I’ve always loved road trips. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve being squashed between a couple of siblings, nestled in with my favorite blankets and pillows, steadily devouring the stack of library books we didn’t really have room for.
As an adult, road trips are a little different. Between taking turns at the wheel, handing snacks to children, and making sure my husband stays awake when he’s driving, it’s hard to get that once-so-cherished paper and ink time I remember.
Enter the audiobook.
Having traveled across the U.S. three times now, I can honestly say audiobooks are a lifesaver. Here are a few book to audio adaptations that will make any road trip one to remember for the whole family:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie
This historical romance is set just post-WWII, and is written entirely in letters, notes, and telegrams. Now, I’ve heard various opinions on the letters as a narrative front, but I, personally, love it. The audiobook makes it extra great because each letter writer is read by a different person.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Having this recommended as a great book should not surprise anyone, but if you missed the audiobook I suggest you revisit it. The accents are authentic, superb, and truly bring the story to life.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
As an avid Jim Gaffigan fan I was thrilled to discover I could not only find a collection of his jokes compiled in book form, but I could listen to those jokes read by the man himself. If you love things like humor, happiness, and joy, I highly recommend this book. Warning: Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand. It will make you hungry.
Ok, I’m out of normal, grown up books. The truth is, my real literary passion lies in Young Adult Sci-fi and fantasy. Luckily, I’m not alone in this. You don’t have to be a teen to appreciate young hero (and heroines) fighting against incredible odds. And if you do have kids and teens in the car you can enjoy a book the whole family will love. These books will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole drive.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This fairy tale gone sic-fi is, quite simply, amazing. The Cinderella retelling is set in the future where Cinder, a young woman who is ostracized by society and made to work ridiculous hours in her family’s mechanic shop, is a cyborg. Even if cyborgs, adventure, and awesomeness aren’t your things, I still suggest you give this one a try. It might surprise you.
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
This is another futuristic book, but with an old fashioned feel. It’s set in a world that is mandated to look and act like it’s the 1700’s, but of course contraband technology still creeps up now and again. Packed with action and mystery, this one will definitely keep you awake on the road.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Love a good intrigue? This novel revolves around a plot to pose an orphan boy as a prince who was lost at sea. The orphans chosen as potential imposters work hard to prove they can do it, because they know if they’re not the final candidate, they probably won’t survive.
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Whether you want to introduce your kids to classic literature, or get that classic feel yourself with working through the five page poems of Lord of the Rings era books, this one is for you. It’s a classic fantasy adventure that’s fast paced and loaded with action.
The Beyonoders by Brandon Mull
For a modern fantasy adventure, try this series. It has the classic futile rebellion against the evil overlord plot, but with an unexpected hero (a modern 12 year old boy), and some zany twists (the portal to the other world involves being eaten by a hippopotamus).
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
This coming of age story tells of a young girl from a mountain village who is forcibly sent to a school of potential brides for the kingdom’s prince. Beautifully written with rich characters, it’s a story for girls and boys alike (and grownups too).
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, I know, need I even mention it? But seriously, the audiobook is awesome. Whether you’ve never read Harry Potter, or you’ve read it a hundred times, this is a really fun listen.
On a final note, you don’t have to pay expensive monthly fees to listen to great audiobooks. Most public libraries have a digital collection of audiobooks and ebooks that can be downloaded for free to an app on your phone. Of course, popular books have a waiting list, so make sure you check well before your trip!