Let's Talk About Audiobooks + Some of My Favorites

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Growing up, I learned to love listening to books while on long family road trips, where we constantly had books on tape playing to keep us all entertained. Now, I almost always have an audiobook loaded onto my phone to listen to whenever I have a chance- while on my walks, cleaning the kitchen, or crocheting. It makes the time pass much more pleasantly and is something I look forward to.

For listening, I exclusively use Overdrive. Overdrive is an app that syncs up to your local library. When you download it, you'll be asked to choose your library and then will have to enter your library card number to check out books. Libraries differ in what books they have available and there can be long waitlists, but overall I'm really happy with Overdrive.

Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way:
-If you like rereading books, one option to get yourself into audiobooks is to start with a book you've already read. This is what I did and it helped me follow along since I was already familiar with the story.

-I like to listen on 1.5x speed. Overdrive (and probably other apps) allows you to change the speed of narration, and I started at 1.25x and then after a few months moved on to 1.5x. For the first few minutes it sounds like they're speed-talking, but soon your brain adjusts and it sounds totally normal.

-Classics are great on audio. It's easy to get lost in the dialogue and they don't seem as daunting when you're listening to them. I've enjoyed some Jane Austen books and am currently listening to Anne of Green Gables, which has been fantastic.

Since getting into audiobooks sometime in 2015, I've listened to a bunch and here are ten I recommend:

1. Going Solo by Roald Dahl
This is such an amazing memoir and I want to hype it up so that everyone reads it. I was breathless listening to his experiences in East Africa and then his time as a pilot in WWII. I had to keep reminding myself that obviously Roald was not going to die since he wrote the book.

2/3. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
Both these books are fantastic on audio. Ephron narrates and she does it perfectly. I actually read I Feel Bad About My Neck in book form first and felt kind of meh about it. But I decided to try it out on audio and was laughing out loud. Both these books are full of excellent essays and thinking about them makes me want to listen to them again.

4. Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes
Again, the author reads this one herself and I loved hearing her describe what pushed her to start her year of yes. This one also has the actual audio from some speeches she gave and it really brought the book alive. It is a fun experience and a fairly quick audiobook.

5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I just finished listening to this one and it was great. Having someone read it out with different voices makes it seem more alive than on the page and I really loved the characters. The story feels so timeless.

6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Reading this book in paper form was kind of challenging for me, probably because it is lacking in dialogue. But listening to it made me feel caught up in Ames's reflections and drawn into his contemplations. It seemed much deeper to me than the first time around.

7. My Antonia by Willa Cather
A beautiful classic, I loved this novel about a young boy and his friend, Antonia. Nebraska is a huge character in this book (read it and you'll know what I mean) and I loved seeing the growth of the main characters.

8. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
This novel is among my all-time favorites, and listening to it last year made the book come alive in a new way. The characters' ups and downs were so real to me and it felt like I could actually see everything being described. It was so amazing.

9. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Brock and I listened to this at the same time and it was so fun to talk about it every evening and laugh or cringe over the stories. In this book, Herriot details his first few years as a veterinarian in the English countryside. The experiences he has and the people he meets are unique and it is a wonderful book.

10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
In book form, this book is written in free verse. Usually that throws me off but since I was listening to it I didn't even notice. I loved following along with Jacqueline's story (narrated by herself) of her growing up, bouncing between North Carolina and Brooklyn. She has an interesting voice that drew me in.

1 comment :

  1. Yes - I love using Overdrive! So much better than paying for Audible IMO. I loved listening to Born A Crime by Trevor Noah - another one narrated by the author.

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