Are you all ready for the holidays? No matter which December holiday you celebrate, and even if you don’t celebrate any of them, this is the time of year for festive parties, shopping, baking, school vacation, and days off work. Phew! Makes me tired just thinking about it.
You might be able to guess one of my favorite de-stressing tricks. Yep, listening to a light (or brief) audiobook. As much as I like literary fiction and various kinds of nonfiction, those audiobooks are rarely on my December listening list.
I’m craving fun, light stories to take my mind off my miles-long seasonal to-do list. Today’s Take 5 roundup includes audiobooks from a variety of genres, and all are perfect for holiday listening. Preheat your oven, turn on an audiobook, and let’s get baking and listening!
My first recommendation, THE BOOK CHARMER by Karen Hawkins, is a sweet Southern story about a small town and the women who are determined to save it from decline and maybe find a little romance and healing along the way. The heavier themes of PTSD and mourning are offset by the delightful characters, well-placed humor, and even a little magic. The trio of narrators—Tavia Gilbert, Amanda Ronconi, and Sebastian York—bring out the fun of the women’s various schemes.
If you’re looking for a more solid romance audiobook, queue up Rachel Winters’s WOULD LIKE TO MEET. When talent agent Evie is tasked with proving that classic rom-com accidental meetings really can lead to true love, she goes all out to re-create some of her favorite movie scenes, most of which end up on a most-embarrassing-moments list. At the same time, she and her BFFs are texting up a storm, helping a friend plan her wedding. The hilarity and zaniness of the story move font and center thanks to narrator Laura Hobson’s terrific performance.
Do you need something short? Don’t miss N.K. Jemisin’s EMERGENCY SKIN, which will take you only about an hour, start to finish. This short story, beautifully narrated by Jason Isaacs, takes place in the future, when an AI is sent on a scavenging mission to a devastated Earth, only to discover that the planet is far from dead. What the robot learns from the human survivors shakes up its core beliefs. If you haven’t yet listened to Jemisin’s work, this audiobook provides a nice introduction without the commitment.
For those who need a teen-friendly audiobook, I suggest AMERICAN ROYALS by Katharine McGee. In this alternate America, the descendants of King George Washington rule the country with all the 21st-century problems that royals around the world face when balancing palace duties with personal dreams, a social life, and dating. Through Brittany Pressley’s expressive performance, we meet the royal siblings, the social climbers, the inappropriate love interests, and others. Play this audiobook through a speaker and listen while sipping hot chocolate and doing a jigsaw puzzle with your older kids.
One my own go-to escape genres is light fantasy, and THE AFFAIR OF THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER by Alexis Hall is on my December wish list because it’s a paranormal take on the Sherlock Holmes classics. The story is told by Captain John Wyndham, who helps his sorceress landlady (a kind of Holmes clone) investigate a blackmailing scheme. The audiobook’s universe is a little bit steampunk and is inhabited by creatures both familiar and new. Narrator Nicholas Boulton gives each character a distinct accent and tone, drawing us into the intrigue of the mystery.
Which audiobooks would you recommend for light holiday listening? Enquiring minds want to know.