Almost everyone I know wishes they read more. In the age of scrolling, streaming and packed schedules, picking up a book and sticking with it can seem like a daunting task. Even though I love books, my own “to read” stack has been growing for years, and I’ve had a hard time sticking with a book and seeing it through to the end. Finally something clicked this year when I started listening to more audiobooks. It’s no secret that I’ve listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks about a hundred times, but this year I finally expanded my audiobook library and I’ve been flying through my book list!
An easy foray into non-Harry Potter audiobooks for me was nonfiction, they’re essentially long-form podcasts! When I was fatigued by all of the news podcasts I was consuming and needed a break, I turned to self help and self improvement books in audio format to change it up. Nonfiction advice-based books are often uncomplicated and inspiring – literally the opposite of my daily news podcasts.
So if you’re looking for your next fireside listen this winter, grab a cup of hot chocolate, cosy up with your headphones and check out these audiobooks for the soul.
Author and Narrator: Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’ve always wanted to play piano, but think you’re too old to start, or if you haven’t acted in 20 years but you miss it ever day, this book for you. Gilbert encourages the creative type with a corporate job to get back to doing what you love, even if it’s just for fun (🙋🏻). She passionately guides her listener to let go of excuses that block creative projects from happening, specifically encouraging you to try your hand at whatever craft is calling to you, even if you’re not the best at it. Gilbert implores you to create for the sake of creating, knowing that your hobby will never make you any money, and being at peace with that. In an era in which everything seems like it can be monetized, Gilbert’s take is welcome and refreshing. And at just five hours and six minutes long, this book can be inhaled in a single weekend.
Author and Narrator: Jonathan Van Ness
Clocking in at just under six hours, this fabulous memoir is only slightly longer than the new season of Queer Eye. Jonathan Van Ness narrates his own story about growing up gay in small town Illinois, his harsh experiences of abuse, addiction, bullying, and ultimately coming out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever. The entire book feels like going out for a drink with JVN and getting to know him one on one. You won’t want this one to end, but you’ll finish it feeling encouraged and empowered to be your best, most gorgeously unique self.
Author: Charles Duhigg
Narrator: Mike Chamberlain
Speaking of getting into the habit of consuming more books, why not learn about the science of habit formation? This dense listen at over ten hours long is a fascinating insight into human behaviour. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard to stick to a regular gym routine, or how gambling addictions work, this book is for you. Duhigg unpacks how deeply engrained habits can become and what goes into changing them. Rather than berating yourself over the behaviours you want to change, learn why change is so hard for us humans as you reflect on steps to take to be the truest version of yourself.
Author and Narrator: Shaun T
Trust and believe and you can do anything. This is what Shaun T will make you feel in this eight hour listen. While Shaun T is a fitness guru (he made Insanity and T25), this isn’t your typical fitness book and is certainly not a weight loss book (I don’t f*ck with those). In a memoir format, T takes you through his tough childhood, his coming out story, and how he got into dance and fitness, while sharing all the lessons he’s learned along the way and the principles that guide him today. This is a book about building a foundation of self-love and self-acceptance before making external changes. T is passionate, hilarious, and motivating AF. Conquer your mind, transform your life.
If you’ve been in a reading rut for a while and want to get back into the groove, I highly recommend trying out an audiobook. They’ve never been easier to access and you may even be able to borrow them from your local library. Enjoy consuming long-form literature on your morning commute, at the gym or while in the shower and you’ll check-off everything on your “to read” list in no time. Happy listening!