Confessions of an Audiophile

Mar 01, 2017 | Posted by Jennifer


When I graduated from college, I figured I had a pretty good idea of what reading was all about. After all, I had read volume upon volume of essays, poetry, novels, and plays to get to that point! To read, I believed one simply acquired a book, opened it, and began to visually take in and process the sentences written on the page. It was much later, when I became the mother of a severely dyslexic child, that I began to revise my definition of what reading actually entails.

As I helped my daughter gradually build up her visual reading skills, I read aloud to her and her brothers. That’s how she first encountered the Little House series and Anne of Green Gables. But I didn’t have as much time to read to her as she craved, so we turned to audiobooks to bridge the gap. Librivox became our go-to for books in the common domain, and an Audible subscription worked wonderfully for more modern novels and short stories. Because of her reading disability, she also qualified for a membership to Learning Ally and Bookshare.

As my daughter listened, I found I got interested as well, so I listened, too. Right away she fell in love with the universe of Redwall. Brian Jacques narrated his own books and included a full cast. The novels are thrilling adventures, fully fleshed out with unique and fascinating voices for the various characters. From there she moved on to Richard Adams’ enchanting novel Watership Down. There was no stopping her; she devoured books with an eager appetite!

For myself I found I especially enjoyed listening to nonfiction. I read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv as an audiobook. Similarly, I enjoyed listening to Sally Shaywitz’s book, Overcoming Dyslexia. I would listen as I cooked supper, ran errands, or cleaned the house. I listened as I knitted. Sometimes I simply sat and listened, enjoying the rest and entertainment.

I will always love the written word, and when I hold a cherished copy of Jane Eyre, I still get a thrill as I open the pages and encounter those wonderful words again. The dog-eared paper, the smell of the pages, and the tiny annotations written years ago in the margin all combine together, and I again recall the joy of when I first encountered Jane. But, in a similar vein I also get excited when I open up my audiobook app on my phone and listen to Charlotte Brontë’s words come to life as read by the fantastic British actress Thandie Newton.

Books are meant to be shared, and audiobooks are no exception! I asked our office staff for some of their favorite readers, audiobooks, and sources where they get books, and they were most happy to oblige! Many names popped up more than once. I hope that you will also chime in in the comments, and let us know what your favorites are. I can’t wait to check some of these out. After all, I’m always looking for a new, fabulous book to listen to!

Audiobook Staff Recommendations

Great Readers:

Great Reads:

Great Sources:


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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