20 Audiobooks I Listened to September 2023
I like to share the audiobooks I listen to each month so that I can keep track of them. I’ve written a little bit about each of the 20 audiobooks I listened to this month.
If you are looking for more recommendations feel free to read these lists as well.
In 2022, I listened to over 250 audiobooks. If interested you can click the link to see which ones I read last year.
Here are the 20 I listened to this month…
1. Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict- This is a very good book about, Clara Kelly, the maid of Andrew Carnegie’s mother. It is also about Andrew’s rise to become one of the richest men in the world. It was very entertaining and insightful. While the main character was a figure of historical fiction, the book seemed historically accurate from beginning to end.
2. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James C. Humes- This was a fantastic book about public speaking and how best to command an audience.
If you ever have to give talks, presentations, or speak to any kind of audience, I would highly recommend listening to it.
3. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo- This is a literary masterpiece!
Victor Hugo is an amazing author. I appreciated listening to the non-abridged version…ONCE… in the future, I may stick to the abridged version as this is a 60-hour audiobook!!
There were essays galore interspersed throughout the storyline that added context, background, and information about France. These essays dove deep into the political climate, the economy, the French sewer system, Waterloo, monasteries, etc. These essays make a 10–20-hour story into 60 hours. I learned a lot but at times found the essays a bit tedious. Despite that, the story/plot was very moving and the book was well-written.
4. The Therapist by B.A. Paris- This is a murder mystery suggested by someone in my book club. It was a fun listen and kept me entertained. If you are into murder mysteries, you’d probably like it. My only critique is that the character development fell a little flat… especially the main characters. Their past should have been a little more obvious to the reader and not saved for the very end. In the last chapter of the book a bunch of things were revealed that could have added more depth and context to the character development had B.A. Paris weaved them throughout.
5. Miss Ava’s Scandalous Secret by Sofi Laporte- This was a fun listen. I love light-hearted, clean, and funny English romance novels. This one checked all of those boxes. I’d highly recommend it!
6. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray- This was a great book about the librarian of J.P. Morgan, Bella de Costa Green. She was African American but was light-complected so she and most of her family went around pretending to be white in order to make it in a white person’s world. I learned a lot about art collecting, books, and other topics while reading. I really liked this book and recommend it.
7. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro- I read a lot of reviews about how boring this book was yet it had been awarded a Nobel prize. I was confused until someone recommended listeners read it in a faster mode. I’m glad I had that tip. I normally listen at 2-2.5x mode; I listened to this on 2.7x mode and it was just perfect for me. So yes, I would say it probably is a bit slow. But I enjoyed it a lot. If you like the movies/series, Downton Abbey, you’ll likely enjoy The Remains of the Day.
This book is about a Butler in a great house in England. Duty, culture, and temperament made Butler Stephens who he was. It was insightful and although the ending wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be it was inspirational and felt authentic to Stephens.
8. Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain- Wow this was an eye-opening book. It was well-written and educational. Without spoiling it, I’ll just say that I learned a lot about this barbaric practice of sterilizing women without their consent.
One thing that struck me about this dark history of North Carolina is that due to WWII and Hitler’s similar programs in Germany, 47+ states stopped the practice of forced sterilization after WWII. They wanted to avoid any association with Nazism and what happened in the concentration camps so they stopped doing this —I’m glad.
9. The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict- This was a pretty good book. It was hard for me to find that my perceptions of Albert Einstein were so off-base. I used to really admire him, but now, after reading this book, I’m not sure what to think. He came across as a narcissistic, abusive, and unreliable husband who cheated on his wife and neglected his children. Even if he wasn’t as bad as the novel predicted, even half so bad, I still lost respect.
Based on the epilogue I thought that maybe Marie Benedict took too much creative license with this historical fiction. However, I did do some research of my own and it seems as if Mitza Maric did contribute to the theory of relativity and other papers that Einstein did not put her name on. However, whether she wanted the credit or not, is something that has, to my knowledge, not been firmly established. So Benedict did take too much license on this assumption as I’m not sure Mitza did want the acknowledgment. Some people really prefer to stay out of the limelight.
This aside, I believe they could have had a happy marriage even if she wanted credit and Albert never gave it to her—had he been a kind, respectful, and loving husband and father. It’s too bad that it seems as though Mitza was right—his fame snuffed out his humanity… or maybe he saw Mitza as someone who could help him climb to the top of the intellectual ladder… then he gave her up when he found someone else to use.
10. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown- I really like Brené Brown’s books. They are interesting helpful and insightful. This one was no exception. I loved her advice on how to connect with people while leading. Some of the book was repeated from her previous but a lot of content was new and reviews are always helpful. It’s good to read these and learn to be real with others, to be empathetic and kind. I really like her style and believe that she is doing a lot of good in the world.
11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo- This was an insightful and helpful book about how to tidy up your home and life. Marie Kondo knows her stuff. I felt the book was well written and interesting and inspired me to try to give her method a go.
The one place I felt the book was lacking was addressing tidying up with a lot of children. You don’t want to throw out kid’s things until you know you won’t have to buy it again for the next kid. I.E. sports equipment, calculators for school, hand-me-downs, etc. etc. Also, I have multiple pairs of tape dispensers, glue, scissors, etc. because my kids always take them out of their spots and I can’t find them. So multiples, when you have kids, is really the only way for me to not lose my sanity. I wished that topic had been more thoroughly addressed. It was a good book.
I may come back to it when my kids are grown up though because while I will use some of her tips I’m not going to toss stuff we may need.
12. A Light in the Window by Jan Karon- This is a story about a small town and the characters in it. The main character is the pastor of the town. I accidentally started with book two and never even realized it—character development was that good.
However, for a plot, it was only mildly entertaining. At almost 3x’s speed, it didn’t drag too much but it was not very engaging. I didn’t find the storyline all that compelling and I think at normal speed I would have been bored to tears. I am going to try the third book in the series and see if it picks up a bit. If I can’t really get into it, I’ll ditch the series.
13. The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown- This book is about The Donner Party and their trek to California. I have been hesitant to read this due to the subject matter of cannibalism but after my daughter told me that her cousins recently talked to her about cannibalism and The Donner Party, I listened to it in order to gain more knowledge on the subject matter.
Daniel James Brown is a great writer and what I appreciated most about this book are the pauses he took from the main storyline to explain things in a scientific way such as hypothermia and its effects; the caloric needs of the members of the party; mental confusion from hunger, heat exhaustion, hypothermia and what that looks like; PTSD that the majority of the survivors must have had and its effects, common beliefs at that time of the world, and more.
Modern-day science has done much research on the ailments that the members of The Donner Party were most likely suffering from; learning about their circumstances from a scientific standpoint helps add an additional layer of understanding and sympathy with which to view The Donner Party members.
Knowing what they were experiencing sheds light on how confused and desperate these people must have been—particularly the snowshoe group and mothers whose own survival was vital to saving their families.
I’ll just say that though it’s gruesome subject matter it was well written.
14. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Dramatized Version-A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatization
This was an okay dramatization. The script changed up the plot and missed some very, very important lines from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy’s personality is a little different than Jane Austen’s version. That said, it was fun and the actors and actresses did an amazing job.
15. The Lady in Gold by Anne Marie O’Connor- I had high hopes for this book because the movie is really good. It is rare when the movie is better than the book, but this is one of those times. The Lady in Gold had way too many characters that the listener/reader is supposed to keep track of. After what seemed like the thirtieth character was introduced and seemingly 25 previously mentioned characters had become abandoned, I stopped listening and read more reviews on this book. Other people said the same thing as I was feeling, that the novel was very choppy with too many characters and it had too little central plot to tie them together… so I gave up and didn’t finish it. Also, there is such a high emphasis on sex during the first portion of the book and it seemed very weird and unnecessary.
16. Lucy and the Duke of Secrets by Sofi Laporte- I am very excited to continue listening to this series because I love the laugh-out-loud moments of Sofi Laporte’s writing style. This was a clean English romance with a great plot. It is the number one book of I think six in the series.
17. Arabella and the Reluctant Duke by Sofi Laporte- Another win for me. I love this series and am glad I found it. This audiobook had a lot of interesting subplots within the main plot and that made it more interesting.
18. Birdie and the Beastly Duke by Sofi Laporte- This was a fun listen as well. I had some real laugh-out-loud moments listening to this one. I’m becoming a big fan of Sofi Laporte.
19. Penelope and The Wicked Duke by Sofi Laporte- This is the fourth book in the Wishing Well series. However, this one isn’t available in an audio version—so I read it. While I liked it, I didn’t like it as much as the previous three in the Wishing Well Series books. It’s fun, light entertainment, and clean. However, I did feel like the entire plot was not accurate to the time period that which it was supposed to be written in. If you put the customs of the Regency Era aside, it was a fun read! You can get the follow-up chapter Penelope and the Maharajah on the website of Sofi Laporte. That short follow-up book was worth the read.
20. VocabuLearn German Level One by Penton Overseas- I am trying to keep up with my German so these types of audiobooks are great for me to listen to.