Want to hear a secret? I love listening to nonfiction on audio. It’s my favorite way to digest the genre. The other part of this secret is that I prefer listening to nonfiction than fiction books on audio.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (from The Broke and the Bookish) is Top Ten All Time Favorite Books of X Genre. Gah it’s so tough to break down favorites, isn’t it? I’ve shared some of my favorite reads from the past five-ish years, so I didn’t want to focus on fiction books. I’ve also shared some great gateway nonfiction reads, gateway graphic novels, gateway audiobooks. Hmmm–for someone who doesn’t like to name favorites, maybe I need to do a round-up post with all my Best Of lists I’ve created over the years.
Whenever someone says they aren’t fans of audiobooks, I always recommend listening to nonfiction rather than trying to digest fiction. I have a tendency to tune out audiobooks on occasion and I find that nonfiction is much more forgiving than fiction. There aren’t large sweeping plot points to miss and I generally don’t have to keep up with quite so many characters. My only regret with listening to nonfiction rather than reading it is the inability to highlight and mark passages easily!
It was hard to choose favorites but these are two books you won’t regret choosing audio over paper.
Ten Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (narrated by Edward Herrmann) – Maybe you’ve read this one, maybe you just saw the movie, or maybe you’re only familiar of the story of Louis Zamperini’s remarkable experiences during WWII as a Japanese prisoner of war. Even if you’ve read it, listen to the audio. Herrmann’s narration is incredibly emotional and affecting. More of my thoughts on Unbroken.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler – Or as I like to call it: Yes, Please!! I listened to Poehler’s memoir before I was familiar with Park and Recreation (which I now love!) and without having seen too many of her skits on Saturday Night Live, but I adored her thoughts on being a woman, a mother, a person. Not only is she funny, but she’s also relateable. More of my thoughts on Yes Please.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson – You can’t go wrong with any Bill Bryson on audio, though I definitely enjoy when Bryson narrates his own stories. His humor is dry and sometimes a little haughty, but there’s always something so pleasing about taking a journey with Bryson. We enjoyed taking a trip to Australia via In a Sunburned Country and learned so much about this strange and wonderful place down under. More of my thoughts on In a Sunburned Country.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – So many of these audiobook choices are narrated by the authors and sometimes that can backfire in a bad way (I’ll never forgive Donna Tartt for narrating The Secret History herself), but Bourdain knows how to tell a story and I loved listening to his gossipy tales from the New York kitchens where he first made his mark. Note: never order the Monday special! More of my thoughts on Kitchen Confidential.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – After the hardcover sat on our bookshelf for years and years, I finally opted for the audiobook version of The Happiness Project. I loved listening to Rubin talk about her different projects and felt I could relate to her on so many different levels. I’m glad I opted for the audio rather than paper (but was grateful to have the paper to refer to). I looked for excuses all over for extra time to listen.
No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi – I jumped into No Land’s Man purely based on recommendation as I had only vaguely heard of Aasif Mandvi prior to picking up the book. I so enjoyed this short little memoir about Mandvi trying to fit in while still feeling the outsider in all of the places he’s lived. There were several funny moments, and Mandvi is great at self-deprecating humor, but there was also a lot of heart as well. More of my thoughts on No Land’s Man.
Quiet by Susan Cain (narrated by Kathe Mazur) – While I’m not sure I always agreed 100% with what Susan Cain discussed regarding Introverts in her book Quiet, I found so many aspects so fascinating. The more I understand about introversion, I feel I understand more about myself. I fear that if I had read Quiet, though, rather than listened, I probably would have fizzled out and not have gotten through the book quite as easily. More of my thoughts on Quiet.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen (narrated by Scott Brick) – Corn corn corn. Michael Pollen changed the way that I look at ingredients in food with his discussion of corn in it’s prevalence in our food industry in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Sure some of the listening was a bit uncomfortable but it was entirely eye-opening and I’ve been collecting Pollen’s books ever since. Plus Scott Brick is an ace narrator. More of my thoughts on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Stiff by Mary Roach (narrated by Shelly Frasier) – Ahem, not to follow up food with dead bodies, but I had to include Mary Roach on this list somehow. While I’ve also read Gulp (about digestion) and Packing for Mars (about space), Stiff is still my favorite by her. Who knew cadavers could be so interesting! More of my thoughts on Stiff.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (narrated by Cassandra Campbell) – I really should mention Bahni Turpin as well as she co-narrates as Henrietta Lacks’s daughter in the book and does such a fantastic job bringing the story to life (she’s also great in The Help and Bad Feminist). The story of HeLa cells is fascinating and thought-provoking, but it’s also hard to remember that there was a woman behind all of the science. I’ve listened to this audiobook twice and would do it again. More of my thoughts on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Are you a nonfiction audiobook junkie like I am? What are some of your favorites? Any of these sound appealing?