When the comparisons to Tina Fey’s Bossypants are so obvious that the author humorously addresses them in the introduction, you know you are in for a good time. The multi-talented Mindy Kaling, best known for her work on TV’s The Office, makes a bubbly debut as both author and narrator in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns). Kaling mixes glimpses into her personal history with witty commentary on life in general. She is funny, insightful, and endearing, and listening to the audiobook will only increase the feeling that you are sitting down with a clever friend.
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No one really wants their mysteries solved. This is one of the bits of wisdom we learn from Claire DeWitt, a private investigator just recovering from a breakdown. A case brings her back to New Orleans, where she was trained in the art of Détection. Her methods are unorthodox, to say the least, and often involve marijuana, dreams, hard work, and I Ching divination. Still, Sara Gran’s new heroine is as hard-boiled as any noir detective from the 50s, and that helps when tracking down lies in a city still recovering from disaster. Carol Monda brings to life the first-person narration in a dry, husky, world-weary voice that is perfect for the debut of Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead.
The celebrated voice of Harry Potter has found a new story to enchant our imagination. With characteristic delight and drama, audiobook virtuoso Jim Dale reads The Night Circus, a title that is already appearing on multiple Best of the Year lists. Erin Morgenstern’s debut conjures a mesmerizing tale of dueling magicians and star-crossed love. With the opening words, “The circus arrives without warning,” we know we are in for a treat. Little does the public realize that Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) is not only a place of wonder but also a test of strength and skill for two young performers. Put on a bright red scarf and revel in the spectacle of The Night Circus.
The burial rites given to the dead in Claysville are a little different. In this town, the designated “graveminder,” a woman who is both official mourner and cemetery caretaker, administers an elaborate ritual to ensure that the dead stay buried. It has been this way for generations, but Rebekkah knew nothing of it until she inherited the role and was told she must track down an escaped dead girl who has begun feeding her hunger. Emma Galvin’s careful and moody reading of Graveminder by Melissa Marr plays with your existing fears and skillfully plants a few new ones.
“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” If your ears itch for fast-paced, witty dialogue and a dash of romantic intrigue, you can do no better than the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Importance of Being Earnest. One of the most adored plays in the English language is brought to vivid life, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a misplaced handbag. James Marsters leads a cast of nimble voice actors in the story of Jack and Algernon, who both pretend to be named Ernest in order to enjoy double lives. Laugh out loud with the play that best showcases Oscar Wilde’s scathing humor.
If the combination of evil and isolation intrigues you, let narrator Bernadette Dunne read you one of Shirley Jackson’s tales of psychological suspense. Dunne’s ability to serve the story by making her voice husky, girlish, breathy, or shrill adds just the right touch of chill to gothic horror, and Jackson’s works are well-matched. In We Have Always Lived in the Castle, two sisters have become outcasts in their town after the arsenic poisonings of several family members. The Haunting of Hill House tells of a group of strangers who agree to participate in a study of occult phenomena. Both deal with darkness subversive and real, and the echoes will resonate long after the final words.
In times of war, we often examine the bravery of men and the tragedy of women. Those are powerful stories, but they aren’t the only ones deserving to be told. What of the women who rise above tragedy and meet the challenge of supporting their families? Journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon invested three years in order to share one family’s enterprise and heroism under Taliban rule in The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. This is the true story of a determined teenager who found a way not only to provide for her own family but also to enable other women to put food on their tables. Sarah Zimmerman narrates with an effortless skill that conveys danger, zeal, and remarkable accomplishment.
Heading out on the road with the family? Make the most of the trip by listening to a story that will melt those miles. No need to lug separate books for mom, dad, brother, and sister. Take an audiobook that everyone can agree will make for exciting listening. Selected from our youth, teen, and adult collections, these are tales appropriate for most ages and guaranteed to capture your imagination.
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June is Audiobook Month, and there’s no better time to open your ears to the winners of the 2011 Audie Awards. In honor of its win as Audiobook of the Year, listen to the fascinating Life of Keith Richards as voiced by Johnny Depp. Other winners:
Nonfiction – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Thriller/Suspense – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
Mystery – The Reversal by Michael Connelly
Personal Development – Put On Your Crown by Queen Latifah
Biography/Memoir – Life by Keith Richards
Teens – The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Children (Ages 8-12) – The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Ever wonder what really happens to those people who slip between the cracks? In the genius twisted mind of Neil Gaiman, there are actually two Londons. London Above is the world of Richard Mayhew and his rather uneventful life — uneventful, that is, until he stops to help a girl who is bleeding on the pavement. Soon after, ominous men appear at his door, he becomes invisible to his friends, and he discovers an underworld known as London Below. Neverwhere, read masterfully by the Audie Award-winning author himself, is a story of a mysterious quest, strange alliances, and characters both funny and creepy. Lose yourself in the dark imagination of spaces in-between.