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February 06, 2013


Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome is really good. It's been recorded. Old but if it's something you haven't read you might like them.

I listened to the full cast audiobook of Dracula recently (featuring Alan Cumming and Tim Curry among others), and it was absolutely fantastic.

The Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters are great fun. Start with Crocodile on the Sandbank. Suitable for all ages.

My husband usually hates fiction, but he did enjoy The Passage by Justin Cronin. It will be a trilogy. The second one was published last year. I didn't love it, but I enjoyed it.

I was going to recommend the McCullough Rome books, too!

Mary Stewart's Merlin books (The Crystal Cave, etc.)?

Mary Renault?

My parents listened to Ivanhoe on tape while commuting. They loved it.

I love Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. It's sci-fi, but not scary, and Miles, the main character, is awesome. They're hilarious and heartbreaking. I don't know about how the audiobooks work, as I've only listened to one and didn't enjoy the reader.

It's long but I love Neal Stephenson's Anathem. It's not scary but has an interesting sci fi, spec fiction feel and there's some neat philosophy too. There's very little cursing and lts of fun facts along the way. Terry Goodkind has all his novels in audio format but they are heavily fantasy based with strong Ayn Rand influences towards the end. If I had to guess the magical element in there might turn you off and there are some scary moments of torture and graphic battlefield prose

On the sci-fi front, try John Scalzi's Old Man's War and its sequels. It's thoughtful, accessible, and engaging. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files is good urban fantasy. I also enjoy Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, and then there's always Neil Gaiman. Lauren Willig may be a little fluffy for Steve, but you might enjoy it.

Smart fantasy - the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (finished by Brandon Sanderson.) That'll keep you busy for sometime.

Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, as well. Always my #1 book recommendation.

I was going to suggest Amelia Peabody as well - but I see I was beaten to the punch

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Or really ... anything by Neil Gaiman.

My husband and I really enjoyed listening to "The Girl Who..." trilogy, but that may be too scary/disturbing. I'll eagerly watch the comments as we haven't found anything quite as engaging for long road trips since!

My husband and I listened to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on a road trip once. It was fun and appealed to both of us. Although it isn't a series, the book was really long!

How about historical meets sci-fi? "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" by Orson Scott Card. One of my favorite books ever!

I haven't listened to the audio versions but perhaps Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series might appeal to you both?

I second Bujold's Vorkosagian books. Since you mentioned some YA stuff, I also recommend Tamora Pierce's series, especially the Protector of the Smalls and Beka Cooper ones. For historical fiction, I adored The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear kind of combine sci fi and historical fiction - parts are a bit draggy, but there's fascinating stuff about life in WWII London.

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I'm coming to the end of it and can't imagine life after Outlander *sob*

Albeit trivial - I loved hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Read it years ago...audio book really brought it to life.

My husband and I thought midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was fantastic. (The movie , though). I read it aloud myself during a long road trip.

Ever tried Bill Bryson? I love his audiobooks. And these meet your criteria even less, but the Rob Lowe autobiography and Craig Fergusons memoir were both fantastic.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

Loved it.

I was also going to suggest Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear, if you haven't read them--and if they've been recorded. I actually didn't think any parts were dull but that might just be me. I am fascinated by history and the books were both a mental puzzle of very intelligently done time travel and a revelation of what life was like on the home front for Brits in WWII. Not normally a sci-fi fan but I loved them.

Well shoot. I was about to suggest Neil Gaiman, Bill Bryson, and Hitchhiker's Guide, AND Jonathan Strange would be lovely in audio book form. So any of those.

I have no desire EVER to read that tiger mom b.s. My floopie children are doing just fine and dandy with my sometimes pressure-y but mostly not parenting. The whole idea of her and that as "parenting" grosses me out.

(seriously though if you've never listened to Bill Bryson read... anything... ever... you're missing out on life)

I went to Yale Law School and had both Amy Chua and her husband as my professors. Ther daughters are very nice people--the whole family is! I would give the book a shot. It is a quick read. When you are done, check out Sophia's blog.

Patrick is so awesome. There's really no issue of how to raise him, it's done, he's awesome.

Still, I can't help thinking there's something to this whole tiger mother thing. I was so freaking lazy as a kid and being raised with Western liberal sensitivity did not fix the problem. But who knows, maybe nothing would've.

Well, Kage Baker's The Company series is not in audiobook, but you should read it anyway. It is sci-fi, but time-traveling sci-fi so also historical fiction! I am on book 5 of the series and have blown through them in like 3 weeks because they are FABULOUS! The first one is The Garden of Iden -- go read it, ASAP!

I think I read Chua's article (maybe just the blog commentary, though), but I haven't read her book. But I would pay good money to hear Patrick read Chua's article with running commentary and illustrative examples, that sounds hysterical.

As for my reading suggestions, urgh. I'm probably not much help. Have you read Daniel Silva? Sort of an updated John Le Carre (indeed I believe the former's been likened to the latter) with terrorists, art, family ... it's fiction, and it's not exactly historical, but it's good (there's love, and some sex, but no bodice ripping). Oh, he's also got one (not the Gabriel Allon series, which is what most of them are) called -- The Unlikely Spy? It's set in WWII England and it probably would qualify as historical fiction and it's quite good.

Um. I'm mostly a non-fiction gal myself. I really enjoyed reading Praying for Sheetrock, not sure if it's available as an audiobook.

Cold Mountain is historical fiction and I listened to it, but I have to admit I found it dragged, at least in audio form.

I'd second Bujold and Neal Stephenson (I quite liked both Anathem and the Baroque Cycle, for sci fi and historical fiction, respectively. And Connie Willis. Now that I look above everything that would occur to me has already been suggested.

And I believe the first couple Lymond books were recorded around 10-ish years ago, though funding ran out (the Dunnett groups were rather passionate on the subject.) Not where where/if they're available.

The Foundation series by Issac Asimov is not scary, but it's awesome and has a zillion books. I highly recommend it!!

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch
"The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

Both of those are "smart" fantasy...

Um, old fantasy...the Belgariad series by David Eddings? They're from like 1982 so maybe they've already been read, but if not at least they're almost certainly to be an audio book?

I don't know if any of her books are available as audiobooks, but you might try Octavia Butler. Some of her books might be a bit too sci-fi, but try Parable of the Talents and Parable of the Sower as a start.

Dr. Siri Paiboun series by Colin Cotteril. Can't really describe them in a way that gives them justice but they are murder mysteries that are sweet and hilarious and a little historical (Laotian history).

I was going to say Connie Willis, if you haven't already. To Say Nothing of the Dog is lovely, Passage is intriguing, and The Domesday Book is harrowing, but in a good way.

Other than that, would you consider, if it's available in audiobook, any Dorothy L. Sayers?

I don't have any suggestions to add (I confess, I have a hard time with the audio books -- long trips I fall asleep, otherwise not in the car long enough to make it worth it.

BUT, while I found the article quite icky, I did read the book. What?! It was on the new books shelf at the library!

In the book, she learns. That is, she questions herself and she changes some things. She comes across as a much more normal person (still pretty out there, but more understandable) in the book.

Second child will do that to you. Or secondandthird. You realize that some things you did only worked because of the kid you were doing them too, not your parenting.

This is STEVE and you audiobooks, right?! I recommended the Lymond Chronicles loudly and long. If you haven't read any Robertson Davies, I would recommend any of his series; but shit if I know if they're on tape.

My husband and I listened to New York by Edward Rutherfurd on cd a year or two ago. It's historical fiction that follows several families from the very beginnings when New York was actually New Amsterdam, all the way past the events of Sept. 11. It's really long but very interesting. I can pretty much guarantee there was no bodice ripping, or my husband would have stuck in a Bruce Springsteen cd like lightening.

Ah, Julia's already read Say Nothing of the Dog....she named a blog post after the title...um...some...long time ago....

Room? Awesome in audiobook form.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Mistborn for sure, Elantris, Warbreaker (all Brandon Sanderson)

The Winter Sea

Alas, Babylon (oldie but REALLLLY goodie, and awesome narrator)

The Automatic Detective (very funny, good narrator)

The Handmaid's Tale

Rook: A Novel

Inside Out, and the sequel, Outside In

Poison Study, Fire Study, and Magic Study

The Alcatraz series by Brandon Sanderson

Swan Song

The Maze Runner series

The Last Child

Robin Hobb's Assassin series, Ship of Magic series, and Fool series

Pillars of the Earth and World Without End

The Thirteenth Tale

I was also going to say Black Out and All Clear. You could also go back and start with the Doomsday Book, since some of the characters start there, although that book is not technically part of the series. But it's great.

Add my enthusiastic vote to Lois McMaster Bujold and John Scalzi. Not a series, but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was excellent and the audiobook in particular was really well done. I'd also suggest The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It's like if Hogwarts was a college instead of a high school, and if Harry Potter was an angsty alcoholic douchebag from Brooklyn. Only two books have been published so far, but there's a third in the works. Maybe Game of Thrones? Although I have a hard time keeping track of all the characters even when I can flip back in the book, so an audiobook of that might be overwhelming.

Well, my husband and I enjoy piers Anthony, specially the Xanth series and the immortal series. Not sure how easy they are to get on audiobook though, since I think they were written in the 70s. I like the Xanth series specifically because he mixes humor in real well.

Jen Morris - In the middle of the Sara Donati series that starts with "Into the Wilderness". It's what you need to read after Gabaldon. She's even thanked in the acknowledgements. I don't think it will work for Julia because there are too many sex scenes. Historical fiction set in 1790's Mohawk Vally in NYS - a mix of settlers, Mohawk, and Mahicans.

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is excellent! Fully-realized universe of witches, vampires, and daemons, with a dash of alchemy tossed in. Harkness is a historian, so you also get a decent amount of interesting tidbits about ye olde London.

I love the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. Flavia is a precocious 11-year old involved in many mysterious events in her 1950s English town. Bishop's Lacey is as dangerous as Cabot Cove! Absolutely delightful. The audiobooks are read by Jayne Entwhistle, who does a great job. I also really like the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King, read by Jenny Sterlin. And, just for more, here is the 2012 list of "outstanding audiobook narration" winners from the American Library Association http://rusa.ala.org/blog/2012/01/22/2012-listenlist/

I loved the Scott Westerfeld series - Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath. The audiobooks are read by Alan Cumming, who is absolutely perfect for the story. It's a YA historical fiction with a little sci-fi thrown in, about the start of WWI.
My fiance and I listened to this whole series in the car last summer for several trips up & down the east coast and both loved it.

I second the Vorkosigan series, but I don't know about the audiobook versions. I've read the first one (Cordelia's Honor) about 4 times, though.

OOH, (reading previous comments) I also second Doomsday Book, Blackout, and All Clear.

Anything Neil Gaiman. The Dresden files series is good if you like urban fantasy at all.

Um...Douglas Adams? He tended to record them himself and had a very droll voice. Obviously the Hitchhikers series but I have a pretty clear memory of listening to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on a cross-country drive growing up and the whole family giggling at it.

Along the lines of Aubrey-Maturin, I quite enjoyed the Horatio Hornblower books and the Bolitho series by Alexander Kent.

I also agree with the recommendations for Lois McMaster Bujold and the Lord Peter Wimsey books.

Other Sci Fi Series that may be good are Christopher Stasheff's The Warlock in Spite of Himself, The World of Tiers by Philip Jose Farmer and the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny.

the Host by Stephanie Meyer

What about Douglas Adams? Even if you've already read them all, I bet it would be a different experience hearing them.

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