Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Back in the summer of 2013, I was postpartum and unhappy about having to go back to work. I despised my commute which could stretch upwards to three hours a day. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind. I listened to political talk radio. I listened to independent radio. I listened to sports talk. I listened to NPR. I listened to nothing. Each choice was good for a small stretch of time, but soon the existential despair of the reality of my drive would creep upon me once more. Recovering from childbirth on leave gave me a brief respite from the grind and also a keen understanding of the sacrifices my job and commute demanded from me. So, as I said, I was unhappy about having to go back to work.

I had seen that Darwin listened to audiobooks during his commutes and I decided this was a fine idea to ease the boredom and despair. Before my return to work, I visited our local library, signed up for my own card, and began browsing their audiobook selections. It turns out this is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I am now in my final weeks of working and I am currently listening to what I think will be my last book while commuting. The addition of audiobooks to my commute transformed it from a soul-destroying daily life suck into an inconvenience that, at least, comes with entertainment. I listened to books that I would have never had time to read on paper. I am also, by nature, more of an aural learner so listening played right into my strengths. I listened to descriptions my eyes would have glazed over and more fully imbibed the stories than if I had only been reading. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon this way to pass the time.

Here is my list of audiobooks that have made my commute so much more bearable:

  • 1776 by David McCullough, read by David McCullough
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson, read by Boyd Gaines
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, read by Sissy Spacek
  • His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J Ellis, read by Nelson Runger
  • Emma by Jane Austen, read by Wanda McCaddon
  • Sum It Up: 1,098 Victories, A Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective by Pat Head Summitt and Sally Jenkins, Read by Sally Jenkins
  • Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, read by Chris Sorensen
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Alexander Scourby
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, read by Josephine Bailey
  • Mere Christianity  by C.S. Lewis, read by Geoffrey Howard
  • The Great Divorce  by C.S. Lewis, read by Robert Whitfield
  • The Screwtape Letters  by C.S. Lewis, read by Joss Ackland
  • The Problem of Pain  by C.S. Lewis, read by James Simmons
  • Sense and Sensibility  by Jane Austen, read by Wanda McCaddon
  • Silas Marner  by George Eliot, read by Rosalyn Landor
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles  by Thomas Hardy, read by Stephen Thorne
  • Cheaper by the Dozen  by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, read by Dana Ivey
  • Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir, read by Maggie Mash
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell, read by Patrick Tull
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck, read by Anthony Heald
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis
  • The Return of the King by J.R.R Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis
  • 1984 by George Orwell, read by Richard Brown>
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, read by William Hope and Laurel Lefkow
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, read by Karen Savage
  • The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, read by Ian McKellen
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Alfred Molina
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, read by Bianca Amato and Graeme Malcolm
  • Beowulf Translated by Francis B. Gummere read by Rosalyn Landor
  • James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney, read by Eliza Foss
  • Inferno by Dante, translated by Benedict Flynn, read by Heathcote Williams
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, read by Donada Peters
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, read by Jeremy Irons
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, read by Kate Reading
  • The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones, read by John Curless
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot, read by Juliet Stevenson
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, read by Michael Page
  • Great Expectations By Charles Dickens, read by Martin Jarvis
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, read by Davina Porter
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, read by Tom Casaletto
  • The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, read by Donada Peters
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville, read by Anthony Heald

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