Paul’s 2012 Audible Recommendations

Some audio books and eBooks from 2012

Paul Thurrott

January 7, 2013

Paul’s 2012 Audible Recommendations

I make an Audible book recommendation on the Windows Weekly podcast when possible—and yes, Audible is an advertiser, not that that impacts my use or recommendation of the service—and thought it would be interesting to compile my Audible and Kindle eBook recommendations from 2012. So here they are, the books I read and recommended this past year.

First, though, my favorite Audible pick from 2012:

Dracula by Bram Stoker

An all-star recording of Dracula narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, Simon Prebble, and James Adams.

And the rest…

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones by Stephen King (and narrated by Stephen King!) - Recently made into a terrible TV mini-series, but is a great book. Well, at least for the first half: In this way, it's vintage, unedited, 90's King, devolving into a long-winded spirit world ending. But there's some great stuff in there about the process of writing--the main character is clearly modeled after King himself, making this a very introspective book--relationships, and dealing with loss. Oh, and ghosts. I complained about it the whole time, but I kept talking about it with my wife. So it must be great.

Micro by Michael Crichton

His last (and unfinished) book, Micro by by Michael Crichton  (and Richard Preston), and narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, is classic Crichton: It's about science run amok, this time pharmaceutical companies that are doing biological prospecting, finding and exploiting previously unknown, microscopic forms of life. Surprisingly, something goes wrong. :) Some have said that this book has too much of Crichton's co-author in it, but I don't see that at all. Crichton's gift is making the fantastic not just believable but plausible. And when you read Micro, you believe this could happen.

The Stand by Stephen King

It's finally here! The Stand (UNABRIDGED) by Stephen King and narrated by Grover Gardner is the long-awaited audiobook version of what is arguably Stephen King's best book ever. It weighs in at an amazing 48 hours in length(!)

The Dark Half by Stephen King

The Dark Half by Stephen King, narrated by Grover Gardener, is another book about a King-derived writer, this time inspired by his own experiences being "outed" as Richard Bachman.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger is a great book comprised of long stories, and the best of what is now a several-book-long series. This is a manageable book, lengthwise, and a great introduction to King's non-horror work. Absolutely a classic.

The Russia House by John le Carré

A full-cast dramatization of a John le Carré Cold War classic, The Russia House, that was put on by BBC Radio. Also a great movie starring Sean Connery (a personal favorite).

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, narrated by Carolyn McCormick

Thanks to my wife and son for the pick: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has of course just been released as a movie, but I'm told the first book is the best of the three, by far, and worth the read even by those who exceed the age limits of this youth fiction near-classic. Fans of Ender's Game, Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale and many other fantasy/sci-fi classics will see some familiar themes here.

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs (and narrated by A. J. Jacobs)

The Wind Through the Keyhole: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

And narrated by Stephen King.

The Martian Chronicles: A Radio Dramatization by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles: A Radio Dramatization by Ray Bradbury, narrated by The Colonial Radio Players, is one of the best Audible productions I've found, similar to the recently-released Dracula, with a full cast, audio effects, and a soundtrack. A really nice presentation for an epic  sci-fi short stories series classic. The separate, short story approach makes it semi-ideal as an audiobook as well.

The Future Was Here by Jimmy Maher

The Future Was Here is an absolutely amazing history of the technologies in the Amiga. (Kindle pick.)

Ray Bradbury

Some classics from a master of sci-fi and more: Fahrenheit 451 - The Martian Chronicles: A Radio Dramatization (or The Martian Chronicles, read by the author!) - Something Wicked This Way Comes & A Sound of Thunder - Dandelion Wine - The Illustrated Man - and much, much more

A Princess of Mars (John Carter book 1) by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Recently released as a movie, A Princess of Mars is the first of a series of novels about John Carter's adventures on Mars.

Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Salem's Lot by Stephen King is one of the most masterful bits of storytelling in modern literature. Oh, and it's about vampires, too!

Night Shift by Stephen King

The often-excellent short stories from Night Shift are broken out into three separate audiobooks: The Lawnmower Man and Other Stories From Night Shift, Graveyard Shift and Other Stories From Night Shift, and Gray Matter and Other Stories From Night Shift.

Mission to Paris by by Alan Furst

The latest Alan Furst thriller takes place in, get this, pre-World War II Paris.

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

This pick comes from my son Mark, who's never read a book so quickly: The Andromeda Strain (ABRIDGED, unfortunately) by Michael Crichton and narrated by Chris Noth. Classic book by one of my favorite authors.

Stephen King's IT

Stephen King's other epic IT, is available in a 45 hour long audio book!! Perfect for the flight to New Zealand.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

With Peter Jackson King Konging "The Hobbit" into an unnecessarily long three-movie trajectory, maybe it's time to rediscover the actual story, which is simple, short, and delightful. Audible has two versions, both of which are dramatized:

The Hobbit (Dramatized) by J. R. R. Tolkien, narrated by NPR (4 hrs and 13 mins)
The Hobbit (Dramatized) by J. R. R. Tolkien, narrated by the BBC in 1968 (3 hrs and 42 mins)

J.R.R. Tolkien on Audible

Audible launches a J.R.R. Tolkien page on its site, and there's more to this author than just the Lord of the Rings. OK, not really. But it's mostly excellent stuff.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham, narrated by Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park.

About the Author(s)

Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott is senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro. He writes the SuperSite for Windows, a weekly editorial for Windows IT Pro UPDATE, and a daily Windows news and information newsletter called WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

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