I’m a big enthusiast for listening to audiobooks. Narrators open up the worlds of my favorite books in new ways and help introduce me to previously unknown stories. Audiobooks enable me to multitask and read while doing other things such as knitting, dish washing, or working. They are exciting and have the added benefit of making less pleasant experiences better.
In the past I’ve been an Audible patron because it was the first platform I was introduced to and I stuck with it because I didn’t really know of anything better and my library didn’t have a selection of audiobooks that could keep up with my reading tastes.
However! Recently I came into contact with Madi from Libro.fm’s marketing team and learned about their wonderful site/app and how it combines audiobooks with support for indie bookstores.
A Little About Libro.Fm
Libro.fm is the first audiobook company to directly support local, independent bookstores. We have over 500 partner bookstores across 1,000 locations and over 4,000 engaged booksellers who handsell Libro.fm audiobooks every day.
The price of a membership to Libro.fm ($14.99 USD) versus Audible ($14.95) is comparable, as they both also have a 30% discount on further books, but there is also a significant difference: a portion of the money I spend with Libro.fm can support one of my local indie bookstores (Black Dog Books in Newton, NJ gets my vote 😉 ) or be generally allocated to one of the participating stores. What a fabulous bonus!
Selection wise, I have yet to encounter a downside. There are some titles which the publisher restricts, though that’s not something I’d consider a downside to Libro.fm really because that’s hardly something they could control. They do still have an immense library that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed perusing since I learned about them and today I’m sharing with you a playlist I’ve curated that I hope will inspire you to try the site as well.
The Hermit Librarian’s Libro.Fm Playlist
Young Adult Titles
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Narrated by Therese Plummer
Published: 7 June 2016 / Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult/Paranormal
There’s no such thing as safe.
Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.
August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.
Their city is divided.
Their city is crumbling.
Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.
But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?
Why I Chose This Title: one of the things that Victoria does really well in her writing is examine characters that embody the sentiment of monsters playing at being humans and humans being monstrous (to paraphrase something her own Victor Vale says in Vicious). This Savage Song is a good example and almost a literal one as you’ll see when Kate and August meet and interact.
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, Narrated by the Author
Goodreads | Libro.fm
Published: 22 May 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/LGBT+/Fiction
A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.
Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.
Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.
When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.
Why I Chose This Title: this was such an emotion filled novel that it’s hard to express how much it may mean to each reader because it will be, I think, a unique experience to each. Moss’s coping with the circumstances of his father’s death, of the world around him, and his own internal workings are just part of the excellence of this book. It being narrated by the author. That adds an extra special something.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, Narrated by Noah Galvin & Froy Gutierrez
Published: 9 October 2018
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/LGBT+/Romance
Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.
ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?
What if it’s us?
Why I Chose This Title: I loved this book when I reviewed it earlier this year (link to my review here). It was a highly anticipated title for me. When I started listening to the audiobook, though, I was so glad that I decided to read it a second time because the narrators add SO MUCH to the telling of the story. There’s one thing about reading about the hilarious interactions between Arthur and Ben and the funny reactions they have to what’s going on in their lives during the course of the book. There’s an entirely different thing when you hear Noah & Froy put so much energy and emotion behind the work and get all the nuance of them just right.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Narrated by Steven Crossley
Published: 20 April 2015
Publisher: Tantor Media Inc.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. There’s White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. And once upon a time, there was Black London . . . but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Why I Chose This Title: Schwab is on my list again because I couldn’t make a list without A Darker Shade of Magic being on it. The concept is so interesting to start with, the telling is so good, and Steven Crossley does a fabulous job of switching back and forth between perspectives (Kell, Delilah, and brief asides) that I was never bored.
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls by Lauren Graham, Narrated by the Author
Published: 29 November 2016
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.
In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).
In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.
Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).
Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.
Why I Chose This Title: I love the Gilmore Girls show and Lauren Graham is the perfect person to give a behind the scenes peek at the show, given that she plays one of the titular characters. There is no one more perfect to narrate it either, because she a) it’s an autobiography and b) Lauren is able to retain the energy and speed for which she as Lorelai Gilmore is so well known. There’s more to her life and career in this book than just the one show, providing insight into this lovely woman as she became the person we sort of know from an iconic program.
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart, Narrated by the Author & Judy Young
Published: 18 October 2016
The wildly popular YouTube personality and author of the New York Times bestseller My Drunk Kitchen is back! This time, she’s stirring up memories and tales from her past.
By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.
Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.
Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present BUFFERING: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded!
As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I’m ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven’t shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I’m ready to put myself out there, for you.
I’m a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing–I’ve always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too.
And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.
Why I Chose This Title: Hannah Hart is a buyouant personality and I couldn’t help but be pulled in by her YouTube videos once upon a time. I’d gotten her first book as a gift once and while listening to the sample for Buffering, found myself hooked on this one as well. This is more autobiography than recipe book like the last one, so there’s more insight and personal stuff, some of it a bit heavier than you might think. Very honest, very open, Hannah’s telling of her story is a good read and she does a great job of expressing it to the listener.
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, Narrated by Stephen Fry
Published: 29 March 2005
Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Darkest Peru when the Brown family first met him on Paddington Station. Since then their lives have never been quite the same … for ordinary things become quite extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.
Why I Chose This Title: A Bear Called Paddington is a classic story from my childhood and I’d never heard the audiobook before, but once I knew Stephen Fry was the narrator, it was a quick to pick it up. His voice is extremely pleasant and one that lends itself very well to audiobooks in general, but especially children’s books. The story itself is silly and fun and so classic, you’ll want to have an orange marmalade sandwich yourself by the end.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by the Author
Published: 11 November 2003
In Coraline’s family’s new flat there’s a locked door. On the other side is a brick wall—until Coraline unlocks the door . . . and finds a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.
The food is better there. Books have pictures that writhe and crawl and shimmer. And there’s another mother and father there who want Coraline to be their little girl. They want to change her and keep her with them. . . . Forever.
Coraline is an extraordinary fairy tale/nightmare from the uniquely skewed imagination of #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.
Why I Chose This Title: The tale itself is spooky and well written enough to have appeal to a cross-section of audiences, a bonus for books that can be read by themselves or as a group activity. This audio edition is read by Neil himself, as a lot of his titles are, and adds to the eerie atmosphere of Coraline’s adventure into the realm of the Other Mother. It’s such a good partnership between writing and voice that I don’t know that there would’ve been any other possibility that would’ve been quite as good.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Narrated by the Author
Published: 4 July 2000
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
This Newbery Honor Book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.”
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.
E. B. White’s beloved book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.
Why I Chose This Title: Most of what I remember of the story of Charlotte’s Web comes from the film, but the book holds a special place in my heart because it was the book that really got into my heart. The movie never quite got the emotion of E.B. White’s setting and character relationships, particularly the ending (no spoilers here just in case). I made the mistake of reading this in public at the time and I would highly recommend tissues if you choose to do so yourself! ^^; lol
Now for a special surprise! As a reader of my blog, I have a code just for you all to use. From now until March 30, 2019 at 5PM, you can use code HERMITLIBRARIAN at Libro.fm to start your own membership and get 3 books for the price of 1! It’s a SUPER value and I hope you’ll take advantage of the many great titles available. While you can purchase titles from most places in the world, memberships are only available in the US and Canada, so the code is restricted to people in those countries.
What books might you check out with this fantastic code? I’m thinking of picking up Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim or Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Let me know about your potential picks in the comment section down below.
All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.