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5 Nonfiction Audiobooks Perfect for the Unabridged Reading Challenge

5 Nonfiction Audiobooks Perfect for the Unabridged Reading Challenge

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

While I'll listen to almost anything on audio, I often find that nonfiction is my favorite . . . and, since I sometimes veer more towards fiction when I'm reading print, it's a great way to fit in more nonfiction.

Over the summer, I listened to some amazing audiobooks that I thought I'd share—if you're working on the Unabridged Reading Challenge, these offer some fantastic options!

Eliot Schrefer's Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality, illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg and read by Joel Froomkin, Dustin Ballard, Hope Newhouse & Neo Cihi ( |

As you can tell from that list of narrators, this look at queerness in the animal kingdom is a full-cast production. I am curious about those illustrations in the print copy, but the audio experience here is such a joy. Schrefer explores a variety of animal behaviors and considers what it might mean when considering human behaviors. The book includes interviews with scientists as well as some compelling reflections from Schrefer about his own life, all woven through the central focus of the book.

Erika L. Sánchez's Crying in the Bathroom, read by the author ( |

As a huge fan of Sánchez's I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (we covered that one way back in season 2!), I was eager to read her memoir. It did not disappoint. Sánchez is brutally honest here about her childhood, her mental health, her sexuality, her ethnicity. I appreciated her vulnerability and her refusal to back away from even uncomfortable truths. This is also, at times, really funny, and as always, I enjoyed hearing the author read her own work.

Oliver Sacks's Awakenings (available only via Amazon/Audible)

I had read this one long ago in print and, of course, I'd seen the movie, but revisiting Sacks's account of this part of his practice was fascinating. Here, Sacks documents his experiences with the victims of a sleeping sickness as he discovers what a miracle drug can—and can't—accomplish.

William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways: A Journey into America, read by Joe Barrett ( |

Blue Highways is Least Heat-Moon's travel log about his trip across the United States driving only on blue highways, the roads that appear in blue on a map. Through the book, he shares his conversations with the people he meets and his musings about the different ways of life that make small towns such vibrant repositories for the country's culture.

Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II, read by Michael Prichard ( |

Kurson's book is one I'd read only in print, but the shift to audio was amazing! This is an action-packed nonfiction book that will appeal to those who love adventure and history. It's a consideration of what we think we know about the past and about the drive to explore. It's also about a small group of divers who are driven to discover the new.

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