Perfect Pairing: Jigsaw Puzzles & Audiobooks

Sales of jigsaw puzzles have been soaring during 2020. It could be because people are looking for activities to do with their families while stuck indoors. But it could be also be because jigsaw puzzles can help calm anxious thoughts by making you focus on a task (and, crucially, making you put down your phone and stop doom-scrolling through Twitter and the news). And what’s the best thing to do while you’re completing a jigsaw puzzle? It probably won’t surprise you to know that at, we think the best option is listening to audiobooks. Below are some ideal pairings related to books, travel, home, and nostalgia.


First, because we all love books, here are some puzzles and audiobook pairings that center the literary life.

Book Club: If you’re missing gathering with your book club in person, why not read about a fictional one with The Toni Morrison Book Club?


The Toni Morrison Book Club

By Juda Bennett and Winnifred Brown-Glaude

Libraries: Pick up Shadow of the Wind by Carol Ruiz Zafón, the modern classic about a grieving young boy unraveling a library-based mystery.


The Shadow of the Wind

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Bookstores: We’ve all missed browsing in a bookstore these last few months. But maybe you can re-create some of those bookstore vibes with his puzzle, while listening to The Bookish Life of Nina Hill? It’s a hug in book form.


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

By Abbi Waxman


Since traveling isn’t as easy as it used to be these days, let jigsaw puzzles and audiobooks transport you.

New York City: Head to NYC with this timeless picture of its iconic Central Library and Behold the Deamers by Imbolo Mbue, a novel set in the city in 2007.


Behold the Dreamers

By Imbolo Mbue

Washington, D.C.: Hang out on Capitol Hill thanks to a puzzle and The Firsts by Jennifer Steinhauer, an insightful book about the women reshaping Congress.


The Firsts

By Jennifer Steinhauer

London: Recreate Piccadilly Circus with this jigsaw, and listen to a modern classic set in London, White Teeth by Zadie Smith.


White Teeth

By Zadie Smith

Paris: Wander through a rainy Paris with this puzzle, and travel back in time too with The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.


The Paris Wife

By Paula McLain

Cinque Terre, Italy: I can’t think of anywhere more idyllic I’d like to be transported to right now that Cinque Terre. If that’s you, too, pick up this puzzle and block out the world with Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.


Beautiful Ruins

By Jess Walter

Just any beach, anywhere: If the beach is your thing when it comes to to a vacation, dive into this restful jigsaw and the audiobook of Beach Read by Emily Henry.


Beach Read

By Emily Henry


Some audiobooks and jigsaw puzzles capture a whole mood. Like a bittersweet love story, or a trip down memory lane…

Melancholy: If you’re feeling wistful and want to wallow in that wistfulness, this rainy picture of New York should do the trick, especially when paired with Come to the Edge, the beautiful memoir by Christina Haag.


Come to the Edge

By Christina Haag

Fairground Rides: Relive your youth with all the fun of a fair-themed jigsaw, and the YA novel Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan.


Hot Dog Girl

By Jennifer Dugan

Old Hollywood: Old-time Hollywood feels a million miles removed from most of our lives right now, so it makes for a great escape in puzzle form. Kate Alcott’s The Hollywood Daughter is an excellent accompaniment.


The Hollywood Daughter

By Kate Alcott

80’s Nostalgia: Gen Xers might enjoy heading back to their childhood with some iconic scenes from the 1980s—and Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss.


Tuesday Nights in 1980

By Molly Prentiss

Animation: Or maybe you spent your childhood watching Disney movies? If so, then this jigsaw is for you—and so is The Animators, a novel of friendship and art.


Tuesday Nights in 1980

By Molly Prentiss

Around the House

We’re all homebodies nowadays, so check out these puzzles about things in and around the house.

The Kitchen: You could spend some of your self-isolation tidying up your spice rack and your cutlery drawer, but this jigsaw makes a great alternative to that particular activity. And Like Water for Chocolate is certainly one of the spiciest audiobooks out there!


Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel

Cats: Even if you don’t have a cat, you can be soothed just by the existence of them. In The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert, finding a missing feline—who’s also an Instagram star—is a major part of the plot.


The Voting Booth

By Brandy Colbert

Baking: In Tweet Cute by Emma Lord, Pepper spends a lot of time baking. While you wait for your own creations to rise in the oven, why not put together this jigsaw?


Tweet Cute

By Emma Lord

Gardening: even if you can’t dig your fingers into soil, you can still see some beautiful flowers take shape under them. The lovely, wise Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane features a main character who is a gardener.


Rules for Visiting

By Jessica Francis Kane

…And for the Puzzle Pro

When you’re ready for a challenge, there’s this! Take your jigsaw skills to the next level with this mutli-colored puzzle, paired with A Mango-Shaped Space, about a character with synesthesia.


A Mango-Shaped Space

By Wendy Mass

Need more activities to do while listening to an audiobook? Try 18 Things to Do While You Listen to an Audiobook and Perfect Pairing: Coloring Books & Audiobooks

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