We do a lot of book recommendations here on The Winged Pen because between the lot of us, we read all. the. books. From MG fantasy modern classics to hot new releases to Native American literature for young readers.
But recently, a fairly intense Mom Taxi schedule left me considering something new: audiobooks. I never got into audiobooks because I mistakenly imagined myself fidgeting while I tried to sit still for HOURS listening to a teetering tower of books on tape. This is probably due to the sheer length of such audiobook favorites as Harry Potter (Stephen Fry’s rendition of these is worth the extreme length!) and The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I listened to while perpetually nursing a baby years ago.
So this winter, I sent out feelers to friends in the bookish community and got a bunch of recommendations. I checked out a half dozen or so from the local library and have been happily binge-listening on every basketball or choir pickup, every run into Seattle for SCBWI activities, or even during drudgery like laundry-folding and dish-washing. Folks, I think I might be hooked.
Here are my favorites so far:
The Crossover and Booked by Kwame Alexander
I am a huge basketball fan, so I read The Crossover quite a while ago. But last month, I listened to the audiobook and fell in love with the story, and basketball, all over again.
When I heard that Booked was narrated by the author, I knew I had to listen to it next.
I’m hoping to listen to more verse novels on audiobook, including revisiting Brown Girl Dreaming, Inside Out and Back Again, and Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
This was one of the titles that bumped way up my TBR list after multiple bookish friends raved about it and now I know why. When two 18th century best friends and an annoying younger sister head to the continent for a year, major hijinks ensues.
A great love story, complicated family dynamics, alchemy, and pirates. How can you go wrong?
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Listening to fiction is great, but catching up on craft books is an added bonus of my new audiobook habit. Not only is The Art of Memoir a definitive discussion of the form, but it has applications to anyone who writes story arcs.
And Mary Karr is hilarious, so hearing this in her own voice is totally worth it.
It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
This audiobook is a little different because it’s told with an ensemble cast. That’s because the story itself is a fictional history project in which the main character, nicknamed AD, documents her romantic history from kindergarten to senior year of high school.
A deliciously voice-y romp of a book, this one’s enough fun to make me glad that I’m commuting into Seattle four times this week!
Other Recommendations from the Pennies:
I haven’t listened to these yet, but other Pennies also recommended:
- Sherlock Holmes (Kate)
- The Book Thief (Kate)
- His Dark Materials (Kate)
- Dracula (Michelle)
- Secret of Nightingale Wood (Michelle)
- Scorpio Races (Rebecca)
- The Graveyard Book (Rebecca)
- Between the World and Me (Richelle)
- American Ghost (Richelle)
And if you want to try out audiobooks, but also want to support indie booksellers, consider a subscription to Libro.fm or see if your local library has an online subscription program like OverDrive. Mine has a pretty sizable collection that I can listen to right from my phone without dealing with pesky CDs.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Which one’s your favorite?