Books Better Listened to Than Read

Although hard copy is still my preferred way of reading, I recently became very into audio books. I listen to them while I get ready in the morning, on my commute, or while working out, and it’s a great way to squeeze some pleasure reading into a busy day. Audio books are perfect because they allow you to multi-task while you read, which works well for the restless. However, I’ve noticed that I tend to gravitate toward certain kinds of books on the audio platform. Whereas I would opt to read heavier or more plot-dense books in physical form, I enjoy listening to romances, nonfiction, and light commercial fiction. These books tend to have some wiggle room for wandering minds, and you won’t be completely lost if you lose focus for a few seconds. They also come with the additional benefit of occasionally being read by the author, or by a reader who uses different voices/accents for different characters. Below is a list of books that I recently read (or am currently reading), that I would recommend be listened to rather that read!

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Becoming

Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a perfect book to listen to, because it’s read by Mrs. Obama herself! This is such a treat, because since it’s written in the first person, you get to hear her intonation instead of just imagining it. It feels so much more personal and intimate.

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The Kiss Quotient

Helen Hoang

Since interning for a romance publisher, I have expanded my bookshelf to include a lot of romance. Light fiction like this is great to listen to instead of read, because it doesn’t typically require laser focus. It’s something you can listen to for a few minutes at a time, and still get enough plot to be enjoyable. This book was a nice twist on the typical romance, and I enjoyed it more than I expected I would. Also, for those steamy scenes, there’s something about hearing the words spoken that make it all the more sexy.

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Sweetbitter

Stephanie Danler

I am currently listening to this book (I know, I’m a few years behind), and I am in love with it. This is partly due to the beautiful, colorful prose, and partly due to the fact that the reader of the audio version, Alex McKenna, has the most perfect, raspy voice. She changes her tone and intonation for each character (and there are many, so it helps keep track), and even does a pretty good Russian accent for Sasha, the sassy gay waiter. Her interpretation of this book has really made it shine for me, especially in understanding the dynamics between the characters. The main antagonist, Simone, is meant to be a mysterious, wise, too-cool character, but that doesn’t always come across clearly through just the dialogue. With McKenna’s use of sensual intonation and toning, you get a clear picture of how Simone is meant to be portrayed by the author.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Mark Manson

I love listening to nonfiction, particularly self-help, via audio, because it often doesn’t follow a strict story arc and isn’t too damning if you miss a paragraph or two. This book is a particularly good choice for audio because it’s funny, and the reader does a great job of delivering the jokes. The tone perfectly matches the sarcastic voice of the author, and helps to make the book feel more multi-dimensional. It feels like the author is personally giving you advice over the phone, even if it isn’t the author reading the book.

There you have it! Happy listening.

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