This year’s theme for Summer Reading is “Novel Destinations”–we are celebrating the ways books can send you on journeys. One of my favorite ways to go on a journey with a book is to listen to an audiobook set in another locale. There is nothing like listening to an audio performance where the skill of the narrator and the language of the author combine to make you feel like you are someplace miles away. Here are a few titles from our Audiobook collection that will take you around the globe:
Travel Around the World with Audiobooks
Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
Thailand: The story starts under a Bangkok bridge, inside a bolted-shut Mercedes with a murder by snake. Two cops arrive, minutes later, only one is alive: Sonchai Jitpleecheep–a devout Buddhist, equally versed in the sacred and the profane–son of a Vietnam War G.I. and a Thai bar girl. Now it is up to him alone to solve the mystery and atone for his partners death.
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Nigeria/England: A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers–one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London.
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
Pakistan: When an earthquake hits Pakistan Sinan Basioglu, a devout Muslim and his family must depend on their American neighbors for survival. Sinan doesn’t like this because his daughter and the American’s son are having a secret relationship and she is trying to escape Kurdish tradition
What is the What by Dave Eggers
Sudan/United States: This is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee of the Sudanese civil war. Deng becomes one of the so-called Lost Boys–children pursued by militaries, government soldiers, lions and hyenas and diseases, in their search for sanctuary, first in Ethiopia and then Kenya. Eventually Deng is resettled in the United States with almost 4,000 other young Sudanese men where he faces a very different struggle.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall-Smith
Botswana: In contemporary Botswana, sleuth Precious Ramotswe decides to go against tradition and start her own business–a detective agency. Soon she is in the thick of several perplexing cases. Suitable to listen to with older children, but be aware there is a “child in peril” story that may be disturbing.
Three Cups of Tea: One man’s journey to change the world– one child at a time by Sarah Thompson (children’s version)
Or listen to the original Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Afghanistan: For over a decade Mortenson has been on a mission to build schools in the region that gave rise to the Taliban and provided safety for Al Qaeda. The challenges he has faced on his mission, including death threats and a kidnapping, are chronicled in one amazing adventure.
Black Wave: A family’s adventure at sea and the disaster that saved them by John Silverwood
French Polynesia: John Silverwood and his wife Jean, both experienced sailors, decided the time was right to give their four children a taste of thrilling life on the high seas. John’s dream trip that began on Long Island Sound ended almost two years later as a nightmare in treacherous waters off a remote atoll in French Polynesia, where the terrifying brunt of the ocean’s anger fell upon the Emerald Jane. This true life adventure story is a great book for the whole family to listen to together!
Multiple Countries: The author evaluates more than three dozen countries for their happiness potential, in a survey that includes profiles of such locales as the American shores, glacial Iceland, Switzerland and the Bhutan jungles.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Multiple Countries: In 1872, English gentleman Phileas Fogg has many adventures as he tries to win a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days, via railroads and steamships. Rediscover this classic tale by introducing it to your children–few books could be better to listen to on a family roadtrip!