I love a good book. My wife and I have five large bookcases filled with books and four more boxes of books in a hall closet. A surprising number of them we’ve actually read.
But life gets busy and I’ve got less time to read than ever. Thankfully, there are audiobooks I can download and listen to while working on client projects. Of course as a professional artist I usually can’t listen while I’m in the conceptual or sketch phase of a project because it is too distracting. Building the structure of an illustration requires my full concentration. But once that foundation is laid I can relax a bit and listen as I do the inking or coloring.
Audiobooks can be more expensive than their paper-and-binding counterparts, but I don’t mind. Personally I’d rather spend $25 on something that I will actually listen to rather than $15 on a book that I will never get around to reading. Reading means carving out time to give a book my full attention, whereas listening to an audiobook can be done in the background while I’m simultaneously working on something else. Ah, multitasking!
I don’t buy novels, I’m more of a nonfiction guy. Here’s a few of my favorite audiobooks (in alphabetical order):
An asterisk (*) indicates that the book has some swear words, so you might not want to listen with kids around.
A&E Biography Series – These are basically just the soundtracks to TV episodes of A&E’s Biography, but you’d think they were made for radio. Once you start listening to the audio you realize that the TV images were just filler. There’s a wide selection available and they’re a steal at only $0.95 each.
Born Standing Up* – Steve Martin’s memoir, read by the author. Well written, thankfully low on gossip, and at times very moving.
The Gross* by Peter Bart. Bart is a Hollywood insider who writes about the strange summer of 1998. That was the year when blockbusters bombed, little movies hit big, and most of Hollywood was left scratching their heads. Bart tells us the behind-the-scenes stories of how several of the hits and flops got made, and tries to figure out what went wrong.
Heaven by Randy Alcorn. A best-selling and highly praised book about what the Bible really says about Heaven. You might be surprised. Fascinating and inspiring.
Secret Believers by Brother Andrew. True stories about what happens to modern-day Muslims in the middle east who convert to Christianity. In many Muslim countries you can actually be killed for becoming a Christian. The book also gives some fascinating insights into Muslim society.
Shoot Out* by Peter Bart and Peter Guber. A fascinating and informative look at how Hollywood movies actually get made, focusing on the various obstacles and conflicts that must be navigated in order to get a script onto the screen.
Ustinov at Eighty – A 72-minute interview with famed actor Sir Peter Ustinov. Ustinov is charming and witty and tells some really great stories. A true class act.
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. Yancey is a best-selling Christian author who has won six Gold Medallion awards. Jesus was called a friend of sinners, yet the modern Church is perceived to be the opposite. Yancey examines why. A powerful and moving book.
You’re Lucky You’re Funny* by Phil Rosenthal. Rosenthal is the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond. His book is a biography of sorts filled with entertaining stories and valuable insights into how a TV show gets made. I listened to the first half this weekend and really enjoyed it.
If none of these tickle your fancy, you can find thousands of other audiobooks online. Audible.com has the biggest selection that I know of. iTunes also has a decent selection and the prices are often a bit lower. There’s a lot of harder-to-find Christian books at ChristianAudio.com. You might also want to try getting books on CD from your local library.