Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Stitching & Listening: My Recent Explorations


Amazon Books

I’ve written before about the topic of listening and stitching in this article on entertainment options for needleworkers.

In the previous article, I went into lots of detail about some of the things I listen to while I embroider, and since then, not a lot of things have changed. I’m still an audiobook junkie, I love listening to specific kinds of music when I’m in the mood to, and I dabble with podcasts now and then.

Today, I’ll tell you what books I’ve listened to lately and then I’ll open the topic up to you! Perhaps we can share some recommendations for good material to listen to, especially among audiobooks and podcasts!

Embroidery and Listening: sources for audio entertainment while stitching

When it comes to books to listen to while stitching, there are certain genres that appeal to me. I like mysteries of the classic detective variety; I like classic literature; and I like non-fiction.

Classic Detective

For light and entertaining listening, I like mysteries (of the classical detective variety – think: Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Gladys Mitchell, Arthur Upfield, and so forth). There are so many books and series in this category that, if you like “cozy” mysteries, you’ll never run out of listening entertainment. I prefer authors who really excel when it comes to the written word.

Recently, in this category, I started listening to Josephine Tey. It took me a bit to get it, but the first one (The Man in the Queue) grew on me by the end, so I might venture into another.

I’ve also enjoyed a few of the Bess Crawford stories by Charles Todd, although they’re striking me as all very similar and a little unrealistic for the time period they’re set in. The writing gets a bit trite, too, with very repetitive phraseology.

The best relatively new-to-me series in this category is Charles Finch’s Lennox series. The details of the setting (Victorian London) are nicely done, making the books plausible and enjoyable. Anachronisms (whether in character, objects, or settings) always grate on my nerves when I’m reading or listening to a book, so I really appreciate the research and detail in these books. There’s nothing too out-of-place. The books are well-written, without being trite or simplistic. The language is comfortable. Plus, the characters are appealing and the stories are fun.

Non-Fiction Audiobooks

In the non-fiction category, I enjoyed Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, read by David Colacci. It was riveting.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind narrated by Chike Johnson is a fabulous tribute to human endeavor and the narration is superb.

I also listened to Ten Hours Until Dawn, read by Joe Barrett, which I took up after visiting Gloucester, MA last spring. Heroic and poignant.

Literary Classics

In the literary classics category, Audible put out an original series last year, dramatizing Jane Austen’s Emma, and it was quite enjoyable.

The Sea Wolf by Jack London and read by Frank Muller was fantastic. I’ve read the book before, but it didn’t do much for me. Listening to it read by a great narrator was a completely different experience.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and read by Jeremy Irons is also a masterpiece. It’s long, but wow! Jeremy Irons was magnificent!

I listened to a couple Willa Cather books. She’s always been a favorite author, but her books don’t translate as well into audio. I prefer reading them.

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter read by Johnny Heller was really enjoyable.


For textile related podcasts, I plug into FiberTalk and Stitchery Stories when the mood strikes. There’s a new-to-me podcast called Thread Cult that focuses more on sewing in the fashion and couture industry. I’ve listed to a couple of those, and will probably explore them a little further.

What About You?

Any good recommendations for listening while stitching? Have you heard any audiobooks lately that you really enjoyed? Do you know of any interesting podcasts you’d like to share? Feel free to join in the conversation below and make some recommendations! I love exploring new listening interests, and I’m sure there are other folks in the wider Needle ‘n Thread community do, too!


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(173) Comments

  1. Mary, thanks for the suggestions. I never thought of listening to Dorothy Sayers so I will check those out. Lighter fare is the Alexander McCall Smith books especially the No. 1 Ladies Detective stories and the 44 Scotland Street series. He has such great readers. Also Donna Leon’s series read by David Colacci are wonderful. One note of warning, her descriptions of food enjoyed by Commissario Brunetti always make me hungry. How about the dozen or so mysteries by Georgette Heyer? The dialogue is very funny, especially Behold, Here’s Poison and Death in the Stocks. I also enjoy listening to Dickens and Jane Austen. A nonfiction book from several years back was A World Lit only by Fire by Williams Mansfield. It was a riveting take on the Middle Ages. I could go on and on but I won’t. Thanks again for a great column, Mary.

  2. Thanks for sharing your authors! I’m always on the hunt for new ones, because much as I love Dorothy Sayers, after about the 20th time …..
    I would add: PD James, Ellis Peters, Louise Penny, Carola Dunn and (especially for stitchers) Monica Ferris

    1. Really must second Louise Penny. An amazing writer unlike no other. Always leaves me wishing I could be part of the village of Three Pines.

  3. While listening to music I enjoy classical when there’s sunshsine, & rock when it’s gloomy. The latter keeps me more alert.
    The only podcast I have listened to Dr. Phil’s New one.
    I usually have the the television on & am listening to that.

  4. Good morning Mary,
    I agree, listening to audiobooks is wonderful while doing handwork. Recently I’ve enjoyed Steve Berry, the history (with some embellishments) are wonderful. Louise Perry and Harlan Coben are always fun too.
    I’m looking forward to checking out your suggestions too.
    Kind regards,

  5. I also love the Lennox mystery series, along with Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. For those who love dogs, you just can’t beat the adorable and irascible Chet mysteries by Spencer Quinn.

  6. I love the cozy and the gumshoe detectives and recently googled a download of the entire series of “Johnny Dollar”, also Suspense, The Green Hornet, and Gunsmoke. As they were meant for radio the sound effects are fun and they are not more than half an hour usually so I can time my stitching break perfectly. These are also (mostly) available on YouTube and Sirius Classic Radio.

    I also have a big project so I listen to Tolstoy’s Anna Karena whenever I work on it- it pulls me right into that stitching zone.
    Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

    1. Old Time Radio is exactly what I had in mind when I was reading! Suspense and Green Hornet are excellent. I also enjoy The Shadow, X-Minus One (sci-fi), and Lights Out! are all great thrillers. There’s also a bunch of great comedy acts like a Fibber McGee and Molly, Abbot & Costello, and The Great Gildersleeve. It’s great to be transported to another time of life and even though they lack visual special effects, they all do a wonderful job, along with your imagination, of setting the scene aurally. It’s neat to hear the old advertisements of yesteryear, as well. Blue Coal, Bromo Seltzer, Ajax, Savings Bonds, and even wartime reports and efforts. It’s pretty wild to hear some of the offerings and dialogue! If you haven’t already tuned in to The Golden Age of Radio, it’s definitely worth checking out!

  7. You might enjoy the Louise Penny series of mysteries. They take place in Canada and she does a nice job of developing the characters in her novels.

  8. My current favorite author is Louise Penny who writes the Three Pines series. Three Pines is a wonderful little village in Quebec. It would be a great place to stitch.

  9. I enjoyed tha Maisy Dobbs series of historical fiction by Jacqueline Winspear. There are 20 or more so lots of good needleworking time. For podcasts Making Gay History is very good.

  10. Try Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time – it’s excellent. I’ve also come across some very good mysteries set in 1920s and 30s Britain: Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton stories and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. However, I don’t know if they are available as audiobooks.
    Thanks for your blogs which I regularly read and find interesting. Regards, Liz

  11. I also listen to mysteries while stitching. I can recommend two authors: Carola Dunn and Kerry Greenwood.

    Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series is set in England between WWI and WWII. Her Cornish Mysteries are set in the 1960s or so. Both are excellent. I would recommend reading (or listening) to the Daisy series in order, so as to keep her personal life straight; it’s not so important with the Cornish series.

    Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher series is set in Australia, also between the wars, and is the basis for the TV series that has been broadcast on many PBS stations around the country. I like both, but the books differ from the series quite a bit – and I like them better. Her Corrina Chapman series is set in current times in Melbourne, and I like it quite a lot.


  12. Audiobooks are great entertainments! You might enjoy the Eleanor Kuhns series about a weaver in Maine, post Civil war, and the other Charles Todd series about a shell shocked soldier, who returns to Scotland Yard, Inspector Rutledge. I really enjoy Jane Haddam’s series on a retired FBI agent Demarkian, but they really should be read in order. If you are bold, you might try the Martha Dodge series on Inspector Jury, with its quirky characters, every book named for an actual British pub. It is also best read/listened to in order.

  13. I love two podcasts in particular- The History of Literature, and In Our Time. Both fascinating and have taught me so much about all sorts of things. No one listens to Paula Poundstone is funny, as is Wait wait Don’t tell me…
    So much richness, all for free. Glorious.

    1. I LOVE In Our Time [BBC]!! Over 900 topics, each about 45 minutes. Yesterday I listened to The Gin Craze, St. Hilda,
      Abelard and Heloise, and Absolute Zero .
      Science, History, Biography, Natural History, etc. etc. etc. It’s
      all there!

  14. I use Scribd for all my literary endeavors. It’s a subscription service that has audio books, regular books, magazines, craft books, anything, you name it. I pay 8.99 per month for unlimited access to their whole library. It doesn’t have brand new bestsellers but there are tons of Agatha Christie, P. D. James and every other genre. Noir, thrillers, mysteries, self-help, political, crafting books, sheet music, magazines. I use it everyday!

  15. The various adventures of Paul Temple by Francis Durbridge are a must plus the BBC recording of the Le Carre Smiley novels with Simon Russell Beale playing Smiley.

  16. Dear Mary,
    I was excited to learn about your choices to engage in fine literature, etc. while stitching. It’s nice to know that I fit right into that community. I want to mention that I have enjoyed listening to music, while stitching. I, also, have a little DVD player that I can position right by me and listen to a variety of topics of interest to me.
    The greatest joy is listening to my scriptures and thereby bringing a spiritual aspect to the
    Thank you for the joy your column brings!!!

  17. Some really fun audio books are the “Cat Who” books by Lilian Jackson Braun. They are mysteries that are solved by the cats. The reader does an outstanding job of reading the books. I have enjoyed them immensely. I used to listen to them on my drive to work — kept me from having road rage! LOL Judi in Phoenix

  18. If you like mysteries, I can’t recommend highly enough the Three Pines series by Louise Penny. All are available in Audible with excellent readers (sadly the first one died and had to be replaced). The characters are delightful and the stories engaging, but do try to read them in order as the characters do fill out over time.


  19. Audiobooks can be wonderful!
    For lovers of Jane Austen, Juliet Nicholson is an extraordinary narrator. For years I have read and reread all of Austen’s novels, even so, Juliet Nicholson manages to bring out humor and nuance I hadn’t found on my own.
    Simon Vance, another great narrator, made me love Dickens.
    The Elena Ferrante series that begins with My Brilliant Friend is wonderful in audio, even if it takes a little while to see that what looks like meandering is actually very carefully structured.
    I love podcasts, too, but apart from Selected Shorts and the New Yorker fiction podcasts,
    my taste runs to semi-trashy true crime.

  20. I was so pleased to read about some of your mystery favorites. That’s about all I read anymore – my favorites are British cozies, no matter how unrealistic they are! I read newly written books, but more often I find myself with one of my collections of 30’s -40’s, starting with book 1 and reading through the series. Long-time favorites are Dorothy Sayers (of course), Josephine Tey, Patricia Wentworth; more recent Elizabeth Lemarchand and Ellis Peters. I was a bit surprised you mentioned Arthur Upfield. “Bony” may be a bit politically incorrect these days, but they weren’t written now, and I really like them. Ngaio Marsh is another favorite from that part of the globe. I watch a few favorites if they are rewritten for tv, but except for David Suchet, most of the casting isn’t what I want to see. I was appalled at Brother Cadfael – Derek Jacobi is a fine actor, but he isn’t the world-wise Welshman with a twinkle in his eye from the novels, the rest of the casting isn’t any better, and the scripts are all a mish-mash of the book plots.
    I’m liking a lot of the Australian and New Zealand mysteries these days – I can watch tv and stitch. Miss Fisher, Dr. Banks, and “Brokenwood” come to mind. Occasionally there is something surprising: This last week I watched a three-part series on Netflix, starring John Malkovic as an aging Poirot in a reimagined version of “The ABC Murders”. The bones of the plot were intact, but the twists upon twists were riveting!
    Sorry, I could go on for hours, I guess. Since I left college many years ago, I’ve completely gone off most of the “improving your mind” type of reading. I get more reality than I want from the news. Escape is good. When I (rarely) feel the need for a lecture, I’ll put on something from The Great Courses. My current fascination is linguistics.

  21. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for sharing what you listen to while you stitch.

    I love to stitch and listen to audio books. I will share that I listen to anything and everything because I review audio books and have for over 30 years. I started out listening when I drove but once I stopped driving 1000 miles a week, I started listening when I stitch. It’s a great way to “set a timer” and stitch for an hour (per CD or lengthy podcast) or to lose yourself in the drama or the descriptions.

    This month I’ve been listening to history, mostly about Scotland. Next month it might be drama.

    Last month while visiting my mother, we decided to stitch to an older title by Daniel Silva. I am dying to know the end of the mystery as we stopped mid-audio book. Needless to say, it helped us stitch on that rainy day and to bond and talk about something other than the weather.

    I hope you continue to stitch and listen. In a shameless plug, if you are looking for listening suggestions, check out AudioFile Magazine (http://www.audiofilemagazine.com) for whom I write reviews and build up my future listening list.

    Happy stitching (and listening),

  22. Jacqueline Windspear’s Maisie Dobbs; C.S. Harris’ St. Cyr series; Louise Penny at Three Pines with Chief Inspector Gamache.

    1. Kathy

      I too liked Inspector Gamache but Louise Penny used way too many of the four letters words. One or two I can tolerate but not as many as she uses. I hve stopped listening to her for this very reason. I sent an email to her assistant with no response.

  23. Maybe your next Josephine Tey can be The Daughter of Time, one of my all-time favorites. An injured police inspector works the historical case of the princes in the tower from his hospital bed.

    1. Just what I was going to suggest! But I read comments before I leapt in. The historical and archaeological advances over the last 70 years have perhaps altered viewpoints, but don’t let that detract from the great story, well crafted.

    2. Keep on going with Josephine Tey. She has weaker novels and stronger ones. The stronger ones are first rate!

  24. Classic Mysteries / Cozies: Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver – very much like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Start at the beginning with “Grey Mask”. You won’t regret it!

  25. Josephine Tey is one of my favorites; there’s always an unexpected twist in her stories. Try ‘The Franchise Affair’ and ‘Brat Farrar.’

    1. Other ‘Brat Farrar’ fans! I re-read this one regularly and have worn the cover off more than one (used) paperback. I’ve never tried it on audio.

  26. Chiming in since I too love to read. I wish I could say these are all on audiobooks but I read them as an ebook or paper edition, and forgive me for not making a record of the author. They could be worth a check to see if audio is available. In the historical fiction genre: The First American Daughter, a story of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter’s perspective into his life; The Alice Network, a story of post WWII about a former female spy and a young woman trying to find a relative’s location after the war and how these two women at first at odds become valuable to one another; lastly, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a story of a young boy and girl who had a friendship during WWII and how their lives changed.

  27. I also like to listen to books or music while I am stitching. I’ve listenedto a lot of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen as well as some fantasy by J R R Tolkien and Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been listening to “The City of God” by St. Augustine lately. That’s the only way I would probably get through the book. It’s great to listen and stitch at the same time.
    Thanks, Mary, for all of the information you give out. I appreciate it.

  28. I have also enjoyed listening to the series, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” by Alexander McCall Smith. The setting is Botswana and the main character is well she’s precious!

  29. Blast you Amazon Prime and Netflix with all of your wonderful British cooking, baking, gardening shows and period dramas! I convince myself that I can watch and stitch effectively but who am I fooling. Now Alexa keeps my more focused. My two favorite types of music to listen to are worship and Classical Renaissance. And sometimes absolute silence is all the background noise I need.


    1. I give this comment 5 stars. I love the 3 Pines mysterys by Louise Penny so much that I’ve started listening to them again.

  30. I listen to audio books, more on the thriller side: Mindy Mejia is good as well as these podcasts: Someone Knows Something, This American Life, True Crime Garage, Criminal. Ok, so I have a dark side.

  31. Thank you for these wonderful book suggestions. While Romance is not my genre, Historical Fiction is and I’ve run across a couple of Romance novels that I really enjoyed, even though I had a bad attitude going in. They are: “The Matrimonial Advertisement” by Mimi Matthews, and “Time and Regret” by M.K. Todd. I will definitely be reading more from these authors.

  32. I am currently listening to “Harry’s Trees”. this is a genre that I would not normally read, it is light and kind of sad, kind of comical. My daughter recommended it to me. I am enjoying it.

    Thanks for your list, I have written some of them down and will likely purchase.

  33. My listening menu for more than a year now has primarily been the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (impatiently waiting for the next book, Jim!) and the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. Both series are books I would likely have passed by (or not even come across), left to my own devices – I generally listen to authors like Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell… the “thriller” genre in general – but a good friend recommended both of the above mentioned series and I was hooked immediately 😀

  34. I like light mysteries. Phillis Whitney is an amazing author! She wrote so many books I —cannot begin to say how many. All of her novels are set in interesting places around the world. She actually visited all the places where her novels are set. She had an interesting life— being born in Asia, interested in dance as well as writing. Her protagonists are always interesting women. No vulgarity but definite love interest are in all her books. I think you might enjoy her books, judging from what you said you like to listen to..

  35. THANK YOU for this post; I’ve printed out your list and put Brideshead Revisited in my queue! I love listening to either music or audiobooks while I stitch. Although, I admit, if the stitching is complicated I’ll give it my full attention without the book.

    In my opinion, the pleasure of an audiobook is as much the author’s work as it is the quality of the narrator. So, I’ll try anything read by George Guidall, Barbara Rosenblat, Scott Brick, Will Patton, or Blair Brown. I’ve enjoyed some of the classics that I read (or should have read in high school) like Call of the Wild (but not The Sea Wolf), Moby Dick, the Illiad, the Odyssey and Beowulf.

    If you like thriller/mysteries I would recommend audiobooks by James Lee Burke. He is a bit edgier than Agatha Christie, but boy, can he write prose! Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache mysteries are fun. I’ve also enjoyed almost anything by Isabel Allende, Chris Bohjalian, John Grisham, John Hart and Jo Nesbo (though he can get a bit dark).

    Is everyone aware that many of these books can be downloaded free from your public library? Can’t get a better deal than that.

  36. I don’t usually listen to things while embroidering, but one of my favorite books (and audiobooks) ever is The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien.

    Some people get bored with that, though, so I also like to recommend Farmer Giles of Ham, which is a half-hour comic tale about a farmer who finds himself swept up in many adventures that he does not expect, egged on by his dog, his neighbors, and even the king himself. I don’t know how this would come out in audiobook. My family has a tradition of reading it aloud at Christmas. If the person reading on the recording understands all the jokes and subtle digs that Tolkien sticks in there, he/she will not be able to help using a tone of voice in those passages that hints at the humor. If not, the book will sound dry and will not be particularly entertaining.

    C. L. Fingristion

  37. I love adult “Nancy Drew” books. A strong female character and a little quirky! Janet Evanovich created Stephanie Plum – One for the Money. Jane Whitfield is a one woman Witness Protection Agency – by Thomas Perry.

    Other good series include Faye Kellerman’s series about a Jewish woman, Rina. John Sandford writes Minnesota law enforcement series starting with Eyes of Prey.

    The best audible book I ever listened to was “Honolulu” by Alan Brennert.

    And I’m hooked on Ted talks! Great variety and almost always interesting!

    Happy stitching. -doni @ Oregon coast

  38. Hi, Mary! Thanks for some great media to consider. Some of my favorite books to listen to instead of read are old literature written in archaic language (such as Shakespeare, Chaucer) and dialect (such as Twain, RL Stevenson) or even just old-fashioned settings (Dickens, Longfellow, JF Cooper, Austen, Scott, Tennyson). These are classics I missed reading in school, and I find them difficult to follow in writing, but the tone & inflection of a talented narrator brings these masterpieces to life for me. Of course, I have to intersperse some light fiction among them to give my brain a rest. Lately, that consists of both of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries series and some of the modern mysteries from Monica Ferris and Susan Wittig Albert.

  39. NPR has an entertaining show called ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’ on once a week which can be downloaded once as a podcast. They focus on the weeks news but do it in an entertaining way.

  40. Both Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver are wonderful. I just listened to The Red Tent. I read it a number of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed hearing it this time.

  41. I enjoy the Victorian dective stories as well but have listened to a humorist named Jerome K. Jerome. He has a dry sort of humor that is just too funny.
    Elizabeth Peters’ series with Amelia Peobody. an archeology group in Egypt. is very entertaining. Barbara Rosenblat is just the best narrator! All the characters just come alive.

    Happy listening.

  42. You turned me on to audio books while sewing or stitching. Since then I have listened to a lot of fantasy fiction like the Outlanders series and I love Brandon Sanderson books. Right now I am stitching the smalls for Carolyn Pearce’s Work Box and listening to a Brandon Weeks series. I like historical fiction too and have listened to Ken Follett’s series.
    I would recommend a book called “The Weight of Ink” which was a good who done it. All in all I am now the owner of about 200 audio books because of you, LOL!

  43. Thank you Sooo much! Always looking for new things to listen to and will check out some of your suggestions. I recently enjoyed the historical novel: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A little dark but thought provoking.

    Im headed over to your shop right after this to buy your kaleidoscope pdf to show my appreciation and because that picture in the email of partially stitched one is gorgeous.

    Keep on stitchin \ \ \ Kathy

    1. I ADORE The Book Thief! There’s quite a bit of swearing in German and I think it would be beneficial to listen to. Just for the swearing in another language fun. I’m giving a completely backward impression of the novel to anyone who hasn’t read it, I know. It is deeply touching and sad and funny, not necessarily in that order. Fun fact: the narrator is Death. There are quite a few drawings in the book… I don’t know if an audiobook is the best way to read it. Also, there are no spoilers, Death informs you of everything that will happen ahead of time. Yet, still, you have a deep reaction when the expected happens. A lot like Death itself.

  44. I’m also an audiobook junkie. My goal this year is read 50 books, including the Bible for the second time. I listened to the Bible last year and it was amazing to go through all of it. This year I’m doing it in chronological order, but reading it.

    My question: what hoop are you using on this beautiful embroidery? Is this one of the series pieces you were doing a while ago, perhaps a year or more?


  45. thank you for sharing i am an audio person and love getting recommendations! even when i have my tv on i don’t really watch it i listen to it more hahaha ! and i will ck out the podcasts i can listen to my phone at work and some days i just want to listen to a subject that interests me! thanks again i love your newsletters they are extremely helpful!
    amy elizabeth

  46. I love Alexander McCall Smith. He is British and very witty sophisticated sense of humor. He is a very prolific writer so there are a ton of his books to listen to. Some are stand alone and some are in a series. Loved the Scotland Street Series.

    BTW I’m a big fan of yours some day in my travels I’d love to meet up. I teach simple line embroidery at my local library. Simple and lots of fun. I’m on Long Island NY.

    Big hugs!

  47. Some mysteries that I enjoyed – Detective Erika Foster by Robert Bryndza (a series about a DCI in modern day London who has a challenging life)
    Joy Ellis (Jackman and Ellis Thrillers) set in Modern Yorkshire)
    J. R. Ellis (Another series set in Modern Yorkshire)
    James Rollins (A series about the Sigma Force – Combines historical facts with great suspense)

    Non Suspense – Susan Mallery has a couple of series that I enjoyed (The Girls of Mischief Bay, and several other shorter series)
    Catherine Bybee – A couple of fun lighter series (where you can keep up this ongoing characters)
    Ava Miles – (again, where you can keep up this previous characters)

  48. Nonfiction: I enjoy listening to books by Simon Winchester, David McCullough. Mysteries: you might enjoy Laurie R. King’s series that begins with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. General fiction: try Barbara Kinsolver.
    Threads/yarn AND books. What could be better.

  49. I’m pretty much all about paper pages. I am hearing-impaired as they call it these days. I have tried audiobooks, but find that my mind tends to wander away from them unless I am paying a lot of attention to them. And I can’t pay a lot of attention to them if I am stitching. I find that a TV program in the background works best for me.

    I do have a question … what is the project show in the picture in this article? Those colors call to me.

  50. I love listening to “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” By Maria Semple. I have listened to it several times over the years and still laugh so hard I almost wet my pants.

  51. I’ve never been able to get into audiobooks, but I love podcasts. One of my favorites is called Unspooled. Amy Nicholson (a film critic) and Paul Scheer (a comedian) are watching all 100 movies on the American Film Institute (AFI) top 100 list and devoting an episode to each one. They have special guests on, go over how the movie was reviewed when it was originally released, and delve into a lot of film history and behind the scenes info on the films.

  52. I am what you call an avid reader. I always have a book on the go. I did buy myself a Kindle ereader and absolutely love it. It is so much easier to carry around than an 800 page book. Not to mention how heavy said book when lying down reading.

    My interests are Science Fiction/Fantasy, murder mysteries and espionage.

    I recently joined BookBub and I’m very pleased with discovering new authors at deeply discounted prices-99 cents and some are even free! BookBub and my Kindle keep track of the genres that I am reading and make recommendations based on that. I have discovered many new authors and do recommend BookBub.

    Faith Martin is an author that I would recommend. Her character DI Hillary Greene is a great series. J R Ellis “The Quartet Murders” is another one. As you can see I’m reading books that take place in England. There are quite a few.

    I hope that I have opened up a few avenues for you. As for having a book read to me-I have not explored that yet. But time will tell.

  53. I love listening to John Grisham novels. My last favorites were “The Reckoning” & “Sycamore Row” Then there is the North & South series by John Jakes, Roots by Alex Haley. Sometimes I’ll even search by my favorite narrators. Grover Gardner is a really good one. Looking forward to seeing what others recommend. Audible is a favorite listen while stitching.

  54. Classical Mythology by Elizabeth Vandiver is one of the Great Courses series.
    She is a wonderful Lecturer with an excellent ‘radio” voice.

    The subject matter is very well handled and these are after all the greatest stories which we retell again and again in fiction and film throughout all time.

  55. Your conversation concerning good books of various types is excellent. I belong to a local book club and also love to read. Your thoughts have given more ideas for good books to read and for listening . Thank you.

  56. I am currently enjoying “Friendship Album, 1933” on the Quilt Fiction Podcast. It follows the lives of five women who form a quilting circle in Milton Falls, Ohio during the Depression. It is read by the author: Frances O’Roark Dowell.

  57. We are snow birds,between franklin,n.c. And Orlando ,Florida.
    We go to the
    library often, and get many wonderful audiobooks .
    We take them on the road and mail them back to the library,it makes the trip
    So much more interesting.
    I also to them while I hook rug or do needle work, just love a good mystery!

  58. Mary,I liked ,The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton. Mystery.
    The Guernsey Literary a
    Potato Peel Pie Society
    Hope your mom is doing better. God bless,Susan

  59. Thank you for the list! I read/listen to a lot of the classic/cozy mysteries that you mentioned. About two years ago I discovered the books by Louise Penny and cannot recommend them enough.

  60. Always enjoy your newsletter!

    I enjoy listening to Audible’s presentations by The Great Courses. Currently I’m listening to the History of Imperial China.

    Thank you,
    Daphne Mitchell

  61. I love audio books and most always listen while stitching. One of my favorite authors is Ivan Doig. His books are set mostly in his native Montana, celebrating the landscape and people of the post-war American West. I first read Whistling Season and was hooked from there. English Creek and Dancing at the rascal Fair are two of my favorites. Love anything by PD James. My favorite listen in 2018 was Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Another all time favorite, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Thanks Mary for giving us an opportunity to share our favorites. I am always looking for good recommendations!

  62. There is a podcast called “The Classic Tales”. B.J. Harrison is the narrator and I think one of the best I have ever heard. You won’t regret checking this one out!

  63. Oh! I forgot to recommend another great podcast…”The History of England” by David Crowther. He’s erudite and very funny. I’ve listened to all the episodes twice!

  64. I love listening and watching when they get interesting history series with Lucy Worsley as presenter. They are available on YouTube.
    She is such a fabulous host. Visits all sorts of places. I have just watched one on operas.

  65. I have fallen love with Dina Gabaldon series Outlander. There eight books and they should be read in sequence. BUT I advise this She is so addictive. Her writing is suburb. I have completed every book in her series and am only waiting (impatiently) for #9.(go tell the bees I am gone) To Me the only problem is other authors fall so short of her skills that I find they cannot hold my interest for very long.

    Thank you for all your tips and I do so enjoy your emails.

    Barbara Martin

  66. I have tried audio books while doing handwork – and while driving and when sitting in my recliner, with tv off.

    However, for me, what happens is that my mind switches focus back and forth – so I wind up not knowing what was said – and had to replay – or I missed out on the enjoyment I get from watching a stitch happening.

    That happens to me when watching television, too. I miss out on too much of both. So, if I’m stitching I like my surroundings to be either quiet or maybe soft music in the background.

    When driving, I seldom to almost never listen to the radio or CD and enjoy the sounds surrounding my car . . .

  67. I very much enjoy the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series set in the early 1920s. The author is Laurie R. King. I’m more than half way through the 15 book series. Dont know what I’ll do when I’m finished! Talk about research. MR and SH travel all over the world, visiting people from different cultures. Highly recommended!

  68. I have just begun listening to Brideshead Revisited read by Jeremy Irons. I have read the book several times, and the TV series in the early 80’s starring Jeremy Irons is one of my favourite shows ever.

    I also love listening to anything by David Sedaris.

    Am on book 5 of the Harry Potter series too.

    Audio books are fabulous

  69. A wonderful Audible listen is An American Tradegy by Theodore Dreiser. interesting story, good writing and excellent narrator.

  70. Love EVERYTHING by Rick Bragg. He writes about his family members and reads his own books and the accent just adds so much. You will laugh out loud. John Hart is good, he writes suspense that is amazing. I love all books by James Lee Burke also. Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand (sp) is unforgettable. It was even more inspiring because it was a true story. Sophie Kinsella writes light, funny romance with an english accent.

  71. Thanks for your recommendations and especially for reminding me about Josephine Tey. Time to reread again. I think the best of her books is The Daughter of Time.

  72. My listening taste is very wide ranging and includes books for my bookclub.
    Some of my recent favorites include:
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Before We were Yours by Lisa Wingate, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (read the book and have listened to this a few times while stitching), and The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. To name a few.
    (At the moment, when I need to rest my fingers, I’m reading Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Amazing!)
    Hope you find something on this list enjoyable!!

  73. OH MY GOSH! My head is exploding!!!! For many reasons, but first because I just read you were in GLOUCESTER MASSACHUSETTS last spring! I LIVE THERE! I would have loved to meet you!!!!
    Okay, I’m always on the hunt for audio books to listen to while sewing, quilting, and even at night, trying to fall asleep. Thanks for the tips – I’ve got several on hold at my library (free, digital downloads, folks! )
    I just finished “Seven Days of Us” and really loved it. I’m with you on Jane Austen, and I adore Willa Cather.
    Thanks – you are the best resource in the world!

  74. I’ve never listened to an audio book – I like to either read OR embroider, altho I listen to music occasionally while stitching or knitting.
    If you like Josephine Tey, I highly recommend her Daughter of Time – an injured 20th-century policeman passes the time while in hospital, investigating who actually murdered the Princes in the Tower – Richard III or Henry VII. Don’t know if it’s available on audio, but I find her a lucid writer of good characterization; it’s a good read.

  75. “The Book Thief” is the best recorded book I have ever listened to. Amazing variations of voices by just one reader and, for reasons that become evident, a story best told without images (I did not see the movie). A compelling and heart-breaking story.

    I read “All the Light We Cannot See,” but I bet there is a fantastic recorded version out there. The lives of the 2 main characters are very compelling. Very descriptive.

    Finally, the BBC did an extended radio series about World War I from the point of view of civilians. Each episode is about 30 minutes and it’s free! I’ve gotten through abut 15 episodes so far and it’s easy to get caught up in this beautifully produced ‘soap opera’!

  76. I also love Agatha Christi, and another favorite is Catherine Coulter. She has lots of books but my favorites are a series of 16 books that are FBI thrillers. She has three or four central characters that are in each book so you really get to know them with each book having a different crime, etc.

    I love your beautiful embroidery pieces; so gorgeous. Thank you for sharing of your time and talents.

  77. Sounds like we have a common reading list. Boys in the Boat, Shackleton Endurance, trapped Under the Sea, Issacs Storm for a beginning

  78. When I work at home or in our tiny RV the TV is on. I am not watching, just listening, but this is something I do when awake in general.

    When stitching at reenactments there is often period music being played by other members, plus conversations that I am listening to or having with members of the public or other members.

  79. James Patterson, Tom Clancy. Dean Koontz ,Nora Roberts , Clive Cussler, Nicholas Sparks, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisom and a lot more.

  80. Diana Gabaldon Outlander series is a must. I have listened to all 9 books soooooo many times and still hear new things. Wonderfully written, got it all humoured, romance, crime, war, history, medical stuff and fantastic descriptions of situations.

  81. I really love to listen to things when I stitch. I actually look forward to this part. Although I do switch between listening to different tv shows that I either know so Well I don’t need to see them or shows that don’t need my visual attention. For example today I was stitching while listening to Diners Drive ins and Dives. My preference though is to listen to Desert Island Disc podcasts. I just absolutely love listening to these “interviews” with not only celebrities but scientists, athletes, influential people, CEO’s, journalists etc. Really just about anyone. I have a hard time with listening to books because although I am a voracious reader (currently reading the Irish Country Doctor series) my mind wanders if I am not actively reading it.

  82. My local public library has a large selection of free online audio books. Three of my favorite authors and series are Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Egyptian archaeology series; Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series set in Montreal and environs; and Craig Johnson’s Longmire series set in Wyoming (which are much richer in print than the tv series based on the same characters). For those who like cozy mysteries, the Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries set in Charleston are a lot of fun.

  83. I tend more towards tv than audio books, but do listen to them. I love James Clavell’s Shogun, and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. My daughter says that The complete Sherlock Holmes narrated by Stephen Frey is awesome. Apparently if you first “purchase” the free kindle book you can get the audio book from audible for very little. This is a good way to really expand your audio book collection if you’re going for the classics. The kindle edition may be free and you can get the audible whisper sync for only a few dollars. It really stretches those audible credits.

    Podcast I listen to are Backstory, this takes a topic in the news and delves deep into the US history of the topic. Stuff you missed in History Class, these run about thirty. I Ute s and cover a variety of world history topics. Norman Centuries by Lars Brownworth is great.

    On non history subjects I have listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me since it’s inception. Definitely a left leaning bent, but laugh out loud funny, and we can always use that. I also like Ask Me Another.

    With all these suggestions, mine and everyone else’s you should have more to listen to than there are hours in the day!

  84. Do include Sue Grafton on your list of listening books. She is an American author who
    crafts interesting stories around a private investigator.

  85. Stephen King has always been a favorite for me. He has such a way with words that really comes out well in audiobooks. I also do a lot of Russian literature, in Russian or English depending on the day and how much concentration I want to put into it. I have to agree on Jane Austen – always a great choice!

  86. I loved the book and audiobook of Brideshead Revisted as well. I enjoyed Middlemarch read by Juliet Stevenson. The Truth According to Us is an enjoyable story and a bit of mystery. 84 Charing Cross Rd is fun. I enjoyed two of the Maise Dobbs audiobooks – Maise Dobbs and I think A Journey to Munich. The mystery, The Likeness starts out like a book I wouldn’t enjoy – gory – but I did get very involved. I Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist by Betty Halbreich. (Her life and work at Bergdorf’s). The Husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee is and excellent listen, with mystery. I just finished The Lake House because I like Caroline Lee as the reader. That is a Mystery. The first of that author that I listened to. Podcasts – The Journey Home, WhatshouldIreadnext, anything by The Circe Institute. Happy reading!

  87. Anything written by Jana Deleon is worth listening to. Her Miss Fortune series is full of mystery and humor. The things these three ladies get involved in is totally believable. I find myself laughing out loud as I listen.
    I highly recommend her books. You can find her on Audible.

  88. Have you tried Carola Dunn or Kerry Greenwood? They do need to be “read” in order but I have re-read them multiple times.

  89. I can tell from your taste in books that you would like Louise Penny. Excellent writer, great mystery stories. Developed characters. Start with book one. You will be hooked. Well, at least I think so. You read what I read so I think you will.

  90. I have loved Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The author grows over time. My alltime favorite is Barbara Kingsolver reading her own Prodigal Summer. This book needs at least five listens. It is absolutely delicious! Then the exquisite “All the Light We Cannot See.” I find John Irving and Louise Erdrich take some extra patience. As I’m American but not African-American, I sprang for and enjoyed: “The Help,” “12 Years A Slave,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Up From Slavery,” and more. I’ve read George Eliot, Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell — whose works I should have read in college, but reading them 50+ years later is delicious. I loved “The Count of Monte Cristo” — delicious revenge! Favorite narrators are Juliet Stevenson and Davina Porter, who reads the Outlander books. Another is Humphrey Bower who reads “The Power of One” and all the other works by Bryce Courtenay. I probably won’t get to Australia except with Bryce’s books on audio. Yes, they are flawed, but at such a high level! I have reviewed most of these on Audible. As my budget is tight, I am turning to Librivox where the narrators are volunteers. If the work is out of copyright, it may be there for free — or a donation. I expect to enjoy especially some diaries and journals of pioneer women, long-lost newspaper articles and stories. So if the work can be taken to the computer, or vice versa, we should have some happy hours.

  91. It’s funny that you like the Charles Lennox mysteries and not Bess Crawford; I’m just the opposite. The first few Lennox books nearly drove me mad, but I’ll read about Bess any day even though she gets a suspicious amount of time off.

    I don’t like audiobooks, but I like podcasts, especially about history. My favorite is the History of the English Language, which starts with Indo-European and gets to the Norman Conquest around episode 65. Lots of detail! I also love Medieval Death Trip, about odd corners of medieval history, and Slightly Foxed, which is about books.

  92. I never miss an opportunity to recommend A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This is one of my all time favorite books.

  93. Hi Mary, Sure do enjoy using your site and reading your newsletter. I have a question. I’m planning a new project and it has a sword in it. What stitch would you suggest for helping the blade stay clean and crisp like the metal would be? I’ll be using a raised satin for the hilt to get a little depth but want the blade to stay flat and sharp. I am considering a fishbone? Do you have some wisdom to share? I’ll be stitching with regular cotton floss. Thanks so much for your time. Nellie Stalford

  94. No one so far has mentioned Ariana Franklin. She writes a medieval series with a woman trained as a doctor in Moorish lands and in England now. As far as I can tell, they are historically accurate, except where she tells you she moved an incident for the sake of the plot. Do read them in order.

  95. Mary like you I listen to audiobooks whilst stitching although this is fairly new for me. One thing that’s so important to me regardless of the book itself is the narrator. A narrator trying out accents, gender or age mannerisms badly can spoil the book unfortunately. I now try to make sure I listen to a sample before buying hoping that will steer me right. I have many hours of Sherlock Holmes the Definitve Collection to listen to. The narrator is Stephen Fry and he is excellent. I too like the genre of books you describe and will have a look at your suggestions. Thank you

  96. Oh Mary, and all who enjoy your posts and informative website. You turned me on to audiobooks while doing needlework, and now I cant stop! I’m listening to Elizabeth Peters’, Amelia Peabody series as read by Barbara Rosenblatt. This mystery Egyptologist fiction set in 1890 and onward, is true to history, and the author has such high wit. Very enjoyably rendered by the narrator. All should try her.

  97. Hi Mary another interesting discussion. Like you I like cozy murder stories and I really enjoy Josephine Tey. That Man in the. Queue is not her best though. Try either Brat Farmer or, better yet, The Daughter of Time about a dectective in hospital “solving” the question as to whether Richard III did murder his nephews in the Tower……Hope you enjoy!

  98. I’m a huge fan of Josephine Tey – the first one I read was The Daughter of Time, which taught me exactly how to approach historical texts! I can recommend Nicola Upson, who writes crime novels with Josephine Tey as the detective. Her historical accuracy is spot in, and it’s an interesting idea.

  99. Thank you from me, too! You’ve added a couple of new names for me in the classical mystery genre. I must add to Charlotte Wells’ recommendation for Georgette Heyer’s mysteries. They are wonderful. And if you haven’t read her romances, much joy awaits you. Her prose is delightful and her characters are so much fun. Try The Grand Sophy or Black Sheep for starters.

  100. Used to love audible books but not so much now with deafness. So can’t give an audible book recommendation. However if audible is available, I loved the Margaret Maron mystery series for Judge Deborah Knott. Also anything by Mary Kaye Andrews—especially her Savannah series of books. She also has a mystery series but just starting to read those. Louise Penney mysteries are also wonderful. Also Sharon McCrumb writes beautifully. Not a mystery but I used to enjoy the unabridged readings of the early Outlander books and of books by Susanna Kearsley

  101. I usually listen to classic music. I have not tried audio books. What is the best way to start with an audio book? Love your needlework!

  102. I love listening to programs on the BBC Radio APP which gives listeners access to documentaries, interviews, stories, podcasts, game shows, music, and dramas that previously aired on BBC radio. I can always find something there to suit my mood.

  103. I love Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. In the late 1800s, spinster Amelia takes a trip to Egypt, falls in love with an archeologist, and ends up searching for lost tombs and solving mysteries along the Nile. One critic describes her as a cross between Indiana Jones and Miss Marple. They’re a lot of fun. Barbara Rosenblat narrates all 27 books superbly. Elizabeth Peters earned a PhD in Egyptology at the University of Chicago, so what she writes is accurate as well as entertaining.

  104. Although I don’t listen to audiobooks (because every time I tried..and loved it, I fell asleep) I do love reading. My absolute favorite author is Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve also enjoyed many Donna Leon books for mystery/food/Venice. Kerry Greenwood also was very pleasurable. I also like historic novels or books both fiction and non-fiction. So many I can’t list them all. Since reading this, I think I’ll give another try with audiobooks while stitching as that might be the antidote I need to not fall asleep. Henry David Thoreaux and R W Emerson come to mind….

  105. This is excellent information Mary. You read my mind. I am in the throws of collecting information on audiobooks to ‘read’. I will try a few of these.

    In my cue, I have All the Light we cannot see and A man called Ove. By the by, I though Emma was enjoyable as well.

  106. I also listen as I stitch .. to many kinds of books, classics, nonfiction, mysteries, historical novels, etc. Two of my very most favorites are listed below. Books I hesitated to read because their descriptions didn’t match “my” idea of a good read. I was sooooo wrong.
    A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 16,463 customer reviews
    NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles, slow at first but wonderful as it progresses.

    Thank you for sharing your likes. I’ve ordered a couple of your choices from Audible and will probably try some of the others.

  107. I tried to listen to a free audiobook once. I lasted through the first three words. I couldn’t stand it! I expected to like it, since I love books. No. And there are so many times when I’m doing something, such as embroidery, when I also want to be reading. I’m always wondering what’s going on in the book. Which is silly, I understand. Also, downright ridiculous when I’ve previously read the book. Several times. (To Kill A Mockingbird is my go-to classic: “Pass the damn ham, please.” My most recent revelation? Ham is a character in the book. Helps save Scout’s life, too… in a way.) I cannot listen to music, either. Often I think it will be a good idea to listen whilst embroidering, but it ends up being far too much stimulation. Even classical music. My tastes tend toward Beethoven in that regard, so there’s plenty of stimulation even if there are no electric guitars. (I often imagine that the instruments are arguing with each other… the brass comes in “Hey! We are the brass section! Yay for us!”, then a retort from the piano while the woodwinds prepare their breaths.) The only thing that I’ve found that works, and I do believe I have mentioned it in a comment previously, is singing. I made an entire musical about threading needles once. Don’t remember any of it, but there were several characters. I often sing about what I’m doing as I prepare the embroidery. While I am doing it: whatever crawls into my head. A surprising amount of Nirvana. (My brain enjoys “Heart-Shaped Box” more than I would have expected.) I should mention, however, that I am a terrible singer. My poor neighbors. Also, instead of screaming lyrics, I sing them kinda jazzy. My poor, poor neighbors.

  108. I love British mysteries as well and Brideshead Revisited is one of my all time favourite. My recent favourite author is Louise Penny. She is a Canadian writer and her main character is Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Surete police. If you go her website you can see a list of her books in order. Although each bookmstands alone, she developes her main characters as she goes. You get so involved the unseen like your own friends. Thanks for sharing.

  109. There are two audiobooks I’ve listened to over and over because they aren’t just read, they are performed. 1- “The Help,” read by Octavia Spencer, Bahni Turpin, etc. Completely amazing. 2- “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” read by a woman with the most delicious voice. She is the PERFECT Flavia de Luce. As I’ve read the rest of the books I always hear her voice in my head.

  110. Hello Mary! I too, am an avid audio book-phile! I became addicted when I had a long commute to drive. These days I don’t have the long drive, but I find audio books help pass my time walking, and I have found the adventure stories by Clive Cussler, especially his Fargo series, very entertaining on a walk!
    A classic that I found totally engrossing was “My Cousin Rachel”, by Daphne du Maurier. Of course her story “Rebecca” became a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, but I found “My Cousin Rachel” a very compelling listen and I could hardly wait until the drive home to resume the story!

  111. If you have not listened to the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley, Do Not Miss Them!! The first one is Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. They are written about a young girl in England (8 in the first book, I think) in the period after WWII. She loves chemistry and she loves poison and there is always a mystery that she is involved in solving. The narrator is great and it blows my mind that Alan Bradley started writing after he retired. I first started reading them after a quilt retreat where the person next to me had in ear phones part of the time and sometimes she would just laugh out loud. You have to hear them to understand that but you too will laugh. Enjoy the whole series – they keep you entertained while driving, sewing, stitching, etc.

  112. Baseball in season. Recently listened to 2 Helen Simonson books-interesting! British. Agree about Finch’s books. Love him and Donna Leon even if I read text rather than listen to them. Martin Walker (French policeman ,Bruno)and David Wagner (Italian/American translator in Italy) neither are classic series, but, give flavor of region and not nightmarish.

  113. I love mysteries with strong female leads. So, of course, Sue Graften, Dana Stabenow, J. A. Jance, etc. But my favorite author is Elizabeth Peters. Most of her books are in the Amelia Peobody series. She’s a strong woman in the late 1800’s with a passion for archeology. One of the bonuses is that the reader (Barbara Rosenblat) is terrific. She puts me right inside the book.

  114. I love Alan Bradley’s mystery series featuring Flavia de Luce. The titles are available in a variety of formats, including audio books and large print.

  115. I’m afraid you made an unlucky choice of where to start with Josephine Tey. I love her work in general, but The Man in the Queue is easily her worst book (in my opinion). I recommend you try Brat Farrar next.

  116. For cosy crime, I’m hooked on Penelope Keith reading the Agatha Raisin series – that might have been your recommendation?
    Other Audible favourites are: Philip Pullman and cast reading His Dark Materials trilogy; The Good People by Hannah Kent; Stephen Fry reading Sherlock Holmes; Simon Prebble reading Tarzan of the Apes; Joanne Woodward reading The Age of Innocence; Alan Cumming & cast reading Dracula … I could go on!!

  117. I love the Golden Age mysteries, many of which have been listed. Mary Roberts Rinehart and John Dickson Carr are very good. Martha Grimes wrote the Richard Jury series in the 1980’s and those are very good. I also enjoy Ellery Queen, but you have to be careful to buy the books with Ellery in them. Cat of Many Tails is a very good Ellery Queen mystery. Of course, I do re-read Agatha Christie and a favorite is They Came To Baghdad.

  118. I second those that mentioned Outlander, Paul Temple and Phyrne Fisher.
    My additions are the series by John Marsden The Tomorrow series and also Master and Commander series by Patrick O’ Brian, narrated by Patrick Tull. We are currently on book 17 out of 21 and will be so sad when that ends

  119. Absolutely adore audio books! In the United States, most public libraries have free apps such as Hoopla and Overdrive from which you can download free audio books at home with WiFi. Perhaps you could let your readers know this Mary. Thanks for another great topic.

    Also recommend Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series read in order starting with One For The Money, she is up to 25 so far.

  120. Mary, thank you for the recommendations! I am going to try Jeremy Irons reading Brideshead Revisited.

    Have you tried Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce Series, read by Jayne Entwistle? They fit your cozy mystery category perfectly – charming, full of good characters, good plots, and really nice writing. Perfectly read by Jayne Entwistle.

    The other perfect stitching series for me is Winston Graham’s Poldark series. These are well-researched historical novels, with good writing. They are somehow paced perfectly for stitching – with good story lines that keep you interested, and not so descriptive or intricate that they distract from stitching.

  121. You might like The Growing Edge .They are both writers. Carrie Newcomer is a singer/songwriter and Parker a retired professor. Both are interested in poetry and are quite philosophical.

  122. I tend to steer clear of deep depressing books. I do love a mystery though.

    – Not sure they are on audio but the Maggie Hope series is good. Set during WWII, Susan Elia MacNeal is the author. A couple of them are a big darker though.
    – I know that books tell stories but some books, really just tell a story…hard to explain. In that realm I like The Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor. It is just a story telling about their lives.
    – I second the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley.
    – History – most anything read by David McCullough. He has an excellent voice.

  123. This is a terrific blog post! I also listen to books-on-tape. It is an addiction. Many titles are available through local public libraries, and I download them to my iPhone to carry with me.

    One of my big considerations (other than “don’t bore me” “don’t gross me out” “don’t confuse me”) is the caliber of the narrator. My very favorite two are John Lee and George Guidall. Oh, my – could listen to them forever. On the other end of the spectrum (and I truly avoid these titles) is when the narrator is Scott Brick. He is able to make the male characters whine-y and weak. One of the best series of 23 book titles is the Master and Commander books by Patrick O’Brien. Great characters, distinctive personalities, and great history.

    Thanks for the tips on other titles to look for.

  124. The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear absolutely the best – start with the first one the title is Maisie Dobbs – fabulous!

  125. Enjoyed your article and recommendations! I listen to audio books while stitching. My favorites from this past year of listening…Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, A Gentleman in Moscow, The Boys in the Boat.

  126. I’m loving the recommendations from across the pond. Try Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series for atmospheric thrillers. Hilary Mantel- Wolf Hall for a hint of Tudor tapestries.

  127. Some of my favorite authors are Marie Bostwick – especially the Cobbled Court Series, Carolyn Brown – heartwarming stories of overcoming personal adversity, Kate Morton – Love love love her books, JK Rowling – doesn’t everyone love Harry Potter?

  128. In a different style I listen to books by James Lee Burke. He writes about a detective in Louisiana and has another character in Montana. Burke provides a real feel for the locales having lived in Louisiana and now in Missoula, Montana. His characters are flawed and the writing is insightful and almost poetic at times. Burke’s description of the Bitterroot Mountains led us to take a motorcycle trip through that part of Idaho – beautiful..

  129. If you don’t mind your audiobook being sad, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford is absolutely beautifully read – I just finished that.

    Many libraries (at least in England) have audiobooks for free!

  130. Oh, I somehow missed this post and just found it! Love this subject. Have just started doing a local library book group. We listened to Lilac Girls this month, next month is Zoo Keepers Wife. I don’t think I would have read the Lilac Girls on my own, but it was worthwhile and I did enjoy it, altho at times it was a bit depressing. Based on several true characters, but a fiction book, with a “true” feel to it. I am going to explore several of the ones you mentioned here and see what others have contributed here. Thanks Mary. Sometimes these “odd” topics are so fun (and helpful).

  131. I don’t know if you can get Radio 4 over the pond, but last week the book of the week was a wonderful new book by Clare Hunter, which I reviewed in the first issue of The Stitcher’s Journal – Threads of Life: A History of the World through the eye of a needle. You would love it, I am sure. I think the book will be available on iplayer if you can access that in the States.

    There is a marvellous audio book of Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks, read by the honey toned Sam West.

  132. I haven’t read through all the responses, so these may already have been mentioned. I love to listen to podcasts: Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, The Moth Radio Hour (true short stories told by regular everyday people), This American Life, and also–since I’m learning the Spanish language–Duolingo podcasts and Espanolistos.

    I listen to any one of them while stitching.

    When I have listened to audiobooks, I like the classics.

  133. I’m not a big fan of mysteries myself, but my sister got me turned on to a Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R King – the first book is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. They’re great!

  134. In terms of good mystery writers, I highly recommend Louise Penny. She writes a series about a police inspector in Quebec, Armand Gamache. Her characters are well written and she has way with description. I am now rereading the series and thoroughly enjoying it.

    There is not a lot of violence, gore, or sexuality, but a lot of emotions and feelings.

  135. What a treasure trove this thread is!!!! I’ve taken notes and will be exploring my local library system and Audible for books!!! Meanwhile, although most of the authors noted are female, there’s one male author I do enjoy — Rex Stout (with the exception of “under the Andes” which I didn’t like — I do very much like his “Nero Wolfe” series, which takes place in the 1940’s and 50’s in New York City — and it is very much like Agatha Christie books – an intellectual puzzle — many clues and possibles, and no gore or violence. I also have to commend Georgette Heyer novels to you — if you can get through “The Reluctant Widow” without laughing out loud and being thoroughly charmed, I’ll be very surprised! There are also some very charming dragon stories – Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels — If you start with Dragon Singer, Dragon Drums and the White Dragon, you’ll be delighted. Smiles and thanks for starting this subject!

  136. I tooo embroidery to audiobooks. I love Mercedes Lackey and her various books. The Five Hundred Kingdoms series like One Good Knight has fun characters and unite puns. I love history and Barbara Tuchman is wonderful! I have the complete Sherlock Holmes.

  137. Might want to add the pocket pattern to my list of wish patterns I hope you put in your shop page. They should be fun to do since we have your posts to guide us.

  138. A couple of books I would suggest reading are: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Estes Kelli. It’s about a Chinese girl who was forced to leave Seattle in the late 1800’s.

    Educated by Tara Westover. This is a true story

    My Name is Mary Steward I don’t remember the author, but it is about a women at the start of the Civil War who wanted to be a surgeon and got training on the battlefield.

  139. Hi, I love listening to well watched movies.
    I am interested to know about the design that is pictured with this article. Is the pattern available?

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