I’ve always been very honest here about being visually impaired and chronically ill. Before both of these things, I never really paid attention to the idea of audiobooks, aside from the cassette tapes (YUP I’m a 90s baby!) I listened to when I was younger. When I first fell ill, I wasn’t strong enough to sit up or hold a book, and when I first started losing my vision, it took several adaptions before I was able to read on either screen or paper. Throughout all of that, I was endlessly grateful for audiobooks.
The time difference between me becoming first ill and going blind was about six years, and the improvement in audiobook services during that time was huge. The availiblity in both different services and also books themselves has changed dramatically, and I am so grateful that it has. Personally, I use Audible for my audiobooks, as well as the service provided by the RNIB which anyone who has a visual impairment or is blind is eligible for, but there are multiple options out there. I’m just putting that out there because some books are only availible with certain services etc, and I want to say that in advance.
There are some really brilliant books out there, and there are also some brilliant narrators. Combine the two, and it’s almost worth being blind! (No, not really, it sucks, but you came for the bad puns right?)In all seriousness, however, it does mean that you can capture the full brilliance of a book despite not being able to read the words on the page yourself for whatever reason. For me, having been unable to read books for two different reasons, it’s been a wonder, and being able to listen to almost any book I want regardless of how ill I am is one of the best things out there for me. I’ve found that some audiobooks, and their narrators, are particularly brilliant for when it comes to relaxing, and I wanted to share just some of them. Cat, sadly, not included.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
This dreamy book is absloutely one to lay back with your eyes closed listening to. With writing that will transport you away and narration that will carry you, this is the perfect get away in a book. It’s a beautiful book, and whether or not you are familiar with the author, this is uniuqe in so many ways.
Author: V. E. Schwab
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
From Blood and Ash
While books two (A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, review here) and three (The Crown of Gilded Bones) might be a bit more firey, and a bit more sexy (nothing wrong with that, but just a heads up!), book one (review here) is mostly a journey of self discovery from a young woman who has previously been suppressed in all respects. I’m a bit in love with this series and how it’s developing. The narrator has been the same for all three books so far, and has been brilliant.
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Narrated by: Stina Nielsen
Length: 19 hrs and 46 mins
The Court of Miracles
I’ll be sharing my review of this Les Miserables inspired book soon, but in the meantime, here’s the synopsis:
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this unstoppable adventure, as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of a failed French Revolution.
A city divided. A deadly betrayal.
The French Revolution of 1828 has failed and Paris is in mourning.
The wretched of the city have gathered into guilds of thieves, assassins and worse, to form the Court of Miracles.
When Eponine’s sister is sold into the Guild of Flesh, both their fates are sealed. The only chance Eponine has of rescuing her is to join the Miracle Court and steal back what was taken.
But to do that she’ll have to become the greatest thief the city has ever known.
Author: Kester Grant
Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
Rivers of London series
I’ve been gradually working my way through this series, and I’ve been doing so by audiobook. I originally planned to read them as paperback, but, after reading the first one via audio, I couldn’t stop listening to them. These are a prime example of an author and narrator working brilliantly together, and the outcome being utter brilliance. These books are the ultimate comfort read if you’re looking for something to listen to.
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Under Ground, Broken Homes, The Furthest Station
I read this book after reading The Twisted Tree and its sequel The Crooked Mask. I found myself utterly captivated by the mythological side of things (as well as the well constructed story!) and wanted to know more. This seemed like a good place to start, and it really was. Full of humour and easy to get lost in, this was so relaxing I had to really remember to set sleep timers so I didn’t doze off. Review here.
Author and narrator: Neil Gaiman
Length: 6hrs 29 mins
A Throne of Swans
The first in the Throne of Swans duology, this book has both the content and narrator to relax into. Written by a pair of sisters who are obviously far better at cooperating than my brother and I will ever be (No that’s MY Twix!), part historical fiction, part fantasy, this book follows Aderyn as she becomes Protector of her country long before she ever expected to. In this world, all royals can turn into some type of bird, but after the murder of her mother when they were out flying years before, Aderyn has been left with scars that make trasnforming painful. Within the book she has to learn to defend herself from without and within, which makes for a captivating tale.
By: Katherine & Elizabeth Corr
Narrator: Avita Jay
Length 10 hours
Here are just a few of the books I’d recommend for relaxing listens. I may well come back to visit this topic again as I feel I could keep writing about them for hours! I hope some of these recommendations come in useful if you’re looking for that relaxation read.