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I was preparing for a long car trip with my family, and I wanted to download a couple of great books to listen to. I had already downloaded some Geronimo Stilton and E.B. White for the children, but I did not know what to do about entertaining my husband and me. Before kids, we enjoyed a wide range from Hemingway to Dan Brown. I intended to put the books on for us when the kids watched movies or were napping, but I was still worried about them hearing parts about murders or romantic scenes that I was not yet ready to explain.
After searching the web, I still came up empty handed. Most sites promoted classic or current children’s novels, but that was not what I was looking for. Thus, I decided to post my own list of cringe-free novels here.
Disclaimer! This is based on what I remember of these books and my own children. If you disagree, feel free to let me know, and I will consider revising. Again, I am not looking for children’s subjects; I simply didn’t want the list to be inappropriate for them to overhear.
Cringe-Free Audiobook List
1. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: Technically a YA book, but it is written with broader appeal. This is more like the grown-up language of the Hunger Games than the childish language of The Lightning Thief. Yet, I have several friends who have read this book aloud to their elementary-age child. The main character has cerebral palsy and a photographic memory. She is brilliant, yet she can’t do the things other children can do.
2. The Girl Who Chased the Mood by Sarah Addison Allen: Sarah Addison Allen always writes lighter, magical books, but this one really shines. Some of her books have darker undertones like murders, but this one is more secrets and less dead bodies under trees (like The Peach Keeper). A girl moves to a town and tries to find the answers to secrets about her family and the town.
3. Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed: A memoir from Strayed about hiking the PCT. This was made into a movie. She does talk about her mother’s death and her own divorce, but I think any questions wouldn’t be too embarrassing to answer.
4. Emma by Jane Austen: How can you be surprised that she landed on my list? Romance in the most gentlemanly way. Emma is safer than explaining why Kitty is in trouble in Pride & Prejudice.
5.The Alchemist by Michael Scott: Again, this is technically YA Fantasy, but it is fun for adults. It is another play on old myths and legends. Warning: there is a lot of violence but it is magical and against mythical creatures, so more like Harry Potter in that way. I fell into this series on accident when I was supposed to be reading The Alchemist by Cuelo (another safe read, but it is more philosophical than fun for a road trip).
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Jane is a down-to-earth, play-it-safe, follow-the-rules good girl who finds herself as a single mom juggling work, parenthood, and managing to keep up hobbies like running and gardening. She has a good heart, and with support from family, neighbors, and friends, she has made a good life for herself. But she can never completely shake a sense of “what might have been” when she thinks about her first true love–the one that got away. When ex-Navy pilot, Kevin, reappears in her life it creates turmoil in the tranquil existence Jane had established. But sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit…
With a nod to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this is a story of colorful, endearing characters. Jane wants to move towards love but must find a way to make peace with the family that tore her away from her happily ever after. Can she find it again?
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