Spring break! For my family, that usually means a long car trip and a bunch of audiobooks to make the time pass quickly. I tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks anyway, but spring break demands a little more.
The first requirement of a spring break audiobook is an overall appeal for a variety of listeners (minimal girly stuff for the boy and minimal gory stuff for the girl). Luckily, all of our travelers are over the age of 13 so I’m not quite as restrictive as I used to be. Secondly, the narration must be of the highest quality. The last requirement is that the length fit with the time frame of the trip. It’s very frustrating to get to the end of a trip and have half a book left.
Humorous books are the easiest to make work for us. “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson had all of us in tears. Lawson writes from first hand experience about depression and mental illness, but she does it with such wit and hilarity. This one is narrated by the author who is from Texas, so if that accent bothers you it might not be the right choice for you. I loved it!
How about a little history? “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride is historical fiction about abolitionist John Brown. McBride’s writing reminds me a lot of Mark Twain’s. The characters are larger than life, and he makes you laugh in spite of the circumstances. Another great historical choice is “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell. This is another one narrated by the author, and she reflects, in her funny but deadpan way, on historical events while vacationing with her nephew.
Maybe a bit of science for your trip? Sam Kean’s “The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements” is a fascinating journey, element by element, through the periodic table with fun factoids thrown in. Or you could also try Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” This is laced with humor, but it is also an incredible overview of our history from the Big Bang to what happens next. Bryson relies on giants in their fields to try to come to an understanding on various subjects. This book is as much about his quest as it is the scientific subjects. He narrates this one himself which is a bonus. I love most of Bryson’s books. (Others by Bryson that were especially good in audio were “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” and “A Walk in the Woods.”)
If you are travelling with younger kids, one of my favorites that appeals to adults as well is Terry Pratchett’s “The Wee Free Men.” The narration by Stephen Briggs is excellent because he has a different voice for every character. Who can resist a small blue “pictsie” with a Scottish brogue?
And if none of these are up your alley, there are the Audie Awards, which is an award given just for audio books. And I have made a short list for you from our collection. And one last tip: always pack at least two audiobooks, in case one just doesn’t work.