Happiness for Your Ears
In a world ravaged by traffic jams one gal finds solace in the spoken word
As mid-November hit me this week, I realized the end is nigh! Or at least 2017 is nearly over. I thought it might be a great time to start contemplating some of my favorite reads (and listens) this year.
I lived for two years in a smaller town in Washington, while I attend grad school. During that time it was a welcomed relief to take a 10 minute bus ride to work/school. "Rush hour" in town meant it took you an extra 15 minutes to get through all the streetlights.
Buutttt... I'm back in Southern California now and my current work opportunities are 25 miles from my house. One way. This means during peak traffic hours it takes me approximately 50 minutes to get to work (if there aren't any accidents). My first couple months back to the commuter grind were AWFUL. I was so pissed all the time. And road rage isn't cool, kids. So I decided to listen to some podcasts and audiobooks to try to take my mind off the "waste" of time and idiotic drivers. This transformed my "wasted" time driving into fruitful 'reading' and learning time. (stay tuned for a podcast recommendation post!)
First, before jumping into the recommendations, I HIGHLY recommend using the Overdrive or Libby apps through your local library. Audiobooks are expensive and I do not have that kind of money to expend on things; I always borrow them from the library. Libby is the newest app and I definitely prefer the interface. It allows you to download audiobook mp3 files to your phone so you don't use data to stream. (Note this post is not sponsored by Overdrive, I just really like the app)
On to the books!
5 Audiobook Recommendations
1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Written by Neil Gaiman
Performed by Neil Gaiman
I'm a newer Gaiman fan. If you are new to his work or a long-time fan, you NEED to listen to his narration. I could honestly listen to him read books all day long and would love to go to one of his reading events someday. This book is on the shorter side so if you don't want to commit to a long audiobook this is a great option. While we're talking about Gaiman, I also love Trigger Warnings: Short Fictions and Disturbances on audio. I was particularly riveted by his reading of "Nothing O'Clock" (I enjoy Doctor Who though I'm not current on the show). Some other favorites from the collection were, "Black Dog", "Click-Clack the Rattlebag", and "The Sleeper and the Spindle". Currently, I'm listening to his new Norse Mythology. I had to wait about 5 months to get it from the library but I'm thoroughly enjoying it - I've literally laughed out loud in the car at some of the voice/story combinations.
2. Yes Please
Written by Amy Poehler
Read by Amy Poehler & Friends
I definitely need to listen to more memoirs. I loved listening to Poehler perform this book. She's a comedian and actress, so obviously that comes across in the reading. It made me laugh and think about the various topics she presented. While parts are hilarious, it's not standup show, there's depth here that I appreciate.Also, she has guest readers like her parents, Seth Meyers, and Patrick Stewart, which is freaking awesome. For more thoughts on this book see my friend Julia's guest post.
3. A Series of Unforunate Events
Written by Lemony Snicket
Preformed by Tim Curry
I think middle grade books are a perfect option for audiobooks, especially if you're trying to listen to them while you drive. I would never dream of listening to a heavy or complicated book in the car. I'm not that good at multitasking. Not to mention if you do have younger bookworms it would be fun to listen together! After the new Netflix show premiered I was in a mood to reread the series. However, I don't own the books and I'm trying not to reread any books this year so that I discover new books. However, I listened to the first three books on audio and loved the narration (there's even background music!). Again these are short reads on audio - they're around 3 hours long. Someday I'll get back to listening to more of the series!
4. The Diviners
Written by Libba Bray
Performed by January LaVoy
Definitely a longer audiobook, but totally worth the listen because of the fabulous narration by January LaVoy! She was named Publishers Weekly's "Audiobook Narrator of the Year" for 2013 and has won multiple Audie Awards, most recently in 2016 for her work on Libba Bray's Lair of Dreams (the sequel to this book). Besides Neil Gaiman, LaVoy is my favorite narrator. Her accents are so believable for different characters. Sometimes this is a sticking point for me. I hate when male narrators make female characters sound stupid and I hate female narrators that make male characters sound like bros. Thankfully that's not the case with LaVoy. I love her character portrayals including the male characters. I need to get back to this series because LaVoy is great.
5. Etiquette & Espionage
Written by Gail Carriger
Performed by Moira Quirk
Such a fun listen! The book is a steampunky YA romp that made my commute much more enjoyable! Moira Quirk's narration was great. Like LaVoy, she does accents well and clearly distinguishes between characters - each has there own tone, cadence, and accent. I definitely want to continue with the series when I get a chance!