We all love comics; let’s face it, if you don’t love (or at least want to love) comics, you probably wouldn’t be here. But I also love audiobooks; I love being able to listen to books while I’m grocery shopping, sorting laundry, and walking to the metro. GraphicAudio has some great options for comics and comics-type stories (they produce audio dramas for important Marvel storylines), but I have trouble listening to fiction in audio. There’s something about the way I process information that makes me prefer nonfiction in audio, rather than fiction.
If you’re in the mood for a geek audiobook (something that’s not quite comics but is comics-adjacent enough or is about geek culture), check out these 8 nonfiction picks.
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
Who doesn’t remember the Sega vs. Nintendo console wars (if you don’t remember them, well then I just dated myself). This might not sound like a fascinating story, but Harris writes in a narrative style that makes this read like a thriller. I’m serious. A video-game behind-the-scenes soap-opera-thriller. Who knew?
Aisha Tyler scores pretty high on my nerd list. She does an amazing job on Archer (“NOOOOOOPE”) and I love her Girl on Guy podcast, in which she interviews important personalities (and many, many nerds). This memoir is deeper than you’d think; it’s about Tyler’s many humiliations and what she’s learned from them. And of course, it’s also funny. Very, very funny.
All of Mary Roach’s books are amazing, but Packing for Mars holds a special place in my heart because it’s about one of my first loves, space. What is it like to live in space? How is thinking about humans living in space a proxy for what it is to be human? This is as much a book of anecdotes with a singular, unifying theme as it is a story of people living in space, but it’s very well-written and entertaining.
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
“Why would I want to read a behind-the-scenes story of a publisher?” you might be asking yourself. Trust me, though, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is something you want to read. Even if you’re relatively new to comics, the ins and out of the comics giant’s history are fascinating, and this history makes it easier to understand how Marvel got to where it did, and the challenges it faces now.
Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
To be a geek is to have been awkward, and/or to currently be awkward. I firmly believe this; I’m still awkward, and though I’m more comfortable than most introverts in social situations, I am so incredibly bad at small talk. Issa Rae is a nerd at heart, an introvert like the rest of us, and the fact that this memoir/essay collection (which are always perfect for audio) is about accepting yourself as you are? You can bet I’m recommending it.
Death By Black Hole (and Other Cosmic Quandaries)) by Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m not an rocket scientist (I’ll wait while you recover from the shock of that revelation) but I find astrophysics absolutely fascinating, and no one speaks to the layperson better than Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’ve read pretty much all of his books, but Death by Black Hole continues to be my favorite. It’s a series of essays on space phenomena; it makes these complex ideas accessible and easy to understand, and you can listen in pieces because these essays stand alone from one another. It’s well-written and simply fascinating.
As a person who is a die-hard Star Wars fan and swore up and down by the OB1 theory of the Clone Wars (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t go down that rabbit hole. Trust me), I absolutely LOVED this book. The present and future of the franchise is changing seemingly from one day to the next, but this gets into a lot of the nitty gritty about its past and its evolution from movies into a cultural phenomenon.
I get really tired of people hating on video games for all of society’s ills. It’s just lazy and helps no one. I’m not much of a gamer personally (except Mass Effect. I still can’t talk about that ending.) but I love learning things about geek culture generally. McGonigal’s book is actually about how video games, gamer culture, and the things that attract people to video games actually help us and how they can make the world better.
We covered The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy when it was first released, but I wanted to include it on this list because it’s just so good. I love this book. I think it shines in print because of the thought and care that went into each page of it (literally the physical pages are beautiful), but I’m guessing it’s also absolutely lovely in audiobook form.
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