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
The Leningrad Cowboys – a Slavic folk band tagged as “the worst rock ‘n’ roll band in the world” – travel to America in search of success. That’s about as far as plot goes in Leningrad Cowboys Go America, an absurdest comedy that satirizes Americana, the immigrant experience, and the Soviet political system.
In City Island, Vince has plenty of secrets. His whole family does. His son has a fetish, his daughter moonlights as an exotic dancer, his wife thinks he’s having an affair and all Vince wants is to be an actor. The comedy of ill-communication is magnified in City Island.
“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable,” said Carrie Fisher. You can find out what she meant in her memoir, Wishful Drinking.
If you want to read more sordid, hilarious, and sometimes sad memoirs by famous, funny women, click here.
If you’re tired of of American TV, look across the Atlantic to what’s on the telly in England. The BBC produces absolutely fabulous, small-screen sitcoms that are usually about six episodes per season.
To explore contemporary British comedy, click here.
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 precocious teenager Susan (Shirley Temple) falls hard for a playboy artist (Cary Grant) who lectures at her school, it will take more than common sense to break the spell. Hoping to be his model, she sneaks into his apartment and is discovered there by her sister Margaret (Myrna Loy), the judge who recognizes the wisecracking gent as someone who appeared before her in court. Only in the movies would Susan’s family pressure Richard to “date” her until the phase passes, but the result is comic gold, especially when the judge herself isn’t completely immune to his charms. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a sparkler of a screwball comedy that will put a shine in your eyes.
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.
In the mood for sweet fun and a splash of romance? Take a chance on Shooting Fish, a light PG-rated British comedy released in 1997. Jez and Dylan have a particular talent for ingenious schemes, and the money they pocket goes toward providing a stately home for orphans. Since they themselves are the orphans, it might not be as altruistic as first appears. You won’t really mind, though, because it’s so much fun watching them concoct their elaborate cons. When they hire Georgie (Kate Beckinsale) to pose as a secretary, their long-established twosome makes room for a third. Smart writing, witty dialogue, and winning performances make enjoying this film as easy as…well, you know.