Tag: Audiobook

Books I’ve Recently Read – Nonfiction!

Posted 3 May, 2017 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 18 Comments

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Books I've Recently Read


We meet again! While blogging hasn’t been high on my to do list over the past couple of months, I have been enjoying books. Now that I’m working every day, I’ve added audiobooks back into my rotation…for the days that I’m not listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (yes, still). I’m only in the car about 40 minutes a day, but every so often I’ll put on my earbuds while cooking dinner (if I’m not in charge of any littles) or while cleaning up around the house for some bonus listening time.

Below are three books that I listened to late last year…that all happen to be nonfiction. Nonfiction is definitely my go-to on audio–I find that I can usually get into the book more quickly than listening to fiction where it’ll take me hours to be invested (ahem Lonesome Dove ahem). For better or worse, it also doesn’t seem so detrimental to my experience if I zone out a few times here and there, though I think that I tend to stay more focused on nonfiction than fiction on audio. My mind doesn’t wander quite as much.


isaac's storm book cover

Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson

Audio Narrator: Richard Davidson | Audio Duration: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Published: 1999 | Pages: 323 | Genre: Nonfiction/History
On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: In 1900 a hurricane swept over Galveston Island (in Texas) and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Isaac’s Storm follows Isaac Cline, the Weather Service Director, and how he and others failed to recognize the danger of the city as the hurricane approached from the Caribbean. Because this happened over a century ago, this event has always felt so far away in history but Larson put a human face on the disaster by including many first hand accounts from the days leading up to the hurricane to the weeks after.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: Audio was a great format for Isaac’s Storm. Richard Davidson’s narration reminded me a lot of Edward Herrmann’s narrations and I had to keep checking to make sure it wasn’t him (Herrmann did narrate the abridged version). I wasn’t quite as captivated by this book as I was The Devil and the White City, but it was still a fascinating listen. After listening, I found myself scouring the internet for pictures of Galveston before and after the hurricane. I had no idea that Galveston was such an up and coming city in the 1800s. Sadly the hurricane had a great affect on its status as a major gulf port.


h is for hawk book cover

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Audio Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Published: 2014 | Pages: 300 | Genre: Memoir

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: In short, H is for Hawk is about Macdonald’s journey through grief after her father’s passing and her relationship with her hawk Mabel whom she trains during that time. The book is part reflection on her emotions and existence after her father’s death and part field guide on what it takes to train a hawk. She also throws in some biographical information on the author TH White (The Sword in the Stone) and his experience with training goshawks.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: H is for Hawk is one of the most amazing audios I’ve listened to, even though the actual subject wasn’t always interesting to me. I don’t know how else to explain that and I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Macdonald’s voice was like a salve and I soaked in it.  I’d listen to it again…but it’s one of those that I can’t automatically recommend because the subject doesn’t seem universally interesting? But please give it a try, and if it feels a little slow at first just let her words wash over you. The writing is gorgeous.


As You Wish Book Cover

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Audio Narrator: Elwes and other cast | Audio Duration:  7 hrs and 1 min
Published: 2014 | Pages: 259 | Genre: Memoir

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Cary Elwes, who plays Westley in the classic movie The Princess Bride, reminisces about the making of film. He brings in the remembrances of other cast members to provide a full picture. He starts with the the failed productions and conceptions of The Princess Bride to how the cast was put together, to how the film became a surprise cult classic.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I smiled from ear to ear while I was listening to As You Wish. I loved hearing all the tidbits and gossip surrounding the production and actors/actresses. It was fun to learn that Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally pinned as The Giant (later went to Andre the Giant) and that Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) took very serious swordfighting lessons to make their scenes as authentic as possible. And so much more. If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, you must listen to this book. The paper copy is great and has pictures, but you won’t regret choosing audio for this one.


*Amazon and Indiebound links are affiliate. If you purchase anything through those links, I will receive a small commission which will help support this blog. Thank you!


If I didn’t think your eyes were starting to glaze over, I’d also include little write-ups for The Happiness Project (which I’ve now listened to twice) and Evicted (which was so eye-opening). Maybe next time. ;)

Have you listened to anything fabulous lately??



Ten Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks

Posted 13 September, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 17 Comments

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Ten Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks


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

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.


Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks

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?




How to Fit Audiobooks Into Your Day

Posted 28 June, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 32 Comments

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Did you know that June is Audiobook Month? I can’t believe I let the entire month go by before mentioning this, but since there are still three days (including this one) left, here we go!

When I first started listening to audiobooks, my listening was limited to my 45-60 minute commute to and from work. If I was listening to a particularly good book when I got home, it wasn’t unusual for me to sit in my driveway for just a few more minutes.

This all changed when I was listening to Before I Go To Sleep. I HAD to know what was going on–I needed all of the answers. I couldn’t stop listening. So I listened while I cooked, I listened while I exercised, I even looked for excuses to clean to keep listening. This is when I realized that audiobooks aren’t just for driving–they’re for cramming in a book any chance you can get.

The good news about audiobooks is that you can often do something else while listening–not like reading a physical book–which means that I can consume more books than I normally would, especially when life is particularly busy. When do I fit in audiobooks? Anytime I can! Linking up to Top Ten Tuesday for today’s freebie week.

Ten Ways to Fit Audiobooks Into Your Day

In the Car

Driving is the most obvious. Now that I have a short commute to work a few days a week, my audiobook consumption has gone up considerably. Anytime I’m alone in the car (or with the babe), I have my audiobook running. If the big girls are with me, we’re more likely to be listening to Roar (Katy Perry). Let’s not forget about roadtrips! Part of me wants to cry when I think about all the driving between cities when I was in college.

While Cooking

Listening to my book while making dinner is a special treat for me. This means that I’m able to chop veggies without worrying that someone is going to put their hands on the hot stove (ie, everyone is playing upstairs under Scott’s watchful eye). This week I’ve been listening to Gulp, and it certainly makes dinnertime prep interesting…to say the least.

Grocery Shopping

Yes really! Grocery shopping can be such a mundane errand, but if I’m doing it without three kids in tow then it feels like a vacation. Even better if I have Starbucks in one hand and my audiobook in the other. To be conscientious of and courteous to other shoppers, I do listen with only one earbud in.


If an audiobook is a really great one, I don’t mind scrubbing all the toilets to keep on listening. My house was sparkling during the time I was listening to IT. Of course this was also when I only had one babe. These days if I’m listening to my audiobook while cleaning, it’s when Cara is napping. I’ll turn up the monitor to her room really loudly and listen with one earbud in. Still more enjoyable than cleaning in silence!


Ok, so this might be one of those “in a perfect world” type scenarios, but I think it would be lovely to play around in the garden while listening to an audiobook. But, if I’m outside then everyone else is outside which means that there is no listening to be done. If I’m alone then I’m not likely to spend my time gardening. But you should totally do this!


Lately I’ve been listening to audiobooks a lot when out on walks with Cara, but I’ve also listened to audiobooks while lifting weights, pedaling on the bike or elliptical, and occasionally while running.


Insert any hobby here. While I can’t listen to audiobooks while working on brain intensive projects (quilting math is hard, y’all), but I love listening to audio when I’m doing very repetitive projects–such as working on handsewing, scrapbooking, or basic machine piecing.

Paying Bills

Insert any menial work task here. Though I have tried hard to do real work and listen to my book at the same time, I’ve found that I can only do so when filing or tidying or doing work that doesn’t require any thought at all.

Playing on the Phone

I may or may not know someone who may or may not be addicted to Two Dots. This same person who refused to download any games on her phone for years because she knew she would get addicted. Playing Two Dots isn’t so bad if you’re also consuming high literature, right? Snort.

In Bed

Admittedly, I have never listened to my audiobook before bed. But Scott does this on occasion and swears by it. The Audible app has a sleep timer that you can set so that your book doesn’t continue to run after you’ve fallen asleep.

Do you listen while doing any of these things? What did I miss? How do you fit audiobooks into your day?



Books I’ve Recently Read | Nonfiction November

Posted 25 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 27 Comments

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Nonfiction November Books Recently Read


Oh hi! Look at that! A book post! I’m not going to go into the whole “Ugh I’m so tired this pregnancy is kicking my butt” song and dance, but if I disappear for a few days (or more) that’s likely why. Because OMG I’m so tired and this pregnancy is kicking my butt. I keep meaning to get some posts drafted up, but then hours pass and I look at the clock and wonder where the heck the time has gone.

But! But I’ve listened to a few great nonfiction titles this month and I definitely want to share them with you! Dad is Fat is HILARIOUS. Listen to it right away, especially if you have young children. The Walmart Effect was fascinating…and a bit frightening in terms of how much power and sway one corporation can have. And All Joy and No Fun is now my new life tagline–I am having all the joy and none of the fun. Ha! But seriously…see above about being tired. Otherwise, life is good.


Dad is FatTitle: Dad is FatAuthor: Jim Gaffigan
Audio Narrator: Jim Gaffigan | Audio Duration: 5 hr, 26 min
Published: 2013 | Pages: 288 | Genre: Memoir/Humor
Rating: It’s so freaking funny because it’s true

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Jim Gaffigan, comedian and father of five small children, dishes about life in the parenting trenches. No topic is too sacred to cover and Gaffigan is a master at laughing at himself. I especially enjoyed the parts about his wife being pregnant, getting five kids out the door, and bedtime routines. I have never laughed so hard at an audiobook–at times so hard that I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: If you’re looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I’ve been trying to convince Scott to listen to the book, but finally settled on occasionally sending him YouTube clips of some of his stand-up acts. Though I think Scott has a bad taste after seeing me whip through the house while listening to this book with headphones and laughing hysterically. While I think anyone might appreciate Gaffigan’s humor, I especially recommend it to anyone who is down in the trenches of parenting little ones. Sometimes we all need a good laugh at some of the things that are so frustrating or difficult at the moment. And absolutely absolutely go with audio on this one!


The Wal-Mart EffectTitle: The Wal-Mart EffectAuthor: Charles Fishman
Audio Narrator: Alan Sklar | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 27 min
Published: 2006 | Pages: 352 | Genre: Business/Economics
Rating: Hmmm–now I get those low prices!

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Walmart’s core value is to bring the lowest prices possible to its customers. Fishman explores exactly how Walmart is able to provide such low prices and how their business model has created a ripple effect across the world economy. As someone who is not keen on shopping at Walmart (except for a few things I can’t find elsewhere and this is my absolute last resort), listening to The Walmart Effect was a fascinating experience. In many ways it felt like Fishman was vilifying Walmart, but Walmart is just the way that Walmart is and they do very well at what they’ve set out to do (bring the lowest prices…it’s always about this bottom line). Listening to this book, I was constantly amazed at the power that Walmart has in the market place. I do wonder how much of the book, written a decade ago, might be out of date, but after talking to my cousin last weekend who lives in Bentonville and works at the home office…it sounds like not too much has changed!

Bottom Line and Recommendation: 10 and a half hours seems like a lot of time to devote to just Walmart, but it felt like a quick listen and I was rarely bored with the book or the information presented. I didn’t love the audiobook narration but would have likely never made it through the paperbook at the same speed. If you are interested in economics, business, or Walmart in general, it’s definitely a fascinating read and one that I would recommend. Plus–there’s lots of “did you know…” opportunities within the pages! (Did you know that Walmart is the one responsible for doing away with the packaging that deodorant came in once upon a time? Get rid of the boxes and cut a few pennies per item sold!)


All Joy and No FunTitle: All Joy and No FunAuthor: Jennifer Senior
Published: 2014 | Pages: 320 | Genre: Parenting/Sociology
Rating: The title that defines my life

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: This isn’t your typical parenting advice book–in fact Senior makes it clear that parents likely will not find any advice–at least not on purpose of the author. Rather, All Joy and No Fun looks at the evolution of parenting over the past century and a half and how parenting affects the parent, not how parenting affects the child. I was fascinated by this sociological look at parenting and how our parenting today looks different from that of our parents and their parents. She highlights the different stages of children–baby, toddler/preschooler, teenager–as well as how parenting affects oneself and a marriage.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: My finger worked overtime highlighting all of the things in this book. I really would like to write up a more detailed review of All Joy and No Fun because I have a billion thoughts and a billion quotes I would like to share, but I figured that my track record of saying I’ll talk about a book in more detail isn’t so hot these days. As mentioned in the title, Senior talks about the joys that parenting brings as well as the work and frustration. I found myself at the same time encouraged and discouraged by All Joy and No Fun–it was so easy to recognize myself in the pages of this book, especially in the early baby and toddler sections–and I often asked myself, “Is this really as good as it gets?” (It being parenting).  But thankfully Senior also discusses the immense joy that parenting brings and for all of the hard moments that I experience, the joy always wins out in the end. Again, a billion thoughts…  While this book won’t help you sleep train your babe or give you the keys to teenage rebellion, it is a fascinating look at parenting and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in the sociology and history. (pst…as of today, the kindle edition and Nook edition are $2))


I’m not done with the book yet to include it in today’s post, but I’m also halfway through 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I’m surprised so far at how much more Harris’s book reads like a memoir rather than a self-help manual–it certainly isn’t what I was expecting. It’s a quick little read and I hope to finish it this month (I’m reading and listening to it). But again–that reviewing track record of mine. ;)

What excellent Nonfiction have you read lately? Anything else (fiction or non) on your bedside table?



Five Must-Listen Nonfiction Audiobooks

Five Must-Listen Nonfiction Audiobooks

Yay! Another week of Nonfiction! This week Becca asks us about Nontraditional Nonfiction. It’s no secret that I prefer to listen to nonfiction rather than to read it in print. Of course there’s always exceptions to this rule, but I find I focus on nonfiction better on audio than even fiction books on audio. Whenever someone mentions they don’t love nonfiction or are having a tough time listening to audiobooks, I recommend pairing the two together. […]

Posted 16 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Title: ‘Salem’s Lot Author: Stephen King Narrator: Ron McLarty | Audio Duration: 17 hrs, 35 mins Published: 1975 | Pages: 483 Genre: Horror–woooooo! Rating: Wheeeeeee!!! On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: In the sleepy town of ‘salem’s Lot, Maine, there’s been a lot of bloodsucking fun going on! Why I Read/Listened: Why, for the #SalemAlong of course! Several months ago Melissa and I were chatting about how we’ve both […]

Posted 30 October, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 10 Comments

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

  Title: Everything I Never Told You Author: Celeste Ng Narrator: Cassandra Campbell | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 1 min Published: 2014 | Pages: 320 | Genre: Fiction Rating: Quiet, Absorbing, Beautiful On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: Lydia is dead–or so the novel begins. The teenage middle child of the Lee family is found drowned and as the family tries to piece together what may have happened, their […]

Posted 13 October, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 21 Comments

Books I’ve Recently Read | October Edition

Books I’ve Recently Read | October Edition

      Title: Packing for Mars | Author: Mary Roach Audio Narrator: Sandra Burr | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 28 min Published: 2010 | Pages: 334 | Genre: Non-Fiction Rating: Fascinating and…not so fascinating On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: Everything you wanted to know (or didn’t) about what it takes to head up into the great space frontier. Roach discusses everything from what it takes to be a […]

Posted 6 October, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 19 Comments

Books I’ve Recently Read | September 2015

Books I’ve Recently Read | September 2015

  Welcome to another edition of minis! Though I need to increase my reading/listening speed if I want to do one of these posts a month. This almost catches me up with my backlog of books to chat about. Curious about the shorter version of this post? In the Woods is perfect for your fall reading list, Tibetan Peach Pie is more delightful if you’ve already read Tom Robbins’ fiction, Armada was a huge let-down, […]

Posted 9 September, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 26 Comments

Three Audiobooks

Three Audiobooks

Ahem. I tried to keep these short, but you know how that ends up. If you want the bottom line first, Yes Please and No Land’s Man are recommend-worthy audiobooks. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz not so much.   Title: Yes Please | Author/Narrator: Amy Poehler Published: 2014 | Pages: 352 | Audio Duration: 7 hrs, 31 min Genre: Memoir (Celeb) Rating: Yes! Please! On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In […]

Posted 14 July, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 13 Comments