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Audio Books Keep Me Sane (Plus Some of My Favorites)


A list of favorite audio books, including fiction, nonfiction, and kids' books

Today I felt like sharing how audio books keep me entertained and educated in this crazy busy parenting world. Plus some of my faves. In case you could use some ideas.

I love to read and have a book in front of my face pretty much nonstop from 3rd grade on. I didn’t think it would change when I became a parent. And at first it didn’t. My babe would nurse and I would read. She would fall asleep in my arms and I would read. But when we outgrew that stage, I realized that reading time was harder and harder to come by.

I still read, some, and hope to read more as the years go by, but for now I’ve found other ways to learn and be entertained and get lost in a world. Namely audio books. (Although I also go through phases of listening to a few podcasts.)

I listen to audio books while I do the dishes and fold laundry and clean the house.

I listen while I drive.

I listen when I go for walks or runs.

I listen while I cook.

I don’t have much time to just sit down and read but I do have to drive places, do have to clean the house, do have to cook, do like to walk and run. And I’ve found that these are the perfect times for me to listen to a good book or to learn something new.

Plus listening to a book makes cleaning and folding laundry much more enjoyable for me.

I used to stop by the library for books on CD before any road trip. Now I download a new audiobook.

So today I thought I’d share my favorite audio books and also ask for your recommendations. (I’m always look for new ones!)

This post contains affiliate links. First, though, I use Audible for my audio books. It’s easy, they’re an Amazon sister company, and they have a great selection. Plus they have a free trial offer which makes it well worth giving them a try, if you don’t already use them.

You can sign up here for a free trial and get two free audio books, which I think is a pretty good deal. (I signed up for the free trial ages ago when they were only offering one audio book.) Or, if you already know you like listening to audio books, just sign up. It’s worth it.

I listen to the books on my phone using the audible app and headphones (when I’m exercising) or a bluetooth speaker (when I’m doing housework) but you can do it on your computer or whatever.

Okay, here are some of my faves…

Audible Books I’ve Listened to and Enjoyed

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series as Audible Books

The Millenium series by Stieg Larsson, plus the 4th one written after Larsson’s death. If you liked the books, these audio versions are great ways to revisit the series. The narration is excellent.

Audible Books I Love - Big Magic and Elon Musk

Walt Longmire Mysteries as Audible Books

I’m not usually big into murder mysteries, and Westerns aren’t even my thing, but I loved this series. Plus I would listen to anything George Guidall narrates.

The War of Art and Do the Work as Audible Books

I had read both of these before, but the audio versions are excellent. For anyone who has creative work to do. Psst… I think that’s all of us.

Audible Books I Love - Your Brain on Love and Outrageous Openness

Audio Books for Kids, too

Harry Potter Audible Books

Also, I’ve introduced the kids to my audio book obsession. We’ve listened to some of the Harry Potter series in the car (wonderful performance!)…

The Mysterious Benedict Society Audio Books

And are now going through the Mysterious Benedict Society series (we love them!).

Audible Books for Kids

…and I got a few kids’ audio books for 6yo Daphne to try because she is home sick (I scored all four of these for less than three bucks total!)

Note :: I am incredibly picky about narration and even if I’m interested in the book (or know that I love reading it), if I don’t like the voice of the narrator, I won’t buy it. Always listen the audio sample.

Oh, and just for fun, here are some audio books on my wish list ::

How about you? Do you have some favorite audio books? I would love some recommendations for audio books, both those for me and those for kids!

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A list of favorite audio books, including fiction, nonfiction, and kids' books


  • Reply
    March 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you for the tip! My daughter’s school is a 30 minute drive, so I grabbed Harry Potter for while she’s in the car and an SNL history for myself. We’ll see if HP works his magic to cut down sibling bickering.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 2, 2016 at 5:34 am

      Awesome, Karissa! I hope Harry Potter works his magic for you and your kids!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you for this list! Audiobooks have become my sanity too. I listen to them (and the occasional lecture/podcast too) while doing housework and when I need to silence my inner critic while working on creative projects. On top of a number of those you mentioned, a few of my go tos are: The Flavia DeLuce mysteries by Alan Bradley, Terry Pratchett’s Disk World series, Douglas Adams’ books and anything by the Canadian storyteller Stuart McLean. The latter is a favourite of the whole family on road trips. I’m eager to try those you listed!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 2, 2016 at 5:34 am

      Thank you so much for the recommendations, Nadia! I can’t wait to check them out!

  • Reply
    Fiona Wood
    March 2, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I’m an audio books addict too! I started listening to them when I went running yet now I often have them on when I’m in the studio working on something or setting up an art class. I still have a book going on my kindle too yet I often don’t have the time to stop and read. I also loved Big Magic and the Girl in the Spiders web. I also enjoyed Girl on a Train (Paula Hawkins), Sharp Objects and Dark Places (Gillian Flynn), The Martian (Andy Weir), The good Girl (Mary Kubica),All the light we cannot see and all the books by Liane Moriarty. Following the comments on here and your instagram account for more ideas for me too! Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    im so bad…The Art of War has been sitting in my room for MONTHS. I see it daily, but I always find something ‘else’ to read. Why? i don’t know. I have heard that is really good, and my husband references it often.. i don’t know what my problem is…

  • Reply
    March 7, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Great recommendations! Art & Fear is another fantastic book I recently listened to on audible. I hadn’t read it since college and it found me again at precisely the right moment (isn’t that the best when that happens?) It’s along the same lines of War of Art and Big Magic; insightful, motivating and well worth a listen. I also loved Year of Yes and Rising Strong (Shonda Rhimes and Brene Brown narrate the books themselves so they’re especially great!)

  • Reply
    June 6, 2016 at 8:42 am

    We love the Harry Potter audiobooks, but our family’s #1 favorite is Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson, read by Prunella Scales. I see that it’s available on Audible.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2016 at 11:46 am

    ME TOO!!!! I love Audible. I discovered how great it is just a few months ago and I’ve been addicted ever since. I listen through my bluetooth heaphones while I’m doing everything you mentioned and more! I just wish there was a membership for more than 2 credits each month, because I go through the books too fast!

    • Reply
      June 6, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Forgot to mention that I loved Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants, as well as Big Magic, and Shonda Rimes’s Year of Yes. I’ve also listened to The Help and a bunch of other ones. All Terrific!

  • Reply
    Zuzana Cechova
    February 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    If you like Stieg Larson, so maybe you will like another scandinavian author- Jo Nesbo, it is very addicted one breathe listening ( or reading….;)) crime novel or the serie of novels with one hero- inspector Hary Hole. Also The headhunters by Nesbo is wonderfull.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      February 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Zuzana! A friend made the same recommendation a while back (and then I forgot about it). I’ll have to give those a try! Thanks so much!

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