8 Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It and Let It Go
Written and narrated by Jay Shetty
Self-help-style books often work well in audio form — and this is one you might want to listen to with your honey on your next road trip (if it’s not too awkward). It’ll certainly be fodder for discussion. Shetty, 35, is host of the podcast On Purpose and author of the best-selling 2020 book Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, offering lessons on living your best life, based on principles that Shetty absorbed living in India as a Hindu monk for three years. He offers similarly monk-like wisdom in his 2023 book, presenting love as a daily practice, like meditation, that requires effort and attention. Love is not about “creating a perfect relationship,” he says, but rather “learning to navigate the imperfections that are intrinsic to ourselves, our partners and life itself.”
Listening time: 10 hours, 21 minutes
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood
Written and narrated by Danny Trejo
“I’ve always been in a gang of some sort,” says Mexican American actor and restaurateur Danny Trejo, 78, “even if it was five- and six-year-old girls.” He opens his 2021 memoir, cowritten by Donal Logue, with a story about himself, his female cousins and a dead cat, then notes that he and the girls — like everyone in his family — ended up in prison at some point in their lives. A troubled kid growing up in Los Angeles, Trejo got hooked on heroin at age 12, and caught up in violence and crime that led to years in and out of hard-core prisons like Folsom and San Quentin. He recounts these inauspicious beginnings (“I always figured I’d die in prison,” he says), as well as his journey to acting success. Now sober for 53 years and “the most killed actor in Hollywood history,” thanks to the many bad-guy roles he’s aced (Heat, Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn), he’s devoted to helping others recover from addiction, including his two adult children. Narrating in his gravelly voice, he offers a remarkably candid and often inspiring life story.
Listening time: 13 hours, 19 minutes
The Woman They Couldn’t Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, And the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear
Written and narrated by Kate Moore
The author of 2017’s best-selling Radium Girls, about the female workers at a World War I radium factory who fought for safer working conditions, returned in 2021 with another absorbing account of women finding their voices. The story’s hero is Elizabeth Packard, who was committed to an insane asylum in the 1860s. But Packard, a mother of six, was far from mentally ill. Her preacher husband, Theophilus, signed her into the Illinois State Hospital to rid himself of an outspoken wife who questioned his ideas and authority (if she didn’t conform, he warned her, “I shall put you into the asylum!,” according to Moore). Once inside, Packard discovered she was not alone: She met woman after woman who’d been forcibly and needlessly incarcerated by family members or spouses to keep them quiet and out of sight. She decided to fight back against the system that made this possible (including the hospital’s cruel overseer, Andrew McFarland), and successfully challenged the laws that allowed for such gross injustice. It’s a riveting and well-researched book that reads like a suspenseful novel, narrated by the author in a brisk British accent.