Enrich Your Life With These Listens!

In celebration of Audiobook Month, we want to focus on the many ways that audiobooks add to our lives and make them better. Last week we chatted about how audiobooks can help you stay entertained. This week we’re highlighting how you can enrich your life with some noteworthy listens.

Why not give one of these life-changing titles a listen and add a little enrichment to your day? To see our full “Books That Make You Think” book list, click here. Also, don’t forget to visit our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts, and use the hashtag #IListenFor to let us know why you love audiobooks. Lastly, don’t forget to enter our contest for a chance to win the ultimate audiobook lovers prize pack!

Inspiring Listens

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, narrated by Karissa Vacker

Follow five different women in a small Oregon fishing town in a time when abortion is, again, illegal in America and every embryo is given citizenship under a “Personhood Amendment.” How do these women handle this new way of life and the challenges that come along with it?

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Room by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Suzanne TorenEllen ArcherRobert PetkoffMichal Friedman

Room is all five-year-old Jack has ever known, it’s his whole world. In reality, Room is where his Ma has been held captive for the last seven years by Old Nick. Room was made into an award-winning motion picture in 2015.

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Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, narrated by Yetide Badaki

Kabu Kabu means “unofficial taxi,” which is fitting for this collection of stories from award-winning author, Nnedi Okorafor. Each short-story (or novella) included in this collection will take you to a new and exciting part of Okorafor‘s imagination.

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Award Winners


There There by Tommy Orange, narrated by Alma CuervoKyla GarciaDarrell DennisShaun Taylor-Corbett

There There is the debut novel from Tommy Orange, which follows 12 different Native American characters. Each character’s story is beautifully interwoven throughout the novel and it all coalesces at the Big Oakland Powwow. There There received the Gold Medal for First Fiction from the California Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award’s “John Leonard Prize,”the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize.

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin 

Cora is working as a slave at a cotton plantation in Georgia when she meets Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia. He tells her all about the underground railroad, which, in this case, is an actual railroad that runs beneath the ground. In this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel, follow Cora as she discovers a new world at every train stop on her quest for true freedom.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin

Living in a poor neighborhood while attending a fancy prep school already has sixteen-year-old Starr Carter teetering between two worlds. This fragile balance is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Starr must then decide between speaking out for Khalil and staying quiet for her and her family’s safety. The Hate U Give not only won countless awards, but the audiobook also received the Audie Awards for Best Young Adult and Best Female Narrator.

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Diverse Listens


The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar, narrated by Jeed Saddy

The Atlas of Reds and Blues features a narrator known only as “The Mother” who moves with her family to Atlanta to start fresh but finds that racism is still running rampant. Eventually, a police raid of her house ends with her being shot. As she lies bleeding, she replays her life and tries to find out how she got there. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Blues tackles what life is like as a second-generation American and a woman of color.

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Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala, narrated by Julia WhelanPrentice Onayemi

Speak No Evil follows the story of Niru who appears to have it all; however, he has a secret—he’s queer. Only his friend, Meredith, knows and keeps this secret. Once Niru’s father discovers his son is queer and Meredith is unable to provide support for him due to her own emotional stress, Niru’s future and everything he expected is thrown into chaos.

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Training School For Negro Girls by Camille Acker, narrated by Bahni TurpinJanina Edwards 

A compelling debut from Camille Acker, Training School for Negro Girls is a collection of short stories told from the perspectives of women of color about race, gender, family, identity, and more. These women navigate the pressures of society while also challenging the stereotypes of what it means to be black.

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STAFF PICK: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Title: Speak No Evil
Author: Uzodinma Iweala
Narrators: 
 Prentice Onayemi and Julia Whelan 

Speak No Evil is a new release from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation. Protagonist Niru is a successful student. He received early acceptance to Harvard, is a star track athlete, and is gay. The last bit was a secret, but when it’s accidentally revealed to his conservative Nigerian father, Niru’s life turns upside down.

As this plays out, there is friction with his best friend. Niru tries to cope with the World’s expectations and his conflicting desires without the support of the one person he’s always had by his side. The book brims with confusion and pain. He juggles his father’s shame, his pastor’s preaching, and his personal desires. When he begins to find happiness, his family’s words resonate in his head and he distances himself. His torment piles onto the pressure of high school, and despite Niru’s conscientious attitude, it gets to be too much.

The narrators are excellent. I’ve listened to and enjoyed Prentice Onayemi‘s narration before, and his performance here does not disappoint. The transition between American and Nigerian accents is smooth and clear, and he amplifies the story’s emotion. When the perspective changes and Julia Whelan takes over, the emotion is not lost. 

Uzodinma Iweala brings hard topics front of mind, and left me feeling somber but thoughtful. The writing is elegant and despite the difficult subject matter, I rushed through it. Have you read it? Share your thoughts!

Speak No Evil

 

 

Read more and sample the audio here!

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