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With commutes, road trips and errands, audiobooks are great for book lovers—although, when given the time, we’d all prefer a physical book in our hands, the crisp swish of pages, the aroma of wood, vanilla and glue, the sanctity of reading words from the hearts of trees. So each month, SheReads editorial director Lauren Wise curates a list of binge-worthy audiobooks, new and old. An added bonus: as the She Writes Press and SparkPress associate publisher, she also highlights the indie author audiobooks you should listen to now.
Heavy by Kiese Laymon
In Kiese Laymon’s poignant memoirs, the title is appropriate in many ways. While it’s not always easy to read because of the heavy subject matter, it’s a brilliantly written book centering around the relationship between Kiese and his mother, as well as the power and destruction of addiction in his life and those he loved. He proactively touches on what the weight of 25 years of secrets and deception does to a Black body and mind, and our national moral failures. And though it is indeed “heavy”—he weaves laugh-out-loud humor throughout, making it one of my favorite memoirs in awhile.
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising, and this book fell in that same contemporary fiction vein for me. Somehow Birdy has run away from her life and into her best friend Heather’s, but she hasn’t told Heather. Birdy is spending the summer in the world-class wine expert job that Heather ditched and it’s a lot more than she bargained for. Amidst these struggles, Birdy also falls in love. The only catch is that this man doesn’t know her true identity.
Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
I’m a sucker for sagas that involve multiple generations of women, culture, and the cuisine that brings them together. Butter Honey Pig Bread is a story of choices, consequences and forgiveness: three Nigerian women, mending spirit and mind, losing and finding homes, queer love, friendship, faith and family.
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
This Oprah’s Book Club Pick is intense, vulnerable and beautiful, centering around a young Black woman walking the Oakland streets to find herself headfirst in the failure of the city’s justice system. Kiara and her brother Marcus have are scraping by after dropping out of high school, their family destroyed by death and prison. As she struggles to keep her remaining family and an abandoned neighborhood child fed and safe, she encounters a job she never thought she’d do: night crawling, thus cracking open an investigation into a massive police department scandal.