Audiobooks!: April 20, 2017

Happy Thursday, audiobook minions! I just started listening to American War by Omar El Akkad, a buzzy new book about a civil war that erupts in the US on the heels of an energy crisis in 2074. I’m also wrapping up The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker, about two cartoonists who meet in art school and must navigate the fiery terrain of their years-long creative friendship. They’re narrated by Dion Graham and Alex McKenna, respectively — two of my favorites — so you could say I’ve had a pretty great week in audiobooks. And we have tons more audiobook goodness to get to this week, so hang onto your hat!

Welcome Home to Booknerdlandia

BR Insiders Image SquareWe are so excited to announce Book Riot’s brand new subscription program, Insiders! Look up new releases in our shiny New Release Index, listen to our Read Harder podcast just for subscribers, get a look behind-the-scenes, and more, starting at $3/month. Check out the Insiders site for full details and to sign up.

A Summer of Free Audiobooks for Teens: SYNC Returns

Only 7 days until the return of SYNC, y’all!!! Starting April 27, teens 13+ can once again download 2 free audiobooks per week for 15 weeks of summer. SYNC keeps getting better and better, and I love their mission to introduce the listening experience to teens who are working on Required Reading. (But these audiobooks are so good I’d listen even when not required.) This year’s lineup of free audiobooks includes Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older, The Witches by Stacy Schiff, Stephen Fry’s performance of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and many more. See the full list and find download instructions at

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Return In New X-Files Audiobook

Amanda Kay Oaks writes, “X-Files fans, get your muppet arms ready: you’re getting a new audiobook!” The best part? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are returning to voice Mulder (!!) and Scully (!!!!!). The X-Files: Cold Cases will answer questions about Mulder and Scully’s reappearance, and also promises encores from “friends and foes of the agency long thought gone.” Find more details — including how to get your hands on the July 18 release — at Book Riot.

Every Audiobook Is 50% Off At Audible Thru April 24

It’s that time again… Audible is having a 50% off spring sale. Every single audiobook on the site is on sale thru this Monday April 24. In other words, this is pretty epic, and I’m so sorry for the shopping spree I just enabled. The sale is open to Audible members only, so this might be the right time if you’ve been thinking about renewing a lapsed membership.

Watch Kirby Heyborne and Jorjeana Marie Bake Cookies for Audiobooks

I giggle every time I watch this cute video of one of my favorite narrators, Kirby Heyborne, giving an encore performance of his role as Nick from Gone Girl while baking cookies with fellow narrator Jorjeana Marie. (It also makes me hungry for chocolate chip cookie dough.) Treat yourself to this short video that shows how any time can be reading time:

Odds & Ends:

I adored this glimpse into the making of an audiobook that’s inspired by a true outer space love story, via See You On The Bookshelf

How audiobooks helped a chronic procrastinator overcome a lifelong struggle with getting motivated, via Book Riot

A book lover on going blind and falling in love with a whole new world through audiobooks, via Audible Range

An author’s accidental journey to becoming an audiobook convert, via Signature

Hear a clip from the Hamilton-inspired Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz, via Hypable

8 reasons Millennials are choosing audiobooks, via Inc.

Smalls out! Thanks for going on this audiobook adventure with me. If you want to stay in touch and swap audiobook recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at LadybitsKnits.

High five,
Rachel Smalter Hall


Audiobooks!: April 6, 2017

Welcome back, audiobook fans! I’ve just come off a streak of excellent, short listens — Exit West and A Separation are both moody little novels with a global scope, and The Rules Do Not Apply and Wishful Drinking are both eye-opening memoirs by women who aren’t afraid to wear their flaws on their sleeves. And if you’re still in search of listening ideas, you’re in luck because today’s newsletter is full of recs!

Sponsored by Little House on the Prairie

The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is now available in digital audio! Listen to excerpts from all nine audiobooks, performed by Cherry Jones, plus the playing of “Pa’s fiddle” by Paul Woodiel.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Continues in New Audiobook Scene by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale famously ends with the line “Are there any questions?” and now we finally have the chance to get some of our questions answered. Margaret Atwood has written a new Q&A between key characters from the original story, available as a special edition audiobook from Audible. Claire Danes reads the classic novel, and a full cast performs the new material. Learn more and listen to an excerpt at EW.

Take a Bookish Audio Tour of New York City

You can now take an audio listening tour of New York City by clicking on a map to hear recordings of famous New York writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Richard Wright, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. How great is this?! I’d love to listen to this while actually roaming the streets of NYC, but meanwhile I’m happy to play along from my office in Kansas City.

10 Underrated Audiobooks You Should Listen To

Maybe you’ve already heard of these excellent books, or even put a few on your To-Be-Read list. But what you might not know is that the audiobook versions elevate them to must-listen status. There’s something about each narrator’s performance that reveals just how funny, or sad, or insightful that particular book is. See the complete list at Book Riot.

A Power Commuter Shares Her Audiobook Tips

If you had your dream job but had to commute an hour each way, would you look for a worse job? Or get super cozy with audiobooks? One commuter who chose the latter shares her daily reading ritual and what she’s learned about juggling tools like Overdrive, Hoopla, Audible, and more to keep her audiobook queue flowing. Get her tips at Book Riot.

Odds & Ends:

The unglamorous ordeal of recording your own audiobook, via LitHub

Audiobook listening trends by state, via Audible

The many benefits of audiobooks, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Our obsession with productivity is driving the audiobook trend, via Quartz

Alec Baldwin reads a clip from his new memoir, via HarperAudio

Smalls out! I hope you loved all the new links tucked under “Odds & Ends.” If you want to stay in touch and swap audiobook recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at LadybitsKnits.

High five,
Rachel Smalter Hall


Audiobooks!: March 23, 2017

Hi there, audiobook fans! I’m feeling fantastic because I’ve finally been won over to the beauty of listening to books at 1.25x speed. Have you tried this? A lot of audiobook apps like Audible, Overdrive, and Volumes offer the option to listen at 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x speed or even more. I’ve tried it with fiction before and it just wasn’t my thing. But I was listening to some pretty straightforward non-fiction the other day and gave it another try. Jackpot! I loved jamming those facts in my head and shaving 2.5 hours off my listening time.

Speaking of things that fly by, let’s get on to this week’s audio goodies:

Sponsored by Unbound Worlds: Cage Match.

Cage Match is back! Unbound Worlds is pitting science fiction characters against fantasy characters in a battle-to-the-death tournament, and you can win a collection of all 32 books featured in the competition. Enter now for your chance to win this library of sci-fi and fantasy titles!

Stephen Fry Reads A New Sherlock Holmes Collection

Jamie Canaves, who writes Book Riot’s Unusual Suspects newsletter, has a mystery pick I think you’re going to want to hear about. “A new audiobook has Stephen Fry narrating Sherlock Holmes! The collection has four novels and four short stories AND Fry wrote an introduction for each, exclusively for Audible Studios. Even though I’ve previously read A Study in Scarlet I couldn’t pass up listening to Fry’s introduction, nor his narration. His introduction is the perfect length and gives a quick insight into his personal attachment, some history on Arthur Conan Doyle, the characters, the time period, and the detective genre. If you’ve never read Doyle’s Holmes before this is a perfect collection to read so that when you’re in the mood for a novel or short story you can select one and find yourself in Baker Street with Fry’s wonderful narration in your ears. Or if you’re a superfan already the collection is a hell of a binging challenge!” Treat Yo Self to a sample.

Audiobook of the Year

The finalists for the Audie Awards’ 2017 Audiobook of the Year were just announced: Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. The winner will be announced on June 1, 2017 — congrats to all the finalists!

Buy Downloadable Audiobooks, Support Your Local Indie

If you love your local indie bookstore, listen up because you might want to check out lets you buy downloadable audiobooks directly from the independent bookstore of your choice — kind of like Kobo, but for audiobooks. How cool is that?! They handle all the technical stuff, but your dollars directly support your favorite indie. You can setup a monthly subscription or buy titles individually, and they have partnerships with indie bookstores in over 40 states and growing. My favorite part? The files are DRM-free so you can just download the file and listen on any device you want! Genius.

The website says they’re giving away free audiobooks on April 29 for Independent Bookstore Day, so I’ll definitely be checking that out.

Wattpad Stories Are Finally Coming to Audio, Thanks To Hachette

Do you Wattpad? The Wattpad community is 45 million passionate readers strong, and is putting out the freshest voices and worlds in storytelling. And traditional publishers have been snapping up these voices for book deals. Authors like Nikki Kelly (The Styclar Saga), Natasha Preston (The Cellar), Beth Reekles (The Kissing Booth) and Anna Todd (After) were discovered on Wattpad, just to name a few.

Wattpad has recently been developing stories for film and TV, and their newest venture is a first-of-its-kind audio partnership with Hachette Audio. For the first time, Wattpad stories will be adapted as audiobooks! The first batch of titles are slated to come out in late spring or early summer. They say they’ll be experimenting with “audio formats other than the standard audiobook format,” and I’m excited to see what this means and how they’re going to shake things up.

Smalls out! It’s been a pleasure chatting about audiobooks, as always. If you want to stay in touch and swap audiobook recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at LadybitsKnits.

High five,
Rachel Smalter Hall


Audiobooks!: March 9, 2017

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by Unbound Worlds: Cage Match.

Cage Match is back! Unbound Worlds is pitting science fiction characters against fantasy characters in a battle-to-the-death tournament, and you can win a collection of all 32 books featured in the competition. Enter now for your chance to win this library of sci-fi and fantasy titles!

Hey hey, audiobook fans!

Have you heard about the bill that would ban the works of Howard Zinn in Arkansas public schools? Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States presents U.S. history from the point of view of the oppressed: Native Americans, slaves, women, immigrants, the poor, and Civil Rights activists. It’s also been climbing the bestseller lists since January.

With all the interest in Zinn’s work, there’s no better time to check it out. But with the print at almost 800 pages and the audio at almost 35 hours (!), I offer you an alternative: the fabulous A People’s History of the United States: Highlights From the 20th Century read by Matt Damon and Howard Zinn! Zinn was an inspiration for Good Will Hunting, and the two were neighbors during Damon’s childhood in Boston — they have great chemistry on the audiobook. The best part? It clocks in at just over 8 hours.

If you’re in the mood for the full version, you can’t go wrong there, either — it’s read by Howard Zinn’s son, Jeff.

10 Audiobooks for When You Have the Sads

Do you turn to books when you’re feeling blue? So does Book Riot Contributor Katie MacBride, who writes that she’s been having “just a sort of gray, lethargic feeling of uninspired, overwhelmed blah.” She’s been craving audiobooks in particular, since they’re so great for lounging around the house, staring listlessly at all the things that you should be doing. (YUP, I feel those feels.) Read on for 10 audiobooks that Katie and her fellow Rioters recommend to help you through a funk!

8 Historical Fiction Listens For Readers of All Ages

Little House In The Big Woods kicks off Book Riot Contributor Kristy Pasquariello’s round-up of historical fiction that readers of all ages can listen to together. She’s found that holy grail, the magical mermaid-unicorn (idk, just go with it) of audiobooks that will satisfy everyone who has to be in the same car together. Read on to immerse yourself and your traveling companions in another time and place.

Try This If Audiobooks Make You Fall Asleep

Picture this: a sunny kitchen table, a pencil case packed with bright colors, and an audiobook queued up nearby. Book Riot Contributor James Wallace Harris has discovered that he loves coloring black and white illustrations from classic books while listening to audiobooks, which he incorporates into his daily practice of mindfulness. It’s his time to turn off his thinking mind, enter a meditative state, and simply listen while coloring within the lines. Bonus: he doesn’t nod off. Get the details here.

Smalls out! Thanks for another week of audiobook nerdery. If you want to stay in touch and swap audiobook recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at LadybitsKnits.

High five,


Audiobooks!: February 23, 2017

Howdy, audiobook friends. Pinch me, because I think I might be a ghost stuck in the bardo… I’m still recovering from talking to George Saunders about the making of his 166-voice celebrity studded audiobook, Lincoln in the Bardo (!!!). I loved this funny, spine-tingly listen more than I can say, and am so excited that George Saunders and executive producer Kelly Gildea kindly gave Book Riot this behind-the-scenes look at the making of this special audiobook. Enjoy!

Twin Peaks Fans: You Need This Audiobook

Hunker down with a slice of pie and a coffee percolator, because there’s a new Twin Peaks audiobook you need to check out. Book Riot contributor Leila Roy talks about why she needed — NEEDED! — The Secret History of Twin Peaks in both print AND audio, which has Twin Peaks stars Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Michael Horse, and David Patrick Kelly on its roster of narrators. Read on for Twin Peaks-related swooning and heart eyes (plus a clip from the audiobook).

The Underground Railroad Is Available On Audio For Free

This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill! For a limited time, you can listen to The Underground Railroad for free from BBC Radio’s website. Book Riot contributor Nicole Froio writes, “Colson Whitehead’s gut-wrenching, award-winning novel tells the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, by mixing brutal depictions of suffering and oppression with a sci-fi-esque re-imagined and fully functioning underground railroad.”

This original audio production is different from the audiobook version US listeners might already know. Read by The Wire’s Clarke Peters, it’s been adapted for radio in 10 mini episodes that are streaming for free thru March 22. Get listening!

Six Weeks of Free Audiobooks from Penguin Random House

Here’s another cool freebie: Season of Stories is back, this time with a collection of short daily listens from exciting authors like Yaa Gyasi, Margaret Atwood, Jhumpa Lahiri, Adam Johnson, and more. The idea is to start each week with a new story, and follow along until that story ends on Friday. Six weeks, six free stories from Penguin Random House. I dig it.

That’s a wrap on audiobook goodies for the week. Thanks for hanging out to chat audiobooks! If you want to stay in touch and swap recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at LadybitsKnits.

High five,


Audiobooks!: February 9, 2017

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

Playster is the world’s first all-in-one entertainment service. It takes care of everything — ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, TV shows and games — and gives you unlimited access to millions of titles for one flat monthly fee. That’s right! Playster lets you enjoy unlimited audiobooks and ebooks — no restrictions, no credit systems.

The service is accessible through all web browsers, and Playster’s Android and iOS apps, on virtually any device. What’s more, the offline mode lets you save all of your favorites for on-the-go reading when there’s no Internet access around. Sign up today to get your free 30 day trial!

Hi fellow listeners, the Audie Award finalists were announced late Wednesday to honor the best audiobooks of the year, and I have some first impressions to share with you!

I’m amped that The Underground Railroad and Another Brooklyn have each received TWO nominations, both for Literary Fiction/Classics and Best Female Narrator. And I’m excited to see several more of Book Riot’s favorite listens, too, like You Can’t Touch My Hair, Around the Way Girl, Shrill, Sleeping Giants, IQ, and Homegoing.

Filed under “surprise,” Born a Crime and Behold the Dreamers didn’t get any nods. Born a Crime likely came out too late in the year, but Prentice Onayemi’s performance on Behold the Dreamers is a Book Riot favorite. I also did a double take at the category for Shrill… the humorous feminist essay collection is a finalist for Business/Personal Development??

On the inclusivity front, the Audies did really well in some categories but is still very uneven in others. We like the inclusivity we see in Literary Fiction/Classics and Humor, but too many categories are still 100% white and male (or 100% white and female). See the full list of finalists here.

Finally, You Can Listen To The Full Little House on the Prairie Series

Fans of Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie, and Jack: all nine books of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder are now available on Audible, read by the fantastic Cherry Jones! We’ll always have a soft spot for these books told from Laura’s point of view about her pioneer family’s life in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods in the late 1800s. I might not fall asleep to the sound of Pa’s fiddle at night, but I wouldn’t mind drifting off to Cherry Jones reading these familiar stories <3

John Cleese’s New Audiobook: “I Think It’s the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done”

Calling all Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fans! When he finished writing his memoir So, Anyway…, John Cleese felt creatively drained, and that wasn’t the mental place he wanted to be in while recording the audiobook. So he gave himself permission to wait until he was recharged and ready to do it properly. The payoff? “I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he told Book Riot’s Swapna Krishna.

Read on for John Cleese’s thoughts on comedy, self care for creatives, and why So, Anyway… is even better on audio! (Hint: he miiight have rewritten it a little bit as he went along.)

These Audiobooks are Up for Grammys

The Grammy Awards are this Sunday, and books by Amy Schumer, Carol Burnett, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, and John Doe are all up for Best Spoken Word Album. You can listen to excerpts from all five titles at EW (if you’re not blinded by all that whiteness).

Smalls out! Thanks for nerding out about audiobooks with me. If you want to stay in touch and swap audiobook recommendations before the next Audiobooks! Newsletter, you can find me on Twitter at Rach_Smalls or on Instagram at Ladybits Knits.

High five,


Audiobooks!: January 26, 2017

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by Mother Nile, a dazzling triumph from the bestselling author of The War of the Roses.

Mother Nile is the story of Si, the American-born son of an Irish father and Egyptian mother, who goes on a journey through the City of the Dead to solve a half-century-old mystery. When his mother makes an urgent plea on her deathbed, Si knows that he must go to Egypt to uncover the truth about his long-lost half-sister, conceived during his mother’s affair with King Farouk. This book goes on a journey into a world of sex, power, politics, drugs, and Egypt.

Hi audiobook friends! I’m having the most fun listening to Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. A team of scientists is studying a giant metal hand that was found in South Dakota. Weirder yet, the hand appears to be just one piece of an enormous alien object hidden all over Earth. The researchers are on the brink of a huge discovery, but they don’t know if their work will be used for peace or mass destruction. Cue the juicy ethical dilemmas!

This book works so beautifully on audio. It’s performed by a full cast through a series of case files and interviews, and it feels just like binge watching Westworld or Battlestar Galactica. If you listen to Sleeping Giants now, watch for the sequel this April <3

Get (Audio-) Booked

I recently got to hang out with Book Riot Editor Amanda Nelson on Get Booked, our weekly book recommendation podcast, for an episode all about audiobooks (!). Readers wrote in asking about how to get into fiction on audio, recs for long commutes, what to give family who are just getting into audiobooks, and more. If you love podcasts as much as you love audiobooks, this episode was pretty much made just for you.

Hidden Figures Narrator Robin Miles on Vulnerability and When to Go Big

Muppet arms for Hidden Figures on its three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture! If you’ve already seen the movie, next you’ll definitely want to queue up the audiobook read by Robin Miles and take a deep dive into the lives of five African-American women who were NASA mathematicians during the space race.

Book Riot contributor Erin Burba recently caught up with Robin Miles about what it’s like to perform books by Roxane Gay, Jacqueline Woodson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, i.e. allll the rad authors. The result is one of the most moving conversations about audiobooks I’ve ever encountered. Go check that out, then listen to an excerpt of Hidden Figures here.

The Most Bananas Audiobook Cast Ever, With Carrie Brownstein, Bill Hader, Julianne Moore, Nick Offerman, and 160+ (Wut?!) Others

Book Riot already loves George Saunders with our whole hearts, and his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is hands down one of our most anticipated books of the year. So when we found out the audio is read by a record-breaking 166 actors, we flailed around in stunned excitement for a full minute before we were able to collect ourselves enough to start sharing our joy.

Lincoln in the Bardo takes place over a single night when President Lincoln visits the graveyard where his son’s body has been laid to rest. Catch the extended cast list and more in this run-down by Book Riot Contributor Emma Nichols.

The Handmaid’s Tale Podcast You Didn’t Know You Needed

There’s never been a better time to brush up on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, can I get an amen? We’re all SUPER EXCITED about The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation coming to Hulu in April starring Elisabeth Moss. But there’s another adaptation you can enjoy right now! Book Riot Contributor Patricia Thang has been loving a podcast adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale on Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape that started January 3 and runs for six weeks. Get the full scoop here.


Audiobooks!: January 12, 2017

This week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by

Get your book fix on the go with! Whether you’re in the car, at the gym or on the couch, 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 today.

Happy New Year, audiobooks friends! I had a wild and crazy New Year’s Eve — I went to a train restaurant with my toddler and stayed up late to finish listening to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. It was BASICALLY the best NYE ever, this book was a sneak attack of awesomeness that stands out as one of the best of 2016.

Most U.S. listeners know Trevor Noah for taking over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart. Those are giant shoes to fill, and it seems like most Americans think of him as “the guy that I don’t love as much as Jon Stewart.” I’m so happy that we get to know him a little better through this memoir, and I’m now a 100% converted fan.

In Born A Crime, Trevor Noah is at turns deeply insightful and ridiculously funny. He grew up in South Africa under Apartheid as the child of a black mother and white father — in other words, it was LITERALLY a crime for him to exist. In between brilliant commentary about race and Apartheid, he entertains with stories about being a smartass kid at a Catholic school, his side hustle selling pirated CDs in high school, and his spectacular failure at the senior prom.

At the heart of Born a Crime is Noah’s relationship with his mom, a devout Christian and stubborn non-conformist. His love for his mom burns brightly on every page, even as they constantly butt heads. The book closes with a shocking story about his mother’s troubled marriage that still sucks the breath out of me.

Trevor Noah is a fantastic storyteller and an even better narrator. You’ll be SO glad you put this on your to-be-read list.

10 Audiobooks for Podcast Listeners

Book Riot contributor Rebecca Hussey is drawn to a particular kind of audiobook: the kind that reminds her of a podcast! Lately she’s loving memoirs and essays that are chatty, topical, and told in an original — often humorous — voice. They keep her listening without demanding intense concentration. If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out these 10 audiobooks she recommends for podcast listeners.

4 Dangers of Listening to Audiobooks in Public

Has an audiobook ever made you sob in public?

Book Riot Contributor Susie Rodarme drew these rad original cartoons about the dangers of listening to audiobooks in public that are possibly (definitely) based on her real life experience, check ‘em out!

‘Square’ is the New ‘Rectangle’: How Audiobook Covers are Made

Raise your hand if you love iconic book covers! My heart thumps for the covers of The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, and The Handmaid’s Tale, to name a few. And one thing these covers all share is that they’re rectangular — NOT square. So what’s a cover designer supposed to do with that? (It’s like when Instagram wants you to crop your perfectly framed photo, no thank you, I don’t think so, WTF.)

Fortunately, cover designers are non-evil geniuses who can piece together complicated puzzles to create square artwork that scales from a mobile phone screen to a traditional CD box to a freaking huge Times Square billboard. All while looking awesome. You can get a closer look at the cover design process over on Audible’s blog.


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 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!


Audiobooks!: December 15, 2016

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

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 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.