The Sound of Literature: 5 Audiobooks that Uplift their Original Texts into an Immersive Experience

Audiobooks

Whether you are going for a long walk, running errands at home, travelling in a train, or simply resting your eyes, these five audiobooks make for great listening experiences. By Paridhi Badgotri

Have you ever read a book and imagined the voice of its characters—or its narrator? Audiobooks give shape to those voices while still leaving some room for imagination. Not only are they convenient ways to complete your TBR list on-the-go but they also offer a fresh outlook to your favourite reads. However, just like screen adaptations, there are some audiobooks that might ruin your narratorial experience instead of enhancing it. That’s why we have curated five audiobooks that match, or may even beat, the pleasures of reading a book.

An Audiobook Reading List

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, written and narrated by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s epistolary novel is delivered in a soothing voice you may never want to stop hearing. Through his artfully composed sentences and enigmatic utterances, the pain and beauty embedded in the book comes alive. The audiobook makes it seem like you are hearing the protagonist, Little Dog, reading the letters to his mother.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Jungle Nama, written by Amitav Ghosh and narrated by Ali Sethi

If you are a fan of the widely admired Pakistani singer, Ali Sethi, you cannot miss his musical narration of Jungle Nama. A graphic novel written by the revered Indian author Amitav Ghosh, Jungle Nama is a verse adaptation from the legend of Bon Bobi — a tale widely told in the villages of the Sundarbans. The retelling of this magical folklore is rendered with Ali Sethi’s music and voice that draws constantly on syncretic raga traditions.

Jungle Nama by Amitav Ghosh

The Graveyard Book, written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

A prime example of well-crafted storytelling, The Graveyard Book is the story of a baby who escapes a murderer by taking refuge in a graveyard. In the deep voice of Gaiman, one is transported to this eerie yet cosy graveyard full of spirits that take care of the boy. Gaiman’s versatile voice skilfully inhabits different characters, from ghosts to kids.

The Graveyard Book, written and narrated by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Americanah, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and narrated by Adjoa Andoh

Actress Adjoa Andoh breathes new life into the multifaceted characters of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. Dealing with systemic racism in America, immigration in the UK, and the class system in Nigeria, the novel finds its nuances in Andoh’s rich and engrossing voice.

Americanah, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and narrated by Adjoa Andoh
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Hot Milk, written by Deborah Levy and narrated by Romola Garai

Romola Garai beautifully adopts the hypnotism of Levy’s prose in her narration. Set in a small Spanish fishing village, Hot Milk is a tale of a woman, who is suffering from a mysterious paralysis, and her daughter’s struggles with the puzzling nature of the illness. The captivating language of the book meets the palpable voice of Garai in what turns out to be an immersive performance.

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Related: Page to Film: Five Lovely Screen Adaptations of Books, and Five that We Wish Hadn’t Been Made

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