AudioFile’s Best October Audiobooks ‹ Literary Center


Each month, for your literary listening pleasure, our friends at Audio file Magazine brings us the creme de la creme of audio books.

This month’s feast of fantastic audiobooks features Neil Gaiman The Sandman: Act III (read by the author and a full cast including James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Wil Wheaton), Adam Hochschild american midnight (read by Jonathan Todd Ross), and George Saunders The day of liberation (read by the author and a full cast including Tina Fey, Michael McKean and Jenny Slate).



The sand man

The Sandman: Act III by Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs | Read by Neil Gaiman, James McAvoy, KJ Apa, Kat Dennings, Shruti Haasan, David Harewood, Regé-Jean Page, Kristen Schaal, Wil Wheaton and a full cast

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[Audible, Inc. | 11.5 hrs.]

Neil Gaiman lends his enchanting voice to narrate this acclaimed graphic novel series. This epic drama, written by Gaiman and adapted by audio producer Dirk Maggs, immerses listeners in a fully realized world with dynamic sound effects and impressive vocal performances from a five-star cast. James McAvoy perfectly portrays Morpheus, the lord of dreams, as he and Delirium search for their elusive brother, who has renounced his role in infinity. Each episode can enlighten, amaze or frighten, but will undoubtedly entertain.

The bullet that missed

The Bullet That Missed: Thursday Murder Club, Volume 3 by Richard Osman | Read by Fiona Shaw, Richard Osman, Steph McGovern [Interview]

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[Penguin Audio | 11.25 hrs.]

The performance of the great Fiona Shaw in this third outing for the Thursday Murder Club is a joy on many levels. New to the series? Start here; start anywhere. You will catch up right away. Shaw’s technique is impeccable as she delivers the delightfully funny dialogue of Osman’s aged characters. Just for example, at the end of the plot, sweet little Joyce finds a 6-foot-7 Swedish thug in her house pointing a gun at her and promising to shoot. Shaw’s disarming performance of his deadpan reaction will have you laughing out loud. The entire production is a comedic marvel.

we are the light

we are the light by Matthew Quick | Narrated by Luke Kirby

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[Simon & Schuster Audio | 6.25 hrs.]

Matthew Quick’s latest novel, told through letters written by Lucas Goodgame, comes to life with heartbreaking narration by Luke Kirby. Kirby is the voice of Lucas, who reads letters written to Karl, his Jungian analyst, as Lucas tries to come to terms with the tragedy that shattered his life and the lives of all citizens of Majestic, Pennsylvania. Kirby speaks with wonder as Lucas recounts events that reaffirm how forgiveness and community support can reignite hope and healing.

The Izquierdo family

The Izquierdo Family: Stories by Ruben Degollado | Read by Rogelio T. Ramos, Thom Rivera, Kyla Garcia, Frankie Corzo, Roxanne Hernandez, Carolina Hoyos

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[Blackstone Audio | 8 hrs.]

A bright set brings this delightful audiobook to life. Listeners follow three generations of the Izquierdo family. In 1958 Papa Tavo and Guadalupe moved from Reynosa to McAllen. The Izquierdos are sure that a neighbor has put a curse on them. They attribute all their sadness or bad luck to the curse. But not all Izquierdos believe in this curse; listeners get to hear different perspectives from various family members. The narrators are consummate professionals, creating a rich and rewarding listening experience.

The day of liberation

Liberation Day: Stories by George Saunders | Read by George Saunders, Tina Fey, Michael McKean, Edi Patterson, Jenny Slate, Jack McBrayer, Melora Hardin, Stephen Root

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[Random House Audio | 7 hrs.]

George Saunders has won numerous awards for his writing. His talent as an author and narrator is expressed here. He delivers the first and last story in this audio collection, rounding out an excellent cast. All nine stories focus on people with problematic identities, and each narrator embodies their protagonist’s particular problem in an appropriate and evocative way. There are sci-fi and fantasy elements, but they never lose touch with relatable human experience, even under (until now) completely impossible circumstances. Great performances from great stories.



Visual thinking

Visual thinking: the hidden gifts of people who think in images, patterns and abstractions by Temple Grandin | Read by Andrea Gallo, Temple Grandin

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[Penguin Audio | 12.5 hrs.]

Andrea Gallo delivers a graceful performance that makes this important audiobook a pleasure to hear. Its loose phrasing patterns bring a softer quality to the straightforward writing, while its mature rhythm and tonal quality give listeners a noticeable connection to the 75-year-old author’s message and personal stories. Grandin takes listeners into the perceptual world of an autistic animal science engineer whose visual/spatial thought patterns have put her at odds with language-based thinkers all her life. A moving and personal audiobook.

american midnight

American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and the Forgotten Crisis of Democracy by Adam Hochschild | Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross

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[Harper Audio | 15 hrs.]

Narrator Jonathan Todd Ross has a special gift for making subjects of limited interest acceptable to the general public. Few eras in American history are as nasty as the one sparked by World War I and stretching into the 1920s, a time when unchecked racism, labor opposition and patriotic fervor fueled violence. None of this makes it easy to listen to, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best and most important stories of this year, told with impressive skill, balance and restraint. The many connections to our own difficult present are implicit, and the bad precedents described here are a critical history that addresses dozens of issues relevant today.


Solito: a memoir by Javier Zamora | Read by Javier Zamora

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[Random House Audio | 17.5 hrs.]

Javier Zamora recounts his memoirs with singular power. His account of his childhood migration from El Salvador to the United States offers listeners the truly harrowing first-person experiences of a child in the midst of a life-or-death struggle. In 1999, Zamora traveled thousands of miles, with a group of strangers, through Central America and Mexico. His parents, already in the United States, had no possibility of contacting him, and Zamora misses his parents and longs to hear their voice. Zamora conveys this harrowing listening experience with a calm and beautiful humanity.

Dinners with Ruth

Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir of Friendship by Nina Totenberg | Read by Nina Totenberg

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[Simon & Schuster Audio | 9.5 hrs.]

Nina Totenberg’s remarkable memoir of friendship, love, courage, and the wonderful Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a gift to every woman’s countless fans. Listeners will be moved by Totenberg’s touching, wise and often amusing reflections on loving the people we love. Narrated by the author, acclaimed journalist, and NPR legal reporter, the audiobook is performed with Totenberg’s signature energy, attentive pacing, clever tonal shifts, and talent for reproducing lively conversations. The work combines memoirs, social commentary and philosophical considerations, and violin interludes played by the author’s father, the late superstar Roman Totenberg, are the perfect icing on this delicious cake.

Raising of Lazarus

Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy | Read by Beth Macy

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[Hachette Audio | 10.5 hrs.]

Few works capture the realities, sadness, and politics of the opioid crisis quite as well as this audiobook. Told with conviction by author Beth Macy, this first-hand account showcases the victims and unsung heroes who fight valiantly to help them and bring about meaningful change in a system created for profit, not health. Macy’s performance hits every note, from the emotional torment that hits families to outrage at the corporations and others that allow and facilitate it.



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