Home Spiritualiteit My top 11 (spiritual) audio books for 2021

My top 11 (spiritual) audio books for 2021

by Charelle

In my Instagram Stories last night, I shared some of my favourite audiobooks, and I thought I’d share some more here. I love to listen to audiobooks while driving, cooking, cleaning (that twice a year occurrence), and sometimes while taking a bath in my cute mini-tub. That said, I’m horribly picky when it comes to audiobooks.

Love-hate relationship

I either find the narrator boring or annoying, or I feel overwhelmed within 10 minutes because it feels like someone is thrusting tons and tons of information upon me, in a way that’s much faster than my conscious mind is able to take in. Indeed, I’m a slow reader myself. At the same time, I can get bored very quickly with audio books and often won’t make it to the end of the book. Not even when I listen to it in small fragments, especially not when I don’t like the narrators voice. However, I’ve found some tricks that will help me like an audio book more, as well as found some favourite authors/narrators which I’ll share with you below. A good example of this is the audio book Me Before You.

Audible vs. other apps

Throughout this article I’ll be linking to Audible, an audio book platform which I LOVE. I’ve used other platforms and apps for listening, but Audible is my favourite by far. You can buy audio books or take a subscription. A subscription is generally  a lot(!) cheaper, but Audible also has free audio books available.

I prefer using Audible above other platforms, because the books you buy are yours, even when you end your subscription. Meaning that you still have access to all of your books after cancelling your subscription. Many other apps, such as Storytel, don’t allow you access to any books after you cancelled.

Read by the author & multiple narrators

What I’ve found is that books that are read by the author, tend to be more to my liking. It feels as if they read with more heart and soul and are not only able to communicate the words, but also the energy behind their words.

Another thing I’ve found is that I prefer to listen to audiobooks that have multiple narrators. Especially with fiction I love it when each character has its own narrator. This brings the story alive for me and enables me to fall in love with it.

So, then, what are some of my favourite audiobooks?

The Law of Attraction – Narrated by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks

I’m a big fan of the work of Esther, Jerry and the cosmic entitity called Abraham. I love to watch their videos on YouTube, but this audiobook is a beautiful and comprehensive introduction to the workings of the law of attraction. I think I’ve listened to it for about five times now.

What’s awesome about it is that it doesn’t require all of your attention, which allows you to do something else while listening to it, such as driving. You may miss some parts, but this is a book that allows you to trust that parts that you miss, aren’t necessary for you to hear right now. The book is full of golden nuggets, and every time I listen to it, I pick out some new ones.

I don’t really like the other Abraham Hicks audiobooks, because they are just text narrated by Jerry. While this specific book is a true conversation between Jerry and Abraham, through Esther. It feels more alive, less monotonous, more engaging. So I’d definitely recommend you to start with The Law of Attractoin if you’re going to listen to any of their books.

The Art of Asking – Narrated by Amanda Palmer

I started listening to this book after hearing Amanda Palmer on The Tim Ferris Show. Even though I’m by no means a fan of her music (punk rock), I was mesmerized by her way of speaking and storytelling (Elizabeth Gilbert has the same effect on me). So naturally, I got her book The Art of Asking in audio version.

I’ve always thought I’m quite good at asking, or at least at communicating my needs, but this book is truly an eye-opener and incredibly inspiring. Amanda shares in how working towards her career as a famous musician, she created a community (a.k.a. fans that care). She shares about everything she asked people to help her with, how difficult that was for her and how she overcame these difficulties, and how, by asking her community to help her, she raised over 1 million dollar by crowdfunding.

The book feels like an autobiography, has a lot of humor in it and is written & read by Amanda with heart and soul. I love this book, as soon as I put it on I’m sucked into Amanda’s words. I definitely recommend this one, even if you’re not a fan of Amanda Palmer’s music.

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Fun fact: Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman are married. Gaiman is a comic artist and fantasy writer (The Sandman, Stardust, American Gods, to name a few), and he’s a true storyteller. I have read some of his books, but I never liked them all that much, they’re a bit… gross, with too much gory details. And they’re weird, but that seems to be the point.

However, The Graveyard Book is awesome. It’s about a little boy that gets raised by ghosts in a graveyard. Sounds spooky, but it’s not a spooky book, only the first 30 minutes or so could scare you a bit. The book is read by Neil Gaiman himself and honestly, I could listen to him all day. This is a book I’ve enjoyed in the plane (and while waiting for hours in a boarding queue that didn’t move). It’s a book that makes boring and tedious things way more fun, especially as it is read to you in Gaiman’s enchanting British voice.

All audiobooks by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa is known for her worldwide bestseller Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (in Dutch: De Ontembare Vrouw). I find it hard to describe what this book is about, but if I’d try, I’d say the book helps you to be a woman upon this Earth. She discusses main themes, obstacles, and ordeals women go through in the course of their lives. Then she tells myths and stories about these specific themes, for you to keep in your (subconscious) mind. They’re stories that guide you through life, basically.

Now, the audio book of Women Who Run With The Wolves is an abridged (short) version of the ‘real’ book. It’s only about 3 hours long if I remember correctly, but therefore a beautiful introduction into the world of Dr. Pinkola Estés and the Wild Women Archetype. I’ve listened to this book a number of times, and it’s a beautiful addition to the written book (if you want to read that too). The way Clarissa tells stories is just marvelous, her words are full of empathy and she’s a joy to listen to.

Now, Clarissa has a number of other audiobooks which I’m devouring one by one. Some of my favourites so far are Joyous Body and The Late Bloomer, though I’d start with Women Who Run With The Wolves.

Red Moon – Narrated by Miranda Gray , Samantha Redgrave, Nicola Haslett

Red Moon is a book about the four phases of the menstrual cycle, without it going into biology. For each phase of the menstrual cycle (The Maiden, The Mother, The Wild Woman, The Wise Woman) there’s a chapter. Each chapter illustrates the archetypal qualities of each phase and what you can experience yourself during that phase, as to help you understand yourself better. After each chapter two wonderful guided meditations are offered.

If I could recommend only one audiobook, it would be Red Moon. I think it’s a must for every woman.

Belonging – Toko-pa Tuner

Belonging is a book about the sense of exile many of us experience during the course of our lives: the feeling of not belonging. I’m a huge fan of Toko-pa’s work and she’s one of the people I’ve learned most from when it comes to working with your dreams. She has a very special way of experiencing the world, and she describes the human experience with the most beautiful metaphors and symbolism. Her words are simply enchanting and help you to tune in to the magic that is always here.

This book is a solace to the soul that helps you to restore a sense of belonging in your life and in the world. It’s for everyone who has ever felt like an outsider and isn’t sure of his or her place in the world.

Even though this book is available as a beautifully illustrated paperback too, I prefer the audio version of this book because of Toko-pa’s beautiful way or narrating it.

The Way of the Rose – Clark Strand, Perdita Finn, Sophie Strand

I’m a little emberassed to say that at first, I thought that this book was about Mary Magdalene. Only after listening to the entire book, I realised that it’s not. It’s about praying to the divine feminine with the rosary. A rosary is a string of knots or beats, which is used in prayer, like a mala. The Christian church adopted the rosary centuries ago, and you might see different kinds of Christians all over the world fumble with a rosary from time to time (or have it hang from their rearview mirror in the car). You might even have seen your grandma or great aunt toy with it.

As The Way of the Rose shows, though, the widespread use of the rosary is not so much due to Christianity. It’s a way older tradition of prayer, of communicating with the divine feminine, the practice is probably tens of thousands years old.

The Way Of The Rose is writtin by former Zen Buddhist monk Clark Strand and his wife Perdita Finn, both people who are infinitely interested in spirituality, but don’t stick to one specific religion or spiritual view. At some point, Clark starts to pray the rosary, and is so striken by it’s ‘effectiveness’ (in the most broad sense of the word) that he makes it a research project. Soon, he starts to see an apparition of ‘The Virgin Mary’, whose words are channeled into the book.

The book is incredibly skillfully read by both Clark and Perdita, as well as their daughter Sophie, who takes on the voice of The Virgin Mary. The book switches between their own research adventure (traveling the world) and sharing the information they found.

I loved listening to this book, even though I probably only understood half of it. (Which gives me a great excuse to listen to it again soon.) It’s an incredibly fascinating concept to me that for millennia, people have been praying and communicating to the Divine Feminine.

I would 100% recommend this book, even if you feel like the subject is not for you. I felt that way a little myself, but it was super enriching and a joy to listen to.

Me Before You – The version narrated by Jo Hall, Anna Bentinck, Steve Crossley, Alex Tregear, Owen Lindsay & Andrew Wincott

This was the second audio book I ever listend to (the first one being War and Peace, see below). At the time I was struggling with a lot of health issues and had a very long morning routine to get me going, I remember listening to this book while going through the routine. Is it chicklit? Yes. Is it a boy meets girl love story? Yes. And it has some more depth to it than your average chicklit.

As you can see, this audio book has a complete cast reading it, which is awesome. I’ve been wanting to listen to the sequel After You ever since, but I can’t find one that’s read by this same (or another) cast, only a version that’s narrated by – well, a single narrator (not a fan).

Other audiobooks I liked

Harry Potter – narrated by Stephen Fry

I mean, I don’t even know where to start. What can I say about the awesomeness of Harry Potter that wouldn’t be an understatement? There’s seriously no reason not to listen to the Harry Potter audio books, no matter how old or young you are.

If you’ve read the books, this is a beautiful revisitation, read by the amazing Stephen Fry. If you haven’t read the books, then listening to them is an easy way to discover what the fuss is all about.

I’ve mainly listened to Harry Potter in the car by myself, but also with other people. Especially if you don’t feel like talking, it’s a fabulous idea to propose to listen to the Harry Potter audio books. You’ll have a peaceful couple of hours in the car, even with small kids or big grown-ups.

War and Peace

For years I’d been curious about War and Peace, the master novel by Leo Tolstoy. A couple of years ago I was on a quest to read all the classics, feeling like a hipster intellectual. But I’ll tell you now, that can be a bit of a chore if you’re not a born literature student. To make it easier on myself, I decided to listen to this 1500-page book. Back then I had a subscription on Storytel, which I won’t recommend, because if you unsubscribe you don’t have access to your books anymore, while on Audible you do. For that reason, I don’t remember who narrated the version I listened to, but it’s not on Audible. However, I do think the abridged (short) version on Audible would be very enjoyable (I listened to a 72 hour long unabridged version myself, which took me about a year).

Gabrielle Bernstein

OK, so, I’ve deeply mixed feelings about Gabrielle Bernstein. I think she’s awesome and terribly inspiring, but I do not like her writing style. I find the way she writes immensely boring… but, I am always curious about what she has to say in her books (even though they come back to the same thing, time and time again). That’s why I decided to listen to The Universe Has Your Back, instead of reading it. It’s read by Gaby herself, which I like, even though she does read it a bit monotonous. If you listen to it in small bits, it’s a good listen though.

And yes, I do have her newest book Super Attractor on my wishlist.

Other books on my wishlist:

  • Emma – Emma Thompson , Joanne Froggatt , Isabella Inchbald , Aisling Loftus , Joseph Millson , Morgana Robinson
  • Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words – David Whyte
  • Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul – Stephen Jenkinson
  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  • A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life – Jack Kornfield
  • Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel – Rolf Potts
  • Mythos – Stephen Fry

Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s one of your favourite audio books?

Other reads you might be interested in:

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