11 Audiobooks To Keep You Warm And Happy Throughout The Winter, Because Pulling Out A Paperback Means Freezing Off Your Fingers
Every time I see a single glove sitting silent and forlorn, the lost twin of a former comrade, fallen but not forgotten, I stop to check it out — the odds are strong that it's one of my own. Like a toddler, I am one of the few who really and truly do require strings to keep her gloves at hand and coupled up, so more often than not I spend my winter days with my hands tucked tight inside my pockets.
Of course, my status as a gloveless wonder makes it tough to keep up reading as I walk the last few blocks to work (yes, I read and walk). After all, when it gets so cold outside that the tips of your fingers start to turn red as soon as you abandon the warm protection of the pocket, clinging to a paperback starts to feel a little too close to torture for my liking.
Now, I've grown attached to all of my fingers, but I'm certainly not willing to give up on my stories for several months at a time, which is why as the snow piles up I switch to audiobooks and enjoy the rousing inflection, personal delivery, and hands-free fun of ear-reading on my daily commute. I have to say, it makes for a welcome change.
So, in deference to frostbite, why not check out these 11 audiobook adaptations that are sure to spice your literary life throughout the long, cold, winter, whether or not you've got gloves on when you're ready to press play.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
If you can't make it to the Italian riviera or the hills of Hollywood to escape the winter winds, why not stay warm with one of Salon's best audiobooks of 2012. Edoardo Ballerini’s warm, rousing narration in both Italian and English brings Walter's quixotic prose to life across continents and through time, following the players in a burgeoning love affair over the course of decades. A few minutes with the audio adaptation of Beautiful Ruins and you'll feel the blood rushing back to those frostbitten fingers in no time.
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Anyone who's spent even a small amount of time with me knows that there's no end to my affection for Graham Greene, but as a sceptic in all matters of adaptation I was apprehensive about taking on one of my all time favorites in audiobook form. Thankfully, with Colin Firth at the helm, Maurice Bendrix's brutally honest confession of his tumultuous romance with the enigmatic Sarah Miles remains both passionately intimate and heartbreakingly mysterious — after a few hours with The End of the Affair in audio form, you'll be glad about a few more inches of snow to make the walk to work just that much longer.
In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
There's no shortage of flora and fauna ready to kill you in the Australian outback — from spiders the size of your fist to the deserts themselves, but if you take in the wonders of the lost continent through the inimitable words of Bill Bryson's rather than making the trek all the way out there yourself, you're guaranteed to stay safe and sane as the snow over here tries to do you in the old fashioned way.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
When Barbara Kingsolver sets out to tell a story of love and heartbreak, you know you're in for a truly spectacular tale. With The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver follows the Price family all the way to the Belgian Congo on a mission of evangelical outreach that expands in scope and sorrow under the hot African sun. The true heart and soul of the story, the characters themselves, shine through in this audio book adaptation that may just force you to linger a little longer outside your door, whether or not the temperature has dipped below zero.
Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
Ohhh, Veronica Mars, a long time ago we used to be friends, but that was before I watched three seasons worth of reruns so many times I could practically quote the dialogue verbatim. In fact, I was just about to give up on my favorite teen PI altogether when I discovered Rob Thomas' exceptional audio book Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Read by the wickedly delightful Kirsten Bell herself, this mystery set among the rich and disreputable of Southern California's most infamous fictional town brings such vim and vigor to the telling of the tale that you won't even need that cup of hot cocoa to keep you warm.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
I love it when the Hollywood greats get their hands on material as rich and biting as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, and the marriage of Vonnegut's utterly spectacular satire with Ethan Hawke's gravely sardonic voice is truly a match made in heaven. So, when you're looking for a story to take the edge off a long winter's night, give the audio version of Vonnegut a try.
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín
Bringing a grieving widow and mother of four to life with a cool, measured poise, the actress who once portrayed Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter series takes on Colm Tóibín's heartbreaking and award-winning Nora Webster to spectacular effect. Hedda Gabler's supple performance brings Tóibín's intimate, guarded characterization to life with a subtlety so acute you may just lose track of whether or not you're shivering with concern or the ever-present cold.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Nothing keeps the cold at bay like the slow and steady uncovering of well-guarded secrets in a small town, at least not if you're a mystery lover like me. The audiobook adaptation of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies is the aural version of a page-turner, and without the ever-present threat of frostbite to menace those darling digits you'll be able to keep flipping as long as you like.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
It's hard to imagine that you could be a citizen of the 21st century without catching Tina Fey on Weekend Update, playing Sarah Palin on SNL, or embodying the one and only Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. But if by any chance you have not yet had the pleasure, boy, are you in for a treat. With Fey reading her own hilarious and highly principled autobiography you'll find yourself laughing in the face of winter, long, loud, and hard.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Sometimes when you're in the mood for a winter getaway you're hoping to go a bit further than the sunshine coast or even the Caribbean. Sometimes you're looking for something a little more... fantastic, and that's where Margaret Atwood comes in. Transporting you to a speculative future where the sole survivor of a global plague embarks on an epic journey through a genetically modified landscape that is both demonstrably foreign and frighteningly familiar, Oryx and Crake is the ultimate winter escape.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Nothing keeps you warmer longer than a good, hard laugh, which is why the audio adaptation of David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day is the perfect choice for a long walk on a cold day. You'll laugh, you'll laugh so hard you'll cry, you'll laugh because your tears are freezing on your cheeks — you'll never want to go back to the old-fashioned paper page.
Image: Garry Knight/Flickr