Listen in the Car: Audiobooks for Your Summer Road Trip

Planning a summer road trip? Whether you're travelling on the interstate or taking your time winding down scenic backroads, you'll need some auditory diversions for those long hours spent in the car. 

Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country, recently adapted into a popular HBO show, is a perfect listen for a road trip. A look at Jim Crow America through a sci-fi/horror (in keeping with the work of H.P. Lovecraft) lens, Ruff's linked short stories feature many travel scenes. His characters travel across the country, through time, and even into different bodies. The story opens with hero Atticus Turner travelling back to his Chicago home from the South after fighting in the Korean War. Atticus' uncle George is working on researching "The Safe Negro Travel Guide," a travel guidebook for African Americans looking for safe places to eat and lodge on cross-country road trips. Kevin Kenerly's crisp, resonant narration provides clarity and depth.

To find out more about the real inspiration for Uncle George's guidebook, called the Green Book, try Candacy Taylor's Overground Railroad. Taylor describes the history of the Green Book and what it was like for black motorists traveling from 1936 to 1966, the span of years of publication of the guide (four editions were published, one for each decade.) The audiobook opens with narrator Lisa Renee Pitts' dramatic description of a middle-class black family forced to play the role of chauffeur and maid when stopped on the road by law enforcement.

As you look out your window at the passing landscape, savor Sierra Crane Murdoch's descriptions of the natural world, delivered in her soft, determined voice in Yellow Bird. Murdoch's deep dive into Lissa Yellow Bird's investigation of a murder on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation will satisfy your true-crime craving.

Looking for a chilling mystery to set the scene for the camp-fire you'll build when you get to your destination? Peter Swanson's Eight Perfect Murders tells the story of a bookstore owner who creates a list of perfect murders, only to later discover that someone is going down the list and committing them. Narrator Graham Halstead effortlessly voices the myriad different characters.

There's nothing like an apocalyptic psychological thriller to liven up a trip to a rural location. Paul Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World opens on an NYC family vacationing at an isolated New Hampshire lake house. When a group of strangers suddenly appears with homemade weapons, tensions run high. Amy Landon's narration will soothe the listener into a false sense of security until just the right moment.

What's your favorite road-trip story? Tell us in the comments.