There are times in life when a solid pep talk or a long bath and a glass of cheap cabernet will do the trick. You can also watch a bunch of ridiculous romantic comedies, do some yoga, or lose yourself in a marathon of The Bachelor if you want to forget your troubles and pretend everything is fantastic, when really it blows. But sometimes you just need to sit back, close your eyes (unless you’re driving a car or riding a bike), and let a good audiobook ease your woes.
Yes, reading an actual book is so much better because you can feel the pages and smell the ink and underline the passages that move you. Because everyone does that, right? In any case, some of you may even prefer audiobooks because you don’t care about ink and pages and beautiful, tangible books. You just want someone to tell you the story, and that’s cool.
If you’re on a long road trip or your drive to and from work takes up half your day (which is possible in cities like Los Angeles), audiobooks are obviously going to help you through. But what about the not so obvious moments, when you need a laugh or an intellectual challenge or something to distract you from your crappy work situation or your last relationship? There are audiobooks for every situation. Here’s a look at a few that might help you through.
Situation 1: Rainy Day Blues
It’s rainy and miserable out. You’re feeling blue and in need of a little creative inspiration, poetry, whatnot. Listening to the stories of great artists who struggled and then made it big sounds like a good way to while away a few hours. Make some strong coffee or a hot toddy, sit back, and press Play.
Just Kids by Patti Smith, narrated by the author
Life by Keith Richards, narrated by Johnny Depp
(Don’t worry — you just have to listen to Depp’s voice, you don’t have to watch him bumbling around wearing fringe.)
Situation 2: Work Sucks
Some bozo in the next cubicle over got that promotion you were hoping for, and now you’re stuck fetching cappuccinos for the boss and quietly comparing your life to Beyoncé’s as you place the weekly office order for Post-It notes and rubber band balls. You need some humor, some mirth, some sunshine. You need a distraction. Here are two.
Bossypants by Tina Fey, narrated by the author
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, narrated by the author
...and thank god because no one can read his work as hilariously and perfectly as he can.
Situation 3: You're Dying of Boredom
Halloween is so far away and it’s your favorite holiday and you already watched The Babadook three times, so you’re in need of a good scare. Driving around at night and playing a creepy audiobook might just give you the terror fix you crave.
Carrie by Stephen King, narrated by Sissy Spacek
(Yes, the original Carrie herself!)
Dracula by Bram Stoker, narrated by Alan Cumming
Because who wouldn’t want to hear Cumming recite lines like, “Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings.”
Situation 4: You’re Laid Out With the Flu
You’re curled up in a pile of blankets and tissues, moaning and groaning and praying for the nightmare to end. You have the flu, and you barely have enough energy to open your eyes or speak, but you’re awake and in need of some entertainment. You need an audiobook — a long one — to occupy your time. Like, more than 30 hours long…
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, narrated by Lee Horsley
I can’t get over the fact that a man named Horsley narrates this book about a bunch of horseback riding cowboys on a physical and spiritual cattle drive across the U.S. It’s so perfect.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, narrated by David Pittu
Situation 5: You're Feeling Decadent
Sometimes you want to lose yourself in a new US Weekly, watch the latest Lifetime movie about murderous housewives, or treat yourself to a juicy audiobook and some bonbons. You need books by and about divas.
Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star by Kitty Kelly, narrated by Susan Strasberg
Please take everything Kelly writes with a grain of salt — this is not a definitive bio of Taylor. It's more like a gossipy indulgence.
Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You by Dolly Parton, read by the author
OK, so this is self-help — but it’s Dolly reading Dolly, and what more could you want?