If you’re heading off on a long road trip or looking for an epic story to immerse yourself in during 10+ hours of commuting every week, you want a nice long listen where you can really sink into and get comfortable. Sometimes, though, your needs are a little… littler. Whether it’s for a short plane ride, a long day of cleaning, or when you’re trying to pump up your “Books Read This Year” count, here are six single-serving audio books under 6 hours each that definitely make up in quality what they’re lacking in quantity.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 5 hours 53 minutes
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is considered a modern classic to fans of contemporary sci-fi. Funny, a little bit ridiculous, filled with social commentary and heavy on the quotables, The Guide introduces readers to some of the best-loved fictional characters of all time, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect. And with awesome narration by the esteemed Stephen Fry, you’ll be wishing this book was sixty hours long instead of six.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, 3 hours 9 minutes
I’ve written about The Testament of Mary before, but it’s exactly the type of book I’m talking about here: full immersion in one character’s life for a brief but affecting three hours. This book’s length is a boon, not a detriment–it’s the perfect length to tell the intense story that it tells.
Bossypants by Tina Fey, 5 hours 34 minutes
Tina Fey’s autobiography, narrated by the woman herself, has been a top seller since it came out over two years ago, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a funny, charming, and utterly real look at the origins and life of this SNL and 30 Rock star.
The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, 3 hours 59 minutes
Stephen King is often regarded as someone who writes nothing but horror. Not true. This is a classic example of King breaking out of the box people tend to put him in and writing some excellent non-horror work. If you’ve got four hours to spare, Shawshank Redemption deserves a listen–even if you’ve already seen the movie adaptation by the same name.
The Giver by Lois Lowry, 4 hours 49 minutes
The Giver was my first dystopian story, and its influence over my taste of books still holds to this day. While it’s technically a children’s book, it ages quite well: I re-read it last year, and felt as strong a connection with the characters and as much investment in the story as I did the first time. (It’s also going to be adapted into a movie this year, so find a few hours to fit it in first!)
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, 2 hours 29 minutes
Naoki Higashida is a 13-year old boy with autism. This book is an honest and enlightening response to many of the questions that people without autism struggle to understand, and will change the way you view the world, too.
Which pint-sized audio books would you recommend?