This list was inspired by a Twitter conversation. I've been listening to audiobooks for about 25 years and have heard 1500+ books. These may not all be critics' choices but they're mine. Presented alphabetically.
  1. Starting with a Disclaimer
    For some strange reason several of my very favorite narrators (and people) didn't make this list. I started second-guessing myself to give other go-to, beloved narrators a place, but I stopped myself and decided to stick with my original list
  2. Something to Know
    I loved all the books on this list, but they are not necessarily my favorite reads of all time. Instead, these are the audiobooks that seemed like the perfect author-story-narrator match. I can recommend many other great audios and narrators. Many of my comments come from my previously written reviews (some published, some on my blog, some from my reading journal)
  3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray / read by Libba Bray
    A plane full of teen beauty contestants crashes on a supposedly deserted island -- think Lost with a twist. Bray is so versatile and talented that it's hard to remember there's only one narrator
  4. The Girl with All the Gifts by M R Carey / read by Finty Williams
    A different kind of dystopian / zombie story. Williams avoids stereotypes and excessive drama to put in a pitch-perfect performance
  5. Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy / read by Dan Lee Miller
    Novel based on Conroy's own experiences as a student at the Citadel. Miller captures the emotional heart of the novel
  6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman / read by Neil Gaiman
    Magical book about childhood, the nature of memory, friendship. I really have no words to describe the experience of hearing Gaiman read this story
  7. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon / read by Davina Porter
    Is there anyone who doesn't know the premise? Starts in 1940s when WWII British army nurse unexpectedly travels back in time to 1700s Scotland. Porter's consistent characterizations, expressive reading, and lovely accent bring this long series to life
  8. Pillars of the Earth series by Ken Follett / read by John Lee
    A 2-book series about the building of a cathedral and its effect on a town, local families, and wider politics in 12th-century England. Lee is the king of historical fiction and long sagas, and he shines in these books
  9. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton / read by Robert Petkoff
    Multilayered coming-of-age story set in a small Kentucky town in the 1980s. Petkoff snares listeners' attention with his sensitive, near flawless narration
  10. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield / read by Bianca Amato & Jill Tanner
    Twins, ghosts, and a mystery are at the core of this Gothic tale. Amato and Tanner are equally great -- emotional, dynamic performances that capture the characters' personalities and the deep essence of the story
  11. Tomorrow series by John Marsden / read by Suzi Doughtery
    An alternate history series in which Australia is invaded and conquered by an enemy nation. Doughtery channels the main character, beautifully evoking a full range of emotions and keying into the pacing of the action
  12. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr / read by Alyssa Bresnahan
    Urban fantasy, modern fairy tale. Bresnahan narrates in the finest tradition of classic storytellers. I was spellbound.