I love listening to audiobooks when I am doing menial tasks. I have this internal battle between whether I should be focused on staying present in the moment, or whether its okay to layer my hobby (reading books) on top of what actually needs to be done. Sometimes I find myself partially present while listening to an audiobook. But other times the story really transports me to a different world and I completely lose track of what I am doing in the 3D. Here are 5 audiobooks I listened to recently that transported me to a different world.
I loved listening to American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins on a weekend when I had a lot of housework to do. I finished the whole book in two days. As I person who loves books, I related instantly to the character Lydia, a bookshop owner in Acapulco, Mexico. I couldn’t imagine the journey she went on to find freedom.
This book took me on a trip to Mexico where Lydia was being chased by a cartel. It moved back and forth in time, weaving the story together in a captivating way.
I didn’t realize until after I finished the book how controversial it became. I only had a quick read through some of the protesting reviews to this work of fiction and what I quickly decided was that everyone has their opinion.
Those that are upset that the experience wasn’t authentic have their perspective. That is fine. But it is a work of fiction. No one reading it should be expecting it to be historically accurate. And to every single story, there are multiple perspectives. I don’t see the harm in this book being shared. But I won’t try to analyze it either. Once I heard a statement that if what you write never pisses anyone off, then you aren’t saying much. So kudos to the author for saying what she believed needed to be said, regardless of the pushback.
The story is beautiful and if you are looking to be transported by audiobooks, this one is worth checking out.
They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera
Imagine a world where you would get a call notifying you of your impending death in the next 24 hours. They would not tell you how or where you would perish, only that this is your last day. That is the world this story is set in.
People who get “the call” are referred to as Doomers, and society has adapted to help them make the most of those last hours. There are apps to make a “last friend” if you have no one to spend it with, and facilities with virtual reality experiences so you can cross things off your bucket list.
The story follows two different Doomers on their last day and shares a lot of the mental-emotional turmoil that comes with impending death. It’s a great story to listen to and to surface some of your own beliefs about life and death and the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” you might be blindly buying into.
Akata Witch Series
I absolutely adore the first book in this series. The audio acting is superb and I would almost insist I had seen a movie of it if I wasn’t so aware that such movie doesn’t exist. Yetide Badaki, the narrator is superb, and I plan to listen to more books narrated by her! I also enjoy the writing itself. The descriptions are so vivid and the story so captivating you can’t help but be swept away in the action.
It takes place in Nigeria, and is based on the idea that there are different types of humans. One type they call leopard people. These people have magical abilities that manifest in different ways. Usually, their parents are also like them, so they learn from a young age about who they are and what they are capable of. But that is not always the case.
This story follows the life of a free agent, who finds out in her early teens that there is more to her than she had ever imagined. Reminiscent of Harry Potter, but with the magical society mostly blending with the normal world, we follow her education and adventures that sound way too dangerous for someone so new to using her power.
Once you start listening to this, you won’t be able to put it down. I devoted a whole weekend to listening only to have it spilling over into Monday, where I would listen to five-minute snippets any time I could just to catch the next bit of action!
I have not read the third book, Akata Woman yet. But I am sure I will get to it soon!
I can’t say enough about how much I was transported by the audiobook Dune to a totally different world. Spending time listening to what life is like on a desert planet with different empires fighting for its resources was such an escape from reality. I loved the descriptions of the landscape and the cultural norms that allowed them to live in such a harsh environment.
The audio is done with lots of acting and sound effects which add to its ability to completely move you to a different plane. I even wrote a post about why the book is better than the movie. Even without the visuals, I felt like I had visited Arrakis with its dry dune deserts, and weathered mountain ranges. I even felt I had witnessed the infamous sandworms and the ways that the locals had learned to use the creatures to their advantage instead of running from them as the outsiders did.
I won’t say more about how I was transported by this audiobook, I will let you discover it for yourself!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Addie LaRue made a deal with the darkness. She was warned never to pray after dark, and she is spending eternity paying for that mistake. The main character of this book will challenge you to think in ways you may not have thought before. Her courage and tenacity had me questioning my own values. Would I be brave enough to face the darkness as well as she does?
When Addie made the deal, she didn’t really know what she was bargaining for. She didn’t have a clear picture of what she wanted, she only knew what she didn’t want. This was a clear example for me of what happens when we try to run from what we don’t want instead of moving toward our desires. She didn’t have a clear enough picture of what she actually desired. And what she got might have broken some people. Can you imagine a world where no one could remember you for more than a few seconds? How would that shape who you became?
Our desire to be seen is such a strong part of human nature, I loved the way the author used that concept and spun this beautiful tale of a woman living a life without being able to be seen, or remembered. She finds fascinating ways to make her mark on the world, that I found intriguing and inspiring. This book takes you through time, starting a few hundred years ago and leading up to something around the present day. I found myself having insight after insight as I experienced the world through the eyes of Addie LaRue. If you are up for an adventure, check out this audio book.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
If you had been mentally handicapped your whole life, what would it be like to suddenly have the ability to become intelligent? Not just of average intelligence either. The main character in this book goes from being hardly able to read and write despite years of education, to being able to understand things like physics and chemistry on a level most of us only dream about.
The story is told through the diary entries of Charlie, who is a test subject for this experimental surgery. I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, so I recommend you pick this one up and use it to consider your own life. How do you choose your friends? And how are you treating people who might not be as intelligent as you are?
Charlie might have some lessons to learn, but he also has a lot to teach us about humanity. This was a book I didn’t want to end. I highly recommend picking it up!
Are you transported by audiobooks?
I often hear people say they don’t have time to read, but audiobooks are a great way to get some reading in without having to sit down with a book. While there is a balance between being present for what you are doing, and allowing yourself to be transported by audiobooks, I encourage you to find that line for yourself!
If you are already and audiobook fan, I would love to hear your recommendations and stories about when you were transported by audiobooks! Leave a comment below!