Check Out One of My Favorite Middle Grade Audiobooks!

Hello Audiophiles! 

This week I find myself in the middle of several audiobooks, including my ongoing buddy read of The Eighth Life, the Swedish mystery novel Quicksand, and How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue. I can feel the itch where I know I’m going to need to switch to more magical, spooky stories, but I want to make sure to give these fabulous books their chance too.

Last fall, I moved from the South Carolina upstate down to the low country. In less than a four-hour drive, I went from red maples to palm trees. Since don’t really have fall down here, I’ve found myself looking for audiobooks that will take me back to watching the hills break out in yellow and orange. Definitely send me any recommendations you have!

A photo of Dylan, the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, looking right in to the camera. He is crouched on the floor with his head on his paws.
Dylan can’t believe he has to wait even MORE time for his most anticipated audiobooks to come out.
A graphic of the cover of Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

When I was catching up with old friends recently, they pulled out the pages and pages of handwritten letters I had written to them between the summers we spent at camp. I’ve always loved handwriting letters (yes, even with my terrible handwriting) and still enjoy writing dozens of cards a month to this day. I often feel like the only millennial who has a card writing station in their house. But pen pals were a huge part of my childhood, so when I heard about Same Sun Here, I knew I had to listen.

Appalachian writer Silas House and Indian American author Neela Vaswani team up to give us this incredible epistolary novel. The story follows River, an Appalachian boy living with his grandma in Kentucky, and Meena, an Indian girl who’s just moved to New York City. River and Meena find each other through a pen pal program and begin writing to each other, sharing their seemingly very different lives. 

In the audiobook edition, House and Vaswani each narrate their characters’ letters, making both narrative voices stand out. House narrates River’s perspective with his gorgeous Eastern Kentucky dialect, which would have been incredibly difficult for any narrator not from the region. Vaswani also brilliantly performs Meena’s letter, embodying her vibrant no-nonsense personality to perfection.

There’s always something special when authors narrate their own audiobooks, but with the epistolary style and unique perspectives of this middle grade novel, having the author team perform Same Sun Here makes this audiobook one of the best middle grade novels I’ve ever listened to.

Narrated by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

New Releases!

A graphic of the cover of Fuzz by Mary Roach

Fuzz by Mary Roach

The queen of pop science books is back with Fuzz, a book all about when nature and human civilization collide. There are monkeys, moose, gulls, and so many more animals that find themselves interacting with humans. But who is tasked with safely removing the animals from the situation? Roach follows the folks on the front lines of human/wild animal interactions.

Narrated by Mary Roach

A graphic of the cover of A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks

A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks

I loved From the Desk of Zoe Washington, so I’ve had A Soft Place to Land pre-ordered for months. This time, Marks is back with the story of Joy, a young girl whose dad has just lost his job. Her family moves from their home to a small apartment, making Joy feel like she is so far from everything she’s ever known.

Narrated by Imani Parks (Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson and Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West)

A graphic of the cover of Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead, master of his craft, is back with his take on a crime story, Harlem Shuffle. When a man finds himself beholden to a crime syndicate, will he ever find a way to escape and still provide for his family? Whitehead is sure to make “Best of the Year” lists with this novel.

Narrated by Dion Graham (Evicted by Matthew Desmond and Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas)

A graphic of the cover of White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Jackson makes her horror novel debut with White Smoke. Mari moves into a new house with her family. At first they’re excited that the house came with her dad’s new job, but when a student warns her that her new house is haunted, she begins to suspect it might be true.

Narrated by Marcella Cox (Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen)

A graphic of the cover of You Got Something Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

You Got Something Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

In this follow up to her popular memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine, Gabrielle Union shares more from her life. Her writing is so insightful, and her narration adds an extra layer of depth to the essays. Perfect for lovers of her first book or for new listeners to Union’s writing.

Narrated by Gabrielle Union (We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union)

Around the Web

The Best Vacation Listens for the Dwindling Days of Summer” (Audible Blog) – As summer comes to a close, I share great listens for the last few days of summer.

Yes, audiobooks count as ‘real reading’. Here are 3 top titles to get you started” (The Conversation) – Of course, we already know audiobook listening is “real reading,” but this article also has some interesting general info about audiobooks.

6 Favorite Audiobooks from Well-Read Black Girl’s Glory Edim” ( – As a huge fan of Well-Read Black Girl, I gasped out loud when I saw this. If Glory tells me to check out an audiobook, you bet I’m going to pick it up ASAP.

Over on Book Riot

8 Audiobooks Narrated by Adjoa Andoh” – This week, I basically confess my undying love for this incredible audiobook narrator.

20 Must-Read Audiobooks for the Whole Family” by Ashlie Swicker

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


The Biggest Release Day of the Season!

Hello, Audiophiles! Fall listening is here! I don’t know about you, but I have a very particular fall *mood* that inspires me to reach for epic family sagas, sinister tales, and cozy mysteries. (I am nothing if not an eclectic fall-obsessed book lover.) Now, while I am not a TBR maker, I do love a “possibility pile.” 

I can’t pile a bunch of digital audiobooks in a photo for you, but I can show you this lovely photo of Dylan playing the role of Vanna White and showing off the different options I’ve gathered for my first fall listen. Are any of your favorites here?

A photo of Dylan, a red and white corgi, sitting next to a stack of books: INTIMACIES by Katie Kitamura
SHINER by Amy Jo Burns
THE FIVE WOUNDS by Kirstin Valdez Quade
THE PULL OF THE STARS by Emma Donoghue

Recent Listen

Sabriel audiobook cover

Sabriel by Garth Nix

I’ve mentioned how much I ADORE Sabriel narrated by Tim Curry, and I recently relistened to it because the 25th anniversary edition of the novel is this year. I loved revisiting the Old Kingdom, a medieval-like world where the kingdom has fallen into disarray after the death of the queen 200 years before. Sabriel grew up across the wall in a steam-based world, safe from the undead that wander the Old Kingdom.

I love how Nix introduces us to this incredibly rich world filled with darkness and mystery. Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen, an office tasked with laying the dead to rest and defending the Kingdom from necromancers. There’s the bells of his office, a magic infused sword, and a mysterious house sitting on a waterfall.

But for me, the book shines when Tim Curry gives voice to Mogget, a free magic entity bound to serve the Abhorsen. Curry has such a brilliant way of voicing his characters, and his voice naturally lends itself to a book about necromancers and the undead that serve them.

If you’re looking for a spooky listen for the fall that isn’t too scary, this is it.

Narrated by Tim Curry

Recent Releases

This week, dozens and dozens of incredible new titles are hitting audiobook apps. It made it incredibly hard to choose, but here are a few of the highlights!

A graphic of the cover of The Matrix by Lauren Groff

The Matrix by Lauren Groff

If you came up to me on the street and pitched me a book about 12th century nuns, I’d probably be giving you a look that said, “Say what now?” But The Matrix is written by the one and only Lauren Groff, a masterful storyteller. I’d read anything she wrote. Yes, even a book about nuns. Adjoa Andoh beauflly narrates the book, capturing that austere quality I imagine a 12th century nun would have.

Narrated by Adjoa Andoh

A graphic of the cover Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

I’ll admit it; I adore Sally Rooney. There’s just something about the way that she capture 20-somethings having terrible sex and intense relationship drama that has me finding every excuse in the world to keep listening. Her latest novel is everything I’d hoped it would be—full of young millennial angst, messy relationships, and lots of steamy scenes. Aoife McMahon is a gem of a narrator, helping create the perfect atmosphere for Rooney’s story.

Narrated by Aoife McMahon

A graphic of the cover of Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

This memoir follows Qian Julie Wang as her family moves from China to America. In China, her parents were professors, but in America, they work in sweatshops. The stress of their new lives causes her parents to fight constantly, and when illness strikes the family, Qian feels even more isolated. The author also narrates the audiobook, which makes this memoir even more impactful on audio.

Narrated by Qian Julie Wang

A graphic of the cover of So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

In this retelling of Little Women, Bethany C. Morrow introduces us to four Black sisters coming of age during the civil war. I love Morrow’s work, so when I heard she was taking on Little Women for this remix series, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. All-star narrator Adenrele Ojo performs the audiobook with the author.

Narrated by Adenrele Ojo and Bethany C. Morrow

A graphic of the cover of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova might be more well known for her young adult novels, but The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina marks her adult fiction debut. The novel follows the Montoya family, who all gather at the matriarch’s funeral. There, her descendants are given gifts that manifest later in their lives. There are family secrets and hidden magic, which is definitely my speed. Frankie Corzo performs the audiobook edition brilliantly, proving once again why she is one of the best.

Narrated by Frankie Corzo

A graphic of the cover of The Magician by Colm Tóibín

The Magician by Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is back with an epic family saga that spans the decades through WWI and WWII. Thomas Mann, the family patriarch, is an incredible novelist trying to live up to the expectations that come with his success. He marries well and his children join the resistance against the Nazi regime. This novel is sure to be the engrossing fall listen that you need in your life. In Gunnar Cauthery’s performance, he captures the time period so well.

Narrated by Gunnar Cauthery

A graphic of the cover of The Secret Life of Fungi: Discoveries from a Hidden World by Aliya Whitely

The Secret Life of Fungi: Discoveries from a Hidden World by Aliya Whitely

Nature lovers, assemble! Earlier this year, I shared some nature books that I really loved, and I was delighted to learn that mushrooms, in particular, are having a bit of a moment. The latest book celebrating these fantastic organisms is The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whitely, which gives listeners an inside peek at the lives of mushrooms and celebrates all of their quirky glory. Alison Larkin narrates the audiobook, giving the whole experience a delightfully cozy feel.

Narrated by Alison Larkin

Over on Book Riot

7 Audiobooks for Science September – Perfect for experienced scientists and the newly science curious alike.

Around the Web

5 Questions with Narrator MacLeod Andrews” (Audiofile Magazine) – I love narrator Q&As! It’s fascinating to learn more info from behind the scenes. for Business: Audiobooks for Employees While Supporting Bookstores” (

Back-to-School Gifting with” (The Audio Blog)

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


Witchy Season Approaches!

Hello Audiophiles! As much of the country prepares for a fall filled with Pumpkin Spice lattes, I continue to sit on my porch down here in the South, sipping my pineapple juice and greeting the neighborhood lizards. In the Low Country, we rarely feel even a whisper of chill in the air until October, at the earliest. But, while I dream of mountainsides covered in splashes of autumn foliage, Dylan continues to live his best life toasting his hammies in the sun.

This past weekend, I spent hours installing new shelves in my dining room. There’s nothing like a good home improvement project to give you some quality audiobook time. In fact, I seem to have my groove back, finishing more audiobooks in August than any other month so far this year! So why don’t we jump in and start chatting about a few of them?

A photo of Dylan the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi sitting on a gray wooden porch.
A graphic of the cover of White Magic by Elissa Washuta

White Magic by Elissa Washuta

As witchy season approaches, I thought it would be a perfect time to feature one of my favorite books from this year, White Magic by Elissa Washuta. In the first essay in this collection, Washuta examines the settler ideas around white magic and how many elements from those practices have been culturally appropriated from Indigenous communities. As someone who practices spells and bindings, Washuta provides a unique perspective on the topic.

With each essay, Washuta seems to choose seemingly very different ideas, but as she writes about them, she slowly pulls them together until you finally understand how the two ideas are intimately intertwined. It’s almost its own unique kind of magic.

But one of the key points of why I love this audiobook stems from how Washuta tackles topics around disability. As someone who experiences chronic and mental illness, Washuta gives listeners a unique perspective on the way disability can affect one’s art. Too many people throughout history have romanticized chronic illness, mental illness, and alcoholism, often implying that the artist never would have been as good if they hadn’t experienced these conditions. Washuta shoves aside these romantic notions and takes a realistic look at the lives of other artists and her own.

Kyla Garcia performs the audiobook well, giving us glimpses into Washuta’s narrative voice as well as keeping the audio clear of too many distractions. I can only imagine how the jumping back and forth of ideas, which are clearly notes on the printed page, could be tricky to narrate on audio. But Garcia definitely seemed up for the challenge!

Narrated by Kyla García (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez and There There by Tommy Orange)

Recent Releases

A graphic of the cover of Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

I love a great middle grade novel! In Fast Pitch, Shenice is the captain of a softball team called the Firebirds. I don’t want to share too much since I don’t want to spoil the plot, but there’s family secrets, team drama, and a young Black girl coming into her own as a confident athlete. Nic Stone is also a fabulous audiobook narrator. 

Read by the Author

A graphic of the cover of A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

From the bestselling author of Girl on the Train comes A Slow Fire Burning, a new mystery novel featuring a cast of characters hopelessly entangled in each other’s lives. When a young man and his mother are found dead, one right after the other, the police begin to question their family members, lovers, in-laws and neighbors, searching for the culprit. Rosamund Pike is a brilliant narrator, as always.

Narrated by Rosamund Pike (Restless by William Boyd and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

A graphic of the cover of My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

As a huge fan of Stephen Graham Jones, I’ve had this book pre-ordered for months now. As we follow Jade Daniels and learn more about her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films and books, listeners will quickly realize that My Heart Is a Chainsaw is a love letter to all things horror. Cara Gee performs the audiobook in a way that perfectly captures Jade Daniels’ narrative voice.

Narrated by Cara Gee (Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and In Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White)

A graphic of of the cover of Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

I first heard about Three Rooms on Debutfiul, a podcast dedicated to promoting and celebrating authors’ debut books. Once I heard Jo Hamya talk about how her book came to be, I immediately went and looked up the audiobook. Three Rooms captures the Millennial struggle to “make it” in a world bogged down by recession after recession. This also appears to be Jin Lusi’s debut audiobook, and she does a fabulous job! I will definitely be waiting to see what she narrates next.

Narrated by Jin Lusi

A graphic of the cover of Revelator by Daryl Gregory

Revelator by Daryl Gregory

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee sits a cave where a deity called Ghostdaddy lives. At least, that’s what Stella’s family says. It’s 1933, and nine-year-old Stella is left in the car of her grandmother, and she’s about to find out that her Appalachian family’s history is much more sinister than she imagined. Narrated by Reagan Boggs with just the right amount of Southern Appalachian dialect, this audiobook will make you want to look around corners just to see if something is there.

Narrated by Reagan Boggs (No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily)

Over on Book Riot

8 Native Memoirs on Audio from Erin and Dani’s Book Club” – I gush about how much I love Erin and Dani’s Book Club and their fabulous selection of Native memoirs.

Around the Web

European Mysteries on Audio: Celebrating Women in Translation Month” (Audiofile Magazine) – Perfect for wrapping up women in translation month!

How to Become an Audiobook Narrator” (Audible) – A fabulous article from Audible for folks wanting to become an audiobook narrator—it even includes resources!

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


A Must-Listen Audiobook for Your End-of-Summer Reading List

Hello Audiophiles! I’ve recently finished a series of reading deadlines, so now it’s time to listen to something just because I can! So what do you listen to when you have the freedom to choose whatever you like? The answer is, of course, the biggest door stopper you can find!

For months now, a friend and I have planned to listen to The Eighth Life, a multi-generational, Russian family saga that’s over 40 hours long. The audiobook kept getting pushed back, but now it’s finally out! I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a book this long before, so I feel pumped and ready to go. We start soon, so I’ll keep you updated!

A photo of Dylan, the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, lying with his head upside-down on Kendra's laptop. He is looking at Kendra with great expectations.
Dylan: “You’re going to stop working and start petting me now, right?”

Latest Listens

A graphic of the cover Rise to the Sun

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

Like I mentioned last week, I’ve been trying to sneak in a few more summer-related reads. My most recent strategy is to work on home improvement projects I’ve been putting off. I have furniture to build, mirrors to hang, and artwork to frame. For heaven’s sake, I’ve even been going to the gym more! But no matter how much I listen, there are always more audiobooks waiting in the wings.

One of the audiobooks I’ve loved is Rise to the Sun, the second book from Leah Johnson, whose You Should See Me in a Crown landed at the top of so many readers’ Best of the Year lists. I always feel a little nervous heading into an author’s second book when I loved their debut. Can lightning strike twice? With Leah Johnson, it most certainly can.

Toni and Olivia meet at a music festival, but neither have any intention of falling in love. They bicker and protest every step of the way, but soon they fall for each other. This is such a heartwarming story, and Lexi Underwood and Alaska Jackson provide the perfect voices for Toni and Olivia. It’s like they are performing monologues for each character as they truly embody our lovestruck duo.

Recent Releases

A graphic of the cover of Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

In her MacLean’s latest romance novel, she gives us another steamy story that leads to a fabulous happily ever after. Sesily Talbot’s reputation is ruined, and she’s the talk of the town. But Sesily finds that her reputation gives her a new found freedom as no one is surprised if she’s seen alone with a gentleman or two. When Caleb, a friend of the family, seems more concerned for her place in society than she is, Sesily begins to look at him in a different way. Is there more to Caleb than what she’s thought all this time?

Narrated by Mary Jane Wells (Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas and The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare)

A graphic of the cover of Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow

Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow

In this riveting new memoir, Kat Chow shares the story of her family’s journey with grief. After her mother dies from cancer, Kat and her family try to figure out what their family looks like without her mother. The author interweaves her family’s present with its past, giving listeners an inside look at their journey from China to Hong Kong, Cuba, and America. Perfect for lovers of Crying in H Mart and H is for Hawk, Chow’s portrait of grief gives a unique perspective of a family’s journey to learning how to pick up the pieces after a loved one dies.

Narrated by the author

A graphic of the cover of The love Songs of W.E.B. Du Boise

The Love Songs by W.E.B Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

In Jeffers fiction debut, she gives listeners a sweeping epic that spans generations of characters across the decades. Ailey grows up in the North, but spends summers in the South with her extended family. She begins to wonder about her family’s past and starts researching the generations of her family, going back hundreds of years. Slowly, Ailey comes to better understand her heritage and embrace who she is today.

Narrated by Adenrele Ojo, Karen Chilton, and Prentice Onayemi

A graphic of the cover of The Women of Troy

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

Pat Barker follows up the critically acclaimed Silence of the Girls with The Women of Troy. Briseis, a Trojan Queen and former slave of Achilles, returns as our protagonist. She’s now enslaved by Alcimus, and uses her position to reconnect with other women of Troy in hopes of concocting a plan for revenge for the murder of their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. Perfect for any myth retelling fan, The Women of Troy will have you sitting on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Narrated by Kristin Atherton (Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman)

A graphic of the cover of The Guide by Peter Heller

The Guide by Peter Heller

In this brilliant sequel to his novel The River, Peter Heller returns with the story of a young man who takes a job at a fishing lodge that caters to wealthy clientele. But when piercing screams rip through the clear, bright mountain air, our protagonist realizes that this resort may not be so idyllic. Prepare yourselves for a riveting suspense story that will have you second guessing at every turn.

Narrated by Mark Deakins (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood)

Around the Internet

End-of-Summer Romance Listening” (Audiofile Magazine) – Perfect for those of us trying to sneak in the last few summer reads!

RBmedia Forms Ascent Audio Brand” (Publisher’s Weekly) – Some insider baseball for all of us audiobook nerds

Over on Book Riot

7 Audiobooks to Listen to in 7 Hours to Tune Out the World”

In “A Better World for Disabled Readers,” I discuss the need for able-bodied gatekeepers to take their allyship seriously and help disabled readers build a more accessible bookish world.

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


One of My Favorite Audiobooks of the Year AND New Releases!

Hello Audiophiles! As we head into the last month of summer, I’m scrambling to sneak in a few more summer reads. Over on Read Appalachia, I’ve been hosting an Appalachian Summer Reading Challenge in the form of a BINGO board. Over the last several months, I’ve been working my way through the different challenges.

There have been so many fabulous audiobooks that I’ve made it through so far—Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome, Pure America by Elizabeth Catte—but my favorite listen of the summer has to be The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson.

Dylan, a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, stands on the beach. His chest floor is covered in sand. You can tell he's been having a great time rolling in the sand.
Dylan enjoys summer days digging in the sand at the beach!
A graphic of the cover of The Birds of Opulence

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson

After listening to a series of “just okay” audiobooks this month, I was ready for something to really blow me away. In came The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson. While it first came out in print a few years ago, it wasn’t until just a month or two ago that this incredible novel was released on audio.

The novel begins in the early 1960s in a place called Opulence, Kentucky. There, we meet generations of Black women who have been raising their daughters in the town since anyone can remember. From a surprise birth on a winter’s day to secret love affairs to dramatic funerals, these women see it all.

I especially love Wilkinson’s prose. There’s just something about the way she describes the fields on the family land or the relationship between mother and daughter that had me hanging on every word.

Allyson Johnson narrates the story with her masterful skill. Instead of trying to imitate the Appalachian Kentucky dialect, Johnson just uses touches of dialect here and there to give hints of how the characters might be speaking. It’s the perfect balance of accent, giving listeners a taste of the flavor of the region.

Narrated by Allyson Johnson (Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings and Citizen by Claudia Rankine)

Recent Releases!

A graphic of the country of In the Country of Others

In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani

When a Frenchwoman falls in love with a Moroccan soldier, she has no idea what’s in store for her. After WWII ends, she moves with her new husband to Morocco, and her new life begins. What she imagined as the adventure of her life soon turns to an incredible disappointment as she is ostracized and isolated. Her biracial daughter faces difficulties of her own as she is teased by classmates for having a French mother. With In the Country, Slimani steps up her game and gives us a one-of-a-kind story that is must listen.

Narrated by Lara Sawalha (A Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar and The Silence of Scheherazade by Betsy Göksel)

A graphic of the cover of Battle Royal

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

I love a cute story around baking, and Battle Royal does not disappoint. When two former rivals learn that they will both be competing for the opportunity to bake the cake for an upcoming royal wedding, the gloves come off and the competition begins. The two go head to head in the competition, each showing their own personal flare for their craft. But who will be choosen? The classic perfectionist Dominic? Or the one-of-a-kind Sylvie? 

Narrated by Billie Fulford-Brown (Jane in Love by Rachel Givney and Act Like It by Lucy Parker)

A graphic of the cover of Redemptor

Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

The much-anticipated follow up to Raybearer is here! Jordan Ifueko is back to continue Tarisai’s story. Now coming into her own power, our protagonist must choose her own council, those who will help her survive. She knows what her kingdom expects of her, and she’s determined to see it through. But she doesn’t realize that the throne she sits upon represents all her kingdom must answer for. Can Tarisai figure out how to make amends for the sins of her kingdom’s past?

Narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt (The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris and Legendborn by Tracy Deonn)

A graphic of the cover of Velvet Is the Night

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

In one of the most anticipated novels of the year, Velvet Was the Night, Silvia Moreno-Garcia takes on a brand new, noir-inspired story. In Mexico City, during the 1970s, Maite works as a secretary who loves reading the latest romance stories in her favorite magazine. She dreams of passion and love, hoping for a life beyond the boring office around her. When her next-door neighbor disappears, she finds herself in the middle of a very real mystery. But what starts out as a search for a missing person soon turns into a full blown scheme involving political dissidents.

Narrated by Gisela Chípe (The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende and It Is Wood, It Is Stone by Gabriella Burnham)

A graphic of the cover of The Many Meanings of Meilan

The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang

Meilan loves her family of uncles, aunts, and grandparents who all work with her parents at the family bakery, but when the family’s matriarch dies, Meilan’s entire world is turned upside down. Her parents have a disagreement with some of the other family members, and Meilan finds herself far away from her home in Boston. In Rosebud, Ohio, where few people have heard of Boston’s Chinatown, Meilan must learn a whole new world. This is a beautiful story of a Chinese American girl coming into her own in a whole new way.

Narrated by Annie Q (As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl and Hello (from Here) by Chandler Baker and Wesley King)

Around the Internet

Your Audiobook Guide to Book Awards” ( – I found this post so helpful as I plan my own “to be listened to” audiobook list.

To Be Listened To: Fall’s Most Anticipated Audiobooks” ( – I have been so excited for this list! Definitely a must-read line up for any audiobook lover.

Just in case you missed it, there are three new narrators who been inducted into Golden Voices, Audiofile’s lifetime achievement honor.

On Book Riot

6 Myth Retellings on Audio” – I share some of my favorite myth retellings on audio!

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


Must-Read Books for Women in Translation Month!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to jump into Women in Translation Month! I first celebrated #WITmonth back in 2016 and have celebrated it every year since. You can find more info about Women in Translation month via the original founder’s website.

A couple friends and I started a #WITreadathon to encourage folks to pick up more books by women in translation and celebrate women’s writing from around the world. For me, I am always looking for audiobook editions of titles, which makes this month all the more challenging. BUT I’m so grateful that as audiobook popularity continues to rise, I have so many more options than I did five years ago.

So in this special edition of the newsletter, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite audiobooks from women in translation that I’ve listened to in the last several years, and I hope you love them as much as I do!

A photo of Dylan, the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, lying on a floor next to a copy of The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Dylan's head imitates the head of the woman whose silhouette on the cover of the book.
A graphic of the cover of Inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, Translated by Anthea Bell

Readers with kids often ask me for recommendations so they can make reading women in translation something they do as a family, so I thought I’d start with two books for young people. The one is Inkheart, which I have listened to and relistened to countless times over the years. The book follows a young girl named Meggie whose father repairs books. She loves her quiet life with her dad, but when a mysterious visitor named Dustfinger shows up at their door, Meggie’s whole world begins to change.

This audiobook is the perfect adventure for any young bookworm who has always wondered what they would do if they ever had the opportunity to meet the characters from their favorite books. Lynn Redgrave performs the book perfectly, creating the most incredible voices for each of Inkheart’s memorable characters. 

Narrated by Lynn Redgrave (Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield)

A graphic of the cover of A Winter's Promise

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, Translated by Hildegarde Serle

As the second book that would be perfect for the kids in your life, I have to tell you about A Winter’s Promise, which is part of a quartet of fantasy novels translated from French by Hildegarde Serle. Our protagonist, Ophelia, lives in a world where people live on Arks, floating pieces of land that each have their own culture and customs. Her parents decide to marry her off to a man far to the north, sending her off to meet her future in-laws with just her chaperone as company. Soon, Ophelia finds herself entangled in the political machinations of the different factions in her new home. Emma Fenney does a fantastic job capturing the large cast of characters and providing distinct voices for them that help the listener remember who is who.

Narrated by Emma Fenney (Envy by Amanda Robson and The Stylist by Rosie Nixon)

A graphic of the cover of My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Translated by Ann Goldstein

Like many readers back in 2015, I found myself entangled in the incredible story that is Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet. Lena and Lenu are two best friends from a working class neighborhood of Naples. Their relationship is fraught with jealousy, competition, and manipulation. For the entire series, we watch as these two characters are drawn back to each other again and again through the decades. If you want a saga that will capture your attention from the first page until the last, this is it! Hillary Huber narrates the audiobook edition, giving listeners a narrator that they can get invested in and stick with for the entire series.

Narrated by Hillary Huber (Library at Mount by Char by Scott Hawkins and Final Girls by Riley Sager)

A graphic of the cover of Notes of a Crocodile

Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, Translated by Bonnie Huie

I listened to Notes of a Crocodile last year, and it stood out as one of my favorite audiobooks. The story begins with an unnamed narrator writing her story of attending university in Taiwan in the 1980s. She describes her experience falling in love with another girl in her class and her own struggle with internalized homophobia. As her story unravels, we watch as she creates a found family for herself in her search for a place to belong. Jo Mei narrates the audiobook skillfully, capturing the voice of the unnamed protagonist so well.

Narrated by Jo Mei (The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung)

A graphic of the cover of The Vegetarian

The Vegetarian by Han Kang, Translated by Deborah Smith

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, The Vegetarian needs no introduction. The novel focuses on a young woman who decides to become a vegetarian, much to her family’s horror. As time passes, they become more and more convinced that the protagonist needs to be pulled out of what they believe to be an irrational belief. Narrators Janet Song and Stephen Park draw listeners into the story quickly, making this audiobook incredibly engrossing.

Narrated by Janet Song (All you Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung) and Stephen Park (The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama)

A photo of the graphic of the cover of The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar

The Enlightenment of the Greenage Tree begins with the death of the narrator. Although dead, she remains with her family as they flee the city for the Iranian countryside. There, each family member experiences their own fantastical journey to untangle meaning from the series of tragedies that they’ve experienced. Azar uses her own imagination and inspiration from Persian folklore to weave together a narrative all her own. One of my favorite narrators, Priya Ayyar, creates the perfect feel for the audiobook edition.

Narrated by Priya Ayyar (Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed and The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani)

Around the Internet

I really enjoy Audiofile Magazine and their wide range of audiobook features! Here a few of their recent ones:

Audiobooks Featuring Four Weddings and Funeral

7 Kids’ Audiobook for Going Back to School

Audiobooks Mysteries Take on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over on Book Riot

Here are even MORE audiobooks by women in translation! – “10 More Books by Audiobooks for Women in Translation

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


Closing Out Disability Pride Month & New Releases!

Hello Audiophiles! I looked up a few days ago and realized August has arrived — I thought I had more time for summer listening! Plus, it’s women in translation month, and I’ve been setting aside dozens of books throughout the year just so I can read them in August. I doubt that I’ll get through thirty books in thirty-one days, but I feel like I need to try, right?

Every year, a couple friends – Matthew Sciarappa and Jennifer Helinek – and I host the #WITreadathon, which encourages folks to read books by women in translation. There’s a group read, some prompts, and all sorts of celebratory enthusiasm over on Twitter, so feel free to check it out and join us if you feel so inclined!

So stay tuned for all sorts of women in translation content. And let me know if you have any women in translation recommendations!

Other than that, this week has just been my spouse and I celebrating our corgi’s birthday, showering him with gifts, and telling him how beautiful he is. Ah, how our definition of a successful party has changed since the beginning of the pandemic! Of course, here is a photo of the birthday boy and his new toy yak.

A photo of Dylan, the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, sitting on a white furry blanket next to his new toy yak.

Onto the audiobooks!

A graphic of the cover of Growing Up Disabled in Australia

Growing Up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay

With the end of Disability Pride Month last week, I found myself thinking about books by disabled authors. Previously in the newsletter, I shared my love for Disability Visibility. I also love Growing Up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay. Both anthologies celebrate disability in all of its many forms, but I loved learning more about disabled folks’ experiences in Australia.

The editor, Carly Findlay, also has an excellent memoir called Say Hello, in which she shares her experience living with a rare skin condition. Findlay is such a huge disability rights advocate, particularly for people with facial differences.

Findlay narrates both Growing Up Disabled in Australia and Say Hello, performing each book like a pro. I cried at points during both books, so I’m not entirely sure how Carly managed it. She’s able to communicate the frank realities that many disabled folks face while maintaining poise, but there’s still so much emotion and heart in her delivery.

Both books are available as audiobooks here in the US, so definitely go check them out!

Recent Releases

A graphic of the cover of When the Reckoning Comes

When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

Mira fled her small town of Kipsen to find a better life, but she finally returns home to attend her friend Celine’s wedding. Hoping to reconnect with her childhood friends, Mira tries to make nice, but the plantation’s dark history looms over the event, casting everything in its shadow.

Narrated by Kara Young

A graphic of the cover of The Husbands

The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Pitched as a gender-swapped The Stepford Wives, The Husbands features Nora Spangler, a successful woman who seems to have it all. But Nora often feels like her husband doesn’t work nearly as hard as she does. When she decides to buy a new house, she can’t help but feel drawn to a neighborhood where all the men seem so perfect. My guess is that she may just realize that these men might be too good to be true.

Narrated by Allyson Ryan (Long Bright River by Liz Moore and Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner)

A graphic of the cover The Turnout

The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is back with another engrossing read. The Turnout includes all of the signature Megan Abbott elements, including a thrilling plot, dancers, and intricately drawn characters. The novel revolves around two sisters and one sister’s husband who all run a dance studio together with precision—until it all seems to go wrong.

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell (Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot)

A graphic of the cover of Damnation Spring

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

I have a huge weakness for books about trees, so from the moment I heard that this audiobook was about a family who owns a logging company in California, I knew I had to listen to it. Set in 1977, Damnation Spring centers around Rich, his wife Colleen, and their young son. There’s lots of drama around the business, a grove of redwoods, and all sorts of shenanigans. Where do I sign up?!

Narrated by CJ Wilson, Rebecca Lowman, Mark Sanderlin, and Candace Thaxton

A graphic of the cover of Death in Castle Dark

Death in Castle Dark by Veronica Bond

Nora Blake accepts a new job and goes to live in Castle Dark. With a name like that, you’d think she would know that sinister things are about to happen. Alas, when a man at the castle dies, she’s completely surprised, but she soon recovers and begins trying to figure out who is guilty of the crime.

Narrated by Imani Jade Powers (The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles)

A graphic of the cover of Shallow Waters

Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz

Shallow Waters follows a young Yoruba woman named Yemaya who travels from her home to America in the mid-1800s. When we meet Yoruba, she has no idea that she possesses the power of an Orïsha a deity in the religion of the Yoruba people. Her journey takes her from Africa to North America as she tries to find a mysterious man who may have some answers for her.

Narrated by Michelle Kopacz

Around the Internet

5 Questions with Narrator Catherine Ho” (Audiofile Magazine) – I love a narrator Q&A!

Over on Book Riot

10 of’s Most Preordered Books of Fall 2021” – I share some of’s most popular preorders!

12 LGBTQIA YA Audiobooks to Listen to in the 2nd Half of the Year” – Sarah Nicolas shares even MORE audiobooks for your “to be listened to” lists for the fall!

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


A Fantastical Road Trip Listen

Hello, audiophiles! This past week, I’ve been back in the Bluegrass State to spend time with my family. I loved getting a chance to wander around my hometown, hang out with friends, and take LOTS of photos. One of my many bookish projects is called Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian Literature and Writing. When I’m back home, I always love having the opportunity to learn more about the region’s literature and landscape

Of course, a ten-hour road trip (just one way!) means that my spouse and I needed to prepare plenty of audiobook options for the ride. In my last newsletter, I shared a little bit about our traditions, and in my weekly audiobook article over on Book Riot, I listed a few different options that we considered. But in the end, we chose one book for our trip that turned out to be a fabulous fantastical adventure.

A photo of Kendra, a 30-something white woman with brunette hair, staring out across the Ohio River. There is a bridge in the background.
Taken by my spouse in Portsmouth Ohio

Recent Listens

A graphic of the cover of Elatsoe, which features and Apache teenaged girl standing in a sea of ghost dogs.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Before listening, I’d heard so many wonderful things about this fantastical title, which features the title character, Elatsoe, and her adventures in a world much like our own, but with vampires, elves, and many more otherworldly creatures. Through a secret passed down by generations of Lipan Apache women, Elatsoe possesses the ability to summon the dead. But her mother always warned her: only ever summon the spirits of animals, never the ghosts of humans.

But when her cousin dies in a car wreck, she feels incredibly tempted to call upon him to help find out what happened. Before she can make a decision, her cousin visits her in her dreams and tells her that he was murdered. Determined to find justice for her cousin, Elatsoe heads to her cousin’s home in rural Texas and begins questioning the townspeople.

I’ve been wanting to read this novel from the moment I learned that it existed, so I couldn’t have been more thrilled to listen to the audiobook on the trip. From the first few moments of the story, the concept and worldbuilding captured my attention. There’s something special about the way Little Badger creates Elatsoe’s world.

Kinsale Hueston performs the novel in a way that captures Elatsoe’s personality, humor, and strength. Hueston hasn’t narrated many audiobook titles yet, and I look forward to hearing more from her!

Narrated by Kinsale Hueston (Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse)

Recent Releases

A graphic of the cover A Song Everlasting which features an off white and light blue

A Song Everlasting by Ha Jin

This quiet novel focuses on Yao Tian, a Chinese singer, who has travelled to the United States for a concert. But when he takes an extra gig to help pay for his daughter’s tuition, he has no idea that this choice will change his future forever. I loved listening to Liberty discuss this book on All the Books—I immediately went and found the audio after listening to her describe it!

Narrated by Feodor Chin (A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling and The Ruin of Kings by Jessica Lyons)

A graphic of the cover of Not a Happy Family which features an old mansion lit up at night

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

A man is murdered and his three adult kids all have a reason, besides their incredible inheritance, to want their father dead. There’s nothing like a messy family novel, so of course Not a Happy Family is right in my wheelhouse. And if you love a novel with all sorts of twists, family secrets, and gasp out loud moments, then this is for you.

Narrated by Ellen Archer (Room by Emma Donoghue)

A graphic of the cover of Goldenrod, which features a greenish blue background with goldenrod

Goldenrod by Maggie Smith

There’s nothing like listening to a poet read their own work, so of course I’m all here for Maggie Smith’s new collection Goldenrod. These poems focus on the ideas of solitude, parenthood, love, memory, and so much more. There’s something about the way that Smith captures snapshots of everyday life that makes her poems all-engrossing.

Narrated by the Author

A graphic of the cover of Red Wolf, which features a woman wearing a red hooded cape.

Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent

I love a good fairytale retelling, but this one hits a bit differently. Adele is a guardian of folks who live in the town of Oakvale, which is surrounded by a dark wood. These guardians wear red cloaks and hoods, harkening back to a certain young woman wandering through a wolf-infested forest. This fascinating take on a beloved tale is sure to not disappoint.

Narrated by Taylor Meskimen (West by Edith Pattou and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen)

A graphic of the cover of Out of the Shadows, which features three Star Wars characters

Out of the Shadows: Star Wars: The High Republic by Justina Ireland

Perfect for any Star Wars lover, this young adult author Justina Ireland spins a tale of Sylvestri Yarrow, who’s been carrying the weight of the family business on her young shoulders ever since her mother passed. There’s also a Jedi Knight and her padawan who are summoned to Coruscant under mysterious conditions. Justina Ireland brings all of her action writing skills to her take on the beloved Star Wars universe, and I am here for it!

Narrated by Keylor Leigh

Over on Book Riot

30 of the Best Audible Books for Kids” — All things kid lit, but on audio

Who Listens to Audiobooks?” — Danika has outdone herself with this fantastic breakdown of data on who listens to audiobooks and why

5 Rising Stars in Audiobook Narration” — I share some of the Black and Indigenous women narrators who have such promising audiobook narration careers ahead of them!

Around the Internet

Disabled-Owned Bookstores to Support” ( — With so few companies having acknowledged Disability Pride Month, I was so thrilled to see this post from!

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


Road Trip Listens and New Audiobook Releases!

Hello, audiophiles! It’s prime time vacation time, and in my family, the biggest debate revolves around what audiobook we should listen to during our annual road trip back to Kentucky to visit my family. In the past, we’ve listened to The Martian by Andy Weir, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, and Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, so fiction is usually a good choice.

But even before we hit the road, I’ve actually already started my vacation listening. Since I’m the road trip organizer, planning the route and making sure everything is packed—including Dylan’s favorite toys—I’ve developed some personal traditions. One of those traditions is choosing an audiobook that I listen to only when I’m prepping for the trip. Nothing makes mundane tasks—laundry, Corgi grooming, packing— fly by like a fast-paced whirlwind of a book. 

Next week, I will tell you what books we chose for the different parts of our trip and how it went, but first, I have to tell you about one fabulous under-the-radar audiobook.

A photo of Dylan the corgi grinning at the beach at the edge of the water
Dylan couldn’t be happier to play in the summer sun.

Recent Listens

Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung

The moment I heard about Ghost Forest, I knew I had to listen to it. This novel, told in vignettes, follows a family from Hong Kong that moves to Canada. But while his wife and daughter move across the world, the father stays in Hong Kong for work. Our unnamed protagonist shares snippets of her life with us, always circling back to her father and his visits or his absence. When her father becomes ill, the protagonist begins to ponder her life, her father’s life, and what it means for her.

The women in the story create a backbone for the novel as they constantly tell each other stories. As we listen to them share their memories, each new chapter reveals something new about the family, and we begin to see a more complete picture of our protagonist.

There’s an incredible scene where our protagonist tries to figure out how to tell her very ill father that she loves him. This one moment gives us a deeper understanding of the full extent of our protagonist’s emotional struggle as she tries to connect with her father.

Pik-Shuen Fung narrates the audiobook, performing her poetic prose beautifully. She presents each vignette as a polished gem for us to admire, her prose and voice perfectly blending together to create a truly wonderful listening experience. The novel is full of deeply emotional moments where Fung’s narration feels like part of the story itself.

Narrated by Pik-Shuen Fung

Recent Releases!

My audiobooks apps tend to overflow with a ridiculous number of options, but here are a few selections of some of my favorites, including a romance novel, a fascinating thriller, and a literary fiction novel that’s sure to be on many “Best of the Year” lists.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

As a huge Jasmine Guillory fan, I hit play as soon as the romance novel hit my iPhone’s audiobook app. I loved this whirlwind romance between Ben Stephens, who works in marketing, and Anna Gardiner, whose Hollywood star is on the rise. It contains all the best things: witty banter, plenty of food, and steamy sex scenes. Janina Edwards performs the audiobook perfectly, as always.

Narrated by Janina Edwards (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Janina Edwards and No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts)

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

The author of the much-beloved Wayfarer series has created a brand new world to dive into, beginning a new series with A Psalm for the Wild Build. Years before the novel begins, the robots of Panga became sentient and walked away from their lives of servitude. They now wander the forest. When a tea monk meets a robot who asks him, “What do you need?”, the monk begins to think and interrogate the question. Emmett Grosland captures the vibe of a monk meeting a sentient robot, which I can’t imagine has been a kind of audiobook that comes up often for audiobook narrators.

Narrated by Emmett Grosland

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

OH MY GOODNESS, this audiobook!! I’d never read Samantha Downing before, but as soon as I heard David Pittu’s rendition of Tony Crutcher’s narrative voice, I was hooked. Crutcher hates the students at the private school where he teaches English Literature, so he doesn’t really care when a series of mysterious deaths happen on campus. But when people start digging into his personal life, he’s had enough. From start to finish, I hung on every word, unable to stop listening (who needs sleep?!).

Narrated by David Pittu (Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt)

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Our protagonist arrives at the Hague with a one-year contract to work as an interpreter. While she gets to know her new home in New York City, she finds herself entangled in other people’s lives who are also snared in their own messy relationships. The engrossing whirlwind of her life causes her to take a look at her choices in a new way that makes her reassess her place in the world. Audiobook narrator Traci Kato-Kiriyama captures the viewpoint character’s perspective so well in her performance.

Narrated by Traci Kato-Kiriyama, (The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina and The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa)

Around the Web

7 Great Audiobooks to Listen to This Month (Vulture)

From Lin-Manuel to Pollan to St. Aubyn: Audiobooks for Every Attention Span (New York Times)

13 Summer Activities to Pair with Audiobooks (

Over on Book Riot

I share my road trip TBR!: 5 Audiobooks for Your Next Road Trip

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester. For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra


Long-Awaited New Audiobook Releases!

Hello, audiophiles! Thank you all so much for your kind words of welcome. Audiobooks have long been my first love, and I look forward to celebrating them with you every week.

I hope all of you in the American Southeast are safe and well after Elsa galavanted across the country. We bunkered down here in the Low Country and much of the island lost power. I want to send a huge thanks to all of the teams that have worked hard to restore power to communities on the east coast after the storm.

After Elsa passed through, Dylan was more than happy to reclaim his favorite spot on the porch. He enjoys spying on the neighbors and barking at the dogs that walk by our front porch.

photo of Dylan the corgi sitting on a chair

Backlist Love

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

While I didn’t have the internet after Elsa came to town, I listened to audiobooks downloaded on my phone. It felt restorative to listen to Robin Wall Kimmerer read her audiobook Braiding Sweetgrass to me. Each essay in the book focuses on a different aspect of how human beings are part of nature, holding key roles in many of its ecosystems. There’s just something so special with how Kimmerer encourages folks to think about their actions and how that affects the natural world around them.

With her encouragement, I walked outside and began looking at the palm trees and tall grasses around my house. I moved outside of Appalachia for the first time back in October, so many of the plants were unfamiliar to me. I pulled out my Seek app and began learning about the different species of fauna that make their home near mine.

That’s where Robin Wall Kimmerer shines best. With her stories of learning how to weave baskets from freshly felled trees to scooping algae out of her pond, you get the sense she knows the wildlife around her intimately, as fellow sharers of the land. There’s so much wisdom in this book. I know it’s one I’ll listen to again and again.

Narrated by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Long-awaited New Releases

In the audiobook world, most audiobook editions release the same day as the print edition—but not always! To make sure y’all still know about them, I’m highlighting some recent audiobooks that have been released long after their print editions entered the world.

Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

This incredible novel came out in hardcover last summer, but we FINALLY have an audiobook as of the end of last June. I adored Even As We Breathe and can’t stop talking about it. This work of historical fiction follows a disabled Cherokee man named Cowney who gets a summer job at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. While WWII rages on, the US military is using the inn to hold prisoner foreign diplomats of enemy countries. When a young Japanese girl goes missing, Cowney is racially profiled and brought in for questioning. Kaipo Schwab performs the audiobook with such emotional depth, capturing Cowney’s perspective perfectly.

Narrated by Kaipo Schwab, who is also part of the cast who performs Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and Kink edited by Garth Greenwell and R.O. Kwon

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson

This week, The Birds of Opulence arrived in my audiobook app, and I could not have been more excited. I’ve waited for the audio edition for several years now and feel overjoyed that the time has finally arrived! Affrilachian author Crystal Wilkinson is the current Poet Laureate of Kentucky, but she also writes fiction! The Birds of Opulence is in many ways a family story that focuses on the different generations of Black women in the same community. Narrator Allyson Johnson captures the beautiful cadence of Wilkinson’s incredible prose.

Narrated by Allyson Johnson, who also performs The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter and Fearing the Black Body by Sabrina Strings

Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia by Elizabeth Catte

Though the audiobook for Pure America was delayed only a couple months, I could not have been more thrilled to have one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 finally in my hands (well, in an audiobook app on my phone, which I was holding…close enough!). Perhaps most well known for her book What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia (which she wrote in response to the unfortunately popular Hillbilly Elegy), Catte is back with Pure America, a look at the role of eugenics in Virginia. With the #FreeBritney movement saturating our newsfeeds, this audiobook comes at the perfect time. The discussion around Britney’s conservatorship has shined a spotlight on how America’s healthcare and legal systems have repeatedly failed and often actively harmed disabled people. Pure America tackles this same topic with Catte’s signature attention to detail and finesse. Jo Anna Perrin performance shines when she’s narrating the complicated details throughout the book, making it easy for listeners to follow along.

Narrated by Jo Anna Perrin, who also performs What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte

Over on the Riot

If you loved Braiding Sweetgrass as much as I did, you have to check out 5 Audiobooks that Help You Explore Nature!

Around the Web

Check out this quiz from that pairs you with an audiobook written by a disabled author!

Scribd’s Reading Challenge for July

Vogue editors list their favorite audiobooks for summer road trips

Andy Serkis is recording a new edition of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Mary Sue lists 10 sci-fi/fantasy audiobooks you definitely should check out

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or say hi over on Instagram @kdwinchester (or follow Dylan @thebookcorgi). For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra