By Carly Bennett, Rhys Wright, Becca Binnie and Rosie Green
Let’s celebrate Audiobook Appreciation Month! Perhaps your preferred method of reading is plugging in your earphones and listening aloud? Or maybe you think it's time to try new methods of getting your book fix? Either way, we’ve listed some noteworthy LGBTQIA+ audiobooks for you to enjoy.
Legends and Lattes by Trevor Baldree
Described as “high fantasy, low stakes – with a double-shot of coffee”, Legends and Lattes is the perfect easy listen for those mind-numbing commutes where the right book can make you fall in love with the world again. Narrated by the author, the audiobook has all the production values and voice acting that’s expected with a full-cast recording – Baldree does an unbelievable job and really brings Viv, Tandri and the rest of the cast to life.
The premise is simple: Viv, an orc barbarian who is as hard-working as she is tough, is looking for a gentler life after a career built on action and danger. She settles in the bustling town of Thune, determined to open a shop selling the most magical of elixirs: coffee. While her life might be quieter in Thune, it’s certainly not boring and it’s a joy to follow Viv as she navigates business ownership, new friendships and the darker side of Thune that reminds Viv that letting go of her past is harder than she might have thought.
The most wholesome of stories and the queer slice-of-life fantasy we’ve been begging for, Legends and Lattes is a delight from start to finish.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
When Frannie Langton first begins telling her story, she’s on trial for a double murder she doesn’t recall. Faced with a trip to the gallows and being remembered solely by the distorted image of her found in the tabloids of Georgian London, Frannie knows that she must write herself into history by telling her story with her own voice.
Sara Collins’ debut novel and the winner of the Costa Book Award is a book of endless twists and transformations. Telling a story that can inhabit multiple genres all at once, it’s a gothic novel that seamlessly delves into queer romance, horror and crime, all without losing focus on Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican slave to a maid indicted for the murder of her employer and his wife.
The audiobook version is tenderly narrated by Collins herself, bringing her first-person narration directly to the listener and bridging the centuries between ourselves and Frannie. We hear her first-hand as she cycles through the horrors of slavery, the love she finds for the opium-addled Marguerite and the farce of a murder trial that follows.
None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond the Binary by Travis Alabanza
Published by Canongate in 2022, this book won the Jhalak Prize 2023. In None of the Above, Travis Alabanza studies seven different phrases people have used to talk about their gender identity. They explain how these phrases are cemented in their thoughts, some phrases intentionally discriminatory, some jubilant and others deceivingly innocuous. All have impacted them and together they speak to the broader issues of a society insistent on enforcing a gender binary.
Through exploring these phrases, Alabanza details some experiences as a Black, mixed-race, non-binary person which have undoubtedly shaped them. Looking introspectively, Alabanza is able to reflect thoughtfully on society, encouraging us to question restrictive frameworks and evaluate our interactions with each other.
This gripping work makes a fascinating audiobook, expertly paced with profound honesty and heart-breaking prose. Narrated by Travis Alabanza themself, this audiobook is touching and enlightening. Given four-point-eight out of five stars on Audible, this important work is an insightful masterpiece.
Feathertide by Beth Cartwright
Feathertide is a fairy-tale whispered softly in the quiet, about a journey to a far-off place where time can be lost and wishes float down canals. You can almost hear the soft lapping of the waves and breathe in the silver mist in lovely lyrical descriptions perfectly complemented by Sophie Colquhoun’s gentle narration – a murmured city, a City of Murmurs.
Born with a coat of golden feathers, Marèa grows up hidden, watching the birds from her window, wondering who she is and if she might join them in flight. When freedom beckons, with tales of a magical city across the waves, she is swept off on a journey to find herself.
While she starts out looking for the father she inherited her feathers from, she learns from and is shaped just as much by the others she meets along the way and the different kinds of love she finds in them. A maternal seer, a young academic, a woman who might be just as different as she is, Marèa learns that choosing to love and to lose are intertwined, finding herself in both.
With enchanting narration and atmospheric worldbuilding, Feathertide will transport you into a fable of feathers and fins, of love and loss and belonging.