One of the main activities in my day during this quarantine is going on my Daily Walk. It really gets the blood flowing and my mind in a different environment. Also, it’s a good marker for when I need to change from sleeping pajamas to light activewear, so that when I return from my walk I can change into my lounging pajamas for the rest of the day (it would be ludicrous to simply go from pajamas to pajamas, I need to break it up somehow). Seriously, I have to go on a walk every day or I’ll go insane. Maybe you’re in the same boat. Even if the streets and parks are too crowded to properly follow social distancing protocols, or you don’t live in a place that is necessarily walkable, you can still get all 10,000 steps in your apartment. It’s a proven fact.
However, the problem with going on a walk every single day is that eventually you’ll catch up with all your podcasts, and walking without anything to listen to gets a little boring. God forbid I have to actually listen to my own THOUGHTS. That will just not do. The solution? Audiobooks. They last forever and are so easy to get into. I love them because you can multitask while listening, and it’s all the satisfaction of reading a book without any of the work. If you’re not sure where to start, we rounded up the best audiobooks that are coming out this month and next month that you can look forward to, as well as some extra long ones to last the entire quarantine for you to choose from.
Read by a full cast, with an introduction by Kumail Nanjiani. Out March 17, 2020.
Not sure if anyone actually has a subscription to Apple TV+ (if you do, then I apologize, I just have literally never heard of anyone getting it). Anywho, the trailers for the Apple Original Shows still show up in all my YouTube ads, and Little America makes the whole subscription seem worth it. Luckily for us, the stories that inspired the series are available in a new audiobook. Little America is a collection of stories lived by and told by America’s immigrants. These stories form a portrait of the immigrant experience, and in turn, a portrait of America itself.
Alicia Keys, read by the author. Out March 31, 2020.
I already thought the world was ending at this year’s Grammys, but little did we know that was just the beginning (seriously, can you believe that that was this year?!). The saving grace of everything was the angel that is Alicia Keys. I became a bigger fan of hers than I already was, which I thought impossible, but now I am at the point where I will do anything she says and read anything she writes. At the end of the month, Alicia is releasing her audiobook, More Myself, which has been described as part autobiography, part narrative documentary. More Myself tells of Keys’s struggles with her father, the media and paparazzi, and the unreachable expectations for a female celebrity.
Gill Hornby, read by Juliet Stevenson. Out April 7, 2020.
Some of us went through a huge Pride and Prejudice phase, some of us might still be in it, and some want to enter that phase but don’t know where to begin. Whatever stage you’re at, you will certainly enjoy how Gill Hornby has imagined the life of Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister and closest friend. The story takes place in England in 1840—Cassandra has survived her sister by two decades and lives a quiet life, unmarried and alone. When she uncovers a trove of Jane’s old letters, long-forgotten memories arise and the sisters’ legacies are at stake. Cassandra must decide how to move forward and what to do with the letters: burn them to save face, or keep them to preserve her sister’s legacy. Hornby uses Jane Austen’s real letters to tell this story, and it becomes one you won’t be able to turn off.
‘Let the People Pick the President’
Jesse Wegman, read by the author. Out March 17, 2020.
We all know the electoral college isn’t really working these days. But just exclaiming that statement at Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t really get you anywhere. Let The People Pick the President is a nuanced and deeply researched argument against the electoral college by Supreme Court journalist and New York Times editorial board member Jesse Wegman. Wegman argues the case for a true democracy, starting at the roots of our country with a history of the founding era, and moving through time to the politics, campaigns, and elections of today. So if we make it to this Thanksgiving, you’ll finally be able to defend yourself.
Susanna Moore, read by the author. Out April 14, 2020.
Writer Susanna Moore is kind of a legend, and she’s finally writing down and recording her own story so everyone knows it. Moore’s mother died when she was 17. It was 1963. Moore’s only choice was to set off from Hawai’i, where she grew up, to go live with her grandmother in Philadelphia. But after a mystery donor sends her trunks of expensive clothes, Moore is well-dressed and ready to take over the world (basically). At age 17, my greatest challenge was trying to figure out how to parallel park (still don’t know), so this story of how Moore had to find herself and fend for herself is amazing to me. Miss Aluminum answers all the questions about how Moore got from there to here, what Hollywood was like in the 70s, and everything she did in her life before she became a writer.
Frank Smyth, read by the author. Out March 31, 2020.
Gun control has been a huge topic for debate for as long as I can remember. And my response to it for as long as I can remember was to wonder “how did we get here?” and “why does every other country seem to have figured out a solution?” and “WTF is going on?” The answers, unsurprisingly, lie in the history of the National Rifle Association, one of the most controversial nonprofits in America. Frank Smyth narrates his own book, The NRA, and dives into the post-Civil War beginnings of the association in order to tell this story. Smyth explains how the NRA arrived at what it is today, and which events and people caused it to shift so far from what it once stood for.
‘The K Team’
David Rosenfelt, read by Fred Berman. Out March 24, 2020.
Mysteries are one of the most fun genres to listen to on audiobooks, because the narrator is able to create suspense in a way that you might not be able to do in your head. Bestselling mystery author David Rosenfelt is back with The K Team, in which familiar characters from his Andy Carpenter series, Laurie Carpenter and her partner Marcus, reunite in their own spin-off investigation when they are hired by Judge Henry Henderson to investigate why he is being blackmailed and extorted. A good spin-off is pretty hard to pull off, but this one seems like a true page-turner (or whatever the audiobook equivalent of that is).
‘A Bad Day For Sunshine’
Darynda Jones, read by Lorelei King. Out April 7, 2020.
A Bad Day For Sunshine is the perfect easy and engaging listen. Sunshine Vicram has returned to her normally sleepy hometown of Del Sol, New Mexico as the new sheriff. She expects a relatively easy job, with the biggest crime she can picture being an elderly flasher. But as soon as Sunshine arrives on the scene, Del Sol becomes the epicenter of a nationwide manhunt. A kidnapper is allegedly loose in the town, and Sheriff Sunshine must track him down before things get more dangerous. Sounds like a classic action book plot, but let’s not forget that a return to one’s hometown almost always means the re-ignition of old flames.
‘Hiding in Plain Sight’
Sarah Kendzior, read by the author. Out April 7, 2020.
Personally, I try to avoid things that stress me out. One of those so-called “things” is Donald Trump and the great looming question that is how he became POTUS. However, some of you might not be stressed by that, or maybe you are too curious to look away (or maybe you love American political history). If any of these are the case, Hiding In Plain Sight looks like it will blow your mind. Author Sarah Kendzior explains how Trump has been gaining power since the 1980s, conveniently at the same time as the American political system begins to erode to what it is today. His rise to power is, essentially, not at all unexpected if you look at the details. Kendzior knows what it feels like to see a crisis coming, but in Hiding In Plain Sight, she confronts how we could have prepared ourselves better, and what we can do to move forward.
‘A Hundred Suns’
Karin Tanabe, read by Angela Dawe and Emily Ellet. Out April 7, 2020.
Set in the 1920s and 1930s in both Paris and Vietnam, A Hundred Suns is a story about a tenuous friendship between two women, Jessie and Marcelle. Jessie recently married into the Michelin fortune, and stands to benefit greatly from the increasing colonialism that is exploiting and implementing rubber plantations in Vietnam. While the rest of the world plummets into The Great Depression, Michelin is finding a way to make a fortune. That is, until Marcelle gets involved. Marcelle is an ex-pat who already lives in Vietnam, and upon Jessie’s arrival, she sees an opportunity. She becomes Jessie’s enthralling and exuberant guide to colonial life, dazzling her with parties and the best Vietnam has to offer. What Jessie doesn’t know, however, is Marcelle is on a mission to return the colonized land to its original and rightful owners—starting with the Michelin plantations. We love a sneaky double-crosser. This historical fiction novel sounds suspenseful AF and I want to start listening right away.
Tanya Selvaratnam, read by the author. Out April 7, 2020.
The story entrenched in Assume Nothing is absolutely terrifying, and what makes it worse is that it is true. It is written and narrated by the author, Tanya Selvaratnam, and it recounts a scary period in her life. Tanya and Eric were the power couple. They fell in love quickly and helped each other’s careers, Tanya a writer and Eric a lawyer. As his political power grew, however, Eric became more controlling and abusive towards Tanya. The scariest part, though, is that Tanya had nowhere to turn. Eric was New York’s Attorney General, and she worried that filing any sort of formal complaint would anger him and make her situation worse. Tanya uses her story to shed light on what is a common, but largely unspoken issue in America: domestic violence that is happening at all levels of society. By speaking out about it, Tanya hopes to help readers recognize, expose, and end domestic violence where they encounter it.
‘The Mirror & the Light’
Hilary Mantel, read by Ben Miles. 38 hours and 12 minutes.
If anyone else took AP Euro, then you would agree Thomas Cromwell is one of the most fascinating characters in British history. Cromwell was the minister and lawyer to King Henry VIII (best known for his six marriages and inventing the Church of England, so that he could get divorced). Cromwell was a man who identified somewhere in between common and royal, who was both fearful and feared, a cunning politician and a shrewd voice of the people all at once. Hilary Mantel tells how he came from nothing and managed to reach the height of power. The Mirror & The Light is eight years in the making, and is the third and final book in the trilogy, following Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The audiobook is narrated by Ben Miles, who played Thomas Cromwell in the play adaptations of the book for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
‘The Eye of the World’
Robert Jordan, read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. 29 hours and 57 minutes.
Any fantasy fans out there surely remember The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. After 20 years of legal battles, production on a TV adaptation of the series has finally begun, but if you want to jog your memory or start the story before the show comes out, you should start listening. The first novel in the series, The Eye of the World, is available on audiobook, and at 30 hours long is certainly one you can settle into. The book is centered around five protagonists, whose village Two Rivers is unexpectedly attacked by Trollocs. The five friends are forced to flee and discover a brand new world with unbelievable new dangers and challenges.
Gregory David Auster, read by Humphrey Bower. 42 hours and 59 minutes.
Shantaram is the epic and insane novel that is inspired by and based on stories from the author’s own life. Lin, the protagonist (and the name Auster uses for himself) escaped a high-security prison in Australia and finds himself in Bombay. He enters the underground societies that are flourishing in the city, made up of people who have nowhere else to turn: rings of beggars, gangsters, sex workers, soldiers, exiles, and more. Lin’s search for love and meaning leads him to both terrible and beautiful events and people, and he befriends the most unlikely of characters. Shantaram is an inspiring and thrilling book about life in India and what it means to be human, and luckily it’s super long, so it will keep you entertained during quarantine for weeks to come.
‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’
Susanna Clarke, read by Simon Prebble. 32 hours and 19 minutes.
In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, Susanna Clarke reimagines a detailed account of historical England, in which magic, magicians, and fairies all existed. Mr. Norell is one of the few magicians in England who still knows how to practice magic, and spends his time helping the government to win a war against Napoleon Bonaparte. When a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears, Mr. Norell agrees to teach him what he knows, despite the two being complete opposites. As it turns out, Strange is much more concerned with the mysterious Raven King, allegedly the most powerful magician of all. His hunger for knowledge and power put everything in his life, including his relationship with Mr. Norell, at stake. This book sounds so good, and I love a period piece, so that doesn’t hurt either.
If you’re tired of TV and want something else to entertain you during this quarantine, seriously consider audiobooks—you know what they say, there’s no time like the present to try new things. If you already love audiobooks, hopefully something on this list inspires you, but even if that isn’t the case, Audible has literally thousands of books to choose from. And if you’re nervous about paying for more stuff when you’ve already bought the subscription workouts from your favorite fitfluencer, Audible has your back. They recently announced a brand new initiative called Audible Stories to get us through this quarantine. Audible Stories is a resource with hundreds of free titles to listen to because they know we need our favorite stories more than ever right now. Happy listening, everyone!
Images: Element5 Digital / Unsplash, Audible (15)