With all the work I’ve been doing in our kitchen, I’ve had a lot of time to listen to podcasts. But, after catching up on My Favorite Murder and then listening to every episode again, I realized I might need to branch out a bit. So, I started checking out audiobooks from my library. I had always associated audiobooks with the giant cases of cassette tapes they used to come in, but listening to an audiobook these days is pretty much the same as a podcast. So, since I’ve been burning through so many stories, I thought I’d share my favorite audiobooks so far.
In what should be no surprise to anyone, the majority of my picks so far have been related to true crime. I’ve also gotten onto a bit of a Scientology kick.
The Night Circus
So far, I’ve only listened to one fiction book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. As I’ve mentioned before, I had previously read The Night Circus but it was so long ago that I only remembered enough of the story to know that I liked it. As far as audiobooks go though, I think this is a great one. So much of an audiobook hinges on the narrator, and this is read by Jim Dale, who also narrates the Harry Potter audiobooks. His soothing voice paired with the descriptive writing makes this a relaxing listen
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Ok, I don’t know if it’s fair to call this a “favorite audiobook” but I figured I’d include it in this roundup anyway. I’ve tried and failed to read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt a handful of times, and it seemed that the audiobook was the way to go here. And while I enjoyed the story, I’ll admit that I didn’t finish. The runtime claims to be 15 hours but it felt like 30 (and no, I wasn’t listening at half speed). By the time it was due to be returned to the library, I was only about 2/3 of the way through. Maybe someday I’ll check it out again and finally finish, but I have other books I want to get to before giving this one another shot.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
As far as audiobooks go, I thought Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann was really well done. There are three different narrators depending on the section of the book, which I thought helped to better tell the story. As far as the actual story, however, I thought this was kind of slow. It probably doesn’t help that I accidentally spoiled the murder for myself, but we’ll never know. But, if you’re looking for some historical true crime to listen to while painting your cabinets, this will do the trick.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Of all of the books I’ve listened to recently, this is the only one that I actually bought. A few weeks after I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara came out, I broke down and just bought it. I couldn’t wait for the library wait list! I’m so glad I bought this one and I’m excited to listen to it again now that the Golden State Killer has been caught. Michelle McNamara was an incredible writer, and this book really sucks you into her obsession. Of course, the whole thing is clouded by the fact that she died unexpectedly before the book was finished. Because of that, there are sections that are noted as being compiled from her notes after her death. The whole thing, the insane story of the Golden State Killer paired with Michelle’s obsession and untimely death, makes for a truly captivating book.
The Stranger Beside Me
For me, memoirs really shine as audiobooks, especially when they’re read by the author. The memoir that started it all for me? The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. It’s so fascinating to listen to Ann Rule talk about her relationship with Ted Bundy and to hear in her own words (and voice!) the events that unfolded before she realized that her friend was a serial killer. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in true crime. Also, Amazon claims this is an 18 hour listen, but I swear it took me like five hours max.
Scrappy Little Nobody
This was kind of a random pick, but I ended up really enjoying Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. I like Anna Kendrick but wasn’t super interested in her life, but this was one of the memoirs read by the author that was offered by my library and was available immediately, so I checked it out. I had no idea she spent her childhood as a stage actor, including a few years on Broadway. Some parts of the book were a little contrived, but overall it was a good listen. And at only six hours, I went through this one in a day.
This has been one of my favorite picks so far. Troublemaker by Leah Remini goes into her life growing up in Scientology and her eventual escape from it. I love learning more about Scientology, so this was a no-brainer for me. I had never really paid much attention to Leah Remini, but after listening to her memoir I want to be her best friend. She talks about her experience with Scientology with both brashness and sensitivity, which made the whole thing so genuine. Highly recommend this one!
I’m currently listening to Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill and it’s so interesting. Not only did Jenna grow up inside Scientology, her uncle is the church’s current leader, David Miscavige. The descriptions from her childhood especially are unnerving. She grew up on The Ranch as they call it, doing manual labor and only seeing her parents for a few hours a week. It’s really fascinating to hear her talk about things that she considered so normal while growing up, but now realizes were completely ridiculous and sometimes dangerous. The only downside to this audiobook is that it’s not read by the author and the narrator can be a little annoying at times. Other than that, this is a great listen so far.
Anyone else have any favorite audiobooks? Let me know your recommendations!