What We’re Listening To: Leah’s February Picks

By Leah Schiano, Assistant Manager, Marketing, Pre-School and Young Readers & Penguin Random House Ambassador

I’ve only recently gotten into audiobooks over the last two years. I was always the listen-to-music-while-reading type of commuter, but I found the convenience of listening to an audiobook—without the inconvenience of lugging a large book around—a gamechanger. I’m not commuting much (read: at all) anymore since COVID-19 hit, but I’ve been trying to keep the routine of audiobooks in my day-to-day.

I’m a pretty strict non-fiction audiobook listener (probably due to my love of podcasts, true crime, and learning about forgotten or hidden histories). Here are some of the things I can’t stop listening to:

Educated by Tara Westover Educated by Tara Westover and narrated by Julia Whelan is a must-listen. In this memoir, you are immediately sucked in to the world that Tara has lived in—a survivalist Mormon family, forbidden to ever attend school. It was one of the best audiobooks of 2018 and for good reason. It’s inspiring and often terrifying; you have to keep reminding yourself that yes, this did happen. It definitely opened my mind to an experience so different to my own–exactly what I think a book should be.

A hundred million other people and I cannot stop listening to Taylor Swift’s newest album evermore (and its “sister album” folklore). I’m always in the mood for new Taylor Swift, but these two releases have been incredibly comforting in a time that is anything but. Now I’m just waiting for a time where I can scream-sing the words with my best friends in a crowded bar when it’s safe to do so.
Echoing my earlier sentiment of using books as an introduction to experiences different from my own, Hood Feminism written and narrated by Mikki Kendall has been that book for me. As a white woman, I can often fall into the white feminism rhythm without meaning to. Mikki Kendall offers an eyes-wide-open and searing critique of modern feminism and how it oppresses BIPOC women. It’s a must listen for anyone who is taking strides to make their feminism intersectional.
I promise there is almost nothing better than listening to Akilah Hughes and Gideon Resnick recap the previous day’s events on What a Day. The news is extremely overwhelming a lot of the time, especially recently. Akilah and Gideon address the top headlines every day so that you can drown out a lot of the extraneous noise. I can’t start my day without it. (Pssst! Check out What a Day co-host Akilah’s memoir Obviously, read by the author.)

Looking for more staff recommendations? Find them all here.