Make Anytime Reading Time with Audiobooks
|Sponsored| For those of us already choosing audiobooks to pair with our crafts, we want to bring the rest of you over to “the narrative side.” The side that has a voiceover with a story to tell. The side that lends a certain cadence to one’s craft, in the form of whatever written genre might suit you.
Penguin Random House Audio presents a consistent go-to library of the audiobooks you don’t know you love yet with their Audiobooks for the Crafter. On this page, you will find a curated collection meant to satisfy. Try out the digital crafting calculator at the bottom of their page. You simply submit the estimated time it will take you to craft, and they provide several suggestions against that time commitment.
While you consider what you might listen to next (or for your first time ever!), take a look at what these crafty professionals have chosen from the library of Penguin Random House Audio.
Witches and Werewolves—Oh My!
Julia Pillard, Editorial Assistant
Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series is now eleven books long, and—hopefully—counting. I picked up the most recent book, Storm Cursed, in audiobook form to listen to while knitting. Listening to audiobooks while I knit is a singular pleasure, as it combines two of my favorite things: crafting and stories. Though, I will admit, knitting whilst listening to thrilling audiobook adventures sometimes results in a pretty tight gauge. You have been warned.
Mercy Thompson is a coyote shifter, car mechanic, and member of the Columbia Basin Werewolf pack. The pack’s new role as protectors of the Tri-Cities leads Mercy and a couple of werewolves to find themselves dealing with some miniature-goat zombies. However, strange things are stirring in the Tri-Cities, and when the entire family of the witch Elizaveta—the gray-witch ally of the werewolf pack—is murdered by an encroaching coven of witches, Mercy is thrust into a politically-charged, dangerously magical mystery.
Briggs does an amazing job of introducing characters with enough background for new readers to understand who they are. Mercy as a narrator has a strong, wry voice that drives the story forward. I found myself laughing aloud at several points, which is no mean feat for a book that deals with some fairly dark themes. Briggs’s black witch coven has done some dark deeds, and those bubble up throughout the story. The dynamic between the protagonists and antagonists of the book brings up an oft-asked literary question: what are people willing to do for power? The answer the book presents is sometimes unsettling.
I loved listening to the audiobook version. The narration by series narrator Lorelei King moved at a good pace without sacrificing strong voice-acting and moments of pure fun. If you’re looking for a solid fantasy listen to accompany your autumn knitting, Storm Cursed might be the perfect book for you.
Give it a quick listen! Click on the below to sample Julia’s selection.
Drift Along on the Current of Language
Jenn Rein, Online Content Manager
Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong’s first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is a compelling listen primarily due to the author’s stylistic approach to his narrative. This is a journey into visualization that comes easily to the listener due to Vuong’s ability to paint a story.
Layered in the subtle, yet beautiful selection of words that depict both the pleasure and pain of the human experience, the novel unfolds as a letter written to the mother of the main character, Little Dog. His coming of age depicts and foreshadows the scars of marginalization.
As we are brought along through his journey, we see the strength and the pride of Little Dog’s character. Despite his experiences with racial aggression, and open hostility toward his sexuality, he is committed to the struggle of identity. Conflict underlies this tome, including the mother’s indiscretions in the raising of her son. Damaged in psyche by the impact of the Vietnam war, her parenting is influenced by violence and loss. We are brought along as gently as possible, the current of Vuong’s language pulling us forward through this character’s deeply felt experiences.
Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.
Little Dog develops a voice around the personal discovery of who he must be, and this voice can only be described as a beautiful song. It is evident that this writer is a poet, and that he holds a talent for imagery that far surpasses that of the ordinary novelist.
Explore the words of Ocean Vuong. Click below for a preview of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.
Choose Craft Over Books? No Need.
Christina Garton, Fiber Professional
When the opportunity arose to jump into a Penguin Random House Audio audiobook, I could not wait to read Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, narrated by actress Julia Whelan. I’ve long loved Linda Holmes and her work on NPR and her podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, so I’d long been anticipating her bookish debut. I’m happy to say I was not disappointed.
I put the audio book on my phone and I listened to it whenever I crafted. I laughed along with Evvie as I sewed towels for a friend’s wedding and new placemats for my son. I cried with and cheered her as I wound yarn for a future runner project (a monotonous project that is hours of counting thread after thread after thread). Throughout it all I was able to get lost in both my craft and in the book. It really and truly was the perfect marriage of the two things I love: creativity and reading.
Of course, I’m sure much of that has to do with the writing. Evvie Drake is a romance, but it’s not a bodice ripper or a traditional romcom, it’s much more real—well, real in the way a book about a small town widow who rents a room to a former professional baseball star with the “yips” can ever be. Linda Holmes’ characters have a depth to them that makes you truly understand and care about them.
There is a tinge of sadness to the book, but that sadness only serves to emphasize the joy all around it—it’s like how a pinch of salt in brownies makes the batch taste more complex. It’s also wonderfully funny. By the end I was fully invested and wondering if and when Linda Holmes would be writing a new book, and also what my next audiobook adventure would be.
Check out Christina’s choice! Click below to listen to a sample.
For more suggestions, visit TryAudiobooks.com and you can sign up for the Penguin Random House Audio newsletter to receive an exclusive sampler of new releases. What kind of stories do you stitch along to? Tell us in the comments!
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