Collection Development Reclaiming My Adult Reading Life Post-Baby with Audiobooks

Assoc. Marketing Director Jen (pictured with her little hungry caterpillar) shares what she’s been listening to this summer. Share your own favorite summer audiobooks with us @BOTLibrary.

Let’s just say it had been awhile.

Corduroy? Check! The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Check! Goodnight Moon? Nightly. But taking the time as a newish mom to read a book just for my bookish self? Well…Goodnight goodreads goal has been more like it.

But over a year after having my first baby, in a world (aka: my small apartment) where board books rule, and Sesame Street is sweepin’ the countless cable series away (although no complaints there—that show is amazing), I couldn’t help but feel like singing: Can you tell me how to get, how to get to…reading again?

Spoiler alert: The answer is audiobooks. Audiobooks are how you get to reading again. And yes, I have known this all along. (And yes, I do work in audiobook marketing.) But I still needed a push to get me to press play and reclaim my adult reading life.

So I joined a book club. My very first (unless you count my Pizza Hut BOOK IT! participation in 5th grade). A group of fellow newish neighborhood moms who also wanted to find their way back to reading had made it official. Thankfully, this book club also has pizza.

LISTEN TO A CLIP: CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

Our summer pick? Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, perfectly read by Aoife McMahon. This audiobook has the intimacy of an indie movie, with a distinct and memorable voice. I often think first-person books make the best audiobooks when a narrator just fully inhabits the character and tells you his or her own story. We meet Frances and hear everything through her youthful and distinctly descriptive play-it-cool perspective—from her complicated friendship with her BFF, Bobbi, to a flirtation that turns to much more with married man, Nick.

Conversations about books with friends are quite fun, and my new book club even let me play a short section of the audiobook during our meet-up—since I was gushing about audiobooks—and I am thrilled to say that it led to such an interesting discussion based solely on the experience of listening! It illuminated certain aspects of the book for people in a way that was different from their initial read, especially because they could hear the character’s Irish accent; upon hearing her voice, some suddenly felt less judgmental of her and better able to sympathize with her questionable decisions. After all, questionable decisions often make for the best stories.

LISTEN TO A CLIP: TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN

My return to reading for myself made me turn to an audiobook that has literally been STARING at me for almost a year. Remember those many cable series I have yet to watch? This Lauren Graham fan hasn’t yet seen the new Gilmore Girls. (I know, I know. Don’t tell me how it ends. I think I already heard but am pretending I didn’t.) But that’s no excuse not to listen to Lauren Graham’s absolutely delightful Talking as Fast as I Can.

I was a huge fan of her fiction novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe—and related all too well to her NYC acting pursuits—so I was thrilled to hear more of Lauren Graham’s whimsical and personable way of writing that is so much fun in her own voice. She takes you through her real-life journey as an actress and shares some funny thoughts on life and love. Plus, there are hilarious audio cameos by her dad and literary agent. Something only the magic of audio can do.

Having a baby in a small apartment means that when we aren’t reading stories, singing, or waving at Elmo, we are searching for the best music to play that we can all enjoy—that won’t drive us crazy. Aside from the classics (from Motown to Michael Jackson to Raffi, of course) and a pretty steady stream of show tunes, I was intrigued to find there’s a song that’s been scientifically proven to make babies happy. We have played it on repeat many, many times and it is appropriately called, “The Happy Song” by Imogen Heap. Baby or not, take a listen and see if it makes you smile. Or at least bop your head.

I have also recently discovered and am really digging Maggie Rogers for some sweet summer listening. If Lilith Fair (hello 90s!) was still a thing, she would surely be there – and while this blog post is about what I’m listening to, I also suggest watching one of her videos when you have a chance for the cool camerawork and unexpected dance moves.

CLIP COMING SOON

And finally, while Corduroy is already a favorite read-aloud in my house, pretty soon my son can also hear the award-winning actress Viola Davis read it to him on audio, and that is pretty awesome. And to the delight of this show tune-loving theatre gal, Corduroy Takes A Bow written and read by Viola Davis is out next month and I cannot wait. I may have needed to find some “me time” with an adult book—but it turns out, sometimes a great children’s book is just what you need.

I bet it can even be scientifically proven to make us happy.

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