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11 Best Audiobooks To Listen To Right Now

Books

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The holidays mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but one thing they mean to almost everybody is: lots of traveling. Maybe that comes in the form of a plane or maybe it comes in the form of a train, but there's a pretty good chance it comes in the form of an automobile. And whether you're stuck in traffic trying to get out of Manhattan or cruising down seemingly endless miles of interstate on the way to... wherever interstates take people, there's no better way to while away the hours than with an audiobook.

Here are the 11 we think you should queue up this holiday season.

The Odyssey by Emily Wilson, read by Claire Danes (available here)
Emily Wilson's translation of Homer's epic—incredibly, the first translation of the classic text by a woman—has become a sensation since its publication late last year, thanks to Wilson's lyricism, sensitivity, and contemporary understanding of this monumentally captivating tale. Now, you can let Claire Danes, who captures Wilson's vibrant pacing beautifully, whisk you away into a time of war, when gods and goddesses toyed with men and women and Odysseus fought almost as hard to get home than you did to get through the traffic snarling the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, read by various narrators (available here)
This gorgeous rendition of grief and loss by George Saunders, one of the greatest living American writers, was a surprise to many readers when it was first published, as it was billed as being Saunders' first novel, yet seemed, in many parts, to be more like a play. Well, that only made Lincoln in the Bardo the perfect book to adapt into an audiobook, and vocal luminaries like Julianne Moore, Nick Offerman, Don Cheadle, and Carrie Brownstein (among many others) lent their talents to tell this tragic story of the events surrounding the death of President Abraham Lincoln's young son, Willie. This book is also an apt choice for a Thanksgiving road trip, as it was Lincoln who first declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Becoming by Michelle Obama, read by Michelle Obama (available here)
If there's anyone in American public life for whom we should all feel thankful, it's Michelle Obama. Her brilliance, humor, and honesty remain a rarity in political spheres, and these qualities are no small part of why her memoir is probably the only one written by someone who lived in the White House that we're really interested in reading. But honestly? Much better than reading this ourselves is letting Obama herself serve as narrator; knowing that she's out there is one of the rare things that makes us feel hopeful about this world of ours.

The Witch Elm by Tana French, read by Paul Nugent (available here)
There's nothing like having a good suspense story read out loud to you, and Tana French's latest is perfect for keeping you captivated while you're traveling home. This isn't an easy listen, despite the fact that French's prose often feels conversationally paced. The subject matter—full of violence and intrigue and torment—is as unsettling as it is compelling and will stay with you long after the final words have been spoken.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, read by Toni Morrison (available here)
For this ur-American holiday, why not listen to one of the greatest American novels of the last century, written by one of the great American novelists? The Bluest Eye was Morrison's first novel, and it is a profoundly moving story of the ways in which racism infects our society at all levels, and insidiously colors our perception of who we are. It's a story of longing and wish-fulfillment, and one you'll never forget, painful as it can be to hear.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by Meryl Streep (available here)
This is a perfect literary appetizer to serve yourself before a weekend of eating with family and friends. It's a story of love, marriage, children, divorce, and food, and it's Ephron at her absolute finest, dispensing wit and wisdom and recipes (some better than others, many best to just leave untested). Meryl Streep's rendition is perfect, of course (Streep also starred in the film adaptation of this novel), making this the perfect companion on your journey home.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee, read by B.D. Wong (available here)
Set in a dystopian future, this provocative, riveting narrative tells of a future that feels not so much imagined as it does predestined. Lee's prose is elegant, yet muscular; it holds you in its grips, pulling you gently, yet insistently, along for what is, in this case, a truly unsettling voyage through an America ravaged by climate change, capitalism, and a merciless class system.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, read by Dan Stevens (available here)
One of Christie's most captivating tales, this is a perfect pre-Thanksgiving read—not least because it's set at a dinner party. One by one, guests are dropping like flies; tension is high, and the plot's denouement is just as unsettling as everything leading up to it. Listening to this will definitely make you think twice about the people sitting to the left and right to you as you eat your turkey.

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley, read by Michael Boatman (available here)
There are detective stories, and then there are Easy Rawlins' stories, and, for our money, there's nothing like listening to an Easy Rawlins story to transport you to another time and place, where nothing and nobody are quite what they seem. In this story, it's 1948, in post-war Los Angeles, and Easy's just been laid off from a factory job, so he decides to make some money by looking for an elusive blonde beauty, one Daphne Money. Just these names alone should be enough to get your interest piqued, but it's Moseley's conversational style and Boatman's excellent narration that make this one of the easiest listening experiences we've had in a while.

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, read by Jennifer Connelly (available here)
The holidays are the perfect time to listen to a story of existential despair and alienation, and Bowles is the master of that. So let this extraordinary story of three Americans wandering through the North African deserts sweep you away, as you grow to understand passion and despair in a more profound way than you'd thought possible.

Twain's Feast by Andrew Beahrs, read by Nick Offerman (available here)
This incredibly funny and informative look into a great American writer's eating habits is a wonderful way to prepare yourself for a great American feast. Who knew Mark Twain was such a gourmand? Not me! But as Offerman guides you through Beahrs' investigation into the gustatory loves of Twain (aka Samuel Clemens), you'll grow to understand the ways in which America's culinary history is a huge part of its larger historical legacy. This is a pure treat, enlivening all your senses, and definitely the kind of book that builds an appetite.

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Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

And Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's reaction to that prediction is literally all of us

Though it felt like no one saw the bonkers end to Game of Thrones coming, Gwendoline Christie, who played Ser Brienne of Tarth on the show, predicted exactly who would end up with the majority of power in the Seven, or rather, Six Kingdoms years before it all went down. During an interview leading up to the penultimate season of Game of Thrones in 2017, Christie sat down with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister) for an interview with Mario Lopez, and they were both asked to predict how the whole thing would come to a close. Spoilers ahead...

Lopez posed the question, "If you were a gambling man, who would you say?" Coster-Waldau replied: "Well gambling, the odds now are clearly in Daenerys Targaryan's favor. Or, that guy," he said, pointing to a picture of the Night King.

But Christie, knowing Game of Thrones' tendencies toward the unpredictable, came right back at Coster-Waldau, asking, "But don't you think it's going to be someone out of left field?"

"So I'm wondering if it might be Bran," Christie suggested, "Just because we keep seeing the world from his perspective, don't we? We keep seeing the visions. So is he in the future, projecting in the past?"

Coster-Waldau's reaction to the suggestion that Bran will rule over them all is, well, exactly how we all felt watching it play out in real time this past Sunday evening. "The three eyed raven? As a king? No, that doesn't make sense," he said. And, well, same. Because while I usually *adore* watching Christie shut down Coster-Waldau, like they're an old married couple bickering, this time I'm on his side. It made no sense!

Coster-Waldau attempted to reason with her, saying that if Bran was planning the whole thing, then he wanted Jaime to push him out the window, and that makes no sense at all. But Christie stood firm in her belief, and, as last Sunday demonstrated, her commitment to this highly improbably outcome paid off. We hope she placed a sizable bet in Vegas.

Catch the full clip below.

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