Self: Good Parenting—A Moving Target

boy with apple on head

Audios about parenting have done a good job of keeping up with the astounding changes we’ve seen in our culture in the past 20 years–changes in the way authority is distributed in families, changes in how boys and girls define themselves, and changes in what it takes to prepare kids for the adult challenges of work and family.

“Parenting today is incredibly hard . . . here are some audiobooks that will awaken hope and persuade parents that there is an order to the madness of raising children that we can unlock with a little listening.”

These audios offer perspectives that may help you keep your balance and improve what goes on between you and your children.

Listening for Parenting

THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECT PARENTING: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection
by Brené Brown, read by Brené Brown (Sounds True)
Universal truths about being parents and helping kids become good people.

by Jane Scott, Stephanie Land, read by Susan Boyce (Dreamscape)
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A pediatrician offers back-to-basics tools for helping parents relax and feel more confident about raising their children.

HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY BY FRIDAY: How to Improve Communication, Respect, & Teamwork in 5 Days
by Kevin Leman, read by Fred Stella (Brilliance Audio)
Create a safe place for families to stay connected and do the hard stuff.

ALL JOY AND NO FUN: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
by Jennifer Senior, read by Jennifer Senior (Harper Audio)
An enlightening historical overview of how raising children has changed.

by Heather Shumaker, read by Laurel Lefkow (Dreamscape)
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Not your traditional parenting advice, it’s a softly argued manifesto that shows parents how to avoid overcontrolling  risks and complying blindly with prevailing cultural norms.

by Ross W.  Greene, read by Jonathan Todd Ross) Simon & Schuster Audio)
This thoughtful audio discusses helping your children become who they are while learning important life skills.

WHOA, BABY! A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened)
by Kelly Rowland, Tristan Bickman, with Laura Moser, read by Kelly Rowland, Tristan Bickman (Hachette Audio)
The singer/actress’s unfiltered questions, with answers from her OB/GYN.

POSITIVE DISCIPLINE PARENTING TOOLS: The 49 Most Effective Methods to Stop Power Struggles, Build Communication, and Raise Empowered, Capable Kids
by Jane Nelsen, Mary Nelsen Tamborski, Brad Ainge, read by Kimberly Farr, Kathleen McInerney, Fred Sanders (Random House Audio/ Books on Tape)
Keeping things orderly requires more than ordering kids around.

MAKE YOUR KID A MONEY GENIUS (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT): A Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23
by Beth Kobliner, read by Julia Whelan (Simon & Schuster Audio)
Help children of all ages learn how to be smart about money.

OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters
by Brian Klems, read by Stephen R. Thorne (Tantor Media)
Humorous stories and reassurance for dads entering the world of daughters

by Jessica Joelle Alexander, Iben Dissing Sandahl, read by Kim Mai Guest (Penguin Audio/Books on Tape)
The stark contrasts between Danish parenting and the overstriving practices we see in the U.S.

by Emerson Eggerichs, read by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The message in this helpful audio is that male children have more pride issues and doubts about their worth than most mothers realize.

1-2-3 MAGIC TEEN: Communicate, Connect, and Guide Your Teen to Adulthood
by Thomas W. Phelan, read by Paul Costanzo (Tantor Media)
Accessible advice on handling what’s normal and not normal in your teen

by Heather Shumaker, read by Laura Lefkow (Dreamscape)
Children learn best through their experiences rather than being told.

Browse personal growth audiobooks in  Contemporary Culture on our site.

Behind the Mic: Idaho

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with narrator Justine Eyre about a beautiful new novel. As Justine tells us, Emily Ruskovich’s IDAHO “flirts with poetry as she describes the bold western landscape, the slippery images of remembrances, and the tiniest natural details.”

“The poetry of the writing was an absolute gift to me as a narrator.”—Justine Eyre


by Emily Ruskovich, read by Justine Eyre
Random House Audio/Books on Tape
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When we saw this review from contributing editor S.J. Henschel, we knew we had to speak to Justine about her experience with this audiobook. We love bringing the really great under-the-radar sort of audiobook to your attention. To listen to a sound clip from IDAHO and find AudioFile’s full review, here’s the spot.

Find more great new fiction titles to listen to over on our website!

Self: Writers on Writing for Writers

If you’ve been aching to write a novel, poem, memoir, or perhaps a thriller about killing off your least favorite relative – aren’t we all? – now’s a good time to rush out for the newest book by Colum McCann, author of LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN. His LETTERS TO A YOUNG WRITER is full of lovely advice to readers and writers of all ages and ambitions, and it’s read by the master himself. His narration lends a personable voice to his warm words of advice for budding writers, and he reads and writes with humility, charm, and earnest good intention.

Letters to a Young Writer

LETTERS TO A YOUNG WRITER: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice
By Colum McCann, Read by Colum McCann
Random House Audio

While we’re on the topic of writers who’ve written about writing, the eighty percent of Americans who’d love to publish something – anything! – have even more listening possibilities. McCann is one of many authors who’ve offered pithy advice, and better yet, narrated the resulting audiobook. Here are a few of our favorites.

ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King, Read by Stephen King
Simon & Schuster Audio
With this indispensable book, the king of bestsellers intended to put down his thoughts on writing. After explaining what’s important (including good grammar), the celebrated author says to get down to the business – as he has for the last forty-odd years.

By Natalie Goldberg, Read by Natalie Goldberg
Sounds True
From the first moments of this classic work on writing and life, listeners know they are hearing something wonderful. Everything is read in what Goldberg calls her “New York Jewish voice” and is suffused with her quirky, delightful sense of humor. Learn more about Goldberg’s experience recording WRITING DOWN THE BONES in our interview with her!
And we don’t want to forget the audio program of one of Natalie’s workshops, THE ART OF WRITING MEMOIR.

By Anne Lamott, Read by Anne Lamott
Writer’s AudioShop
If you’re a writer, you need this audiobook. The sound of Lamott’s voice will cheer you on in your darkest hours. As our reviewer put it, “she’s the real thing–a successful writer–and she shares invaluable nuggets of wisdom about writing and the writing life.”

Looking to sample some of the best writing these authors have to offer? Come to our site for more reviews of titles by McCann, King, Goldberg, and Lamott!

Tease: Love Your Lists

I’ve had lists on the brain lately. The faster life spins, the more I treat my to-do list as a lifeline. And the publishing industry is all about lists. Each year, I wait impatiently for the Audies finalist lists in the Romance and Erotica categories for must-listen titles and noteworthy narrators. 

Perhaps most importantly, a bunch of us at AudioFile had an insider discussion on lists and listicles and why they are addictive clickbait. For confused readers, a listicle is an article created in list format. How many times have you seen an irresistible tagline like 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances (in this case, from NPR) and been compelled to pore over the list items and count the titles you know, deciding if the list is flawed or if your score adequately represents your commitment to the genre? I’m going to resist the urge to title this post “Three romance audiobooks that will change your life,”  but hey, you never know . . .

Night Prince, Book 4
by Jeaniene Frost, Read by Tavia Gilbert
Harper Audio
I’ve been wanting to spotlight a Tavia Gilbert narration for some time—lucky for you, it’s a paranormal with tons of action and humor by the incomparable Jeaniene Frost. Don’t miss this series!

Ghostwalkers, Book 13
by Christine Feehan, Read by Jim Frangione
Recorded Books
At the risk of being redundant, I cannot recommend this narrator/author duo highly enough. Feehan loves her alpha males, and Frangione holds nothing back as he brings their power plays to life.

Out of Uniform, Book 1
by Annabeth Albert, Read by Tyler Stevens
Harlequin Audio
Narrator Tyler Stevens was new to me, and this is a great introduction to his work. Going from sensitive to strong, he hits all the right notes as hot Navy Seal Zack finally gives in to his attraction to his flirtatious roommate, Pike.

More new romance reviews can be found on our website here!

Solve: The mystery of the missing cozies

Precious and GraceRecently I’ve had a couple of different reasons to try to find recommendations for softer crime audiobooks, and I’ve discovered it rather challenging. Are you a cozy or traditional mystery fan who has a difficult time finding the books you want on audio? Is the audio publishing industry missing an untapped well here? I decided to do a little digging, this time making note of my findings.

A friend has an elderly mother she wants to ply with audiobooks. Her mother’s vision is too bad to read print books now. She told me her mother would like mysteries but they needed to be on the “nicer side.” In other words, no graphic violence or sex, easy on the language— basically your cozy subgenre.

Silver Lies

My usual reaction is to recommend Louise Penny’s Three Pines series, Chris Grabenstein’s John Ceepak series, or Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series. These aren’t cozies; they’re traditional mysteries, but they are on the softer side. That bit me in the butt the last time I did it because while they are tamer when it comes to sex and violence, the language is still an issue. Recommendation: fail. Back to the drawing board.

A hot series now in the mystery community is Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver historicals, but I couldn’t find any sign of those on audiobook. David Handler’s Berger & Mitry series is one I’ve wanted to read for some time, but hoped to find the audios so I could listen instead. I can’t find any of that series on audio either. (You can, however, get his older Stewart Hoag series on audiobook.) Rochelle Staab? No. Gabriella Herkert? Not her either. No Rosemary Harris, Meredith Cole, Jeff Cohen, or Cathy Pickens. (Note, you can find Jeff Cohen writing as E.J. Copperman.)

A Murder of MagpiesI found some incomplete series like Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries, Bill Crider’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes mysteries, and Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Odelia Grey mysteries. But it’s frustrating to get caught up in a series only to find books missing.

So what recommendations have I come up with so far? If you like a good P.I., how about checking out Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency? Lisette Lecat performs the entire series. Is western more your speed? Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series, narrated by William Dufris, is great fun. I would like to see Hockensmith’s new Tarot Mystery series narrated, though. Looking for something more historical? How about Ann Parker’s Silver Rush series, read by Kristen Potter? In the more paranormal realm, maybe try Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mysteries or Haunted Home Renovation series. Both are performed by Xe Sands.
And I’m hoping you all can help us compile a good list of amateur sleuths in the comments, but one I personally enjoy is Judith Flanders’s Sam Clair.

World's Greatest Sleuth

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite cozy mystery on audiobook? And what’s one you’d love to see become available on audio that currently isn’t – or maybe it’s only available on good old cassette tape. Have you run into any of those? Let us know!