How I Came to Love the Audiobook

As a lifelong booklover and someone with a lit degree, I’d always thought of audiobooks as “not real books”. When my commute went from seven minutes to an hour and a half each way, I found myself bitter about the loss of free time to get in some reading. I got my first audiobook a few years back, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I rationalized in my mind “It’s a one-time thing. I just like her. It’s different because it’s her book she’s reading.” I couldn’t get over the “it’s not really reading” mentality. Then, keep the long commute and add a baby to the mix and watch the reading time dwindle even more. I got another audiobook… and then another.

Two years ago, I just embraced it. In the car is my go-to, but occasionally I’ll listen to a story while I’m working out or doing dishes – something where reading a “real” book isn’t an option. Audiobooks have helped me stay on top of – no that’s not right. I’ll NEVER be “on top” of my reading list; as is the case for most booklovers, my list grows faster than I can read or listen. Let’s go with, I’ve fallen less behind on my list of books to read. On top of my paper books, I’ve “read” about 50 audiobooks in the last couple of years, including entire series like The Dark Tower (and standalone novels that tie in to the series like Insomnia and The Stand), A Song of Ice and Fire (aka A Game of Thrones), and Outlander – all of which are fabulous and I would highly recommend.

Some of my favorites (in no order at all):

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; read by Wil Wheaton
This was so good, when it was over I put the first disc in again and started over. I wasn’t yet ready to leave the word of Parzival, Aech and Art3mis. Side note: Spielberg’s movie adaptation is due out early 2018.

The Martian by Andy Weir; read by R.C. Bray
I cannot imagine a more perfect voice for the character of Mark Watney. He reads this book the way I would read it in my head – with the perfect level of snark.

the woman in white
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins; read by Josephine Bailey & Simon Prebble
This is a classic novel that I’d always meant to read, and I loved it so much. The story and the narration suck you in and don’t let go. It has a great mix of Victorian period culture wars, gender politics, mystery and romance.

handmaid's tale
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; read by Claire Danes
This was a re-read for me because I love this book and it had been a few years since I’d read it. Claire Danes’ voice is a perfect fit for the story with a good mix of strength and fragility.

lets pretend this never happened
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened written and read by Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess)
Of course, this is the one that started it all. I adore her honesty and her wit. She tells stories of outlandish happenings that are somehow still completely relatable. I’d read much of the book already and the bits that were pulled from the blog, but hearing her tell the stories in her own voice made it that much more enjoyable. As soon as Furiously Happy was released, I snagged that one, too!

Audiobooks have saved me from falling farther and farther behind on my list of books to read. Oh, and one more bonus- getting stuck in traffic isn’t nearly as stressful! Instead of “How much longer will I be stuck here?” I find myself shrugging and saying, “Hey, I can get another chapter in before I get home.”

What will your gateway audiobook be?

Jammie is a Display Merchandising Assistant at HPB Corporate.

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