I’ve been listening to audiobooks a lot lately, and a few months back I shared reviews on the ones I had read recently. Over the holidays I also shared a giant list of books I had received recommendations for and was planning to read, and got so many requests from y’all to share my reviews on the ones I do read! So with that I’m starting Read and Review, a new blog series where I share a recap of the latest books I’ve read/listened to and an honest review on whether I’d recommend the read to you.

I often get asked why I listen to audiobooks over actually reading, and the answer is pretty simple. I stare at a computer screen, read and write most of the day – by the time I’m done with that, the last thing I want to do is more reading. That’s why podcasts and audiobooks have been such a great discovery for me! I LOVE to read books cover to cover, but finding the time has been difficult for me these days – audiobooks I can listen to really any time I’m not working! Plus, audiobooks are sort of an escape and a nice break for my eyes. I love being able to listen while getting ready for the day, cooking my meals and going on walks/runs. I also get distracted easily when trying to read around other people (on a plane or by the pool, for example), whereas with my AirPods in the noise is shut out and I can fully pay attention. Whether you’ve got a long commute or just like to listen leisurely like I do, I highly recommend getting into audiobooks! Nearly every book I’ve wanted to read has an audiobook version, so the options are pretty much endless.

EDUCATED

This book was my favorite of the ones listed here! It is such an interesting story, and so far removed from everything I’ve ever known in my own life. The story is about a girl who is raised by parents that are both. While the book does discuss Mormonism and her faith, it’s mostly about how she was raised by parents who were anti-establishment and anti-education. She was basically raised in isolation, with no example of what life outside her own home would be like. She had an abusive brother, a crazed, self-proclaimed prophet of a father and a mother who did whatever her husband told her to. The book details the timeline of her childhood and adolescence; how her father forced her to work in their junk yard, how she started teaching herself to read and eventually apply to college (without a high school diploma), and how this education caused her relationship with her family to crumble. Her story is incredible and super interesting. I cannot recommend this enough!!!

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

While I did enjoy this read, I do have to say I loathed the main character and found the plot to be pretty unbelievable. To set the scene, the book starts on a bus in London – she’s seated on the bus and locks eyes with a man on the street she’s never met and *instantly* falls in love. Maybe I’m just a cynic who doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but this was pretty ridiculous. Naturally, he doesn’t make it on the bus and she ends up searching for him for basically a year – WHO. WOULD. DO. THAT. Just as she’s given up the search, her roommate and best friend introduces her to her new boyfriend…. you guessed it, it’s him! The book then continues with how tortured she feels every time she’s around him, and how she obviously can’t tell her friend about it. This lasts far too long for my comfort – it just seems a little crazy to me to be so dramatic about a guy she had never actually met. Anyway, with that said, the book does move along from that narrative eventually and things play out in an interesting way. I’d still suggest reading this, but just keep what I said above in mind!

CALYPSO

This is actually the first book I’ve ever read or listened to by David Sedaris. I purchased several of his books years ago, but never got around to reading them! I’m not sure why. If you don’t already know about him, David is the comedian, humorist and author brother of Amy Sedaris – you might remember her from Strangers With Candy on Comedy Central, but she’s been in a ton of things over the years. In this book of short stories, David covers a wide variety of topics, often talking about his family or featuring clips from some of his live shows. If you’re looking for some comedic relief, I recommend it!

THE SOUND OF GRAVEL

Because I read Educated, this book was also recommended to me by Amazon. In a similar, unrelated memoir, the main character is raised in a polygamous cult. She has an abusive stepfather who cannot provide for her family, a mother who (mostly) follows his orders, two ill siblings and a variety of tragedies that occur throughout the story. Another very interesting read with some serious WTF moments. I also recommend this one, but this one is truly sad – while the ending is somewhat uplifting, it definitely doesn’t make up for the horrors she had to live through.

THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

I’ve read a lot of books focused on WWII history, the holocaust, etc. I had so many people recommend this read, and I have to admit it just wasn’t my favorite. I wonder if I would have liked it better if I’d read it as opposed to listened to it – I’m not really a fan of a single narrator trying to juggle a handful of accents. It just seems cheesy and I find it hard to take things seriously… I think this is also why I’m having so much trouble getting into Eleanor Oliphant! While this particular story is certainly interesting, I’ve also heard that it’s not as historically accurate as it is painted to be. Either way, it’s a relatively quick read about a love story between the Tattoist and one of the female prisoners.

GHOSTED

As you can probably imagine from the title, this is basically just a modern love story. I really enjoyed it up until the twist. I hate to say it but I just thought the twist was so farfetched and it kind of made me cringe. I did finish the book and overall found it a fun and quick read, but I was expecting more from the twist. It was just a little too much for me!

HELLO WORLD

When I first read about this book, I figured the topic (algorithms) would be useful information for me… especially considering my career sometimes revolves around them on social media channels like Instagram. While the book did talk about algorithms in that arena, it opened my eyes to just how much our lives are controlled by algorithms. It poses questions and things to consider about algorithms like grocery store’s use when deciding what mailings and coupons to send customers, self-driving cars and whether they should choose to protect the person in the vehicle over a pedestrian if an accident were to occur… it is FASCINATING. Plus, the author is also the narrator and she has the most velvety British accent. I could listen to her talk all day long! Definitely recommend this book if you have any interest in technology, A.I., or where our world is headed.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

I LOVED THIS BOOK! It felt a little too long to me, but I really did love every minute of it. It’s the story of a girl who lives in the marshes in Louisiana; abandoned by her mother and an alcoholic father who comes in and out of her life, she’s left to fend for herself. She is forced to come up with ways to make money (like selling fish she catches and dries to a boat gas station down the way) to pay for the basic necessities. It flashes back to her childhood and up to adulthood where a crime has taken place and she’s being blamed for it. It’s a book full of ups and downs, interesting characters and a life of isolation. Such a good book – it’ll take awhile, but it’s worth it!

BOSSYPANTS

I honestly can’t believe it took me so long to start this book. It is HILARIOUS! Tina Fey is a riot, and she narrates it like only she could. While it does cover serious topics, she keeps it light and fun. I breezed through this one in two days… so great!

GIRL WASH YOUR FACE

Considering the writer is a lifestyle blogger, you’d think that’s how I found out about this book… but I’d honestly never heard of her before. I just found this book while perusing book lists on Amazon, and this one popped up at the top! The title is what grabbed my attention and after reading the synopsis I was curious to see what it would be like. While I did enjoy listening, this really felt like more of a self-help book than anything else. I picked up a couple of tidbits, but other than that I didn’t feel like I learned anything groundbreaking. As a Type-A gal, self-starter and generally a confident person myself, the book’s topics didn’t really apply to me. This book would be a GREAT read for anyone who struggles with making commitments in their day-to-day lives (sticking to diets or a fitness routine, for example) or would benefit from a life coach… but for me it was sort of an unnecessary read.

Shop The Post