While anything Katy Perry croons is sure to make you bop your head, there’s only so much top 40 anyone can take. The next time you head out for a longer, whether it’s to see the ‘rents or to take the little one to a hockey tournament, plug in an audiobook instead of channel surfing and watch the miles melt away. It’s a surefire way to pass the time and stay entertained.

Here are six awesome audiobooks that are guaranteed to get you so hooked, you’ll do a lap (or three) around the block just to finish the chapter.

When your kids are listening: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


Maybe you’ve already read the books yourself or read them out loud to your kids. Either way, the audio version of Harry’s first moments at Hogwarts as he learns to harness his hidden wizard powers never seems to tire. It’s a surprisingly fun listen for all ages in the vehicle.

When you want to feel your skin crawl: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Set in 1945, this thriller is a complex story within a story that follows a young boy who is granted access to the hyper exclusive Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a hidden library full of rare and mysterious novels. Murder, love and deception weave Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s story of Shadow of the Wind together. The book itself has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, so it’s worth a listen if you’re not familiar.

When you need a good cry: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt


Read by the author, Frank McCourt’s beautifully written memoir recounts his turbulent childhood growing up during the Great Depression in Ireland. McCourt’s father, an alcoholic, struggles to hold down a job, which means the young boy and his siblings (one of which dies during infancy) are often left to starve for days on end in their decrepit rowhome. Despite McCourt’s heartbreaking upbringing, the the author still manages to retell his youth with humour and wit.

When laughter is required: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris


Another read-by-the-author audiobook worth seeking out is David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Sedaris’ voice is a pure delight to listen to, especially when he’s reading his own brand of sophisticated but sometimes raw humour. Beware, however, it’s not always kid friendly.

When you’ve got a really, really long drive ahead: Earth’s Children saga by Jean M. Auel


If you haven’t read Earth’s Children, a six-part saga that follows some of the world’s first humans on a harrowing lifelong adventure, you’re missing out. Think Hunger Games (minus children murdering each other) meets Planet of the Apes. The whole thing is set 30-million years ago and Auel expertly re-imagines what day-to-day life (hunting massive mammoths, crafting tools from stone, harvesting plants for medicine and good old fashioned prehistoric love) was probably like for our ancestors.

When you want something short and sweet: Vinyl Cafe Stories by Stuart McLean


Canada lost one of its greatest storytellers, Stuart McLean, this year. So it feels appropriate to pay homage to the broadcaster and author by listening to his collection of short stories, Stories from the Vinyl Cafe. They’re funny, sometimes sad but in an uplifting way, and quintessentially Canadian.