Back Porch Table

My Foray into the Audiobook World

Cindy Burnett
Click the Buzz Me button to receive email notifications when this writer publishes a new article or a new article in this column is published.

Summer is the perfect time to try a new audiobook. 

I have never been much of an audiobook listener, but I have friends who are and who regularly recommend them to me. I love listening to music so if I have to choose between the two, I almost always choose music. My other issue is that I have a husband, three teenagers and two dogs, so I am often interrupted. It is easier to look up from a book than it is to constantly say “Wait! I have to stop this audiobook!”; this halting of the family member who wants to speak to me doesn’t go over very well (naturally).

However, recently due to the coronavirus pandemic, my oldest daughter and I had to road trip to her university to empty out her dorm room. It is a 17-hour car trip each way, and on the advice of several friends (and emboldened by my progress with podcasts) I downloaded two audiobooks to see whether they would help pass the time when my daughter wanted to rest or listen to her own music. I chose two nonfiction titles that I have been wanting to read.

I started with Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre (8 Hours, 8 minutes). I split the book over the two days it took us to get there and listening to that book made the time go by so much faster. While it is completely horrifying that the drug companies and distributors created an epidemic of this proportion, I was glad I listened to the book and learned about their malfeasance. Moreover, I found that while listening to this story was completely absorbing, I am not sure I would have enjoyed it as much had I read it due to the level of detail involved at times. 

After my success on the way there, I decided to try a second audiobook on our way home, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 by Garrett M. Graff and Holter Graham (15 hours, 54 minutes). Again, the audiobook helped the time go by; however, it is much longer so I still have not quite finished it and am now trying wireless headphones in the kitchen so that I can try to listen uninterrupted. This audiobook is absolutely stunning because journalist Garrett Graff compiled the words of those that lived through 9/11 into an oral history and chronology. While it is heartrending and heartbreaking, it is also fascinating because he provides many details that I had never heard before including accounts of what was happening at the various sites as everything unfolded and the lack of communication between the various sites. I firmly believe that this book should be listened to versus read and am working to finish it up soon. 

While I am not sure I am an audiobook convert quite yet, my new goal is to listen to at least one a month and see if I can incorporate this as a habit in my reading life. Either way, I highly recommend listening to Death in Mud Lick and The Only Plane in the Sky – both are incredibly well-researched and cover topics relevant to our world today. 

I would love to hear your audiobook recommendations and your tips and tricks for listening to them – feel free to drop them in the comments below or email me at [email protected]

Bored at home and want to discuss books with people over Zoom or are you looking for an online book club? Conversations from a Page has launched a Curated Book Discussion program. (cost-$5 or $30 for an annual pass). Email [email protected] for more info. 

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram, the Continuing the Conversation newsletter or Cindy’s Reading Recs.

To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.