I recently have figured out how to go about using library apps and resources to get audio books. I have always had a non-committed relationship with my local libraries. Navigating the shelves have never been difficult for me, and I tend to feel happy when surround by that many books. But I have a habit of buying the eBooks or physical copies as opposed to just renting them for as long as I need to read them.
Being a newlywed and on my (our) own for the first time, we are faced with cutting costs (which I thought was a myth made up by adults to prevent their children from having extra fun, as it turns out it is a real thing). So naturally buying every book that catches my eye does not fall into the explicitly necessary category, although I did try to explain to Cody that reading is as essential as food and he was not buying that. Plus he remembers helping me carry my reduced book collection up to the top floor of our apartment building (no elevators), and he is not looking forward to moving the books again.
So because of this, the library has made a return appearance in my daily sitcom. As I’m sure you realize, audio books and libraries are not mutually exclusive. My older sister jumped on the audio book train when she noticed a frustrating lull in her reading life. She was having trouble staying engaged, and the audio books seemed a good remedy. My reading life has increased greatly since moving into our apartment, so I thought that listening to books weren’t necessary.
As life tends to have it, sh!t hit the fan. My father was in a motorcycle accident, and was now sporting a rather fashionable ensemble of a neck and back brace. Unable to sit in a comfortable position that allows for reading we bought him a Bluetooth speaker so he too could listen to novels. He has no interest, and doesn’t like the lack of control. So I wanted to figure out what camp I fell into, as well as a trusted client from work told me that he listens to audio books on his commute. My own commute takes anywhere from 45m to 1h20 depending on traffic.
I tried a couple different fiction audio books and could not get into the. I tried a book I had never heard of, but Bogel highly recommends the author, and a book that I have been meaning to read. Neither were successful in holding my attention although I have every intention of returning to them in a different format. So I decided to start a reading resolution early: to read more non-fiction.
Without further ado, here are the six audiobooks I’ve read in less than a month:
1.) Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
- I started with this one for no real reason other than I heard about it from a podcast that I have been using to replace music in my car (I’ve started to find my usual stations to bore me, and I also noticed that one of them just replays the same story. I’m sure that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, but I found it lacking any stimulation for me). On the podcast What Should I Read Next, presented by Anne Bogel, she suggested this novel to one of her guests. It tells about the author’s experiences growing up within the hillbilly culture, and how he was supported by his family to not follow the typical trajectory of those in his community. It’s also mentioned as a novel that sheds light as to why the 2016 Elections ended as they did.
2.) Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- This was brought on because as I realized that I was enjoying non-fiction audio books (particularly when read by the author), I started going through my want to read on Good Reads. This paired with an obsessive love of The Mindy Project, I started on a holding spree through my Overdrive and Libby apps to get things to listen to. While this is Kaling’s second novel, it showed up on my bookshelf first so I went with it and I loved it. I laughed out loud more than once. I also started listening to it while I was cooking, doing dishes, or getting ready for work. Special note: I loved that Kaling integrated her audio book with the voices of people who she was referencing, it brought the experience further to life.
3.) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
- Thankfully this popped into my bookshelf after finishing Kaling’s other book. My favorite part about this magically happening in my favor was that I could compare how her writing has gotten better. I also got to “meet” Kaling as a different person from her first novel, and then I got to flashback to before she learned what she wrote about in Why Not Me?. Kaling maintains a very realistic voice that feels like talking getting to know a new friend rather than being talked at. There seems to be less of a barrier between narrator and listener.
4.) My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme
- As seems to be the theme, this was another Bogel suggestion. While the narrator was not Child, the audio was presented believably (you go Kimberly Farr). It’s worth the mention that I completed 4 years of french, and while I am not nearly as well versed as I was in school I can understand some when listneing. As the piece is referencing Child’s time in France there are bits and pieces that she uses the language. This also resulted in my husband teasing me for all of the “fancy speak” that was used. This was the longest book that I have listened to so far, and while there was some parts that I didn’t think needed to be as long as they were, I still consider the experience to be enjoyable.
5.) Heartburn by Nora Ephron
- To start, Meryl Streep narrated this! Which was amazing in it’s own right. As she acted in the movie adaptation, she easily slid back into the role. This book was hilarious, largely in part of how well Streep brought Ephron’s writing to life. I found myself discussing with my mom all about the marital issues between the main character and her husband. This is a work of non-fiction based on Ephron’s own relationship and the candid delivery that can only be described as train of thought narrative was sublime.
6.) Bossypants by Tina Fey
- I honestly had no idea what to expect from this audio book. The extent of my Tina Fey knowledge did not extend further than a movie or two and her stint on SNL. I heard about it on Bogel’s podcast as being so funny in print, I thought that the audio book, narrated by Fey, had to be entertaining as well. I very much enjoyed listening to her tone inflections when reminiscing over her career. This, similar to Kaling, made it feel like a conversation with a friend (who kept on talking), and less like being told.
Special mention: If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White
- I just wanted to throw this one in because I finished it this morning, and it was the first audio book that gave me a physical reaction. I was driving home in some unreasonably thick traffic, White started talking about her relationship with animals, and I started tearing up. Not just a cute, single tear either. I was trying very hard to not compromise my ability to see the road. There is something about animals that understandably pulls at my cold heart. So I naturally had to bring it up.
If you have any recommendations of audio books that you think I simply need to read, let me know in the comments below!!