Picks and Pans Review: Now Hear This: Best Books on Tape

updated 01/12/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/12/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Give your car horn a rest. Getting stuck in the slow lane will be a little less exasperating if you settle in with one of these audiobooks on your daily commute.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Performed by Jim Dale Dale must have invested heavily in throat lozenges while portraying all the characters, doing Dudley's snarl, Dumbledore's rasp and Hagrid's growl on this 23-CD, 27-hour set that should satisfy everyone's inner wizard.

The Pythons by Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and the rest of the Monty Python crew discuss their beginnings in never-before-heard interviews that waver between raucous and sober. The two-disc set includes clips of famous bits like "The Parrot Sketch."

The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin Martin introduces readers to his obsessive-compulsive hero Daniel, then follows his search for love.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri The story of an immigrant Indian family living in Massachusetts spans decades as the son Gogol looks for his place in the world.

David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall

Hearing Sedaris read his essays on Dutch holiday traditions, the benefits of peeing in your pants and working in France turns chuckles into laugh-out-loud moments on this 70-minute disc.

The John Cheever Audio Collection Performed by Meryl Streep, George Plimpton and others This six-disc set contains 12 of Cheever's best short stories, bringing to life the New York City he knew in the '40s and '50s, complete with battling spouses and snobby country clubbers.

The Funny Thing Is... Performed by Ellen DeGeneres DeGeneres imagines exercising in prison, brunch with Eminem, Paula Abdul and Ed Begley Jr., and flipping off John Travolta in her trademark isn't-this-absurd? style.

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