6 Audiobooks I’ve Listened to More Than Once

You know ho white saying goes, “So many books, so little time.” When it comes to my reading material, I’m always trying to find a balance between new releases and older titles on my shelves and classics. There’s so many books out there!

Because of that, I generally don’t re-read too often. When I do, it’s because the book had a powerful affect on me the first time and I want to have those feelings again, or learn more from it with a second reading.

The books listed below are ones I’ve read at least twice. They’re books that have affected me a great deal, and are what I consider to be the text books of my life so to speak.

6 Audiobooks I’ve Listened to More Than Once

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is one of the handful of audiobooks I’ve purchased. I’ve read the physical copy twice, and listened to the full book twice, plus I listen to snippets from time to time when I need a specific reminder. This is one of the few books that when I say it changed my life, I truly mean that. It was one of my main motivators for turning away from my “regular job” toward more creative work. Liz Gilbert is one of my personal gurus, and she taught me so much in this book, about being a writer but also about releasing fear and following through when I get great ideas.

If you’re thinking you’re not a “creative type” that would benefit from this book, I challenge you to give it a listen and remain open minded. Liz teaches us that simply being a human is a creative effort.

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Listening to this book is like attending a lecture by one of the best memoir writers of our time. I first read this in physical form and loaded my copy with sticky notes. I later got the urge to re-read it and decided to listen to it to absorb the material in a different way. I’ve since listened to it two more times. I learned about the craft of memoir from this book, but that’s not why I value it so much. What I appreciate most is Karr’s bluntness about what it’s like to be a memoir writer and how we are drawn to do this thing that often causes us pain. Here are my favorite quotes that are examples of that, ” In some ways, writing a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it’s done right.” And, “But nobody I know who’s written a great one [memoir] described it as anything less than a major-league shit-eating contest.”

I return to this book over and over again because the personal writing I do is so difficult sometimes. I need Karr’s reminders that all of us who are called to share our personal stories deal with these same feelings, regardless of how experienced the writer may be.

Naked by David Sedaris

I’ve listened to most of Sedaris’ books more than once, but this one is by far my favorite. I first read a physical copy many years and when I raved about it to a co-worker she suggested I listen to his books. Sedaris is one my go-to authors for audiobooks on road trips with my husband so we’ve listened to them together too. My favorite essay in this collection is A Plague of Tics. It demonstrates everything I love about his writing. It’s hilarious and self-deprecating but in an honest, vulnerable way.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

After I listened to this book on my own, I told my husband he absolutely had to listen to so I bought it for one of our road trips. Trevor’s skill with impersonations and languages is one reason alone to listen. Far from a traditional celebrity memoir, this more of a collection of personal essays, through which Trevor gives us a personal account of his childhood in South Africa. Starting before he was even conceived, he paints vivid portraits of his mother and grandmother with superb writing and rich imagery of apartheid. South Africa is a major character Trevor’s stories, and he describes apartheid with great factual detail and emotional commentary. I learned so much from this book, I am horrified I wasn’t aware of it before hand. I think I’ve recommended this memoir to just about everyone I know!

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

This memoir is Sherman Alexie at his very best. It’s a combination of essays and poems. His narration moves fluidly through the different writing styles and Native American dialects. What I appreciate most about this book is Alexie’s way of addressing his difficult relationship with his mother with dark humor and honesty and love, all at the same time. He perfectly captures the complexities of such a relationship. I’ve listened to it multiple times because it inspires me to think differently about how I write about my relationship with my mom, but also because it’s beautiful to listen to.

Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice by Bene Brown

Technically this isn’t a book. It’s a recording of a speech Brene gave to an audience. It’s fantastic reiteration of the material in her book Rising Strong, taken to a deeper level with an exploration of spirituality. The focus of that book is taking a serious look into the stories we tell ourselves: I’m not good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, etc. Only when we break these stories down, and consider how we’ve gotten to a low point, can we move past them. This takes bravery, courage, and vulnerability, which are scary and often painful. These are messages I need to hear repeatedly, which is why Brene’s work resonates with me so much. I like this recording so much because of the casual nature. Brene is telling stories more so than a straight up lecture, and the audience responds to her. It makes me feel like I’m there every time I listen to it.

Are there any books you’ve listened to more than once? I’d love to hear about what they are and why you’re drawn to them.

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