Audiobook Adventures with Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Like many avid Animal Crossing fans, I gleefully waited for the clock to strike midnight on March 20, ready to start a whole new adventure with my favorite animal pals. Nearly a decade since the franchise’s last installment made for console, I’d almost given up hope that we’d ever get a new game. But finally, here we are, gloriously embarking on a new adventure with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

For me, there’s nothing like playing a video game while listening to an audiobook. I combine my two loves, creating a perfect harmony of my favorite introverted activities. Since Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out, I’ve clocked over 20 hours of gameplay and finished an equally impressive number of audiobooks.

Normally, choosing the perfect audiobook for my video games can be a little tricky. If there’s too much story happening in the game, I might zone out and miss part of the audiobook. But Animal Crossing involves a wide range of mundane tasks that work beautifully with audiobooks, making it easy for me to follow along with the book’s story. Here are the audiobooks that accompanied me back into the adorable world of Animal Crossing.

Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, Narrated by the Author

In my experience, general nonfiction works really well with audiobooks, so when I first set up my island and started paying off Tom Nook’s ridiculously priced island package, I listened to Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity by Peggy Orenstein. A follow up to her much acclaimed Girls & Sex, which came out in 2016, Boys & Sex looks at how the sexual landscape has changed for today’s high school and college-aged young men. Though I’m only 10–15 years older than the guys featured in the book, I was amazed at how much has changed in such a short amount of time. Orenstein reads the audiobook herself and does a great job capturing the tone of the book with her narration.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby, Narrated by the Author

After I had set up a tent on my new island home, met all of my neighbors, and settled in, I invited a friend to come check out my new home. As we galavanted across the plaza, posted funny doodles on the notice board, and were stung by several swarms of wasps, I wanted to listen to something upbeat and hilarious. Naturally, I reached for Samantha Irby, who narrates her latest essay collection, Wow, No Thank You, with such perfect timing, elevating an already humorous book into a laugh-out-loud funny audiobook.

A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández, Narrated by the Author

Once I had finally paid off Tom Nook’s first and second loans, I began to settle down into the game and gained the ability to visit other islands to collect resources. Around this time, I also realized I hadn’t even started my book club’s March pick yet. Since its publication in 2014, A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández has quickly become a modern classic of bisexual literature. At just under six hours on audio, this memoir is a quick listen, but powerful. Hernández reads it herself, adding to the deep emotion of her story as she tries to find a place for herself as a queer Latina in a very straight, white world.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, Narrated by Robin Miles

On my fourth day on my new island, I’d paid off my third house loan, chopped hundreds of piles of wood, and pulled up over 500 weeds. I felt proud of all that I had accomplished in such a short amount of time and knew it was time to celebrate with one of my most anticipated audiobooks of the year. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin is her first full-length novel since she ended her award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy in 2017. I didn’t know what to expect when she announced that her next series would be an urban fantasy with human manifestations of New York City’s five boroughs, but I shouldn’t have worried. The City We Became combines fantastical storytelling with social commentary, giving it incredible depth. The wonderful Robin Miles narrates the story, and the audiobook is so well-produced, I often felt like I was listening to an old-time radio drama.

As the sun sets on my fourth day on my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I can’t help but love being the super nerd I am and enjoying the perfect marriage of audiobooks and video games.