Like lightning in a bottle, Etgar Keret’s stories are rare, mesmerizing, and combustible. He has a talent for turning reality and expectations inside out and then peppering them with oddball humor. Even when it came to producing his audiobook, Keret bucked tradition. He brainstormed a dream list of who should voice each story and personally wrote the authors and actors to ask. The stories so intrigued the likes of Stanley Tucci, Willem Dafoe, Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, Nicole Krauss, Jonathan Safran Foer, Aimee Bender, and Dave Eggers that they agreed! Enjoy a tumble down the rabbit hole and hear their performances on Suddenly, A Knock on the Door.
Check It Out
Just in time to highlight great listens for summer reading, the winners of the 2012 Audie Awards have been announced! Honoring the year’s best recordings in a rich mix of categories, these awards are a perfect source of listening suggestions while traveling on vacation, basking in the sun, or making everyday routines more exciting. Try one of the most recent winners below or sample past Audiobooks of the Year. Need more incentive? Don’t forget that listening to an audiobook counts as reading in our Summer Reading Program!
Audiobook of the Year: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Biography/Memoir: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Fantasy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Humor: Shatner Rules by William Shatner with Chris Regan
Literary Fiction: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Multi-Voiced Performance: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Mystery: Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
Narration by the Author: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Personal Development: Prime Time by Jane Fonda
Romance: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
Thriller/Suspense: The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner
In most autobiographies, the writer understandably positions himself as the star of his own life story. Not Roger Ebert. In Life Itself: A Memoir, he is content to be the chronicler, the one who simply bears witness as events unfold. Whether he is waxing nostalgic for Steak ’n Shake, telling of an afternoon with John Wayne, or sharing his battle with alcoholism, Ebert invites us to experience the milestones along with him. From his days in the newsroom with Mike Royko and Studs Terkel to his poignant friendship with Gene Siskel, he showcases the gifts of others. Though cancer has since robbed Ebert of the ability to speak, narrator Edward Herrmann lends him a powerful yet sensitive voice in one of the best recordings of 2011.
A tale of dark whimsy and treachery, Peter & Max by Bill Willingham offers the fun of a traditional fairy tale partnered with a return to the more gruesome roots of folklore. Inspired by the successful graphic novel series, this first novel explores the rivalry between Peter Piper and his older brother Max. When the Pipers and the Peeps are trapped by villainous forces in the Black Forest, heated jealousy and terrifying danger spark repercussions on all of Fabletown for centuries to come. A fanciful and dramatic reading by Wil Wheaton spotlights the clever interplay of legends both familiar and reinvented. Embrace the storytelling experience, and try Peter & Max on Playaway.
Orson Scott Card himself has stated that Ender’s Game was meant to be heard, and the outstanding 20th anniversary edition audiobook will convince you it’s true. Winner of multiple awards, the story of a child prodigy upon whom the fate of the world rests is flawlessly produced with a full cast of narrators. Especially mesmerizing is Stefan Rudnicki, who perfectly captures the inner struggle of the peaceful boy Ender wants to be with the violent actions he is often forced to take. Bonus material includes an original postscript read by the author about the origins of the novel. Get ready for next year’s long-awaited film adaptation starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield (Hugo) with this definitive rendering.
Calling all Baker Street Irregulars! Anthony Horowitz’s The House of Silk, a new exploit of Sherlock Holmes, lives up to the high standard of the original stories. Derek Jacobi is perfect as the voice of Dr. Watson, and the twisty mystery is one of the most complex and harrowing yet.
In the not-too-distant future, a young woman awakens to discover that her appearance has been chemically altered. She is Red, her skin now the alarming shade of a stop sign. Hannah Payne has been convicted of the murder of her unborn child, and her crime is compounded by her unwillingness to name the father. Justice demands that she be sentenced to wearing her guilt where it can be seen by all. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan is a fast-paced reinvention of The Scarlet Letter as a modern dystopian novel. Narrator Heather Corrigan expertly voices the conflict in this thought-provoking examination of religion, politics, character, and prejudice.
Not many books can boast the clever balance of humor, action, nostalgia, touches of romance, and overflowing wit that characterizes Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. One of the top books of 2011, the story of the ultimate online Easter egg hunt (with real world consequences) blends adventure and heart in a way that makes it unthinkable for you to stop playing. In an inspired bit of casting, Wil Wheaton voices the audiobook, and his reading is both strong and tinged with droll amusement. A noble quest wrapped in pop culture references, Ready Player One is the perfect escape. What are you waiting for? Engage!
When she throws out her two-timing husband, Mildred Pierce is left alone to fend for her family. She may not want to take any job that requires a uniform, but in 1931 there aren’t a lot of options. She has great legs, questionable taste in men, and an overindulged daughter who is the both her greatest pride and her biggest adversary. Recently adapted as an award-winning HBO miniseries, James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce is a riveting story of social commentary as evidenced in the life of one determined woman. Reader Christine Williams navigates the emotional turmoil with an earthy haughtiness that shadows the noir influence while still bringing Mildred to life in vivid color.