Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nontraditional Nonfiction: Amazing Audiobooks


We're into week three of Nonfiction November, our host is Rebecca at I'm Lost in Books, and here is the topic:
Nontraditional Nonfiction: This week we will be focusing on the nontraditional side of reading nonfiction. Nonfiction comes in many forms. There are the traditional hardcover or paperback print books, of course, but then you also have e-books, audiobooks, illustrated and graphic nonfiction, oversized folios, miniatures, internet publishing, and enhanced books complete with artifacts. So many choices! Do you find yourself drawn to or away from nontraditional nonfiction? Do you enjoy some nontraditional formats, but not others? Perhaps you have recommendations for readers who want to dive into nontraditional formats. We want to hear all about it this week!  
This is an easy one for me because I LOVE NONFICTION ON AUDIO. In most cases, I actually prefer listening to nonfiction rather than reading it. I'm especially happy when an author turns out to be a great narrator... this adds so much to the overall experience.

One thing I've learned: When listening to nonfiction, I try to borrow a print copy from the library or at least browse through one in the bookstore. That way, I won't miss any photographs, charts, maps, etc. that might be included.

And since today is Tuesday, I'll throw in a Top Ten...
Clicking on the title will take you to audible, where you can listen to a sample of the narration.

Audio Nonfiction Favorites

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Just finished this one: stunning, thought provoking, narrated by the author


Narrated by the author, I cried as I walked the beach listening to her talk about her grandmother (Thank God for sunglasses!) Don't miss this essay collection.


Narrated by the author. I think Quindlen and I could be BFFs... a must read for every woman over 50 (or getting close). An all-time favorite.


by Laura Hillenbrand, narrated By Edward Herrmann
Positively riveting... though the movie may be too much for me.



Downtown: My Manhattan by Pete Hamill
A must-listen for fans of the city or Pete Hamill. I'm ready to listen again! Read by the author.


Narrated by Gary Sinise, but so easy to imagine it was Steinbeck. I've read many of his novels, but it felt like I got to know the author himself here.


Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Narrated by the author. Fascinating.



by Helene Cooper, narrated by the author
One of my favorites from several years ago, I still think about it today.


by David Nasaw, narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
I've been interested in the Kennedy family forever. This book digs into the truths behind the myths. Well researched and so, so interesting...not sure I would have made it all the way through in print, but I loved each of the 31(!) hours.


Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin
Science meets human interest.. the true story behind HeLa cells. An excellent book!



Do you ever listen to nonfiction? What are some of your favorite audiobooks?

44 comments:

  1. I've read 2 of those in print. I love audio books but don't have much time for them these days.

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    1. Kathy - I usually choose nonfiction audio for car trips... something my husband would also be interested in.

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  2. Half of these are on my TBR. I am finding there is a real consensus this week that nonfiction pairs with audio extremely well and I am going to have to try more of it this way! Maybe it will be the ticket to my enjoyment of audiobooks!

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    1. Becca - Nonfiction and audio are perfect for me... maybe because I am an auditory learner.

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  3. Once I get my Cochlear Implant I am going to practice listening to audio-books. I will try some of the ones you mentioned here. They sound really interesting.

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    1. Hillary - I hope you enjoy audiobooks. Sometimes it takes some practice to be able to listen to them.

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  4. Read "Infidel" when it first came out. For what we are up against, it's recommended reading for everyone. She has a new book out which I need to track down.

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    1. JudyMac - I agree! I remember reading about her new book... need to look it up.

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    2. Just noticed that I missed seeing "Story of a Happy Marriage" on your list. Ann Patchett is among the very few I consider my A-List of Writers. I believe I have read every one of her books, have them in hand, some of which are autographed. She is just the finest.

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    3. JudyMac - Ann Patchett is one of my A-Listers, too! I have read all of her books and will continue to do so. One day, I will visit her bookstore in Tennessee!

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  5. I have read a few of them... the others I have put on my Audible Wish List.

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    1. Debbie - These were all big winners for me!

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  6. Some excellent choices there - I loved the audios of the Patchett and Quindlen books. Being Mortal (no review yet) was also a fantastic NF audio.

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    1. Diane - I loved Being Mortal, too. My reread will definitely be on audio.

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  7. This is the second time I've seen Unbroken on an audio list today! I read it (and loved it). I'm still trying to find an audio niche, as nothing seems to pan out for me. So far, humor/personal essays are the leaders, but I still have problems with zoning out.

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    1. Sarah - Humor and personal essays work well for me, too... Ann Patchett's collection is amazing.

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  8. I'm going to have to listen to this Between the World and Me. I keep hearing about it.

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    1. Hibernators Library - It is an amazing listen!!

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  9. Between the World and Me really appealed to me, but I never picked it up. It certainly got its share of the hype, so I'm glad it wasn't just publicity and really was that great. I had no idea the author narrated the audio!

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    1. Kathy - That is a book I fully expect to end up on high school curriculums in the near future.

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  10. JoAnn,
    Amazing! I, too, only listen to nonfiction audiobooks. I like biographies, memoir, and history, primarily. Though I've read several science and nature titles that I've loved.
    For some reason, I can't drive safely and listen to fiction.
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

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    1. I also meant to say that I very much enjoyed this post and your selections. Judith

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    2. Judith - I'm glad you enjoyed this post! I love nonfiction on audio, but also enjoy listening to classics. The total immersion of a read/listen combination is such fun. It has added to my enjoyment of Trollope's Barsetshire Chronicles this year.

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  11. These look to be very interesting choices, many that I want to read myself.

    I used to listen top non fiction on audiobook. I found it frustrating as I like to also have a copy of the text for reference. Thus I mostly listen to books that I can download the text for free, which is usually older fiction.

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    1. Brian - I almost always end up borrowing a print copy from the library when listening to nonfiction. There is so much I want to reread, plus the photos, charts, graphs, etc...

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  12. I did not think I liked nonfiction or memoir but I think I might be interested in a few of these. I also dont like audio but I think I should try it on a car trip!

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    1. Patty - We try to listen to audiobooks on our drive to and from FL, but often just end up talking most of the time!

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  13. Oh I have some to add my list. I LOVE listening to nonfiction.

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    1. Beth F - Nonfiction on audio is the best!!

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  14. WOW! Such great suggestions, JoAnn! I've only read/listened to (I did both!) Unbroken; I'm definitely interested in the Ann Patchett and Anna Quindlin selections, so I'm adding them to my list. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

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    1. Tara - Unbroken was amazing... so intense!! I cannot recommend the Ann Patchett and Anna Quindlen highly enough. Both are on my list of all-time favorites.

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  15. I listened to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on CD a few years ago, and it was excellent! I finally signed up for Audible, and am now listening to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is the perfect companion for crochet :)

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    1. Sharon -I've had an audible account for nearly 15 years. I'm so impressed by the company and their customer service, in particular. Just listened to a sample of Big Magic and have added it to my wish list :)

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    2. Good to know about Audible's customer service! So many companies don't... I finished Big Magic this evening. I liked the book, and Gilbert's narration was very good. I think you will enjoy it.

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  16. I love nonfiction on audio as well. It took me a while to realize that but once I did, I took full advantage of that. Love your list here - I have been considering listening to Infidel. Glad that you recommend it.

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    1. Athira - Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a couple of other books I'd like to read (or listen to). Her narration really added to the experience.

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  17. I love audiobooks, too but haven't read many of them you've listed so I am now adding them to my TBR pile.Thanks.UNBROKEN is amazing.
    My Nonfiction November #3

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    1. Anne Bennett - Unbroken was unforgettable on audio!! I checked out your list and have added to my own tbr... thank you:)

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  18. I'm finishing the Ann Patchett book today--so incredibly good. Enjoyed every minute of it,and yes, the one on her grandmother was a tearjerker, especially as I'm living through this with my own 92-year old mother. I think it would have been great on audio, but I was already committed to a long audio and just felt in the mood to read essays.

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    1. JaneGS - Patchett's book was one of my favorites a couple of years ago, and one of these days I'm going to buy a print copy to reread. The essay about her grandmother was so powerful... tears were flowing as I walked on the beach. I'm sorry you're living through that with your mother now.

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  19. Nice list of audios. I've read quite a few of these and agree with you completely. They are terrific. I will put the Coates book on my list.

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    1. Susan - So glad you're going to read/listen to Coates' book, It is excellent!

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