By Todd Warhola, Librarian and Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

When I’m working out in the gym there are several different routes I take in terms of the kind of audiobook I’ll listen to.  I like to listen to something that makes me feel like I’m improving my mind in the same way that I am improving my body.  It’s like a digital double dipping of positive actions.  They need to fall into one of a couple different categories.  The categories are as follows: Brain and Mental Health, Diet and Healthy Eating, Educational aka “learning something new,” and Laughing is Good for You.

Brain and Mental Health – The Brain Fog Fix by Dr. Mike Dow

This book promises to improve memory and focus in just 3 weeks.  I think that may be kind of quick but it’s definitely worth a try, I mean who doesn’t feel a little foggy now and again?  Dr. Dow wants to rebalance the chemistry of your brain, through physical, mental, and spiritual approaches.  He wants to teach you what your brain needs and how you can find your way out of the fog.  Many of the chapters are broken down in order to show how regular people who are trying to eat healthy often fall short.  It does a wonderful job of showing how some foods that we as consumers are told are healthy can actually cause more harm than good.

Diet and Healthy Eating – How Not to Die by Michael Greger

Here Michael Greger focuses on how diet and healthy eating are the single most important factor to your overall health.  He chronicles his journey in educating medical professionals and the public on nutrition and encouraging a plant-based diet.  From diet foods to diet fads, the book does a great job of pointing out the overall effects of what you eat and how most people don’t consider how “eating healthy” can actually be unhealthy.

Educational aka “learning something new” – A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer

For me, there is nothing better than going on a long run and getting lost in another world.  I enjoy learning about strange places on the other side of the world from the safety of my iPhone.  In this case, Paul Fischer takes us inside the bizarre world of Kim Jong-Il and his kidnapping of a South Korea movie director and a South Korean actress in order to film communist propaganda.  The story is so unbelievable you’ll need to Wikipedia a few things just to have a basis in reality and to know that it actually happened.

Laughing is Good for You – American Housewife by Helen Ellis

Life isn’t all serious and just because the calendar says it’s January doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.  I mean, let’s be honest, how many of us are actually going to join a gym or eat differently?  I’m eating a pizza as I type this.  It’s actually kind of difficult to get to all the keys with this slice in my hand but it tastes really good.  American Housewife by Helen Ellis gives you the break you need from a rough workweek, because we all need a break whether it’s during an actual workout or sitting alone at a Pizza Hut – however you listen is fine with me.  Ellis is funny in all the right ways and the audiobook is perfectly performed.  She riffs on the issues of housewifery and suburban life, including my personal favorite “Hello! Welcome to Book Club” in which she sums up why you should listen to this audiobook, “Why, dear? Well, really, why not?”

Here are some additional recommendations in these categories from our crack squad of Collection Development Librarians.

Brain and Mental Health

Brain Maker by David Perlmutter

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki

Diet and Healthy Eating

Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh

Whole by T. Colin Campbell

The End of Dieting by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

Educational aka “learning something new”

At Home by Bill Bryson

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

Endgame by Frank Brady

Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick

Laughing is Good for You

Lamb by Christopher Moore

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry