Maybe this is a niche post, but my favorite posts to write are always the ones that combine books with my other interests. Not that I would really consider running an interest. It’s more like something I do to relieve anxiety and stress.
When I run I mostly listen to music, but occasionally I will listen to an audiobook. I am pretty picky when it comes to audiobooks I can listen to on my runs since I really want to forget that I am on a run and would prefer to be anywhere else so I need something that will distract me. Every so often an audiobook comes along that will distract me from the pain that is running and I always appreciate them.
Also, if you are reading this and are not a runner (thank you) I would still recommend these audiobooks because you can just interpret this post as “immersive audiobooks recs” or “audiobooks that are so good they distract you from physical suffering”.
So here are a few books that I have listened to on my runs and actually enjoyed listening to while I ran. Side effects have been tearing up a few times and getting extra paranoid because I’m listening to books about murder, but it happens.
As Good as Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson
Okay these audiobooks are just SO GOOD and I bet all three of them would work on runs, but I only have listened to the third one on a run. This book was just so intense I did not want to stop listening to the audio for anything. So I listened to it on a run. Fun fact: Pip goes on runs in this book and I listened to a part where she was on a run while I was on a run which was sort of meta.
SYNOPSIS: Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?
Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.
Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself—or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . .and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears. . .
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
I just find Jason Reynolds voice very soothing, okay? This book. Is very educational and informative and I learned a lot that I did not learn in school. The combination of learning new things that were frustrating that I had not learned before combined with Jason Reynold’s excellent narration made this one a great listen on a run.
SYNOPSIS: A remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning for ages 12 and up.
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism–and antiracism–in America.
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This is a remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, winner of a National Book Award. It reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future.
Stamped takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, Jason Reynolds shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff
This audiobook is phenomenal. There are over 40 voice actors in this production and yet it is not confusing or hard to follow. Graff weaves all the stories together so well. This one was just such a powerful listen and an engrossing read so it distracted me from running. I will say I definitely teared up listening to one of the phone calls between siblings and that was a bit awkward because I already don’t like people looking at me while running and didn’t want anyone to be like, why is this girl crying?? They probably just assumed it was because I was running not because I was listening to an audiobook on 9/11.
SYNOPSIS: The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.
Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which traced the rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the government’s definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it.
Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.
Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.
More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues.
At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Okay, y’all know I am obsessed with this one and I’ve listened to the audiobook like four times I think? So of course, I listened to it while on a run. I teared up at the end because I always tear up at the end of this book. This might be my favorite audiobook (tbh one of my favorite books too) of all time and it truly is just so well done.
SYNOPSIS: A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The Dutch House By Ann Patchett
I have no idea why this story gripped me as much as it did. But, Tom Hanks narrates this one which truly added to the audio experience. For some reason I listened to this one while on a run even though I had just started the audiobook (no idea why since I never do this), but while on my run something clicked and I went from being like “this book is okay” to “yeah I’m going to enjoy this one”. This is a slow character driven novel, but I found it to be gripping and such a good listen.
REVIEW: BOOK REVIEW: The Dutch House
SYNOPSIS: At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.
If you have any audiobook recommendations for books that were immersive and gripping, please leave them in the comments!
Thanks for reading!