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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: December 29, 2016

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

Start off the new year with some inspiring audiobooks! From personal improvement, to spiritual listens, to health and fitness advice, audiobooks are a great way to digest this useful content while on the go! Visit www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/selfcare for listening suggestions.


It’s Lin-Manuel Miranda! Lin-Manuel freaking Miranda narrates The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, you guys!!

brief-wondrous-life-of-oscar-wao-audio-lin-manuel-mirandaFirst published in 2007, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won a Pulitzer in 2008 and is now finally here on audio, read by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo.

Díaz’s classic novel tells the story of Oscar, a sweet lovesick nerd with Dominican roots who lives in New Jersey. He dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and finding love someday, but his family is haunted by a curse that dooms them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and ill-starred love.

I just started listening to my copy, and there’s no better team than Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo to bring out the book’s warmth, humor, shenanigans, and insight. Miranda narrated Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe before he was the most super duper famous person on the planet, and it’s objectively one of the best audiobooks of this century. This is the first novel he’s narrated since he created Hamilton, and I’m so excited about what this could mean for the future. Will Lin-Manuel Miranda continue to use his platform to amplify marginalized stories through audiobooks? A girl can dream! Do yourself a solid and listen to a clip here.

Problems Only Audiobook Listeners Understand

“#1: You realize the audiobook isn’t postmodern, you’ve just been listening to it on shuffle by accident.” (Ahem, please tell me I’m not the only one.) Book Riot contributor Sonja Palmer compiled this (hilarious) list of all the problems we’ve encountered while trying to enjoy our audiobook habit. What would you add?

Only 2 Days Left to Get Invisible Man for Free

Invisible ManWe talked about this last month, but enough of you are new here (hi! welcome!) that I think we’re due for another PSA: go download Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for free, right now. It’s been free through Audible since November, and will continue to be free for just 2 more days thru Saturday, December 31.

Invisible Man is a 1952 classic about an unnamed narrator whose black skin makes him invisible in a segregated society, and it’s universally beloved as one of the greatest American novels of all time. The founder of Audible, who was Ralph Ellison’s student at NYU, says Ellison’s love of oral tradition and spoken word are what inspired him to create Audible in the first place. Now go download Invisible Man for real if you haven’t yet!

I Got Lost in London and I Blame Audiobooks

Woman runner running in fall autumn forestYou know that feeling when an audiobook is SO great that you miss your exit, or worse, get completely and utterly lost in a city you know like the back of your hand? When Book Riot contributor Aisling Twomey picked up an audiobook subscription to help her break out of her running rut, she found herself in exactly this situation. Read on to find out which audiobook is to blame!

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: December 15, 2016

rha-176-snowman-1080px-instaThis week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by TryAudiobooks.com.

Traveling for the holidays? Make your trip more enjoyable with an audiobook! Plug into a bestseller to catch up on some reading or play a title the whole family can enjoy! Visit TryAudiobooks.com for a full free download for your listening pleasure.


Gather ’round, audiobook fans! My plan today was to give you guys a round-up of all the amazing audiobooks that have gotten shout outs on Best of 2016 lists. But then I actually looked at those lists. And I was bored.

One audiobook site wanted me to surrender my email address to see their picks. Another site gave top honors to books by white men in categories where they were up against The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Uh, what? Soon, the major awards arm of the audiobook industry will announce their finalists, and I’ll again wonder who on earth these picks are supposed to be for. They’re not for me, and they’re not for new fans who are getting jazzed about up-and-coming authors like Malka Older, Kanae Minato, Manuel Gonzales, and so on.

Audiobook publishing has gotten super exciting, and the recent growth curve for audiobooks is BASICALLY indistinguishable from a black diamond ski run. My fingers are crossed that audiobook media will catch up!

2 More Audiobooks For Your TBR

I love finding new-to-me authors at Book Riot Live, and this fall it was Sara Farizan and Tara Clancy. I queued up If You Could Be Mine and The Clancys of Queens faster than you can say “Reginald the Pigeon,” and both made my heart sing and my stomach flip.

If You Could Be Mineif-you-could-be-mine-audio by Sara Farizan is about two young women who’ve been in love since childhood. But they live in Iran, where being a woman who loves another woman is punishable by death. Sex reassignment surgery is perfectly legal, though. Could this be the answer to their predicament? This story has all the ingredients of a great YA book: angst, secret smooching, forbidden love, heartache. But it’s also unexpectedly hilarious! Sara Farizan has the BEST deadpan humor in person, and Negin Farsad brings this out in spades in her narration of the book. Farsad is an Iranian-American comedian, and she just gets Farizan in a way that allows her to wring every last drop of humor from an otherwise heartbreaking story. One of my fave listens this year! <3

clancys-of-queens-audioYou might already know Tara Clancy from her storytelling performances on The Moth. This lady was born to tell stories, and she’s perfected her art in front of the toughest crowds: Irish Catholic bar-goers in Queens (!). Her memoir The Clancys of Queens was born of her desire to read stories about working class women in New York, of which she can still name only one: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. With a boatload of humor and charm, Clancy tells about her childhood growing up between worlds, her parents’ divorce, and coming out to her ex-cop dad as a young adult. Her distinctive Queens accent is its own larger-than-life character, and these stories are just meant to be listened to.

Book Riot’s 25 Best Audiobooks of 2016

the-mothers-audio2016 was such an exciting year for audiobooks! Halfway through the year, we just couldn’t wait and we rounded up our favorites thus far. Now we get to share the rest! Presenting 25 excellent audiobooks in all: from Imbolo Mbue to Hope Jahren, we think there’s a little something here for everyone.

Raise Your Hand If You Want a Free 12-Month Audible Membership!

Young african american man in white shirt listens headphones in a parkMe, me, my hand is raised! Oh wait, Book Riot employees aren’t eligible? FINE. You guys, Book Riot is giving away a 12-month Audible membership! The membership includes one free audiobook per month for a year, discounted member prices on all titles, and access to Audible’s occasional member-only sales. To enter, just sign up for one of our newsletters. Full details here, and the giveaway closes this Sunday December 18 at midnight Eastern… so get to it.

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: December 1, 2016

rha-176-snowman-1080px-instaThis week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by TryAudiobooks.com.

Traveling for the holidays? Make your trip more enjoyable with an audiobook! Plug into a bestseller to catch up on some reading or play a title the whole family can enjoy! Visit TryAudiobooks.com for a full free download for your listening pleasure.


Hello, audiobook friends! My family just got back from a whirlwind Thanksgiving road trip, and I was in charge of picking the audiobook. “David Sedaris,” I thought, feeling like a genius, “You can’t go wrong with David Sedaris, everyone loves that guy.” And truly, Sedaris is a brilliant audiobook pioneer far ahead of his time.

santaland-diariesSo I congratulated myself for being a genius and queued up Holidays on Ice, a short collection of six Christmas-themed essays that opens with an excerpt from The Santaland Diaries, in which a young Sedaris moves to New York as an aspiring soap opera writer and instead winds up as a department store elf. We were all on board, everyone was laughing, great pick Rachel, high five! Then came the second essay. Ah yes, the second essay. The second essay of Holidays on Ice is ACTUAL FANFICTION about David Sedaris’s favorite soap opera, One Life to Live, in the form of a scheming matriarch’s Christmas newsletter. Suddenly, not everyone in the car was still on board with my audiobook choice. (Their loss.)

The takeaway, dear readers, is this: sometimes everyone is game to listen to experimental soap opera fanfiction together. And sometimes they are not. Best wishes with wherever your group listening takes you this winter!

10 Adventure Audiobooks That Will Make You Clutch Your Heart As Time Soars By

infomocracyLook, we all like audiobooks here, we’re in on the secret that they can suspend time and transport you to a new world. Add an adventure story to the mix, and you’re in for an adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding, shortest-car-ride-ever trip of your life. I thought you guys could use a roundup of some of my faves, from super-powered female assassins to secret nuclear cities and everything in between. Still with me? Great, hang on and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times!

There’s a Lesbian Audiobooks Facebook Group, You’re Welcome

Two happy teenage girls lying on the grass sharing earphones

PSA, PSA! One of my fellow Book Rioters just casually mentioned a Lesbian Audiobooks Facebook group the other day, and I was all, 1) Wait a second. 2) Rad! 3) MUST TELL MY AUDIOBOOK PEOPLE, THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS. (Sorry for the all-caps, I am just that excited about it.) The group is closed to protect from trolls and spammers, so just click the “Join Group” button and they’ll welcome you in <3

We Heart Rachel McAdams as Anne of Green Gables

rachel-mcadams-headshotDid any of you catch the new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables on PBS last week?! I am HERE for Anne and all her shenanigans on Prince Edward Island, butting heads with the uptight Cuthberts who thought they were adopting a boy to help on the farm. (Really, Cuthberts, that’s how you’re going to play this?) A new AoGG mini series is in the works at Netflix, too, written by Moira Walley-Beckett of Breaking Bad.

Ergo, there’s no time like the present to brush up on the original! And you’re in luck because Rachel McAdams of True Detective reads a brand-new audiobook version that just came out last week. Listen to an excerpt here to see if you love her interpretation of Anne as much as I do! (You will probably love it.) Bonus: McAdams is Canadian, aww yis.

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: November 17, 2016

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by TryAudiobooks.com/cooking.

ds9mr_9nnvka33d9utosu2rdt87yw1bqk4qmnpmj2wiwsjt85tdwjv9xj7j87ncyv_lftebo4mpc6ve1cr1dljly5iulnylk_9bxkclpmqn6mmneyzwmgc3stptk3ckigda8lfqvListen while you cook! While spending hours in the kitchen prepping meals for the holidays, put on a good audiobook and let the story help you along. Cooking for Picasso and The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living are great cooking memoirs or you can listen to Where Am I Now? read by Mara Wilson herself! Let audiobooks be your secret ingredient this holiday season. Visit TryAudiobooks.com/cooking for a free download and get started!


Audiobook people! Last weekend I was at Book Riot Live in New York, and I got to see so many of your faces IRL. If you were there: hello, and I miss you! I loved swapping audiobook recommendations with you and just generally reveling in the awesomeness of audiobooks. I think we agreed that, while Moby-Dick is stellar on audio (not biased, I swear), The Sound and the Fury should be avoided at all costs.

I may or may not have a giant Moby-Dick tattoo. I may or may not have a giant Moby-Dick tattoo.

Like many of you, I had a beyond crappy week last week. I woke up on Tuesday morning glowing with excitement about participating in a historic feminist milestone, and went to bed with a heart heavy knowing that racism, homophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia are still alive and well in my neighborhood. I want you all to know that I am more committed than ever to seeking out and amplifying awesome stories by people on the margins, and to sharing those stories with you.

BookOfUnknownAmericansReading is scientifically shown to increase empathy, and I believe that hearing these stories out loud, spoken in a human voice, makes this effect even more powerful. Please, listen to The Book of Unknown Americans, Behold the Dreamers, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Another Brooklyn, Homegoing, The Wangs vs the World, In The Country We LoveYou Can’t Touch My Hair, or any of the other audiobooks we’ve talked about here. Then — and this is the especially important part — recommend them to other people. So many folks are listening to audiobooks these days, even people who don’t read much in print. Let’s get out there, share human stories, and build some fucking empathy.

An All-American Road Trip Book, Now With More Wangs

wangsvstheworldYou know it’s serious when you re-up your lapsed audiobook subscription for just one book. It was so worth it for The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang, the story of a wealthy immigrant family that loses their fortune in the financial crisis and regroups on a (hilarious) road trip across America.

What I love most about this book is its delicate balance between comedy and compassion. I LOVE the entire Wang family — there’s the embarrassing dad, the cold stepmother, the art world ingenue, the college bro, the millennial fashion blogger, and the crunchy hipster farmer. Jade Chang playfully teases each character about their personality quirks while ultimately digging into the humanity beneath, making you grow to love each one. My personal favorite is Grace, the high school student with a weird suicide obsession who steals blogging equipment from her boarding school.

Nancy Wu is another new narrator to me, and her performance is phenomenal. She interprets the story with a fabulous dry humor, and she differentiates between characters by effortlessly switching registers and accents — everything from a sixteen-year-old fashion blogger to a sixty-year-old cosmetics tycoon. Snippets of Chinese are sprinkled throughout, and it was cool to hear both the Chinese and the English spoken together. This is definitely one of those effortless listens that translates beautifully to audio <3

8 Addictive Audiobooks Worth Missing Your Exit For

everything-everything-by-nicola-yoon-audioYou know the type — you’re listening to a kickass audiobook when, oops! You blow right past your exit on the highway. That, or you listen in the parking lot for 15 extra minutes while you laugh / cry / freak out. These are the moments Book Riot contributor Kristy Pasquariello lives for; here are eight of the juiciest, funniest, scariest, and most suspenseful audiobooks she’s ever had the pleasure of listening to.

These Books? The Audio’s Better Than The Print

troublemakerWe’ve all been there, staring at the audiobook and the book for an eternity, debating which to get. Or maybe you just got the print when someone says, “I listened to that on audio and the narrator was AMAZING!,” instilling you with deep regret and a desire to switch to the audio immediately.

Jamie Canaves, contributing editor at Book Riot, rounded up our top picks where we say “Go with the audiobook!” If you’re playing the which-version-to-get game, read on to see if its one of our go-to audio picks.

Audiobook or Podcast? How to Decide What to Listen To

My mind was kind of completely blown (I know, it happens a lot) when I realized that, for lots of readers, audiobooks and podcasts vie for the same space in their lives. Personally, it’s totally contextual for me — my brain can’t process audiobooks while I work, so that’s when I listen to podcasts. But if you’re a lucky duck who can listen to whatever, wherever, how do you solve the should-I-listen-to-a-book-or-a-podcast dilemma?

Book Riot contributor Rebecca Hussey loves audiobooks and podcasts equally and has to make that choice almost every day. These are the factors that help her decide — here’s hoping they help you, too!

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: November 3, 2016

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by Audiobooks.com.

square-product-imageGet your book fix on the go with Audiobooks.com! Whether you’re in the car, at the gym or on the couch, Audiobooks.com makes it easy to listen to over 100,000 titles on their user-friendly apps for iOS and Android. Stream books live or download for offline listening, and enjoy cool features like sped-up narration and custom bookmarking. You can browse by genre or curated lists, check out promotions and giveaways, and switch seamlessly between devices with cloud-syncing technology. And best of all, your first book is free! Try Audiobooks.com today.


Hey-o, listeners! Our first order of business today is for you to go download Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for free. It’s OK, I’ll wait right here.

Invisible ManInvisible Man is a perennial Book Riot favorite (because it’s amaaaaaazing!), and it’s free from Audible for the rest of 2016! If you’re new to the awesomeness of Ellison, Invisible Man is a 1952 classic about an unnamed narrator whose black skin makes him invisible in a segregated society. It’s universally beloved as one of the greatest American novels of all time, and the audio is performed by Joe Morton (a.k.a. Olivia Pope’s dad on Scandal!). And just to throw in a cool li’l factoid, the guy who founded Audible was Ralph Ellison’s student at NYU. He says Ellison’s love of oral tradition and spoken word are what inspired him to create Audible in the first place (!). Now go download Invisible Man for real if you haven’t yet!

Tips for Audiobook Newbies

The Color PurplePlease welcome Maddie to the audiobook clubhouse, y’all. Book Riot contributor Maddie Rodriguez decided 2016 would be her year to break out and experiment with audiobooks. And, lucky us, she has just reported back with some helpful observations! Whether you’re just starting out with audiobooks, you’re still considering taking the plunge, or you’re already a pro, you’ll want to take a peek at Maddie’s beginner listening tips and favorite audiobook finds.

Wait, You Mean I Get Free Audiobooks With Amazon Prime??

Everything I Never Told YouBook Riot Contributor Kristen McQuinn kind of blew my mind when she casually dropped that she was enjoying Celeste Ng’s audiobook Everything I Never Told You for free through Amazon Prime. Umm… is this the best kept secret of an Amazon Prime membership, or what?!

So, turns out this is a fairly new perk that Amazon announced about six weeks ago. If you’ve got an Amazon Prime membership, you now get access to a rotating selection of 50 audiobooks from Audible’s catalog, including a mix of best-sellers, family favorites, and celebrity-narrated classics. With rad books like Everything I Never Told You on that list, I am so in!

Audiobooks Are Turning More Readers into Listeners

Beautiful cat with headphones isolated on white

2016 has been a shaky year for book publishers, friends. Publisher earnings fell 2.7% at the beginning of this year compared to last year. But audiobooks are the shining exception — digital audiobook earnings soared 35.3%, making them the star of the publishing industry!

The rise of audiobooks at the same time ebooks and hardcovers are declining might mean that more people are listening to books instead of reading them, as The New York Times recently speculated. I think that’s pretty spot on for me. What do you think — are you listening more and reading less in 2016?

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: October 20, 2016

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by TryAudiobooks.com/cooking.

ds9mr_9nnvka33d9utosu2rdt87yw1bqk4qmnpmj2wiwsjt85tdwjv9xj7j87ncyv_lftebo4mpc6ve1cr1dljly5iulnylk_9bxkclpmqn6mmneyzwmgc3stptk3ckigda8lfqvListen while you cook! While spending hours in the kitchen prepping meals for the holidays, put on a good audiobook and let the story help you along. Cooking for Picasso and The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living are great cooking memoirs or you can listen to Where Am I Now? read by Mara Wilson herself! Let audiobooks be your secret ingredient this holiday season. Visit TryAudiobooks.com/cooking for a free download and get started!


Dear audio-bookworms, please excuse me while I sweep the broken pieces of my heart up off the floor. I just finished the most amazing audiobook, and it was totally by accident. You know when you finish one audiobook but you haven’t queued up the next one yet? (Gasp, the horror.) Well, that just happened to me! I had no choice but to pray for an old forgotten audiobook on my phone.

I asked, and the universe answered.

BookOfUnknownAmericansThe Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez has already gotten heaps of love and praise. But what we still need to talk about is how fantastic it is on audio. Performed by six actors, we meet a striking teenager whose family has left behind their comfortable life in Mexico in hopes of getting treatment for her traumatic brain injury in the US. Some of their new neighbors are great (like the boy from Panama who’s got a little crush), and some are… not great. Ultimately, their new life sets in motion a chain of events that is at turns beautiful, at turns tragic.

I especially loved the cool little vignettes between the main chapters that tell the stories of immigrants from all over the Americas. The narrators breathe so much texture into these stories, and the simple, beautiful language works perfectly on audio. Here’s hoping you’ve fallen in love with some great listens lately, too!

10 Amazing YA Books That Are Even Better on Audio

echoWhen it comes to taste in YA books, librarian extraordinaire Molly Wetta is just about flawless. While she didn’t always love audiobooks, she’s now a total convert. Don’t miss her list on Book Riot of all-time favorite YA audiobooks. Yep, these books are amazing in print, but she swears they’re even BETTER on audio!

Meet the Voice of Brit Bennett’s The Mothers

The Mothers by Brit Bennett is just about the hottest new release this fall. I think literally every Book Riot contributor is reading it right now — including me! Naturally, we were beyond honored to have guest contributor Robin Whitten, founding editor of AudioFile Magazine, chat with narrator Adenrele Ojo about what it was like to record The Mothers, the one author she’d especially love to voice, what her special recording session rituals are, and more!

Ron Swanson or Tom Sawyer: Who Said It?

I’ve already mentioned the joyful news that Nick Offerman is the voice of Tom Sawyer on a new audiobook. But why is this pairing so magical — is it the visual of his Parks and Rec character Ron Swanson whitewashing a fence in his big beautiful mustache? Fortunately, Book Riot contributor Deepali Agarwal was willing to roll up her sleeves and do some research. You know, for science.

Take a look at these pics of Ron Swanson and the quotes they’re paired up with, and see if you can tell who said it: Swanson or Sawyer?

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: October 6, 2016

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

prha-logo_200x_v2Life can be stressful. Book Club doesn’t have to be. Listen to your next book club pick on audio! Visit PenguinRandomHouseAudio.com/bookclub and get ideas, recipes, and recommendations to make your next book club meeting even more enjoyable.

nimona-noelle-stevenson-audioHello, my audiobook nerds! I have no chill today, I’m just gonna cut right to the chase and tell you guys about two Very Important Audiobooks. First up: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It’s freaking NIMONA. On audio!!! Book Riot has written literally over 100 posts about how great Nimona is — the lovable, weird, big-hearted comic about a shape-shifting sidekick and her evil villain bestie. This brand-new audio adaptation is exceptionally well done, and it makes for a super fun, super fast listen with a full-cast, sound effects, original music, basically the whole shebang. (Just listen to this excerpt and you’ll see what I mean.)

you-cant-touch-my-hair-phoebe-robinson-audioIn other Very Important Audiobook news, drop everything and run (don’t walk) to the nearest recording of You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson. Look, I love essays by funny ladies. You could even say they’re my jam. Well, all my past faves pale in comparison to this hilarious new collection of essays about feminism, race, pop-culture, and being a black woman in America. Phoebe Robinson is funny and poignant literally 100% of the time (how?!), and the audiobook is bananas phenomenal (with tons of ad libs you won’t find in the print version). Listening to this audiobook was a good life choice.

8 Amazing Audiobooks (That Probably Wouldn’t have Existed 5 Years Ago)

under-the-udala-trees-chinelo-okparanta-audioYou guys, there are so many more audiobooks in the world than there used to be. Only 7,000 audiobooks were published in 2011, compared to 35,000+ that were published last year! I love this boom for many reasons, especially because we have so many more listening choices than we used to. The aughts were all about mainstream bestsellers by white authors. Not so 2016, friends. Book Riot contributor Casey Stepaniuk has rounded up eight amazing audiobooks — magical realism! funny personal essays! epic love stories! — by black authors from the US, Canada, Jamaica, Nigeria, all performed by black narrators.

How to Be an Excessively Efficient Reader

what-if-randall-munroe-audioDo you time your audiobooks to match up with your life? Like, let’s say you drive 30 minutes to work every day — do you look for books that go down in easy half hour chunks? Book Riot contributor Trisha Brown is a self-described excessively efficient reader, and she’s nailed the art of matching audiobook length and tone to the flow of her daily life. 25 minute walk to work? The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae. 8 minute wait for a train after happy hour? What If? by Randall Munroe. 40 minutes to kill in the wee hours on a Saturday morning? Dawn by Octavia Butler. Read on for more inspiration for perfect audiobook-to-activity pairings!

5 Excellent Hard-to-Find Classics on LibriVox

behind-the-green-door-by-milded-a-wirtWe at Book Riot heart LibriVox, a magical site where you can listen to thousands of audiobooks in 36 different languages… for free! They’re all public domain titles read by volunteers, i.e. lots of fantastic titles that are out of print and can’t be found anywhere else. Book Riot contributor Zoe Dickinson has been using (and loving) LibriVox for years, and recommends 5 of her all-time favorite finds. Enjoy!

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: September 22, 2016

51vvh0yv4gl-_sl300_This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by The Call by Peadar O’Guilin.

You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun, and you have three minutes and four seconds to save your life from the Sidhe, the most beautiful and terrible fairies you’ve ever seen. 14-year old Nessa knows she’ll be Called soon, and no one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she’s going to prove them wrong. Peadar O’Guilin’s The Call is a heart-stopping, blood-pounding, can’t-put-down-until-you’ve-read-the-last-word fantasy thriller you won’t be able to forget. Could you survive the Call? (Narrator Amy Shiels will appear in next year’s Twin Peaks revival!)

youwillknowmeHello hello! The sunflowers are out here in Kansas, baristas are brewing pumpkin spice lattes, and I even had to wear real pants the other day. I’ve been celebrating the chill in the air with some fantastic female-driven thrillers. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott is about gymnastics, girlhood, and a mysterious death that tears a tight community of families apart, and Lauren Fortgang performs it like the star of a one-woman Tony Award-winning show on Broadway. I also live-tweeted my listen of Stephen King’s Carrie, which I’d never read (or seen!) before. I knew it was about a high school outcast who gets her revenge at the prom, but everything else was basically a surprise. It’s a fast-paced, intense little thriller with badass action scenes performed by Sissy Spacek — definitely the most fun I’ve had with an audiobook in awhile. I hope you’ve got some fun listens on deck, too!

11 Websites to Find Free Audiobooks Online

young woman reading a book and listening to music.

The cat’s out of the bag… we love audiobooks at Book Riot. As contributor Nikki Vanry puts it, “We love listening to ’em on our commutes. While we’re cleaning the house. While we’re running. Or, even while we’re cooking. It’s a lot of time for audiobook listening.” If, like us, you burn through audiobooks faster than you can get your li’l paws on them, you’ll be happy to know that Nikki put together a handy guide to 11 websites that offer thousands and thousands of free audiobooks online. In her words, “That’s a lot of books. Get to listening.”

Nick Offerman is the Voice of Tom Sawyer

tomsawyer_finalThese days a lot of celebrities are getting in on all the audiobook action, which is a trend that I love. That being said, just because someone is a fancy celebrity doesn’t automatically guarantee they’re going to be fantastic on an audiobook. (If we are at a party together and I’m a little tipsy, you might even be able to get me to name a few duds I’ve heard.) But when it does work, the combination can be completely MAGICAL. Bryan Cranston and The Things They Carried. Thandie Newton and Jane Eyre. Sissy Spacek and To Kill a Mockingbird. This is why I’m so excited about Nick Offerman’s brand new performance of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain! Head over to Book Riot to get the lowdown and listen to a clip.

13 Audiobooks to Inspire a Road Trip

the-wangs-vs-the-world-by-jade-chang-2370007190768One of the books I’m most excited about this fall is The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang, which will finally be here on October 4th. In this road trip book, the dad of a wealthy immigrant family plots a return to their ancestral lands in China after they lose their fortune in the financial crisis. But not everyone in the family is on board, and they wind up on a (hilarious) road trip across America to regroup. In honor of the time-honored Road Trip Book, contributor Rachel Manwill has rounded up 13 of her favorites on audio, from Neil Gaiman to Gloria Steinem. (She’s headed out on a two-week cross country road trip herself, so she really knows her stuff!) Check ’em out and add some listens to your TBR.

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: September 8, 2016

51vvh0yv4gl-_sl300_This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by The Call by Peadar O’Guilin.

You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun, and you have three minutes and four seconds to save your life from the Sidhe, the most beautiful and terrible fairies you’ve ever seen. 14-year old Nessa knows she’ll be Called soon, and no one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she’s going to prove them wrong. Peadar O’Guilin’s The Call is a heart-stopping, blood-pounding, can’t-put-down-until-you’ve-read-the-last-word fantasy thriller you won’t be able to forget. Could you survive the Call? (Narrator Amy Shiels will appear in next year’s Twin Peaks revival!)

The Most Exciting Audiobook of the Year?

41oqrhcrtlHave you guys read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey yet? It’s been making headlines for selling almost half a million copies — pretty badass for a book of poems that was originally self published. Rupi Kaur moves people with her words, and excitement about Milk and Honey has spread through word-of-mouth, booksellers, and social media. And if you haven’t read it yet, you’re kind of in luck that you waited, because the audiobook just came out!

Andrews McMeel Publishing has only published a few collections of poetry, so we’re really lucky that they stumbled onto Milk and Honey. After a little experimenting, they noticed that spoken-word poets were really popular on college campuses. As they put it in a piece by Publishers Weekly, “We saw that there was this generation of young women, mostly in that early-20s age group, who were responding to this form of expression.”

Milk and Honey is a mix of prose and poetry that explores survival, violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity, taking a journey through life’s most bitter moments to find sweetness. It’s divided into four chapters that each deal with a different kind of pain and heartache, and you can check out an excerpt of the audio here, performed by Rupi Kaur (yes!).

How Audiobooks Can Help With ADHD

I love Kate Scott’s recent piece for Book Riot about what she calls her “Tigger brain.” Even though she wants to read pretty much everything ever written (yep, same here), her neurobiology doesn’t always cooperate (again, same!). I like to think that while my wandering attention doesn’t always make it easy to be a reader, at least I wind up listening to some COMPLETELY CAPTIVATING books — sometimes they’re the only ones that can hold my attention! For Kate, listening to audiobooks is her version of meditation, and it’s her #1 reading tip for people with ADD / ADHD.

My Latest Audiobook Obsession

crazyrichasiansRemember 2 seconds ago when I was talking about audiobooks that are COMPLETELY CAPTIVATING? This is fully true of Crazy Rich Asians, a gossipy novel about Singapore’s most rich and famous. Rachel and Nick, both young academics in New York, take a romantic trip to Singapore where Nick will be the best man in his friend’s wedding. Oh, and P.S.: Nick will also introduce Rachel to his family, no pressure. What’s more, Rachel has no idea that her humble, mild-mannered boyfriend is actually from one of Singapore’s richest families and is the most eligible bachelor in the country. Shenanigans, schemes, and gossip ensue.

I don’t know why I didn’t read this book instantly. Maybe I worried that it would be formulaic with half-hearted chuckles? Think again, self: it’s more like Edith Wharton meets Gossip Girl set in Singapore with a dash of Emily Gilmore. It’s completely funny and original, and it has what I’ve come to think of as a strong narrative voice — a quality that I love about audiobooks like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, City of Thieves, and anything by Nora Ephron. It’s almost like these stories were meant to be read out loud.

As narrator, Lynn Chen hits it out of the park with breezy humor, backstabbing relatives, and effortless accents from New York, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Australia, England, and more. I loved everything about this audiobook and am psyched that the saga continues with two more books. <3

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Audiobooks

Audiobooks!: August 25, 2016

Truly Madly GuiltyThis week’s Audiobooks! newsletter is sponsored by Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty.

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? In Truly Madly Guilty, #1 New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm. This can’t miss audiobook is read by Caroline Lee.

Hello, bookworms! I’ve been all over the map with my listening this summer, and it’s gotten me thinking about the interplay between story and narrator. I’ve abandoned several great stories with ho hum narrators, as well as ho hum stories with great narrators. But then sometimes you hit the jackpot with a spectacular book read by a spectacular narrator, like Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, read by Prentice Onayemi.

In Behold the Dreamers, it’s 2008 and Jende and Neni have immigrated to New York from Cameroon to grab their little piece of the American dream. Jende gets work as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, and Neni is in night school to become a pharmacist. As Jende and Neni watch Clark’s work and home life start to crack, so too does their idea of what it means to be an American.

As narrator, Prentice Onayemi shows a fantastic range that’s so necessary for this book, seamlessly shifting from Cameroonian chauffeur to wealthy financial executive; Eastern European housekeeper to trust fund hippie; Harlem mother to white church lady. Onayemi nails it, and I’m so excited to listen to more of his work. (I hear AnotherBrooklynhe kills on The Sellout.)

Speaking of spectacular books read by spectacular narrators, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn promises to be another jackpot listen. It’s her first adult novel in 20 years, and this excerpt read by Robin Miles is amazing.

15 Audiobooks That Will Transport You Around the World

VegetarianA few weeks ago we had a little chat here about the need for diverse voices on audiobooks. Listening to different accents, rhythms, music, and soundscapes is such an excellent way to become immersed in someone else’s world. Jamie at Book Riot has rounded up 15 books that do just that — from Mexico to Australia, Nigeria to Korea, these stellar authors and narrators will transport you all over the globe.

Your Brain Doesn’t Get Any Gold Stars for Reading Print Instead of Audio

african female university student listening to music“I’ve been asked this question a lot and I hate it,” writes University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham about whether or not listening to audiobooks is “cheating.” In a fascinating blog post, he unpacks this idea of “cheating” itself: it assumes that the listener got some reward without putting in enough effort. He goes on to explain why, from a cognitive perspective, there’s no real difference in the work it takes to read a book versus listen to it once you become an adult.

Dr. Willingham describes the two basic processes involved in reading: “decoding” (interpreting strings of letters as words that have meaning), and “comprehension” (understanding the context and story). Researchers have known for years that reading comprehension and listening comprehension are highly correlated. The decoding process, on the other hand, is specific to reading print, and is, in fact, an extra step for your brain. But by the time you’re around 10 years old, decoding has become so second-nature that it’s essentially automatic and isn’t any extra “work.”

For more on the science behind why your brain doesn’t get any gold stars for skipping audio, check out this great piece by Melissa Dahl at New York Magazine.

Things You Can Do While Listening to Audiobooks

Scooping the cat litter, drowning out office gossip, repairing fences, showering, playing Pokemon Go — these are just a few of the excuses we’ve found to squeeze in a bit more listening! Sarah D. asked everyone at Book Riot what we do while listening to audiobooks, and she’s put the answers together in a handy rundown. Here’s what we do while listening, what about you?