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Audiobooks to Listen to on Your Next Road Trip

The best audiobooks to listen to on a road trip, to me, have to be cinematic (either a suspenseful plot, timely pacing like that of comedy, or a really strong momentum) and have a narrator who speaks at a pace where I don’t have to rewind. If I’m navigating a spaghetti junction of exit ramps in a new area, the last thing I need to be doing is hunting for the “back 15 seconds” button. For that reason, I recommend the following eight books for your summer reading!


An audiobook narrated by its author is always a gamble, but when the writer is a comedian, and the comedian has as great a delivery as Tom Segura, I highly recommend it. In these essays, Segura talks about everything from his childhood growing up between Panama and New York to his love for college football to various celebrities he’s sat by on planes, and it’s perfect for listening to when you’re not driving alone because it’s easy to take breaks.


Of all the Sedaris audiobooks, you might be wondering: Why this one? The answer is because it’s not only David Sedaris narrating his life. In the audiobook’s introduction, he says several readers have been vocally disappointed at his not reading his own work, accusing him of hiring some woman to narrate it for him instead… but the thing is, it was Sedaris narrating those texts! By his logic, if he’s going to be accused of having a woman reading his work aloud, he might as well do it, especially since some of the stories’ humor relies on accents. Enter Tracey Ullman, a voice actress who’s great at accents. This book shares some typically Sedaris observations of the absurd and wry, particularly during the years of 2003-2020.


I honestly wasn’t expecting this audiobook to be as dramatic as it was, but it’s one of the most memorable I’ve ever listened to. Told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy born to a kidnapped mother in a single-room bunker, it’s impressive how the child’s voice allows the listener to observe things that the child is unaware of—plus, the narrator is impeccable. It’s a must-read.


Trailed | One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoh Murders


by Kathryn Miles

Read by Gabra Zackman 

I’m a sucker for a good true crime story, and the level of research and personality that Kathryn Miles includes in her book Trailed had me absolutely hooked. My only caveat for this one is that it might make you paranoid if you’re a woman traveling solo or in a small group… but honestly, the impact of the Shenandoah murders on women travelers and hikers is a big aspect of what this book tackles, so I have to recommend it for your summer reading.


If you’ve read Gabino Iglesias’ other work, then you know you’re in for noir of a violent ride, this time focusing on a reluctant hit man as he and two other “complicated men” travel the savage Texas landscape hunting for a cartel shipment that contains their next mark. I love being scared and this audiobook is at the very top of my TBR summer reading list.


Which audiobooks will you listen to on your next road trip?

Mary Kay McBrayer is the author of America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan and the Making of a Monster. You can find her short works at Oxford American, Narratively, Mental Floss, and FANGORIA, among other publications. She co-hosts Everything Trying to Kill You, the comedy podcast that analyzes your favorite horror movies from the perspectives of women of color. If you liked what you read, contact or follow Mary Kay McBrayer on Instagram and Twitter, or check out her author site here.