100 Best Audio Books of All Time
Our site LearnOutLoud.com is coming up with a list of the greatest audio books of all time. We focus on nonfiction, self development, and classic literature and we've compiled a list of a number of potential titles.
Of course we haven't listened to them all yet and some of them have multiple versions so I was just looking for suggestions and pointing out any obvious omissions that we have made. Also if there's multiple versions (especially of classic literature titles) we are trying to figure out what the best version is. So here's the list we've made so far. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful.
"Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell
"A Knock at Midnight" by Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Wherever You Go, There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen W. Hawking
"Iliad/Odyssey" by Homer
"The Great Minds" by The Teaching Company
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence" by Robert M. Pirsig
"Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
"The Bible" (not sure what version)
"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
"Naked in Baghdad" by Anne Garrels
"Edgar Allen Poe Audio Collection"
"Dylan Thomas: The Caedmon CD Collection"
"A Song Flung Up Heaven" by Maya Angelou
"Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt
"Benjamin Franklin (Portable Professor)" by H.W. Brands
"The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays"
"Walden/Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
"History of Classical Music" by Richard Fawkes
"Great Speeches of the 20th Century"
"Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Ralph Waldo Emerson Selected Essays"
"Religions of the World" by Huston Smith
"The Story of My Life" by Helen Keller
"Mega Memory" by Kevin Trudeau
"101 Ways to Transform Your Life" by Wayne W. Dyer
"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
"Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman
"It's Not About the Bike" by Lance Armstrong
"Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" Stephen Covey
"Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki
"Re-Imagine!" by Tom Peters
"Thinking Big" by Brian Tracy
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe
"Eating Well for Optimum Health" by Andrew Weil
"A Return To Love" by Marianne Williamson
"Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World" by Zig Ziglar
"The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz
"The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman
"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl
"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom
"The Art of Exceptional Living" by Jim Rohn
"The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan
"Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
"As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen
"The Bhagavad Gita"
"My Life" by Bill Clinton
"Pimsleur Spanish I"
"The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino
"A Good Walk Spoiled : Days and Nights on the PGA Tour" by John Feinstein
"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by John Gray
"Verbal Advantage" by Charles Harrington Elster
"The Warren Buffett Way" by Robert G. Hagstrom
"Lead the Field" by Earl Nightingale
"Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway
"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman
Something by The Dalai Lama
"Get the Edge" by Anthony Robbins
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells & Orson Welles
"Out of Your Mind" by Alan Watts
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
"Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch
"The Art of Mindful Living" by Thich Nhat Hanh
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle
"Truman" by David McCullough
"Ulysses" by James Joyce
"The Civil War: A Narrative" by Shelby Foote
"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis
"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse
"1984" by George Orwell
"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
"The Republic" by Plato
"Confessions" by St. Augustine
Something by Charles ####ens
"Inferno" by Dante
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
"DNA" by James D. Watson
"Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu
"Dracula" by Bram Stoker
"What is Zen?" by D. T. Suzuki
"Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi
"The Quiet American" by Graham Greene
"The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
"Interpretations of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud
"Death of Salesman/Crucible" by Arthur Miller
"A Prairie Home Companion: 25th Anniversary Collection" by Garrison Keillor
"Beloved" by Toni Morrison
"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
"Islam: A Short History" by Karen Armstrong
So it's a pretty preliminary list and we have a bunch more titles that we're considering as maybes, but I'd love here any suggestions anyone might have to improve our list of the best audio books.
This is mostly a list of older classics.
Where is the new (great stuff) like:
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Have a look at
The 100 most meaningful books of all time.
2002 survey of around 100 well-known authors from 54 countries voted for the "most meaningful book of all time" in a poll organised by editors at the Norwegian Book Clubs.
TOP 100 HARVARD BOOK STORE BOOKS
And somewhere in the book recommendations thread, early on, I posted some links to other top 100 book lists, but haven't time right now to find them and post here.
I am searching The 100 most meaningful books of all time list for availability at NetLibrary and audible.com and will post when completed.
Our site sticks to nonfiction and classic literature just because there's a lot of other cool resources out there for contemporary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, etc.
We're looking to promote learning on audio but we're not snobs. And I'm definitely open to suggestions for science fiction and fantasy classics (we got "Lord of the Rings" though I'm not sure what's the best version). We've thought of Ender's Game as that seems to be about the most popular and reknowned science fiction audio book. We've also thought about "Clockwork Orange" written and narrated by Anthony Burgess. The ones you suggested are a little too recent to put up into the pantheon of classic audio books but I'll check them out.
Other Lists of top 100
Other lists linked at the site:
Responses to the Modern Library lists:
Counterpunch's Top 100 (and a few more) Non-Fiction Works of the 20th Century and Favorite 100 Nonfiction Books in Translation, Published in English since 1900
Hungry Mind Review's 100 Best 20th Century American Books of Fiction and Nonfiction - Another response to the Modern Library lists. (Hungry Mind Review was later called the Ruminator)
[Included in indexes below]
National Review's List of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century http://www.nationalreview.com/100best/100_books.html
Radcliffe Publishing Course's List of 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century - A response to the Modern Library list above
[Included in indexes below]
My vote simply for 'the best book(s) I have ever read in my life' would be for Dorothy Dunnett's 'Crawford of Lymond' saga of six books.
The Game of Kings
The Disorderly Knights
Pawn in Frankincense
The Ringed Castle
All of them are available in audio format (though I got them on cassette in my case, later transferred to CD).
I re-read (or re-listen) to these every few years. No one has ever written better historical fiction than this.
No, dammit, no one has ever written better FICTION than this (IMHO!).
Thanks for the awesome lists. I went through them all thoroughly. We're definitely going to look into:
Oedipus the King
Chekhov's Short Stories
Leaves of Grass
Lord of the Flies
Something by Salman Rushdie
Something by William Faulkner
A Room of One's Own
Voices Of Our Time : Five Decades of Studs Terkel Interviews
The Education of Henry Adams
Wealth of Nations
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Something Milton Friedman
Some of these classics unfortunately don't have audio versions like "Faust", "The Stranger", and "The Satanic Verses". And you know what else doesn't have an audio version, "Catcher in the Rye"! We're also looking to find audio versions that are in some way unique or outstanding. Between Blackstone, Books on Tape, and Recorded Books almost all of these titles are available, but sometimes their narrations are stiff and don't really make for a good audiobook. So we're really look for great narrations of great books.
And I just signed up for a NetLibrary account with the County of Los Angeles Libraries. They have Recorded Books titles and Pimsleur language courses. Here's the Recorded Books titles I'm going to download from them:
The Education of Henry Adams
Crime & Punishment
Heart of Darkness
Lady Chatterley's Lover
The Millionaire Next Door
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
A Room With a View
The Scarlet Letter
Sons and Lovers
A Tale of Two Cities
It's just too bad that NetLibrary audio book downloads are WMA and you can't put them on the iPod. I'll just have to listen to them on my computer. Or do you Robert know of anyway to convert the NetLibrary WMAs into files that can be transferred onto the iPod?
Perhaps you can figure out how it might be done if you look carefully in this forum.
I have only heard of six of those books and have only read 4 of them
Did you like any of them?
i must have really bad taste in audiobooks. although i have several hundred of them and have been buying them for fifteen years, yet i only have 5 books that made the list. even worse, of the 95 that i don't have, there is only 1 that i considered buying.
I strongly recommend listening to at least some of these audio books.
"A Knock at Midnight" which are the sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Power of Myth" or anything by Joseph Campbell
"The Great Minds" or any lecture course you're interested in from the professors of The Teaching Company
"Out of Your Mind" by or something by Alan Watts
"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen W. Hawking
"Pimsleur Spanish I" (it's the best way to learn a language!)
We're looking to improve this list significantly in the coming weeks as we've fallen back on a lot of titles that regarded as classics but may not be good audio books. To be truthful we haven't listened to a some of them yet either, but we're going through them.
And keep in mind our site LearnOutLoud.com is all about learning on audio. Some people prefer audio books for entertainment and that's totally cool. There's tons of resources out there for audio books that are really fun to listen to and are great ways to pass the time. Our site just chose to be the resource for people that are interested in nonfiction categories, self development, and classic literature. So this list certainly isn't for everyone.
But I'd definitely be interested in hearing which nonfiction audio books are your favorites. And do you like any of the five ones from the list that you have?
just curious what is the criteria that your site used to determine a good audiobook?
one question that i kept asking myself is if the printed book is good, but the narrator sucks, then is it still a good audiobook? vise versa, how good does a narrator have to be to make a bad story a good audiobook?
although there are some narrators who are better than others, but i can honestly say that i have never bought an audiobook base on the narrator's ability to deliver. ultimately, everything still comes down to how much i want to read that book, if it was in print form. the audiobook aspect is simply an extra enjoyment that i added on top of reading.
as for your strongly recommended list, i do have a brief history of time.
"Classic" titles on your list that I think are available with good readers include:
-Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five from Harper Audio, read by Ethan Hawke
-Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita from Random House Audio, read by Jeremy Irons
-Aldous Huxley's Brave New World from Audio Partners, read by Michael York
-F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby from Harper Audio, read by Tim Robbins (there's also another reasonable audio version read by Alexander Scourby)
-Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird read by Roses Prichard (Audio Editions version has been out of print for a while)
-Homer's Odyssey, Robert F a g l e s translation read by Sir Ian McKellan. Check the publisher's web page at:
and remove the "_" between the "f" and the "agles" in the link (I can't link the site because the author's name gets changed to ###gles)
For readings of Chekhov stories, try the Charlton Griffin's The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov (Audio Connoisseur) or Kenneth Brannagh's reading of In the Ravine and Other Short Stories (NAXOS) -- both are available from Audible.com
Many fine spoken word recordings were initially issued by Caedmon. These include your listings of:
The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection read by Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone
Dylan Thomas: The Caedmon CD Collection read by Dylan Thomas
The Arthur Miller Audio Collection: Death of a Salesman & The Crucible ("Salesman" cast version is with Lee J. Cobb & Dustin Hoffman)
The Snows of Killimanjaro and The Old Man and the Sea both Hemingway titles read by Charlton Heston
I would add: The Caedmon Short Story Collection (various authors and readers -
Guy de Maupassant, Saki, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Katherine Mansfield, Franz Kafka, Eudora Wely, Shirley Jackson, John Updike, etc.)
Also, is there a particular reason for listing Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, such as an outstanding recording? With all due respect, I think you would be better off choosing something like The Caedmon Poetry Collection or other similar title.
For titles by Faulkner (no background on narrators), I'd suggest Absalom, Absalom or Light in August -- the latter has recently appeared on Audible. For Salman Rushdie, perhaps Midnight's Children
The narration is nothing short of amazing. Gardner presents a very interesting interpretation of this challenging book.
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