Jo Forshaw's six audiobooks of the year

Audio is finally picking up speed, with more titles being published than ever. Here's my quick pick of 2017, hopefully with something for everybody if you don't have a clue where to begin. I'll be back in the spring with a series of audio picks in as many categories as we can think of...

PLOT 29: A LOVE AFFAIR WITH LAND by Allan Jenkins read by Mike Grady with introduction by the author [Harper Collins Audio]

 

Allan is a gardener, and spends his time digging-in manure, wrestling weeds and manhandling trellis. But by day he's editor of the Observer's Food Monthly, so his words tend to be as well managed and cared for as his allotment. Long-listed for the Baillie Gifford prize, audio is the perfect format for this raw and emotional memoir. 

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh performed by Rachel Atkins [Hachette Audio]

I once sat in my car in a rural railway carpark, freezing cold and waiting to meet a late night train. A Val McDermid audio was on the stereo, and the tap on the window from my friend scared me half to death. Thrillers have been a favourite ever since and this one is superb. More than fills the gap left by GIRL ON A TRAIN, and the narration is beautifully done, with pace  and rhythm and great range of voices. 

UNCOMMON PEOPLE: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ROCK STARS David Hepworth performed by David Hepworth [Random House Audio]

A great example of an author making a success of their own book, Hepworth is no professional actor but he's a great natural reader and knows his stuff. His expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm bleed through the headphones whether he's talking about Little Richard, Bowie or Bolan. Like football, rock and roll is not life or death, it's more serious than that, but DH manages to make serious points about our pop culture and has fun doing it. 

WAKING GODS: THEMIS FILES BOOK 2 Sylvain Neuvel CAST RECORDING [Penguin Audio]

I know, I know, second in a series but it's the one published this year the ed was strict with her brief! I wanted to throw a multiple voice recording in to show what audio can deliver when you lock a bunch of actors in a small booth! Tense and thought provoking, this chunk of sci fi is pretty gripping and series mean the suspense carries on. And on.....

HOW TO BE CHAMPION: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY Sarah Millican performed by Sarah Millican [Orion Audio]

Where Partridge dared to tread, comedy is where audio truly excels, and none better than a comedian telling their own story. Glasses, cake, potty mouth. What more do you need? Sarah Millican tells it how it is. Or how it is for her. 

THE MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Agatha Christie performed by Kenneth Branagh [HarperCollins Audio]

I had to include one classic and here we go with a perfect film tie - Sir Ken does his turn as Hercule Poirot just like in the movies. If you need an entry point into Christie, this is the place to start. Choo Choo!