’t), Sedaris — who reads his own collection of autobiographical short stories — will brighten your mood, as the author brings a unique voice to experiences that only the author can describe…like learning how to speak French after moving to Paris.
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
There’s no one better to narrate Joan Didion’s three essays, the author’s first work of non-fiction, on American in the 1960s than Academy Award winner Diane Keaton. Keaton brings the listener back to more simplistic days, and guides a journey from New York to California to Hawaii — and we don’t ever have to leave our beach towel.