As we continue to feel the challenges of COVID-19 in our daily lives, finding a way to take our minds elsewhere (when our bodies are still stuck at home) is the name of the game. Even for me, reading a book doesn't always pull my mind away from the things I need a break from, but listening to a book on audio works every time. Often I'll have a couple of audio books going at once so I can choose which one to listen to based on what I need in that moment. A novel that's light and fun? A mystery to mull over? Interesting nonfiction? Whatever the mood, there's an audio book for it. Below are five of my recent favorites.
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
This is a really fun book on audio. I painted a bathroom—headphones on, brush in hand—listening to Sex and Vanity, which had me traveling vicariously with Lucie Churchill from the island of Capri to Manhattan and the Hamptons. Kwan's latest novel of romance, rich people, and following your heart—even when it means hard choices—is a delight, and oh-so-perfect for summer.
A Burning by Megha Majumdar
I'm listening to A Burning right now and loving it. My colleague Chris calls Megha Majumdar's debut novel "a truly exceptional achievement," and I couldn't agree more. Set in modern day India and told through three different points of view, A Burning incorporates weighty topics—the rise of right-wing nationalism, the cost/benefit of social media, and how power can change a person—into a novel that is bright, hopeful, and had me hooked by the first chapter.
A July Best Book of the Month pick, I've heard raves about A Most Beautiful Thing from my fellow editors and in her review Al writes, "In some ways this is a memoir of underdogs fighting their way to the top, but it’s also about how an entire population is left out of the opportunity loop and how a seemingly small thing like sports can change lives." Cooper's account of growing up on the West side of Chicago, and what happens after he makes a life-changing decision to join fellow students in forming the nation's first all-black high school rowing crew, is a story I can't wait to hear.
The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
An audio book the whole family will love and you couldn't ask for a better narrator: Danny DeVito! The One and Only Bob is a follow up to Applegate's award-winner The One and Only Ivan but can also be read—or in this case, listened to—on its own. Bob, once a stray, now has his forever home, and is still able to visit his friends from the zoo, Ivan and Ruby. A search for Bob's sister turns dangerous but this tenacious little dog finds untapped reserves of courage to save his friends and himself. The One and Only Bob is a wise and thoughtful tale that will warm the heart of any reader or listener, regardless of their age.
Camino Winds by John Grisham
Grisham's last novel, Camino Island, was a really entertaining audio book, so I've decided to continue with this format for his latest, Camino Winds, especially since it's set on the same idyllic Florida island. The plot is perfect for summer: an author of mysteries is murdered during a hurricane, one of his writing colleagues—who is also a friend—undertakes an investigation of his own, and there is a manuscript on the dead man's computer that may hold the clues to solving the crime. I'll start this one as soon as I've got some time on a lounge chair in the sunshine and can just close my eyes and listen...
Five favorite new audio books to listen to on a drive, while doing a project, or when you just need to take your mind somewhere else.