For your listening pleasure


When I started commuting to work almost two years ago I began looking for a way to soothe myself during Houston's epic rush hour. One sure-fire way? A super interesting book on Audible.

I'll admit that it's a bit harder for me to get into a recorded novel. But a good story? I could pick that out of a noisy subway terminal with a baby screaming in my right ear. And once I'm locked in? Well, I've been known to sit in the garage for a bit when I arrive home from work.

The Audible offerings are numerous and well, overwhelming. Here are some of my very favorites from the past two years (in no particular order). 

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory: This novel is a bit out of my wheelhouse, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It centers around an unusual (they have powers!) but tightly knit family and features a bit of mobster flair. The narrator, Ari Fliakos, is a genius.

Heft by Liz Moore: I wanted this book to go on and on. The main character is fabulous, and the fact that he's a bit of recluse in Manhattan only heightened my interest. If you love careful, emotionally-wrought characterization, then this novel is for you.

Sourdough by Robin Sloane: This novel is responsible for my current obsession with my sourdough starter. I dare you to listen to this book and not want to bake sourdough (or eat spicy soup). Much like Sloane's previous novel, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (which I also love), there is the slightest element of the supernatural which keeps you guessing. Also, this book had me smiling the entire time I listened. It's a feel-good book for sure.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: This is a piece of historical fiction examining the Tennessee Children's Home Society in the 1940s and 50s. The children will break your heart, but the story keeps you on the edge of your (driver's) seat.

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees: I just might have to give this book my number one, all-time favorite award. But that might just be because I have a penchant for Victorian-era stories. Or because I love to root for the underdog. Read or listen to this one for sure.

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall: Polly will keep you laughing all the way to work. I do love to hear about mothers who are more crazy than me -- it gives me something to aim for. And I love to listen to spunk. It reminds me to exercise my own.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta by Meg Elison: I first listened to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and loved the post-apocalyptic look at a world with almost no women. Plus, it's a survival story, which is strangely appealing to this city-slicker. Then I received a notification about it's sequel, The Book of Etta, and I could barely wait to get to the car to start listening. It's a little graphic in some parts, so beware if you are sensitive. An interesting side note: The author obviously has a good working knowledge of Mormons. You'll encounter a group in the the story and the terminology is spot-on.

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy: For me, this is the one book that is as beautiful to listen to -- as it is to read. The subject matter is dark at times, but the language is all-redemptive and the characters are complicated and real. I might just listen to this one again.

Do you have any Audible favorites? I'm starting an entirely new and equally brutal commute, so I need reinforcements! Leave your suggestions in the comments!