Off the Shelf: Time to tune into audiobooks

Talk to any staff member at the Sequim Library and it’s likely you’re talking to a fan of audiobooks. Many of us listen to the next installment of a great read while we’re in our vehicles, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy audiobooks.

Audiobooks are fabulous for:

1. Whiling away the miles while driving

2. Spicing up dull or repetitive tasks

3. Experiencing a beloved book in a whole new way or …

4. Encouraging reading for those who aren’t crazy about books

The North Olympic Library System has many titles in both book and audio form. Reading along while listening allows a person to engage with more challenging material than they might otherwise pick up.

Nine audiobook picks from the Sequim Library staff:

“Unbroken: a WWII story of survival, resilience and redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand (non-fiction) — A pilot faces unimaginable odds during the war and more challenging ones when he returns home.

“The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks (romance) — A story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.

“Whistling in the Dark” by Leslie Kagan (fiction) — A family drama told through the eyes of a Midwestern girl too young to understand the hilarious things she says. Complete with Minnesotan accent.

“The Black Box” by Michael Connelly (mystery) — LAPD detective Harry Bosch is back, working a cold case murder he investigated more than 20 years ago.

“Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain (non-fiction) — Extroversion is applauded in our society; this book brings scientific ballast to the unsung value of introverts.

“The Scottish Prisoner” by Diana Gabaldon (historical mystery) — Jamie Fraser shares center stage with Lord John Grey in this crime novel told from both men’s points of view, with two narrators.

“Imagine: how creativity works” by Jonah Lehrer (non-fiction narrated by the author) — The science behind creativity explained and illustrated with lively examples from popular culture.

“Room” by Emma Donoghue (psychological thriller) — To 5-year-old-Jack, Room is the world, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. A story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (murder mystery) — The story of a marriage gone terribly wrong, told in a thriller that confounds you at every turn.

Choose wisely

When choosing an audiobook, keep in mind that the narrator can make or break it. With a good narrator, almost anything is fun to listen to. If the narrator is lacking, even a good book is hard to get through. Once you find a narrator you like, you can use the search function in the NOLS library catalog ( to find other books they’ve performed. A good narrator can bring the tale to life with character voices and inflection to keep you wide awake and on the edge of your seat.

Audiobook use is up, according to the Audio Publishers Association, and narrating is one of the things Screen Actors Guild actors are encouraged to do to stay employed. Read the bios on the backs of audiobooks — you may be amazed at the acting backgrounds of many popular narrators!

Audiobooks are available in three formats at the library: books recorded on a series of CDs, Playaways and downloadable audio files. A Playaway is a single book, digitally recorded on a lightweight device smaller than a bar of soap. Playaways are simple to use; you need only an AAA battery and your own earphones.

With a library card and a compatible device, you can download audiobooks from the library catalog for free and without leaving home to your computer, MP3 player, smartphone or tablet. Whatever your taste, there’s an audiobook at NOLS to please you.

Stop in, search the catalog at or call the Sequim Library at 683-1161 for more information. Happy listening!


Lindy MacLaine is a customer service specialist at the Sequim Library.


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