7 Full-Cast Audiobooks that are like theater for your ears

Did you know that June is Audiobook Month? There’s no denying the increasing popularity of audiobooks. And within the format, there are many different styles of narration to be had. To use a food analogy,  while the author creates the original recipe, the narrator is responsible for presenting the finished meal in the most appetizing way possible. Most often, a single narrator takes on the task of bringing a story to life, but occasionally a story lends itself to a more theatrical telling, and that’s when a full cast narration can be so much fun.

Full cast recordings can often take on the feel of an old-fashioned radio show, and the best ones are like listening to a Broadway play. If you’re missing the experience of attending the theater,  try one of these full-cast audiobooks that are almost as good as a trip to the theater.  They’re available for Cheshire Library cardholders from RBdigital.

1. The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, starting with The Golden Compass. The author, himself an excellent narrator, anchors these stories, with a full cast assuming all the speaking roles. It’s outstanding, and the full cast makes it easy to distinguish between the many characters that populate this series.

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The original American full dramatization as broadcast on National Public Radio, this really is the recording of a radio show. Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who loves the comforts of home, reluctantly joins a company of dwarves on a journey to recover plundered gold from a fierce dragon.

3. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  The author acts as narrator, with an all-star supporting cast. Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, David Sedaris, Susan Sarandon, Bill Hader, and 160 more cast members breath life into the  story of President Lincoln spending a night of mourning at the crypt of his eleven-year-old son.

4. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Gallant. This sci-fi/thriller/fantasy/historical/mystery about a  shadowy government agency–the Department of Diachronic Operations – and the discovery that magic was once real and could be again, comes alive with a “magical’ cast of narrators.

5. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Fans of the true-crime genre will devour this fictional tale that explores the events and characters surrounding by the 1976 attempted assassination of Bob Marley. The cast of characters are vividly portrayed by a terrific group of narrators.

6. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This audiobook chronicles the rise and fall of a fictional rock band in the 1970s, and boasts an impressive cast of narrators, including Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, and Judy Greer, among others.

7. Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce. Narrated by the author and fleshed out by a talented cast of character actors, the first book in Pierce’s wonderful Circle of Magic series introduces the listener to four young misfits with a talent for magic, and is a treat for all ages.


It’s National Audiobook Month – 10 Great Audiobooks to Listen to With Your Kids


Do you feel like you spend all your time driving your children back and forth from school, to practice, to friends houses, to wherever? These days we are all busy, and parents chauffeuring their children around know it well.  Whether it is on the way to scouts, sports, or a family vacation you can turn a search for quiet into some serious quality time. Put that CD player or iPod to work and steer your car-full towards some of your childhood favorites, or new popular books, and you have the bonus of knowing exactly what they are reading (or hearing as they case might be) so that you can start conversations about the books with your children.

Many classic and new, popular books for children are now available on audiobook, and they are often read by very talented voice actors, the author, or sometimes even a full cast of voices. Here are ten quick suggestions, in no particular order,  for audiobooks you might want to listen to with your children or for your own enjoyment.

1. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making, written and read by Catherynne M. Valente.[Cover]

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and the rest of the series), written by J.K. Rowling and read by Jim Dale.

3. Anything written and read by Neil Gaiman, such as Coraline, M is for Magic or The Graveyard Book.

4.Green Eggs and Ham and other Servings of Dr. Seuss, read by Jason Alexander, Michael McKean, and David Hyde Pierce.

5. The Lightning Thief, written by Rick Riordan and read by Jesse Bernstein.[Cover]

6. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, written by Tom Angleberger and read by Mark Turetsky, Greg Steinbruner, Jonathan Todd Ross, Julia Gibson, and Charlotte Parry.

7. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, BlubberFreckle  Juice, or anything else from Judy Blume. Some books are read by the author, others by Halley Feiffer or Laura Hamilton.

8. Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass written by Lewis Carroll and read by Ralph Cosham.[Cover]

9. Magic Tree House Collection Books 1-8 (other book groupings are also available), written and read by Mary Pope Osborne.

10. The works of E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan read by E.B. White, and  Stuart Little, read by Julie Harris.

If you prefer downloading audiobooks rather than juggling cd’s in the car, do not forget that you can use Overdrive to download free audiobooks. Many of these titles, as well as more great audiobooks and e-books to share with the family can be found there as well.