As a child, I was a complete bookworm. So much so, that when I got lost in shops, the first place to look was the book section. There I’d be, whiling the time away stuck into another story blissfully unaware, while the world went on around me. As an adult, this has lessened due to circumstance – I don’t make the time as much as I used to. The vast majority of my reading is digital, through the Kindle app on my phone, and even that means time focused on just that. The big change came with my introduction to audiobooks through Audible. I’ve found that I’m able to multitask, listening to these books in the background and getting on with what I need to do.
I’ve found books I probably wouldn’t have picked up the hard copy of, and felt like a friend was talking to me listening to them. In particular, I like my audiobooks non-fiction – I don’t know why, it feels like they’re meant for things factual and conversational. I like them to pique my interest in a topic and pull it out slowly. I’ve found lots that have me inspired to be and do more with my life. So, here’s a few that I think every woman should listen to – for both that joy feeling, and self development all wrapped into one.
So, who to start with?
Shonda Rhimes – The Year of Yes
Shonda Rhimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and various other shows, wrote a book about her decision to say yes to everything for a full year. If you’ve read or seen Yes Man, the gist will be familiar. I found it to be written very endearingly. The book is read by the author herself, which is my favourite way to have these things, especially autobiographical stuff. It includes clips from speeches she has made, stories from her life and lessons she learned along the way.
In saying yes to more things, she opened herself up to a number of new opportunities and life experiences. Yes, I hear you say, thats great for her who can throw money and childcare at things. She’s coming from a different place than most of us. However, when it comes down to it, she’s an incredibly busy career woman AND a single mother. Yes she can throw money at problems but she still has the juggle of attending kids school plays or important work functions, just like the rest of us.
I loved this book and have been recommending it far and wide since. I’m not sure it would have had the same pull when not read by her – it feels very personal – but I’d definitely recommend it.
Lindy West – Shrill
My friend Lucy, a kick ass woman in her own right, recommended this book to me last year. I hadn’t really heard much about Lindy West prior to listening to the audiobook. She’s a journalist, a columnist with The Guardian, GQ and various other publications, and general kick ass lady. Her book, “Shrill”, tackles subjects like fat shaming, racism, abortion, trolling, rape culture and the realities of being a woman in the 21st century. It’s honest and blunt without being crude – a line which many struggle with.
The audiobook is read by her. It details her life story in a series of essays, so it’s easy to listen to in chunks. I laughed and cried (and got strange looks as I was out walking) listening to it. A gorgeous listen.
Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
This one isn’t a book as such, its a recording of her live talks over two days. It’s six hours long. Add to this, it’s funny. It’s interesting. It will make you think about the different processes you go through each day, and how they are affecting different things in your life. I was told to go listen to Brené Brown by a therapist last year and can honestly say it has changed my perception of the way I live my life and how I interact with the people in it. It’s life changing without being preachy, because there’s only so far preachy will get you, and that’s half way through chapter two.
I knew this was for me when I heard this quote; which summed up exactly where I was at the time.
I’d had a very similar conversation with my therapist (Give me strategies, don’t make me deal with the past) when she recommended this. It (and her other books/sets of talks) have changed the way I think about parenting, about relationships and how I think about myself. We live in a world where we are so surrounded by shame, but we have no idea how to deal with it. It’s fascinating. Her work in this field has definitely opened my eyes, and those of the people I’ve spoken to about her.
Tina Fey – BossyPants
I first came across this book in print form and lapped it up in a few days. Tina Fey, known for her roles on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, is a comedienne, actress, writer and producer. Her book is hilarious and heartwarming. Her telling of it only makes that better. She’s a genuinely funny narrator, which made listening to it on my wanders around Cork City even nicer. Like all of the ladies on this list, she’s an unapologetic feminist who shows herself to the world and doesn’t make excuses for it. It felt like having a friend tell funny but rooted in honesty stories walking around listening to her.
Also, if you’re a fan of SNL, 30 Rock or Mean Girls, you’ll get the inside scoop on what goes on behind the scenes. I’ve never watched 30 Rock but have watched the other two quite a bit, so I found it interesting to hear snippets from behind the action.
Lauren Graham – Talking As Fast As I Can
Lauren Graham (her of Gilmore Girls Lorelai fame) released an autobiography last year at the same time the Gilmore Girls reunion happened. It tells the whole story, from her childhood and teen years, to drama school and into the early days of Gilmore Girls (the first time around).
Hopefully that list will be a good jumping off point for you in your search for audiobooks! If you want to try one out, I’d definitely recommend using the free month-long trial of Audible – you’ll basically get one of the audiobooks free of charge. You can cancel before the end of the month and not wind up paying (and get to keep the book), or keep the subscription up (with one credit each month) for £7.99 a month (UK) or $14.95 a month (US).
(This post contains some affiliate links from the Amazon Affiliate programme. That means if you buy Audiobooks or subscribe through them, you don’t get charged anything extra, but a few pennies head my way to keep the lights on over at BadMammy HQ. All opinions are my own, and I paid for my Audible subscription myself! Thanks for supporting brands that support BadMammy.com).
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I’m also listening to a lot of podcasts lately, here’s some recommendations if you’re interested!