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Bookish Puzzles and the Audiobooks to Listen to While Doing Them

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Laura Sackton

Senior Contributor

Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You can catch her on Instagram shouting about the queer books she loves and sharing photos of the walks she takes in the hills of Western Mass (while listening to audiobooks, of course).

Listening to audiobooks while doing puzzles is one of my favorite things. It combines two of the best activities: reading and puzzling. I also listen to audiobooks while cooking, cleaning, sitting in traffic, and doing chores—but there’s something indulgent about listening to books while doing something that’s purely for fun. And the only thing better than listening to audiobooks while puzzling is pairing those audiobooks with bookish puzzles. Here are six great audiobook and puzzle combos.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

This quiet post-apocalyptic novel, set in a remote Anishinaabe community in Northern Canada, is full of beautiful and honest descriptions of the natural world. The audiobook is as lovely and sparse as the book itself; narrator Billy Merasty pulls you into the web of relationships that make up this small community suddenly cut off from the rest of the world.

Why not pair it with a puzzle that celebrates nature, like this Nature of Books jigsaw puzzle?

Or, because this audiobook would make an excellent book club choice, why not listen to it while doing this lovely Book Club jigsaw puzzle? Maybe this bookish puzzle will inspire you to come up with some great book club discussion questions.

March Sisters by Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley

Are you a fan of Little Women? This is the perfect audiobook for you. Four authors explore their own relationship to the book in essays about each of the four March sisters. Narrator Cassandra Campbell lends her usual talents to this short audiobook, narrating each essay with clarity and confidence.

Obviously, you’re going to want to do a Little Women puzzle while listening to this book. How about this gorgeous Little Women puzzle featuring cover art from the book?

Here For It by R. Eric Thomas

This collection of essays about Thomas’s experiences as a gay black man, his changing relationship with his Christian faith, all things internet, and a whole lot more is upbeat, smart, hilarious, and poignant. His narration is as warm and inviting as the essays themselves. So why not listen to this book while doing an equally warm and inviting puzzle, one that’s delightfully bookish with the added bonus of showing some queer pride? This Love Lives Here puzzle is the perfect match.Or, if you’re in the mood for even more rainbows, you could show off your bookish and queer pride with this rainbow I’d Rather Be Reading puzzle.

Slay by Brittney Morris

This audiobook is all about black excellence. It centers around 17-year old Kiera, developer of a multiplayer online role playing game. In the game, players duel with a variety of cards, all of which represent difference aspects of black history and culture. When I saw this Harlem Serenade jigsaw puzzle, it immediately made me think of this book. I can imagine this artwork featuring on one of the cards in Slay. Such a beautiful puzzle, paired with incredible narration by Kiersey Clemmons, will be sure to keep you entertained for hours.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

This is one of the wackiest books I’ve ever listened to. If you’re into weird aliens, washed up glam rockers, and intergalactic singing competitions, then you will absolutely love this novel. The narration is also wild and wonderful. Heath Miller does about a dozen different British accents, not to mention many alien ones, with absolute perfection. A book this wacky needs an equally fantastical puzzle to go with it. I love this Bizarre Bookshop puzzle, full of weird magical details.

Or how about this Ludicrous Library puzzle? These staircases are almost as wacky as some of the aliens in Space Opera.

The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean Book Cover by Susan Orlean

This book has got a little bit of everything—true crime, library history, memoir. Orlean gets into the story of the fire that burned a huge part of the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. It’s a wild story, and along the way, Orlean tells a whole lot of intriguing library stories. So, obviously, you’re going to want to do a library puzzle while you listen to this book. What could be more iconic that a puzzle of the New York Public Library?

Image of a jigsaw puzzle of the New York Public Library

Or maybe you want something a little more playful. I love this Midnight at the Library puzzle, which images all the mischief that books and creatures get up to in the library after it closes.

Looking for more bookish puzzles? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a fantastic list of 18 bookish puzzles and if that’s not enough, here are even more.