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In praise of the audiobook!


Gasoline may fuel the engine, but audiobooks are what keep me going behind the wheel on my long drives for work and pleasure, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you readers… and ask you to help me re-fill my Audible library!

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The idea for this post was spurred when my friend Eileen Laird offered me a free audiobook version of her book, A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, to give away to one lucky reader. If you are interested, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post and use the Rafflecopter widget to enter (giveaway closes on Monday, September 12, 2016)… If you aren’t yet familiar with Eileen’s book or her blog Phoenix Helix, be sure to check out the review I wrote back in January when the print edition launched. The audiobook also gets my enthusiastic thumbs up, perhaps even more so because it is read by the author herself and if you are a loyal podcast listener like I am you know that she has a lovely soothing voice. I’m fortunate to know Eileen in real life and to have spent a fantastic rejuvenating weekend with her and three other bloggers recently… and through her podcast and audiobook you will feel like she is your friend too!

aip bloggers
That’s Eileen at the head of the table!

Ten of my favorite audiobooks, in no particular order

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, read by the author

I don’t remember who recommended it or why, but this was actually the first audiobook I purchased when I first got an Audible subscription. Hard to believe, but way back then I had never even heard of the now ubiquitous Chef Bourdain and was at first a bit put off by his arrogance in the first couple chapters, but was soon enthralled in the behind the scenes views of professional kitchens he shared.

Getting Things Done by David Allen, read by the author

I follow a modified GTD approach to managing the tasks relating to my many different tasks, including my day job, this blog, my side businesses, and managing my health – which can be a part time job all by itself. That’s why I like David Allen’s approach so much: he acknowledges that it is all important and it all needs to be dealt with. The audiobook is how I was first introduced to the methodology and highly recommend it to anyone else starting out.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson, read by Rob McQuay

Who doesn’t love a travel book while traveling, especially when you are driving through the same area? Much of my work travel is in the vicinity of the Appalachian Trail and I figured that listening to this book would be as close as I would ever get to hiking it myself.

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Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, read by the author

The audiobook version of this book entered my life many years after the print one did, and I use it now whenever I start to feel my stress level creeping up to the danger zone and need a reminder of how to keep it all in perspective. Managing stress is my biggest challenge, and one that I know I don’t always handle very well, but the techniques in this book do really help – as long as I remember to use them.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, read by Hope Davis

This is a work of fiction, but I enjoyed getting lost in the potential science of it all and the characters have really stayed with me, including the enigmatic Dr. Swenson, whose presence in the shadows for so many hours before she appears reminded me of the way the shadow of Dr. Kurtz loomed over Marlow in Heart of Darkness.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson, read by Richard Armitage

I taught high school English for 9 years and my absolute favorite part of each year was when I got to lead a group of students through their first experience with one of Shakespeare’s plays. This book was fun because it ditches all the familiar speeches and instead tells a human version of the story, particularly focusing on characters who Shakespeare didn’t fully develop, like Ophelia and Gertrude.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant, read by Linda Lavin

This book was a fun escape into another person’s life and left me feeling happy at the end. It’s a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of an 85-year-0ld woman talking to her 22-year-old daughter who asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today?.”

Cooked by Michael Pollan, read by the author

I’m a huge Michael Pollan fan, starting with his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which completely changed my life as I took the first steps toward questioning what I was eating and the impact it was having on me and on the planet. His most recent book, Cooked, didn’t have quite the same impact on me, but I did enjoy having him as a traveling companion as he read it to me!

The Graveyard Book: Full Cast Production by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman and cast

Yes, this is a kid’s book, but it was such a fun world to escape to! I never would have even considered it, except that I heard it strongly recommended by Tim Feriss on his podcast. Just trust me… you will love it too!

Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe, read by the author

I first read Liz’s book in print form and could tell right away that if she recorded an audio version, it would be a winner. She has a unique voice that keeps you entertained while at the same time dropping serious knowledge bombs on you about the many ways conventional wisdom about diet and nutrition is totally wrong.

How to become an audiobook addict without breaking the bank

My husband likes to check out audiobooks from the library, but that means that you don’t always get what you really want when you want it, and then you have to fumble with CDs while you are driving.

I find that an subscription to Audible is a very cost effective and easy way for me to keep myself stocked with audiobooks and maintain a library of old favorites that I can return to any time I want, but not have to store the physical discs or even the digital audio file.

If you are new to Audible, as a Gutsy By Nature reader, I have a special offer for you to get a 30-day free trial membership and two free audiobooks, that you get to download and keep, even if you decide not to continue beyond the trial period. Make sure you use this link to join Audible and Gutsy By Nature gets a small commission for referring you, which I would deeply appreciate!

The Giveaway

One lucky winner will get a digital download of A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird, read by the author. This contest is open to all, whether you are an Audible member or not! Eileen wanted me to make sure to include this statement: “Please note: this is a digital download of the audiobook (not a CD). It’s redeemed through You don’t need to be a member, but you will need to sign in with your Amazon account to redeem your prize. (Amazon owns Audible).”

Audiobook Giveaway 1

In the comments below…

  • Tell me which of my top 10 favorites you are going to add to your Audible list and why, OR…
  • Tell me a favorite of yours that I should add to my list and why!

Then verify your entry with the Rafflecopter widget. You can also earn extra entries by visiting me on Facebook, following me on Instagram, or signing up for my newsletter. One winner will be randomly selected by the Rafflecopter generator on Tuesday, September 13 and notified by email! [Update: The giveaway is over. Congratulations Samantha M.!]

a Rafflecopter giveaway



photo credit: neetalparekh (license)

20 replies on “In praise of the audiobook!”

I loved A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering-Americas Appalachian trail. Learned a lot about the trail. Love reading food related books. Anything from Michael Pollan would be on my list. Watched the series on Netflix. Highly recommend it.

I would probably listen to Kitchen Confidential or State of Wonder, although I already own a paperback copy of State of Wonder. I listen to my audiobooks through my library’s Overdrive and Hoopla apps. Currently, I’m listening to the third Robert Galbraith book Career of Evil. I read, rather than listened to the first two and I must say that the audio does not disappoint. This summer, I listened to all of the Taylor Jenkins Reid books, if you like contemporary and dramatic love stories. After I Do was my favorite of hers. I also really enjoyed The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is pretty good, but I found myself laughing out loud at Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. Brain of Fire: My Month of Madness was really intriguing! I always try to have an audiobook going. It is the only reason that I’ve been able to read anywhere close to the 60+ books I’ve read already this year.

I have Brene Brown’s Rising Strong book through Audible and I love it. This woman is the most honest yet compassionate woman I know in the area of psychology. She can break down feelings like shame and blame effortlessly to the lay person with heart and non-judgement. It’s an excellent read–all of her books are!

A recent listen I recommend is “Overdiagnosed” by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch. Up soon is “Gut” by Giulia Enders. I highly recommend subscribing to the daily special email if you are an Audible member since there are sometimes good books at a great price that way. I listen to a lot of Fantasy/Science Fiction because 3 of my adult sons like the genre and it gives us something more to talk about. Currently finishing “The Iron Druid Chronicles” for the 2nd time and my sons are encouraging me to try “the Dresden Files” and a new series by Patrick Rothfuss.

Oh, I loved Gut! Forgot about that one. Regarding fantasy/science fiction… I actually end up listening to a fair amount of that because my husband is a fan of the Dune series and he gets to pick when we go on road trips together.

I do not have an audible subscription, but I have enjoyed listening to books on CD occasionally. My favorites are anything by Mitch Albom. I would love to listen to Eileen’s book as I listen to her podcasts and her voice is sooo calming.

Yes, I feel the same way about Eileen’s voice. I like to listen when I am relaxing in the evening in hotel rooms (not a good choice while driving though, lest it make me so calm that I fall asleep!).

I am looking forward to 2 of your top 10: Getting Things Done by David Allen because I really struggle with balancing the different parts of myself and my life. I am interested in learning how to balance health, parenting, marriage, friendships, work etc in a more productive way. Also I’m looking forward to Full Catastrophe Living, as I suffer from chronic stress that affects me in so many physical and psychological ways that it can be debilitating. I would love to learn effective strategies and tools for managing stress.

I think I’ll try out – Full Catastrophe Living so I can better manage my stress! Some days it’s manageable and then by Thursday I seem to fall apart! Would love a copy of Eileen’s audio book as well! THANKS!

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, read by the author because I need to deal with stress better.

I want to listen to A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson, read by Rob McQuay. I have just discovered how much more relaxing it is to walk in the woods instead of along the road and love visiting the mountains. This would be wonderful guidance for my next vacation!

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