Trey Hunner

web development, programming, open source

Top 6 Audiobooks of 2014

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I rarely read books. I tend to lose my place after putting books down for too long and I’m generally a slow and easily-distracted reader.

I discovered audiobooks this year and it has reintroduced me to long-form books, both fiction and non-fiction. I have listened to about one book a week for the last 9 months.

“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson

Content

In this book, Bryan Stevenson retells stories about the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative as well as some of the cases he worked on, focusing primarily on the case of Walter McMillian. This book was engrossing, hope-filled, and crushing at times. I had given little thought to the inner-workings of our justice system before reading this book.

Narration

I really enjoyed Bryan Stevenson’s self-narration. He isn’t a particularly animated orator, but he tells a story well and I never caught myself dozing off.

Links

Downpour (DRM-free) link Audible link

“Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow

Content

This reads like a modern 1984. The science fiction was minimal and the reactions of the public and the government felt fairly believable.

This is the first book in the Little Brother trilogy. I enjoyed the first book the most. The last book didn’t serve much purpose except to wrap up the series.

Narration

I enjoyed Kirby Heyborne’s narration and character voices. In comparison, Wil Wheaton’s reading of Homeland (book 2 of the trilogy) was animated, but he pronounced some names strangely. I liked Cory Doctorow’s reading of Lawful Interception (book 3) the most out of the three books in the series.

Links

Purchase link on Doctorow’s website Downpour link

“Lesterland” by Lawrence Lessig

Content

Lawrence Lessig explains a core problem in our democratic republic: the way we fund political campaigns. For a summary of the book, check out his TED talk on the same topic.

Narration

I enjoyed Lawrence Lessig’s self-narration. It was like listening to an extended version of his TED talk.

Links

Free download link The USA is Lesterland website

“The Martian” by Andy Weir

Content

Astronaut Mark Watney struggles to survive on Mars after a dust storm nearly kills him and causes his crew to evacuate after they assume he died. Watney’s ingenuity, luck, and sense of humor made this an enjoyable read. The science sounded mostly plausible also.

Narration

I enjoyed R. C. Brady’s narration of Mark Watney’s dark humor.

Links

Audible link

“A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson

Content

This book crams in a lot of facts as well as historical context. It does meander quite a bit, but I really enjoyed it.

Narration

Richard Matthew has a very soothing voice. I really enjoyed listening to this book while on vacation and while falling asleep.

There is also an abridged version of this book read by the author. I haven’t listened to the abridged version, but I did enjoy the author’s reading of “At Home”. Bill Bryson reads well, but his voice isn’t nearly as soothing as Richard Matthew’s.

Links

Downpour link Audible link

“You Are Not So Smart” by David McRaney

Content

This book is packed with common self-delusions. Unfortunately, most delusions do not come with solutions attached, but sometimes just knowing about a delusion can help make your world view slightly more realistic.

Narration

Don Hagen’s narration is fairly dry, but it works well with the tone of the book.

Links

Downpour link Audible link