Audiobook Reviews – Stuff Matters, and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

 Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik (Narrated by Michael Page)

“For, in the end, Brearley did manage to create cutlery from stainless steel, and it’s the transparent protective layer of chromium oxide that makes the spoon tasteless, since your tongue never actually touches the metal and your saliva cannot react with it; it has meant that we are one of the first generations who have not had to taste our cutlery.”

 I actually finished Stuff Matters in early March, so this may be a little…vague. I really need to get back in the habit of reviewing books as soon as I finish them.

Stuff Matters starts with a stabbing. I know, not how you expected a science non-fiction book to start, right? That stabbing leads into a discussion about steel, and throughout the book Miodownik uses personal anecdotes to discuss materials that we see and use every day without ever thinking about how fascinating these materials really are. He discusses glass, chocolate, concrete, graphene, porcelain, and more. His musings on the chemical compositions and history of these materials are clear enough for a regular person to understand – no experience in chemistry or science required. And I don’t know if Michael Page is a popular narrator or not, but I thought he did a good job.


 The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae (Narrated by Issa Rae)

 “Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to die alone, but spending quality time with myself 60 to 70 percent of the day is my idea of Mecca.”

I heard somewhere that Mindy Kaling praised this book (“I loved this book. Issa Rae is brilliant, funny and loveably awkward.”), and that immediately put it on my TBR. I used my Audible credit last month to get it, since it’s narrated by Issa Rae herself. (I LOVE it when authors do their own reading for audiobooks, especially for memoirs.) And yay for the funny lady memoirs!

Introverts are so often seen as awkward and uncool, while being black is often portrayed as the ultimate cool. Issa discusses growing up straddling that line, and she’s intensely funny and poignant while doing so. Whether she’s reminiscing about the days of sketchy AOL chat rooms, discussing her weight struggles, telling the story of the time she pretended she knew how to dance, or recounting her sexual escapades as a young adult – Issa is warm, hilarious, and personable. I can’t wait to explore more of her work.

So, two great audiobooks in one month! Next on my to-listen list: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, High Price by Dr. Carl Hart, and On Immunity by Eula Biss.

Have you read any of these? Any non-fiction audiobook suggestions? I really seem to prefer non-fiction, of any kind, when it comes to audiobooks.




  1. Thanks for discovering Stuff Matters and sharing it with us! I’m always fascinated with the history of inventions. I’m currently working my way through “How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World” which marvels over glass, refrigeration, clocks, etc. This one seems to be along the same vein, so I hope to pick it up soon!


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