Audiobooks are a great way to pack more reading into a day, whether you’re commuting, sorting laundry, or walking the dog. But for discriminating readers, a major concern is which books to listen to, and which books to read? Not surprisingly, the staff of Rakuten Kobo are happy to offer a bunch of suggestions if you want to optimize your listening and reading time.
This was one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. Aside from Seth being so charming and funny, the production of it and the experience of it was so interesting and unlike anything I’ve listened to. When he’s reading each scene you feel like you’re in it, through the actors and noise.”
The Midnight Library
“This locked-in year has led to a lot of introspection and reflection, and this book chimes with that impulse to take stock on life led, and what life could have been. What happens at the end of the road not taken? Should I have gone left instead of right? This book follows all the paths to show that maybe fulfillment is found in exactly the life you are living.”
“Sinéad is a natural-born storyteller and her narration makes it come alive. She does character voices, sings a line or two from her songs, chuckles at things she finds funny (there is a lot of humor). There’s stuff here you don’t get from just reading it.
Daisy Jones & The Six
“Daisy Jones felt like listening to a biopic on a real band and the actors really made it feel like a radio play or something. It was a very unique experience and I do not think it would have been the same reading it.”
No Happy Endings
“For those who love personal-essay style memoirs that will make you laugh and then immediately cry and break your heart wide open like one of those trendy chocolate balloon desserts you hit with a mini hammer. I also super recommend her podcast Terrible, Thanks for asking.”
“There’s a section on Indigenous language — the author tells a story about how all of the fluent Potawatomi language speakers gathered together to offer some language classes; there were nine (!!) fluent elders total. The author speaks a number of words and phrases, offering translation and insights about the impact of colonization and erasure on language. I found it so powerful to hear the Potawatomi words spoken aloud, with pronunciation explained. Something totally unique to the audio version. I’d add that the author’s narration is excellent.”
Jean Marc found this unique audiobook, which was based on a series of podcast episodes, “really smart and entertaining.”
[We spoke with Gladwell about how he went from author to podcaster and back to author on Kobo in Conversation: Malcolm Gladwell has found a new way to tell stories.]
“Normally I prefer my scifi on the page or screen in front of me, but this book works perfectly as Daveed Diggs narrates it. Maybe because the book is based on a track by Diggs’ own rap group clipping. It’s spellbinding.”
A Promised Land
For Karan, listening to the former president speak, in his own voice, about everyday struggles of balancing work and home life was “an exercise in humility.”
The opening, about a tsunami that decimates a community, is absorbing and thrilling. But the heart of the story is in what follows, how the people are exploited after economic collapse brings them to their knees. MacIntyre’s voice is already well-known to many Canadians, and he’s exceptionally skilled at narrating this story, which feels written for oral delivery.”
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.