Sometimes an author’s narration can go terribly wrong. In the case of Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray, the author’s narration brings the book to life! Telling the story of teen beauty queens stranded on a remote island, Bray gives each queen a distinct voice so that humor, drama, and weirdness abound!
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With the deep, liquid tones of a 1970s nighttime radio DJ, actor Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme) eases you into the world of Brokeland Records and the fascinating characters it connects. Telegraph Avenue, the latest by Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon, is a story that seems laid-back even as it masterfully juggles complicated lives. At the center are two friends who work in a used record store that also serves as a community hub. Their spouses are successful midwives, but the repercussions of a difficult delivery threaten their professional futures. These are only hints of what’s to come, and narrator Peters’ interaction with the material adds nuance and impact. Sit back and tune in to the mellow sounds of a storyteller who knows how to bring you into the spin.
“I stood among the heaps of dead. They lay crumpled, useless, defunct. The vital force was fled. A bullet or a mortar fragment had torn a hole in these frail vessels and the substance had leaked out. The mystery of the universe had once inhabited these lolling lumps, had given each an identity, a way of walking, perhaps a special habit of address or a way with words or a knack of putting color on canvas. They had been so different, then. Now they were nothing, heaps of nothing. Can a bullet or mortar fragment do this? Does this force, this mystery, I mean this soul – does this spill out on the ground along with the blood?”
For more of Helmet for My Pillow or other true war stories on audiobook, click here.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a review of The 500 that doesn’t compare it to The Firm by John Grisham, but that’s not bad company to be in. Chock full of the same high-stakes action and intrigue, this debut suspense thriller is set in the world of political lobbyists, as experienced by a young associate with a checkered past. What begins as an assignment to “get close to” a young congressman soon balloons to involve a Serbian war criminal, his seductress daughter, a Supreme Court justice, and some dire suspicions about his own bosses. Can Mike beat them at their own game, or will he be another victim of their sinister dealings? Narrator Jay Snyder fuels the adrenaline with emotional pacing and dramatic character readings.
Looking for an audiobook with laugh-out-loud humor, steamy romance, quirky suspense, and memorable supporting characters? If so, take a chance on Darynda Jones’ First Grave on the Right. Since she was a little girl, Charley Davidson has been talking to dead people. Now there are three murdered lawyers who won’t cross over, and it’s her responsibility to help them. She also has a very sexy someone visiting her lifelike dreams each night. What’s a woman to do? Lorelei King, the award-winning voice of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, plays to her strengths in narrating with the right blend of sarcasm, vulnerability, and fun.
Already suffering withdrawal from the 2012 London Olympics? Here’s what you do: Plug into Gold, the story of two competitive Olympic cyclists whose lives and careers are intertwined in complicated ways. In the latest from Chris Cleave, author of the book discussion favorite Little Bee, both Zoe and Kate must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to achieve their dreams of gold. The races themselves are thrilling, but the drama in their personal lives is why you won’t be able to turn away. Actress Emilia Fox expertly navigates among the English, Scottish, and Australian accents of the main characters to carry the story across the finish line with flying colors.
“I like to tell the truth as I see it. I hope others do the same. That’s why literature is so important. We cannot possibly leave it to history as a discipline, nor to sociology, nor science, nor economics to tell the story of our people.” – Nikki Giovanni
For African-American writers on audiobook, click here.
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.
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.