Favorite Audiobooks of 2017

I have a serious love/hate relationship with audiobooks, since I never want to listen to a book I'd like to actually read but love to have the distraction when I'm driving around alone (or with a sleeping kid). Usually this means that I spend my monthly Audible credit on memoirs, health or running nonfiction, mysteries, or mainstream books that get a lot of buzz but seem too "easy" to actually read (book snob alert!). I also don't count these as books I've read in my yearly totals or Goodreads challenge, which makes my relationships with audiobooks even weirder. I listen to one every month or so and sometimes even look forward to traffic if I have one that I really love (crazy, I know). 

Here are the five that I enjoyed the most this past year:

Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco
Oh how how I loved this book! Mastromonaco served as Obama's Chief of Staff for a few years after working on his campaign and also as a staff member, which allows the listener/reader an interesting perspective on what happens behind-the-scenes at the various stages of presidency (well maybe not the current one...). She recounts trips abroad, the heartfelt call she received from Obama when her cat died, and how the exhaustion and stress eventually impacted her health. She's also primarily responsible for the tampon machines in the West Wing, something I'm sure Trump is having removed if he has not already. She's witty, hilarious, and honest, as well as a fabulous narrator. Basically, I want to be her best friend. 

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
Holy moly did I learn SO MUCH about drugs from this book. Cat Marnell was a beauty editor at a few different huge magazines, but her full time job was really being an addict. She began her life of drugs in prep school when her father, a psychiatrist, sent her prescriptions for ADHD medicine, which just opened a terrible can of worms that is still open to this day. She tells of wild nights, horrible mornings, and how she managed to cling to her editorial positions by the skin of her teeth. While she does spin everything would a good dose of humor, this memoir is incredibly dark, both in terms of what her addiction did to her life, but also in terms of white privilege. 

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
I can't decide if I want to read of listen to Backman, but I remember I was looking down the barrel of a three hour trip home from LA alone and needed something to listen to immediately, so I went with this one. In this novel Backman beautifully creates a small hockey town that is absolutely obsessed with their minor league program and it's star. Unfortunately, this young man rapes the GM's daughter and the entire town is embroiled in the repercussions. The ending made me sort of angry, but as a whole I was incredibly caught up in the story and think it would be an awesome books for teenagers and their parents to read. 

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
This travel memoir describes TV writer Kristin Newman's expeditions around the world during the sabbaticals for the shows she worked on. Newman goes far off the beaten path with different friends and sometimes alone, describing her adventures and intertwining her romantic affairs into them. I love that she went to so many different, non-touristy kinds of places, and really immersed herself into the local culture. One of my favorite stories was when she went to Patagonia, which I'd love to get to one day. Newman uses her journeys to reflect on her personal and professional struggles and to learn new ways to cope with challenges. 

Running Man by Charlie Engle
Whenever I feel myself getting sort of disillusioned with my half-marathon training plan I either listen to or buy a running-related book. Boy did this one do the job- Engle is a straight-up beast. He started running as a kid and took it to a whole new level, conquering ultra marathons, participating in adventure races, and, most notable, running the Sahara (Matt Damon funded the documentary). Meanwhile, Engle battled a major addiction to cocaine and alcohol for over a decade- his first marathon was the morning after coming off a bender (and he finished in less than four hours- COME ON!). Engle discusses his running, but also his personal life and his stint in jail after the feds decided he was in too deep with some shady loans during the recession. I will say that Engle might be a little bit of a cocky jerk, although still strangely likable and worthy of respect for his athletic endeavors. Nonetheless, whether his writing is completely honest or not, his running accomplishments must be applauded. 

I'll be back at the end of the month with my top ten favorite books that I actually read next week! 


  1. A Man Called Ove by Backman was so good on audio! But I know what you mean about it being hard to decide between listening and reading a paper book (or ebook if those are your thing!) I went through a phase where I listened to just about everything because that was one of the only ways to fit in reading time. And many times narration has enhanced my reading experience rather than detracted from it. But I've gotten back in the groove with print and find I'm shying away from audio more and more. I'll admit I don't quite understand the not counting audiobooks thing, but if it works for you, why not?

    1. I know plenty of people who do, but I just feel like listening and reading or too different of a process for me to lump them together. I totally get that similar parts of your brain are activated and that you're still consuming stories, but I'm just such a purist when it comes to "reading" (also why I'll never to ebooks).

  2. How To Murder Your Life sounds great. I haven’t listened to lots of audiobooks. I much prefer reading books and listening. But I enjoyed two of my audiobooks I listened to this year. Need to check out your list. Thanks for sharing. 😁❤️