The Soothing Sounds of Other People’s Words

By The Nerdling

Between work, school, and weekly visits to family members in need of care, I spend nearly 7 hours in my car on a weekly basis. Over 200 hours a month I live in my vehicle. I also reside in a city which is growing by the minute thanks to lax corporate laws and affordable housing. My commute often feels like…

mad max fury road

It can be hell, but I love to drive. My car is a sanctuary for me. A big reason why: audiobooks. Since so much of my time is spent in my car, audiobooks allow for me to indulge my love of the written word.

My weekly commute is a bit longer than the average American’s. Most have a little over four-hour commute in a week. Thanks to growing traffic problems and people needing to look for affordable housing well away from their workplace, average travel times go up each year. Hence the audiobook recommendations.

I know some of you are going to argue it is difficult to pay attention to a book when driving. This can be true with certain books. A large cast or overly complicated plot can make following along problematic. These books make for an easy listen on your commute.

the princess diarist
Image Courtesy of Blue Rider Press

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, Read by Carrie Fisher and Billie Lorde

The third memoir from the late, great Fisher (as well as her final book) has the actress and author revisiting her time filming Star Wars after finding the journals she kept while on set. There is not a lot of insight on how the movie was made or how the character of Leia Organa came to be. But it is a great retrospective from Carrie on the girl she was thru the lens of her sharp humor. This includes her affair with costar, Harrison Ford for all the good and bad it was for her.

 

ready player one book cover
Image Courtesy of Random House

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Read by Wil Wheaton

Skip the movie. It is The Goonies for the digital age, and that is not meant as a compliment. Set in 2044, the world is not a good place thanks to wars, famine, and pollution. Most people live their lives inside the OASIS, a virtual reality created by the computer genius James Halliday. Upon Halliday’s death, he leaves a challenge to solve three clues and find the Easter Egg he has hidden inside the virtual world. Whoever finds the Egg will have full control of the multibillion-dollar OASIS. Wade Watts, a poor kid from the sticks, solves the first clue and sets in motion a wild ride through the depts of the OASIS.

Wil Wheaton is the perfect voice for Watts. Sarcastic and cynical king of the geeks. This fun adventure contains lots of great 80’s pop culture and gaming references for those who are older (like me).

 

dark matter book cover
Image Courtesy of Broadway Books

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Read by Jon Lindstrom

Jason Dessen has lived a pretty good life. He has a wife and son who love him and a job he enjoys. All of that disappears when a stranger in a mask kidnaps him. When he wakes, he is surrounded by people who know him, but he has no knowledge of. His wife is an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t spoken to in ages. His son was never born. This is not Jason’s world.

This novel is a mind-bending work of science-fiction from the writer of the Wayward Pines trilogy and Good Behavior. Intense doesn’t even begin to describe Jason’s tale of finding his way back home to his wife and son.

 

the handmaid's tale book cover
Image Courtesy of McClelland and Stewart

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Read by Claire Danes

If you haven’t heard of this book, what rock have you been living under? The Hulu series brings this terrifying novel to life brilliantly, but sometimes you have to visit the original source material. Especially now there will be a sequel coming this year.

The production value is beautifully done. Each section begins with the click of a tape recorder and the beginning of a song. The listener feels as if they are hearing an illicit recording made by a woman trapped in Gilead trying desperately to tell us her story before her possible doom. Claire Danes is Offred.

 

world in my eyes
Image Courtesy of Indigo River Publishing

World in My Eyes by Richard Blade, Read by Richard Blade

This fantastic autobiography follows the charmed career of the legendary DJ and TV show host. From his beginnings as a disco DJ in the clubs of Europe in the 70’s, thru his journey to Los Angeles’s world-famous KROC. The audiobook is far superior to the physical book as Blade plays clips from old interviews. Several of the artists featured join Blade in recreating conversations and interviews including members of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, and Terri Nunn of Berlin.

 

 

Bobiverse Trilogy by Dennis E. Taylor, Read by Ray Porter

bobiverse book covers
Image Courtesy of Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

Bob Johansson signs up to have his head cryogenically preserved in case of death. The irony of ironies, he is hit by a car a few hours later. Bob’s mind is revived 117 years in the future inside a sentient space probe. His mission is to be sent into space, replicate himself, and find habitable worlds for the endangered human race. In space, Bob and his replicants find humanity actively makes it difficult to want to save. The Bobs also learn they are not the only ones out there exploring.

Be careful with this one. More than once I nearly had to pull over, I was laughing so hard.  We are Legion (We are Bob), For We are Many, and All these Worlds, Taylor creates a series of unforgettable characters which all spring from various traits of one man. There are a lot of Bobs, and yet each one has such a wonderfully distinct personality making is easy to keep which Bob is which. Ray Porter does an amazing job bringing the Bobs to life.

Any audiobooks you recommend to get through a long commute or road trip? Let me know in the comments section below.


The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram

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