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Sun., Oct. 4
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Audio books will make miles fly by


If holiday travel will have you in the car for hours at a stretch, an audiobook may be just what the doctor ordered to help pass the time. Newsday editors and reviewers share some of their drive-time favorites.

“The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls,” by Anton DiSclafani (Penguin Audio, 11 hours, 36 minutes). This girls’-school-gothic debut novel set in the 1930s South takes flight like a stallion over a high jump thanks to a brilliant reading by Adina Verson, lately of Yale Drama School. As thrilling an invention as the unfurling plot is the narrator herself — a fearless, selfish, singularly powerful 15-year-old from a Florida citrus farm, whose erotic awakening rocks first her family and then the boarding school for debutantes to which she is exiled.

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman (HarperAudio, 5 hours, 48 minutes). Listening to Neil Gaiman read “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” I stopped every so often to remind myself that this was the voice of the man who had actually written the novel — a first in my audiobook consumption, and it brought another level to the experience. The fantasy — and to be sure, this story involves a “willing suspension of disbelief” — seemed easier to accept hearing it from the guy who actually thought up such frightening creatures (a monster in the form of a nanny — what could be more terrifying than that?) — Barbara Schuler

“Eighty Days: Nellie Bly And Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World,” by Matthew Goodman (Random House Audio, 18 hours, 57 minutes). In 1889, the New York World sent scrappy reporter Nellie Bly traveling east from New York while the Cosmopolitan magazine’s Elizabeth Bisland headed west, racing each other in an attempt to circle the globe in fewer than 80 days. As these trailblazers faced the vagaries of train, steamship and ferry travel, Käthe Mazur’s narration offered a picture window on international ports, stunt journalism and budding feminism. — Ann Silverberg

“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall Of New York,” by Robert A. Caro (Random House Audio, 66 hours, 11 minutes). Combine Robert A. Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opus with Robertson Dean’s narration and you have an audiobook that keeps you enthralled for its 66-plus-hour duration. At first awed by the accomplishments of this unelected “master builder” (responsible for Long Island’s parkways and multiple New York City bridges), by the end I saw Robert Moses as an intolerant, manipulative, close-minded genius. The bonus was learning much I didn’t know about the history of Long Island and New York state along the way. — Ronnie Gill

“Room,” by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, 11 hours). This powerful bestseller was read by the ensemble of Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff and Suzanne Toren. The late Friedman, a woman in her 40s, read the part of 5-year-old Jack so convincingly that I found myself uttering words of comfort to the fictional little boy whose world is defined by the room where he and his mother are held captive. Friedman died after delivering healthy twins in 2011, an irony almost too painful to bear. — Marjorie Robins

“Accelerated,” by Bronwen Hruska (AudioGO, 10 hours, 36 minutes). An ADD-medication conspiracy is killing third graders at an elite Manhattan private school. Narrator Mauro Hantman’s nice-young-guy delivery works well for the main character, Sean Benning, a photo editor at a celebrity tabloid whose kid is nearly a victim, but the piece de resistance is Hantman’s imitation of Bill Clinton in a party scene. Commercial fiction full of knowing New York status details — a temporary cure for adult ADD? — Marion Winik

“Wild: From Lost To Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” by Cheryl Strayed (Random House Audio, 13 hours). At first I was skeptical — why was someone named Bernadette Dunne narrating Cheryl Strayed’s account of her life-changing 1,100-mile solo hike and not the author herself? But as I listened, Dunne’s voice took over and I was caught up in the drama of this story about a young woman’s physical and emotional journey. Now I can’t think of Cheryl’s ridiculously heavy backpack or those too-small hiking boots — let alone the sensual pleasures of Snapple lemonade — without hearing Dunne’s knowing delivery in my head. — Tom Beer

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