the ask@AAR: What’s the best audiobook you’ve ever listened to?

For the last week, I’ve been transfixed by Tom Hanks. Not his acting or any of his movies–my favorite is Saving Private Ryan–but rather his narration of Ann Patchett’s Pulitzer Prize Finalist novel, The Dutch House. After Circe, narrated by gorgeous voice of Perdita Weeks, The Dutch House is the best audio rendering of a novel I’ve ever listened to.* The Dutch House is a first person story, narrated by Danny Conroy. Danny and his sister Maeve were born in the 40s outside Philadelphia. The novel, switching back and forth in time, covers 50 years of Danny’s life. It is a role Hanks was made to speak. It’s Tom Hanks for sure–you never forget that–but he is the character. The truth of his storytelling has a heft that seems autobiographical. I was crushed when the book ended and I can still hear Danny’s words–Hank’s words–as I write.

I am always listening to an audiobook. They are a mainstay of my life and I give thanks regularly we are living in their golden age.

How about you? I know many of you are audiobook fans. What’s your favorite and why? Who’s your most beloved narrator?

*I have excluded from this calculation the Harry Potter books and the original audiobooks of His Dark Materials. Those books are woven into the fabric of my soul. Dale is astonishing and Pulman’s multiple case, perfect. I can’t be objective about either set.

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