9 Great Audiobooks // Road Trip Edition

Roadtrip Audiobooks

Chris and I drove to Tucson over the Thanksgiving holiday, and the fifteen-hour drive became significantly more enjoyable with the audiobook The Disaster Artist. We couldn’t stop listening!

I thought it was time for the second installment of 9 Great Audiobooks, and this one has a little twist: Road Trips! So here are nine more great audiobooks for your next road trip. I’ve split them into three categories: non-fiction, fiction, and stories that kids from one to ninety-two will love.

And here’s the first installment if you want nine more great suggestions.


For the Whole Family

Charlotte’s Web written & read by E.B. White


Charlotte’s Web is one of my favorite children’s books, but hearing E.B. White tenderly read his story changed my life forever. In her 1952 New York Times book review,  Eudora Welty said Charlotte’s Web is “just about perfect,” and I couldn’t agree more. You’ll cry happy tears from start to finish.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls / Read by Anthony Heald


I’m sure you read Where the Red Fern Grows as well as Charlotte’s Web when you were young, and you’ll be glad to read this one again, too. Where the Red Fern Grows reminds me of so many other books I love, including Cold Sassy Tree, A Day No Pigs Would Die, and Old Yeller. No relationship is quite like a boy and his dog(s), and this one will warm your heart and help you remember what it felt like the first time you loved and lost something.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio / Read by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd


From the book jacket: “Auggie Pullman was born with a facial difference that prevented him from going to a mainstream school — until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is, Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?”

Since the film version of Wonder was just released, maybe now is the perfect time for you to give this sweet story a chance. And, just in case you need a good cry today, here’s my favorite passage from the book:

“Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?” I whispered.

“No, baby, you’re not…”

“I know I am.”

She kissed me all over my face. She kissed my eyes that came down too far. She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in. She kissed my tortoise mouth.

She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can’t change my face.

If you’ve ever felt different or wondered why the world isn’t a kinder place, you’ll get a lot of hope from Wonder.


Non-Fiction

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice
by Bill Browder / Read by Adam Grupper


I wrote about this non-fiction thriller in my last post, and it would be perfect for a road trip. Browder is one of the top investment bankers in the world, and he started investing in eastern European markets at the perfect time. Along with his financial rise, he uncovered corruption at the top levels in the Russian government. Browder’s initial attempts to stop corruption were supported by Putin; however, once Putin became more powerful and held significant political clout, Browder became his enemy, leading to the unlawful arrest and murder of Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl / Read by Selma Blair


Selma Blair is the perfect voice for Anne Frank, a girl wise beyond her years. Anne’s diary is timeless, as she writes about the human experience and the struggles we all go through. Anne has such a lovely voice for a young writer, and Blair reads her prose just as a teenage girl would.

One note: I didn’t list this in the “For the Whole Family” section because this is the unabridged, or original, edition of Anne’s diary, which includes some sexual and anatomic passages. I wouldn’t call it inappropriate, but it may get a little awkward if you’re not ready to have that kind of conversation with young kiddos.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside ‘The Room’, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made
by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell / Read by Greg Sestero


Listen: I know this book sounds ridiculous, but it is so good. To get the full experience, I recommend you first watch The Room, which truly is the best worst movie ever made.

Greg Sestero, a young, handsome actor in San Francisco, meets Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, and his life is never quite the same. Sestero (with the help of Bissell) shares how The Room came to be and every behind-the-scenes fiasco. He also accomplishes an incredible character study of one of the most enigmatic and eccentric people in showbiz. It’s the hero’s journey for the anti-hero.

Like I said, Chris and I listened to most of this in one shot. You’ll love it.


Fiction

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier / Read by Anna Massey


Rebecca
has earned its distinction as a classic, and the audio only adds to the suspense, which begins with the spectacular opening line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Our narrator (we never learn her name) is a young, poor orphan who’s working in Monte Carlo where she meets Maxim de Winter, a rich, older widower. They fall in love quickly, and they get married in a fever! They embark on their new life together at Manderley (his estate), but all the new wife hears about is how wonderful the first Mrs. de Winter (Rebecca) was. AND NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut / Read by James Franco


Unreliable narrator?
War story?
Memoir?
Aliens?

Check. Check. Check. Check.

It’s one of the most absurd (and one of the most absurdly funny) memoir/time travel expedition/alien abduction stories ever written. And it’s narrated by JAMES FRANCO. Slaughterhouse is one of my favorite books left over from my Lit degree, so I was skeptical at best that Franco could do Vonnegut justice. He does. Take a listen.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles / Read by Grover Gardner


Grover Gardner is one of my favorite narrators, so I must admit his name is mostly why I snagged this audiobook, and I’m so glad I did!

From the Amazon review:

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. […] Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.

This novel is simple in scope, but has incredible emotional depth and detail. It’s beautifully done, and you’ll root for Kidd and Johanna at every turn.

Traveling the southern coast of Iceland

 

Iceland

A family friend reached out to us recently about our trip to Iceland in June. Her daughter will visit Iceland in a few weeks, and she wanted some tips of what to see and what to expect on her trip.

When people hear that we visited Iceland, they have all kinds of questions about what it’s like. Well, here’s the deal: Iceland is magic. The photos can’t really do the landscape justice, but Iceland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth with the kindest people and the cutest animals. One of the best parts was that we were able to add our week-long stopover to our flight home from Amsterdam without any additional airfare.

Let me encourage you to take the trip if you ever get the chance. Iceland is an incredible, almost other-worldly place.

Continue reading

How to Have a Good Attitude About Going Back to Work After a Vacation

back to work.png

When I meet new people and tell them I work in education, the first thing they usually mention is how awesome it must be to get summers off. I can't disagree — it's wonderful. But having all that time off can make it difficult to go back to work full time, especially in a profession that requires so much of me

In my first few years, I would get blue at the start of July and bemoan the fact that I must return to exhausting days of teaching, planning, grading, talking, etc. I would think, I love my job. Why am I so anxious to go back to work? I felt so guilty about enjoying my summer that I prevented myself from enjoying my last few weeks of my time off. What?

After several years of practice, I've identified a process that makes it easier for me to return to work in August with a good attitude. I've shared my steps and goals here, and I hope they are helpful for you if you also find that your transition back to work is difficult after returning from a lovely vacation you don't want to end.

Continue reading