Thanksgiving: it’s that time of year where you have to pack everything up and travel across the country just to eat turkey with your dysfunctional family. And then, when you’ve eaten more pumpkin pie than you thought was physically possible, you’ve got to haul yourself back into your plane, train or automobile — and make the journey all over again. (You guys eat pumpkin pie, right? I’m British; I’m pretty much making this up as I go along.)
This Thanksgiving, I’m going to be taking a two hour train, hanging around for three hours at an airport, taking an eight hour plane journey, and then an hour’s car ride at the end — so it’s the perfect time to listen to one of these brand new audiobooks that have just hit Audible in the last two months. And to make my choice even easier, the lovely team at Audible have given us some exciting previews to listen to.
So load up your Audible account with a few of these, and suddenly your journey will go like a flash. (They’re also useful for relaxing after a heavy Thanksgiving meal, for diffusing tension in family arguments, and for keeping yourself too busy to play with your baby cousins. Nothing beats a good audiobook.)
1. Weighing Shadows by Lisa Goldstein, narrated by Natasha Soudek
I will never ever get bored of time-travel novels. In Weighing Shadows, computer technician Ann Decker is invited for a mysterious new job at a company she's never heard of — where she discovers they have invented time travel. Neat. But (of course) Ann soon realizes that changing the past might not be as harmless as it seemed.
2. Purgatory Gardens by Peter Lefcourt, narrated by Noah Michael Levine
Sammy Dee and Didier Onyekachukwu both have their sights set on the same woman, and neither of them are about to be beaten by a love rival — so, naturally, they hire a hit man to take each other out. But here comes the hilarious twist: they unknowingly hire the same father-and-son team. What follows is a laugh-out-loud dark comedy, with a little romance thrown in just for kicks.
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, narrated by James Franco
You already know what Slaughterhouse-Five is, the classic satirical take on World War II — but you've never heard it quite like this. This version is read by James Franco, who cites Slaughterhouse-Five as his favorite book. And from the way he throws himself into this brilliant delivery, you can really tell.
4. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller, narrated by Janis Ian and Jean Smart
Patience and Sarah is an LGBT classic, so it's great to hear it brought back to life by two such big names. Janis Ian came out as gay in the early '90s and has since become a gay icon, so her contribution to this project is particularly relevant. And anyone who watched Samantha Who (which I think was only me, but I don't know why because it was brilliant) will know just how fantastic Jean Smart is at everything she does. It's a winning combination.
5. Locke & Key by Joe Hill, narrated by Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, Kate Mulgrew and a full cast
Locke & Key is a graphic novel series set largely in the '90s, with a history established in the American Revolution. It almost made it to TV, but when that fell through, Audible Studios took over to produce this star-studded audio play, complete with an original score.
6. Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg, narrated by the author
You know Jesse Eisenberg as The Social Network's Mark Zuckerberg (and, if you're like me, two of the best "-land" movies, Adventureland and Zombieland), but you've never heard him quite like this. Eisenberg narrates his own collection of short stories, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, that takes readers from college dorm rooms all the way to pre-eruption Pompeii to cleverly (and at times, hilariously) meditate on the craziness of the modern world.
7. Thieving Forest by Martha Conway, narrated by Soneela Nankani
You'll feel enveloped by Martha Conway's atmospheric Black Swamp region as you listen on whatever plane, train, or automobile you are taking back for Thanksgiving. Thieving Forest is a powerful tale of sisterhood, and what one young woman does when her four sisters are kidnapped.
8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, narrated by Oliver Wyman
If you haven't yet read Hanya Yanahihara's this insanely celebrated novel — oh yeah, it already has the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, a Man Booker Prize nomination, a National Book Award finalist nod, and an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction nomination under its belt — now's your chance. You can devour the story on your travels and then be able to participate in the bookish discussion over the dinner table.
9. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore, narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Cynthia Farrell
Anna-Marie McLemore's insanely imaginative YA novel about two feuding families will take your mind off of that person on the plane who is taking up both armrests. Both families are traveling performers: the Palomas swim in mermaid competitions, and the Corbeaus are a family of former tightrope walkers. But just like the Montagues and the Capulets before them, a family rivalry can't stop the overwhelming power of teen love.