Today I bring you an audiobook appreciation post because audiobooks make my life easier and they deserve all the love in the world. I started listening to audiobooks in 2019 and now I basically can’t live without them. In this post, I’m sharing reasons why I love audiobooks and of course I’m also going to give some recommendations.
Let’s start, shall we?
Before I get to my recommendations list, here are some reasons why I love audiobooks (this won’t take long I swear):
1. I need audiobooks to fill my brain all the time because if I’m left alone with my thoughts for more than five minutes I will literally cry ✨
2. I listen to audiobooks while I’m doing mindless things like drawing, formatting blog posts, and working on household chores. They make me feel more productive and less miserable.
3. I get to pick up books I probably won’t read in another format. I’m not fond of reading contemporary books and nonfiction but I usually end up loving them when I listen to their audiobooks.
4. Audiobooks made me appreciate slow-paced books. My brain often ends up putting them off when I read them physically (or through ebook) but I enjoy the slow burn of anticipation when I listen to audiobooks. I can also listen to them at 3x speed which is a wonder for my restless brain (I used to be a normal speed kind of person but things have changed and I don’t know that person anymore).
There are probably more reasons but the aforementioned are the ones at the top of my head. I don’t know if you’re fond of listening to audiobooks but if you aren’t, I’m hoping to change your mind by the end of this post 😌
You can listen to all the audiobooks on this list on Scribd. It’s not the best platform for some people but it’s the one that works for me the most. Scribd has an extensive selection, including backlist books and new releases (i sound like a random ad right now but i can’t help it). You can also save so much money compared to having an Audible subscription (audible is hella expensive i don’t recommend it). It is annoying when Scribd blocks me from listening to some titles but that’s usually just a minor setback for me. I don’t have the time to discuss the technicalities right now but Shealea made an in-depth post about the Scribd monthly cap and how you can maximize your subscription/free trial so I suggest you check it out!
You can get a 60-day free trial on Scribd using my referral code. I get an additional free month for every person who uses it. (ignore my scribd name im too lazy to change it)
Now, on to the list!
Length: 11 hours
Narrator: Inés del Castillo
Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.
Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.
For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.
I may or may not have written this post as an excuse to talk about this book. I read Catherine House last year and it was one of the strangest reading experiences I have ever had. I really thought I would end up hating this book because it didn’t have a solid plot. I listened to the audiobook with my mind reeling in confusion because I didn’t know where the story was going. If I read this book on another format, I don’t think I could have finished it. However, the narration entranced me and as I kept listening, this book slowly planted its roots into my brain which was both creepy and brilliant. I felt as if I were also a student at Catherine House, completely entranced by the mystery and eeriness of the school.
Not everyone will like this book but it has a certain pull that I can’t accurately describe. Maybe it’s the vague story that will keep you wanting for more details and the next thing you know, you’re in too deep to back away. Maybe it’s the dark academia and gothic horror vibes. I still don’t know. One thing I’m sure of is that you won’t be able to stop thinking about this book once you’ve read it. You have been warned.
Length: 4 hours
Narrators: Cynthia Farrell and Emily Woo Zeller
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
This ended up on my best books of 2020 list despite being one of the most puzzling books I have ever read in my entire life. The abstract yet incredibly beautiful writing is just too hard to ignore. This story about two agents from opposing forces fighting a war that traverses the boundaries of space and time is a masterpiece that demands attention. The audiobook narration added even more dimension to this unique tale. Listening to it was an out-of-body experience. I love this book even though I did not have enough brain cells to comprehend it. That may sound strange but if you’ve read this book, I’m sure you understand. If you haven’t read it yet, I’m telling you to pick it up now.
Length: 12 hours
Narrator: Yangsze Choo
Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.
Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.
After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
Narrated by the author herself, The Ghost Bride is an audiobook that I won’t forget anytime soon. I see Yangsze Choo books as jigsaw puzzles with their pieces scattered across the pages, waiting to be solved. They have a mysterious air to them and an unpredictability that will take your breath away. The Ghost Bride is a story of a young woman whose life changes when she is offered to become a bride for a powerful family’s dead son. This is interesting enough but this book is even more than that, incorporating elements of fantasy and folklore into a rich story of drama and adventure. I will be forever fond of this book. I think you’ll like it as well 😉
Narrators: Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte (for Clap When You Land)
Every single book by Elizabeth Acevedo is perfect for audiobook consumption. Just like Yangsze Choo, Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her own books and that’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Her writing is gold and her books always genuinely capture complex family dynamics. Reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s books will break you and piece you back together. Her books definitely encouraged me to pick up more contemporary books again.
Narrator: Nancy Wu
If you’re looking for something that will make you laugh out loud with earbuds stuck in your ears, look no further. Genie Lo is ready to sweep you off your feet. Drawing inspiration from Chinese folklore, this is an imaginative duology that will surely get you out of a reading slump. I’m not that familiar with Chinese folklore and Journey to the West but I was still able to connect with this story very well. The fast pacing, humorous dialogue, lovable characters, and numerous action scenes will demand all of your attention and leave you entertained. This is a very fun read and the narration is good too! I adore this duology so much.
Narrator: Cindy Kay
As a series that highlights the importance of oral storytelling, The Singing Hills Cycle is a perfect audiobook pick. The Empress of Salt and Fortune and When The Tiger Came Down the Mountain are novellas that feature a non-binary cleric who is traveling the empire to collect stories. There’s something magical about these books in the way that they conjure images like no other, the storytelling equal parts vivid, entrancing, and evocative. Despite their short length, these books manage to explore political intrigue and echo feminist themes. This series is perfect for lovers of fantasy who yearn for a story that will enrapture them from page one.
Length: 10 hours
Narrator: Nikki Massoud
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
Inspired by Persian folklore, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a lush fantasy standalone about a girl with poison in her veins. I appreciate the abundance of morally grey characters in this book, making the readers question the boundaries between good and evil by the end of it. I especially liked Soraya’s character development (that’s the main character) even though there were a lot of times when I was frustrated by her decisions. The audiobook is pretty easy to follow and the narration is entertaining as well. You should pick this up if you’re looking for an immersive read that will keep your brain occupied from start to finish.
Length: 7 hours
Narrators: Almarie Guerra and Samuel Maria Gomez
Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy . . .
Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.
Orpheus and Eurydice is my most favorite Greek myth (i do love pain thank you very much) and this Afro-Latinx retelling of my beloved tragedy pleased my soul immensely. Told in alternating perspectives, Never Look Back follows Eury and Pheus from the Bronx to the Underworld as they discover whether or not their love can defeat an evil spirit that has been haunting Eury since childhood. This book did justice to the original myth and gave so much more to the story. It also addresses trauma and highlights the importance of therapy. There are so many layers to this story and I just think it’s not getting the attention it deserves. The audiobook is immersive and I’m begging you to check it out. This is perfect for fans of Greek mythology, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Hadestown. You can still enjoy this book even if you’re not a fan of these things. Just…read it, okay?
Thank you to the people who recommended me this book via this tweet of mine from a few days ago:
Length: 6 hours
Narrator: Mirai Booth-Ong
I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.
Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.
But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.
It feels like everything is possible when you’re listening to an audiobook at 3x speed because I finished reading this in about two hours and loved every second of it. I was able to connect with the characters and the story so fast because of Hanna Alkaf’s magnetic storytelling. Inspired by Malay folklore, The Girl and the Ghost is a story about a girl who inherits her grandmother’s pelesit (ghost). This book talks about bullying, jealousy, and grief which made it an emotional read despite its adorable parts. This is a spooky yet soft book about family and friendship that I’m 100% sure you’ll love. I have found a new middle grade favorite in The Girl and the Ghost and I’m hoping that you’ll give it a chance to steal your heart too.
That’s it for now! Bless audiobooks and their magic. I wouldn’t be able to read so many books in one year if not for them. I hope this post was helpful in one way or another.
Until next time! I hope y’all are having a great day ❤️