Summer’s Best Audio Books for Every Road Trip

Jo Piazza
·Managing Editor

Photo: iStock

The playlist is one of the most important things about any road trip. When you’re heading out on a long car journey, you just can’t depend on the radio for your audio entertainment needs.

A playlist is so much more than just good music, especially if you’ll be in the car for a good long while. You want to find the right mix of music, podcasts, and audio books for your journey.

Listening to a book can be a much richer experience than reading the words on the page. And because a group of people can do it at the same time, it is also a shared experience that lends itself to great discussion.

My recent cross-country road trip had me listening to Reese Witherspoon read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, which led to a spirited discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird, civil rights, and whether this new novel should have been published in the first place.

The tricky thing is knowing what books to download for which trip, or which leg of a trip. So we asked to help us figure out some of the hottest audio book selections for different road trip lengths. Happy listening!

0-50 miles, 50 minutes to 1 hour

Photo: Random House

The Shell Game, by Janet Evanovich

50-150 miles, 1-2.5 hours

Photos: Recorded Books; Simon & Schuster

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney

Drunken Fireworks, by Stephen King

150-250 miles, 3-4 hours

Photos: HarperCollins Publishers; Simon & Schuster

The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

I Hate Myselfie, by Shane Dawson

James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

250-500 miles, 8 hours

Photos: Penguin Audio; Listening Library

Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee

What If?, by Randall Munroe

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

When to Rob a Bank, by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt

500-1000 miles, 9-16 hours

Photos: Random House; Hachette Book Group USA

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll

The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume

Memory Man, by David Baldacci

Dead Wake, by Erik Larson

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