To celebrate Audiobook Appreciation Month, we’re giving you audiobook recommendations for June!
An Edison Research national survey of American audiobook listeners ages 18 and older found that the average number of audiobooks that people listened to per year increased to 8.1 in 2020, up from 6.8 in 2019. Some great places to listen to a book are LibroFm, which allows listeners to purchase audiobooks online and support their local bookstore; and Libby, which allows listeners to rent audiobooks through their local library.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, read by Dominic Hoffman
Recommended by Kimberly Wells, Novel Bay bookseller
For listeners who are new to audiobooks, multiple narrators bridge the gap between the interactions we’re used to and the stories we read. This is especially true of books spanning a dozen-plus characters, such as the acclaimed Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Homegoing follows the descendents of half-sisters through 300 years of war in Ghana and comparative luxury in America. Distinctive voices narrate 14 family members to bring depth and clarity to the multitude of events that each one experiences, ranging from rock-walled castle prisons and coal-mining servitude, to the height of colonial luxury and modern-day privilege. Concise chapters keep this book easy to approach despite its literary depth. Combining history with deep compassion for the oppressed, Homegoing showcases the resilience of our ancestors and the long-term consequences of our choices.
Good Eggs: A Novel by Rebecca Hardiman, read by Aoife McMahon
Recommended by Deb Wayman, owner of Fair Isle Books
Filled with warmth and hilarity, this book reads like a mix of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and a Maeve Binchy novel.
The Irish setting is especially welcome on this side of the pond, and of the three plotlines that follow different generations, the absolute best paints 83-year-old pistol of a grandma Millie as a delightfully quirky and determined soul. It’s a charming, offbeat novel that’s perfect to savor as we head into this particular summer. A bonus is that the audiobook’s narrator has a lovely Irish accent.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, written and read by Trevor Noah
Recommended by Grace Johnson, Peninsula Pulse staffer and bibliophile
Trevor Noah is one of my favorite late-night hosts and comedians in general. His unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. His father was a white Swiss man, and his mother a Black Xhosa woman during a time when such a union was punishable with prison time.
Noah’s story details all of the struggles but infuses his humor throughout. The audiobook is especially impactful because Noah narrates it himself. By telling his own story, he’s able to fully perform the breadth of emotion that’s poured into each different tale.
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, read by Jake Abel
Recommended by Morgan Mann, customer relations library assistant, Door County Library
This is the Twilight Saga told from the point of view of Edward Cullen, the 104-year-old vampire who’s frozen in the body of a 17-year-old who falls in love with a human, Isabella Swan. The book series was first published in 2005 and was later made into a popular movie series. Actor Jake Abel gives a skilled performance in his first book narration.
Broken (in the Best Possible Way), written and read by Jenny Lawson
Recommended by Tracy Opper, branch manager, Baileys Harbor Library
When Jenny Lawson had anxiety about recording her own audiobook, she sought advice from her friend Neil Gaiman, who replied, “Pretend you’re good at it!” It turns out that she’s very good at it, and she narrates in a friendly, relatable voice. Broken is a raw and honest look at mental health – and it’s so hilarious that you may be in danger of spitting out your beverage!
The Library of Lost and Found: A Novel by Phaedra Patrick, read by Imogen Church
Recommended by Tina Kakuske, director, Door County Library
Library worker Martha Storm thinks of everyone but herself and has lost herself in the process. A little book of stories lands on Martha’s doorstep, sending her on a journey of self-discovery and the truth behind a long-hidden family secret. Superb narrator Imogen Church brings Martha’s world to life and makes this a must-listen-to book.