There is an easy way to turn a mindless commute, housework, or grocery shopping into time well spent with a book. I started listening to audiobooks on my phone when I spent 5-6 hours a day cooking and taking photos for work. I found that I couldn’t cook in silence, so to occupy my mind I downloaded a book to listen to. Obviously, I went through a lot of audiobooks that way, all for free.
How, you may ask? The DC library system offers a wide variety of titles online here, which I then download to the app on my phone. You can check out your own local library’s website to see if they offer something similar. Yes, it’s old school—but you can’t beat free. As another option, I’ve heard a lot of hype about audible.com which you can try free for the first month.
Although I’m not cooking as much every day now, I still find ways to listen. When I walk to work, clean the apartment, or wash dishes I put my headphones in. In fact, if I’m listening to a good book I might even keep cleaning longer…seriously. I know. Or if you spend a lot of time commuting it would be an excellent way to listen to books and check some off your reading list.
Perhaps the best use of audiobooks is for long road trips. They are a brilliant way to pass the time. My family listened to the Harry Potter books on a multi-day road trip when I was younger. Three kids, on a long road trip, not fighting! Kudos to the parents for thinking of that one. Harry Potter definitely makes my top five list, and here are my other favorite audiobooks so far:
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I definitely think the audio version of some books are superior to reading the hard copy, especially if the author reads it out loud. Indeed, most of my favorites fall under this category. When the book is by a comedian, this applies even more because they really hit the timing of the jokes. The audiobook is read aloud by Amy Poehler and also features her parents, Seth Meyers, and Carol Burnett.
Bossypants by Tina Fey. See a pattern here? Since Tina Fey reads the book herself it is full of ad libs, which you just can’t get anywhere else. She also applies more of a conversational tone to the book than you might get from the hard copy. Between Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler I was laughing out loud, a lot.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am a total sucker for a good historical fiction novel. There’s a reason this book was awarded the Pulitzer. It is beautifully written and I believe that listening to it on tape completely immerses you in the story.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This was a wild mind thriller, whew. If by some chance you haven’t seen the movie version yet, I highly recommend listening to this first. Or listening to this anyway, if you have. The narrator does a great job distinguishing between the husband and wife in the ‘he said/she said’ parts of the book, so it’s easy to follow even through the crazy bonkers plot twists.
Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter series is incredible to listen to on tape. The narrator Jim Dale is my favorite to date and nails the different characters. A great idea for families.
These are just the favorites out of the ones I’ve listened to. Here are a couple others that are on my list for the future:
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra. I would listen to anything by this author.
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. This has recently been made into a TV show (on Amazon) that I’ve also heard good things about. But I always prefer to read the book before the TV/film adaptation. This book is based in an alternate history in which the U.S. lost WWII and is now occupied by Japan and Germany.
Also, this one sound hilarious: the ‘childrens’ book Go the F— to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, which is narrated by none other than Samuel L. Jackson. Note: do not actually listen to this with kids.
I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you have—leave them in the comments below!