I set a goal of listening to 50 audiobooks in 2015 and I met this goal. I listened to over 400 hours of audiobooks – that’s over 1 hour of listening per day.
I make an effort to listen to audiobooks that challenge me. I try to read books by people from different backgrounds, books from genres I’m unaccustomed to, and books on subjects that challenge my world views.
This list only represents 10 of my favorite listens from this year. You can find a full list of the books I read in 2015 on my Goodreads page.
1. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
This book meanders through heavy issues, including exceptionalism, misogyny, and dying young. Kanye, Obama, and Tupac all make appearances. This is some of the most eloquent and addictive prose I’ve heard: witty and grave.
- How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon
- Audible audiobook read by Kevin Free
2. Whistling Vivaldi
Even in the seeming absence of individual and institutional discrimination, we can be affected by stereotype threats. Identity threat is a real problem. If you help lead an organization of people, you should read this book or at least read a good summary of it.
The main character, Ifemelu, is a complex individual who struggles with romance, family, and identity. I really enjoyed this story and I especially enjoyed Adjoa Andoh’s audiobook narration.
4. The Righteous Mind
We tend to categorize ourselves based on which moral pillars we hold sacred and which we ignore. It is difficult but important to empathize with those who recognize different moral pillars than you.
5. The New Jim Crow
This book discusses the effects of the war on drugs, rising incarceration rates, affirmative action, color-blindness, and a number of other issues. I learned quite a few eye-opening facts while reading. Take a break from Law and Order and listen to this book instead.
6. Reading Lolita in Tehran
In this book we reflect upon Iranian life through nineteenth and twentieth century literature. Culture and politics are discussed in the context of the books studied in a secret book club.
7. Twelve Years a Slave
This autobiography was very clear, very event-filled, and overall I found it very well-written. I had less trouble keeping track of the characters than in much of the fiction I read. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m hoping it’s as good as the book.
8. The Wordy Shipmates
This journey through history included religion, politics, and drama with tie-ins to modern culture and a smattering of humor. I didn’t understand much of this book, but I did really enjoy it.
9. The Handmaid’s Tale
Some people call this book “science fiction”. I’d call it fiction set in the future, a relatable and frightening future. This dystopian patriarchy is fueled by religious extremism and a fertility problem.
10. For the Win
This book focuses on abuse of workers around the world. It doesn’t focus on technology or corruption, unlike other Doctorow books I’ve read. The protagonists (there were many) seemed less stereotypical than the protagonist in Little Brother.
Need more than 10 audiobook recommendations? Here’s five more.