Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved summer reading. I loved stepping into the ice-cold, air-conditioned library after a hot bike ride in the afternoon with the anticipation of the next Baby-Sitters Club book waiting for me on the other side. I loved slow mornings when I could set up camp in the treehouse at my grandparent’s house and get lost in a great adventure. I loved lying on a blanket, reading to the background sounds of a summer music concert in our park; the flicker of fireflies my only distraction. Reading time in the summer was special because it felt as free as the day was long.
I still can’t shake that feeling, even as an adult. As soon as the calendar flips to June, I start dreaming up what my summer reading list could be. Other seasons are great for nonfiction and literary challenges in my reading life. But Summer is different. Summer is for the can’t put down, heart-racing excitement, page-turning thrills on every page kind of reading.
Here’s the problem: my hashtag mom life is not ideal for this summer reading vibe. Oh, sure, there are always the few moments after the kids go to bed, maybe on a solo vacation or even those stolen moments in a doctor’s waiting room. But the truth is, just like my childhood summer reading, nothing pairs better with a thrilling novel quite like the quintessential background sounds of summer only found at a playground, pool, or beach. And sadly, that pairing does not pair well with being a summer mom of little ones.
I still bring a book every time. I throw it in my beach bag with great hope that this will be the day I graduate from a sentence here or there to maybe a paragraph or even a full page. We all have been told, “the kids grow up so fast.” As much as it makes us roll our eyes every time, it is true. One day I will inevitably reach that mystical season of life when all that is required of me while my children have fun is to look up occasionally to do a head count or give an enthusiastic thumbs up. And I want to have my summer book at the ready for when that time comes.
Meanwhile, I have come up with an alternative: audiobooks.
An audiobook gives you free hands for pushing a child on the swing, slathering sunscreen, or opening up a snack bag. Audiobooks keep you company while you walk to the playground, maybe even if you take the long way there to get in a few more chapters. Audiobooks allow your eyes to stay on the little ones splashing in the backyard pool while your mind gets to escape into an adventure.
It’s just another reminder that the little joys in life don’t always have to be put on hold when our children still need us. Sometimes there is a way to have both.
June is Audio Book Appreciation Month, so what better time than now to find a good book to listen to while still living that summer mom life! Because some books are just better in audio than others, I’ve curated a list of great books on audio, some I’ve read and others on my own TBR list. You’ll be speeding through books so quickly you’ll be wishing there was a summer reading program for moms! (Now there’s a business idea!)
10 Best Audiobooks for Busy Moms this Summer
The Likeness by Tana French – great Irish narrators and a psychological thriller by a much loved author. Any of her books would be entertaining listens.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – another Irish narrator (a good accent in a book is my favorite) of a book that blends realistic emotional drama with just the right amount of weirdness.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins – a full cast of narrators keeps this engrossing story of rock n’ roll moving. This is another author with a great library of books to dive into this summer.
Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass – A sweet and chaste tropical YA romance read by a Trinidadian reader sounds like the perfect beach side read, or listen, rather.
Firekeeper’s Daughter – Native American narrator lends the right voice to the native Ojibwe language in this YA thriller and exploration of identity and belonging.
Beach Read by Emily Henry – a delightful take on love, grief, and second chances that is read by a beloved narrator.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry – another great book by this author read by the same outstanding narrator about books and love so obviously this is a must for me.
The Happily Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez – read by a duo team in this meet cute plus a puppy romance with witty banter.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – This novel in verse read by the author, a spoken word poet herself, beautifully telling the story of two girls uncovering the truth about their father following a plane crash.
Finding Me, by Viola Davis – A Memori read by the author, which we all know will be a stunning performance, about her life from poverty to career.