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BAND September Discussion: Nonfiction Audio Books

by Kim on November 3, 2011 · 12 comments

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BAND — Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees — is a group organized to promote the joy of reading nonfiction. We are “advocates for nonfiction as a non-chore,” and we want you to join us. Each month, a member of BAND hosts a discussion on their blog related to nonfiction. I am woefully behind in participating (shame!), but I’ll be catching up over the next two days before our November topic is posted next week. 

The host for our September nonfiction discussion was Cass of Bonjour, Cass! who opened up a discussion about her love of nonfiction audio books.

I admire people who can listen to audio book while cleaning or doing dishes or folding laundry or working out… but at this point I just seem to not be one of those people. The only time I tend to get really into audio books is when I’m driving, particularly for long distances.

When I lived in Madison and often drove back to see my parents in Minnesota, I could finish an audio book on one trip. Perfect! Now that my drive from where I live to where my parents live is shorter, I can’t quite get a book done on a single trip. Consequently, I’ve started a couple nonfiction audio books recently, but just never got around to finishing them.

the accidental billionairesThe first was The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, his account of the founding of Facebook that was the basis for last year’s movie The Social Network. I got through all but the last discs of this one… but then didn’t bother to finish it. I can’t pinpoint a particular reason either, other than, perhaps, having seen the movie and read a lot about Facebook, I already sort of knew enough about what happened to make finishing seem unnecessary.

skyjackThe second was Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray. Again, a really fascinating subject: the baffling case of a mysterious hijacker who jumped from a plane with $200,000 and disappeared. I’m not sure why I haven’t finished this one either; I just haven’t felt compelled to make adjustments to my everyday routine to fit audio books in and don’t see myself grabbing the book again on my next car ride unless someone gives it a huge thumbs up.

Honestly, I’m disappointed by my dwindling interest in nonfiction audio books (or really, audio books in general), since I’ve always found them a great way to knock books off my TBR pile when I’m stuck doing an activity that’s less fun than reading.

That said, Boyfriend and I are planning a vacation over Thanksgiving that will likely involve more than 15 hours of driving over five days, so we’re open to suggestions. What is one audio book (fiction or nonfiction) that you could not stop listening to?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick November 3, 2011 at 7:56 am

I still have to write my review for it, but the best nonfiction book I listened to was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Unbelievable story and I learned so much about a topic that I never knew about before, but should have!

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Kim November 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I’ve heard that one is really good on audio. It’s excellent in print as well!

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Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm November 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

The best nonfiction audiobook I’ve listened to in a while was Bill Bryson’s The Thunderbolt Kid. Made me laugh out loud several times!

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen was also excellent, but a teensy bit confusing with all the German names, which I got kind of mixed up for a few discs, since it’s hard to remember them when you’re not seeing them written down.

The last fiction audio book I “read” was The Daughter of Time, which was really good — and quite short. Only 5 or 6 discs, which is nice sometimes.

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Kim November 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Good call! I think I started reading that one, but didn’t finish it. I’ve always been mixed on Bryson, but I’ve liked his memoirs and books that aren’t travel writing.

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Andi November 3, 2011 at 9:44 am

I was a huge audiobook fan when I lived in NC. There were hardly an decent radio stations with good reception in my area, so I listend to audiobooks on my commute. I’m always a fan of a David Sedaris collection but I was also totally taken with On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. It’s a short one, but his reading brought out so much of the extreme awkwardness in that book. Painful to listen to almost but highly effective. :)

A less successful one: the audio version of Spook by Mary Roach. I just wasn’t sold on that book in any way. And I usually LOVE her! :(

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Kim November 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm

David Sedaris is amazing on audio! One of his book would be great for our trip. I don’t know of the boyfriend would go for “extreme awkwardness” in a book, but I might try it :)

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Vasilly November 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I can’t remember the last time I’ve listened to a non-fiction book on audio. I love taking notes and find it hard to do with audio or ebooks.

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Kim November 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

That’s very true — I tend to try and pick narrative nonfiction for audio if I get into it.

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Amused November 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I find that nonfiction audiobooks are great! One of my recent faves was Bossypants :) So funny!

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Kim November 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Yes, I’ve heard that one was awesome. I love Tina Fey.

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christa @ mental foodie November 5, 2011 at 2:06 am

I don’t do audio…. i fall asleep or get distracted by something else. Still want to try it on the elliptical but need to will myself to get on it first. How do you get notification of the monthly topic? I subscribe to the BAND site http://nonfictiondevotees.tumblr.com/ but it hasn’t been updated since August?

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Kim November 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I haven’t tried audio books while exercising yet, but since I don’t exercise as much as I should it would probably take me forever to finish!

We forgot to put the topics up on the Tumblr the last couple months. Well, it was mostly me forgetting about it. We’ll be better about putting them up on the BAND site and on Twitter for the next topics. Sorry!

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