Get Excited: It’s An Audiobook Appreciation Post!

Published by The Connected Reader on

Best audiobooks to listen to

I just feel in my heart it is time for an audiobook appreciation post.

I generally read two or three audiobooks a month and I think they are the best motivator for the dreaded tasks of adulting and getting out on a daily walk.

But I wasn’t always an avid listener.

Prior to the spring of 2021, I listened to audiobooks occasionally, but I was more of a podcast listener.

And then a change in my routine happened. I had been a stay at home parent to twin tabies (is this not the best name for 1-year-olds?) and a kindergartener doing virtual school. Post-spring break, we decided to send my oldest to school in-person. This meant I walked with her to school, pushing the twins in the stroller. And after we dropped her off, we would walk around the neighborhood for an hour or so to kill time. If I could stall a return to the house until after 9am, the rest of the morning felt more manageable. 

I am not one who likes to sit with their thoughts (I know it’s important for a million reasons and I’m working on it) and in that particular season of life, I was still in pandemic survival mode. So I needed a distraction during my walks. I’d stopped listening to podcasts when I stopped commuting.

So I started to listen more to audiobooks. Two years later they are a huge part of my reading life.

 If you are an audiobook fan, or you want to become one, I’m sharing my favorite audiobooks below. You’ll notice they are (mostly) from specific genres:: memoir, cozy mystery, rom-com/women’s fiction, and young adult. These are the genres that work best for me on audio, I think because they tend to be very plot driven and keep me engaged. My biggest tip for reading audiobooks is to intentionally think about what genres might work – or not work – on audio for you.

Have you read any of these? Share your favorite audiobooks in the comments!

Happy reading, y’all!

My Favorite Audiobooks

For when you want to get lost in the story

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This blog has not yet become a Daisy Jones Fan Club account, but it’s close. I read the print copy of this book several years ago and loved it – it has an interesting structure, vivid characters, a page-turning love triangle, and a twist –  and the audiobook is even better. It has an ensemble cast including Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, and Judy Greer (she is so good, y’all) and, if you are anything like me, you will be making up chores to do around the house just to keep listening.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

If you are an Ann Patchett fan and you haven’t read this one, run, I repeat, run to download this audiobook. If you are a lover of stories about families, you may love this one, too. It’s narrated by Tom Hanks and it is perfection. It’s a family story taking place over decades, with a sister and brother at the center. It is funny. It is heartbreaking. It is beautiful writing. It is Tom Hanks holding you in a warm embrace with his voice. And who doesn’t need that?

One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

This is the story of a plus-sized fashion-blogger who becomes the lead on a Bachelorette-like reality TV show. I don’t watch the Bachelor franchise – except for that one season with the pilot – but I loved it. This was one of the first books I listened to on my walks with the twins and it had me lost in the story and hooked on audiobooks.

For when you want nonfiction that reads like fiction

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is my one non-memoir nonfiction entry on the list because this book is just so good on audio. The author is a journalist and this book is about the Sackler family, who is the family behind Purdue Pharma and a huge contributor to the opioid epidemic in the United States. The author reads it and it felt like fiction to me – the structure was engaging, the family members felt like fully formed characters we go on a journey with, and the pacing was fast. The audiobook is 18 hours long but it didn’t feel like that at all. I read it in a week.

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

This is a memoir of the author’s family through the decades, told through the lens of the house the family owns in New Orleans. The author is a journalist and the way she details the history of her family – and the house – somehow feels like both a news account and the fictional story of a family. (Can you sense a theme here about the kind of non-fiction/memoir I like to read?) This was beautiful and heart-breaking as the author writes about the fate of the house in the face of Hurricane Katrina. Bahni Turpin is the narrator here; she is a popular audiobook narrator and I find her work very engaging.

For when you just need something lighter in the background

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club is a recent cozy mystery series – three books out and a new one on the way in September 2023 – that has captured my heart. It follows a group of four friends in their 70s, living in a retirement community, who can’t stay out of the way of constant chaos and murders to solve. I love each of the group members and the cast of supporting characters in the small town where they live in England is delightful. The audiobook narration is engaging, and who doesn’t love listening to a British accent?

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

This is a young adult fantasy series about a teenage wizard and her classmates at a wizarding school. Think Harry Potter crossed with The Magicians – it is pretty sarcastic and dark. I read the first one in this series in print, but switched to the audiobook for the remaining two books and I love the narrator’s snarky delivery; it really brought the main character to life for me.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

This is the first in a young adult mystery series about a teenage girl who solves mysteries. I’ll be honest, there are times when the story is not quite developed or believable, but they are so enjoyable when you just need something light and engaging in the background of a walk or task.

For when you want to process grief with a book

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

This memoir, narrated by the author, is a beautiful collection of conflicting and true feelings, hard moments, and descriptions of food that will make your mouth water through the tears falling from your eyes. Stay away if your relationship with your mother is or was complicated; also read this if your relationship with your mother is or was complicated. Entangled in this is also the story of being an American-born child of a Korean mother and a white father.

Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero by Amanda Kloots and Anna Kloots

Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero by Amanda Kloots and Anna Kloots

Before the beginning of the pandemic, I didn’t know who Amanda Kloots or Nick Cordero were. Then Nick Cordero – a Broadway actor and musician – became one of the first celebrities to be hospitalized for Covid-19 and I became entranced with following Amanda and his story on social media. I thought the book was a vulnerable and captivating look at what it was like to go through the early days of the pandemic navigating the hospital system and all of the uncertainty. Of course, Kloots’s experience is privileged and she had connections that allowed her access others didn’t have; I still found her narrative and processing and grieving compelling.

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story by Beth Kalb

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story by Beth Kalb

For fans of Gilmore Girls and the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this is part biography of the author’s grandmother, part memoir, and part essay – it doesn’t really fit in a mold, IMO. The author is a comedy writer and I thought they did a great job of combining humor and grief as they reflected back on their grandmother’s life and their relationship with her.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Even if you don’t use the links, I highly recommend checking out Bookshop.org and Libro.fm for access to tons of titles while still supporting an indie bookstore.

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