One of the most common questions I get as a mom who is also a reader is HOW the heck I read as much as I do. While I kind of hate that question, I always acknowledge that audiobooks make the biggest difference for me.
2 years ago, I rarely every listened to audiobooks, but since having my second child in January 2020, I’ve learned the beauty of stories told through my headphones while I make dinner, fold laundry, or push the stroller on a walk. That being said, I’m pretty selective about my audiobooks and what I will listen to.
Things I look for when choosing an audiobook include:
- The narrator. This is the number one most important thing for me as a listener. If I don’t care for the narrators tone, have trouble understanding the accent, or any other reason – I won’t finish the audiobook. Some of my favorite narrators are Julia Whelan, Guy Lockard, Raymond J. Lee, and Rebekkah Ross.
- The length of the book. For me, the sweet spot is anywhere between 9-12 hours. I also listen on 1.5x speed, so I rarely spend the full amount of time listening.
- Books set in another country or containing multiple characters from another country have proven great on audio for me. For example, I am currently listening to Crazy Rich Asians on audio, and the narrator is doing a fabulous job giving each of the characters an accent that matches where they come from.
- Any book that contains a foreign language is excellent on audio for me. When I read it in print, I gloss over the foreign language. On audio, I can hear it and the emphasis the author wanted on each of the exchanges between characters.
Other notes about audiobooks:
- Because audio costs a heck of a lot, I listen via multiple mediums. I have a membership to Scribd, Libro.FM, and also use my local library via Libby.
- If you aren’t sure that you will like audiobooks, I always recommend starting with memoirs by celebrities that interest you! I will include a few on my list of non fiction audiobooks that I have really enjoyed.
- A good set of wireless headphones are key. I love these Sony over the ears – they’re super lightweight and don’t break the bank.
That being said, here is a list of 10 of my favorite audiobooks! Please note that the title of each is linked to the Goodreads synopsis and that the image will take you to Amazon to purchase it if you feel the need to. Again, I recommend looking into a streaming service/your local library. It is much more cost effective!
This story of a teenage Korean American boy just learning to get through high school while falling in love with a girl that his parents may or may not approve of!
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Alright, alright, alright – I knew I couldn’t leave this one out! Narrated by the author himself, take a ride through his life and his climb to fame.
If I could pick just one off this list, I think this would be it. These middle grade novels about a track team and each of its key players are compelling, creative, and heart wrenching. And the best part? They’re squeaky clean, so you can listen to them with your 5th grader who is capable of having conversations about tough things in the world, and you don’t have to worry about them dropping a word that you don’t want to hear your young one repeat. 3 of the 4 are narrated by Guy Lockard, a voice actor who is a personal friend of the author, so these embody the story that Jason Reynolds intended to put into the world.
Narrated by the brilliant Marin Ireland, this story had me completely engrossed from start to finish. I didn’t want it to finish and also kind of want to read it again now that I’m thinking about it.
A powerful memoir narrated by the author, this story will have you enraged, heartbroken, and feeling empowered all at once.