Check It Out Category: Audiobooks

Kelda’s Pick- Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Picture of KeldaRoad trip anyone? Give a listen to Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck, read by Gary Sinise. Steinbeck sets out to find the truth about our country and he finds it accompanied by his noble steed Charley, a French poodle with personality. The prose of Steinbeck and the styling of Sinise are a perfect pairing.

Staff Pick: The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

Jenny from Fiction/AV/Teen suggests The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

The Hopefuls book coverBeth’s husband Matt accepts a job with President Barack Obama’s staff, relocating the couple from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. While this head-first plunge into politics has ignited a new dream and passion for Matt, Beth is left adrift and skeptical of this move. She has no job ambition, no friends, and despises the political scene. Plus, now they live close to her in-laws who she does not get along with. However, there is hope as Matt and Beth get close to another White House staffer, Jimmy Dillon, and his wife Ashleigh. The couples hit it off and become inseparable. But as Jimmy progressively moves up in his career, their friendship must start weathering new tensions of jealousy, competitiveness, and resentment.

If you have in-laws you’re less than happy about, if you have interest in the social side of politics, if the tension of compromising to pursue dreams in relationships draws you, and/or you just want to read a solid contemporary piece of fiction where the characters are very much human with all of their error and grace, The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close is for you! Try it in audio! The audiobook, narrated by Jorjeana Marie, makes for an incredible reading experience.

For more books of new beginnings and the drama of political social life, try…

Eighteen Acres book coverEighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace
Three women–White House chief of staff Melanie Kingston, White House correspondent Dale Smith, and president Charlotte Kramer–struggle through a year filled with lies, tragedies, and difficult decisions.
Trudy Hopedale book coverTrudy Hopedale by Jeffrey Frank
The follies and foibles of the nation’s capital are seen from the perspective of quintessential Washington hostess Trudy Hopedale and her social-climbing friend, Donald Frizzâe, during the summer and fall of 2000.

 

Piece of Mind book coverPiece of Mind by Michelle Adelman
Unable to relate to people or hold a job after suffering a head injury in early childhood, talented artist Lucy is forced out of her protective Jewish home and into a New York City studio apartment with her college-age brother, where she struggles to adapt to life without a safety net.
American Wife book coverAmerican Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
When her husband is elected president of the United States, Alice Blackwell finds her new life as first lady increasingly tumultuous as she reflects on the privileges and difficulties of her position as her private beliefs conflict with her public responsibilities.
The Senator's Wife book coverThe Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller
Two unconventional women, neighbors in adjacent New England townhouses–Meri Fowler, pregnant, newly married, and discovering the gap between reality and expectation, and Delia Naughton, wife of a notoriously unfaithful liberal senator–confront the costs and challenges of love.

 

Audiobook: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 6 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Strange Library audiobook cover

For most of us, the prospect of being imprisoned in a library seems more dream than nightmare, but in the hands of Haruki Murakami, we might have to think twice. The Strange Library, a surreal tale full of tentative wonder and vague dread, is an experience that lasts only a single hour. Narrator Kirby Heyborne plays the odd characters with just the right touch of near-caricature appropriate for this fable, which adds to the distorted fun house experience. This light introduction into Japanese magical realism may be the right portion to tempt fans of the series Twin Peaks.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a favorite or new-to-you genre (fantastical suspense), a book with a person of color as author, or a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book translated from another language, one by a person of color as author, or a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Staff Pick: Short Fiction by Maeve Binchy and Stephen King on Audio

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 29 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Picture of DonnaIf you are busy and can’t find time to read, try audiobooks! Many famous authors have collections of short stories that are perfect if you have only small commutes in your daily life. From Maeve Binchy’s A Few of the Girls, featuring warm stories about female friendships, to the horror fiction of Stephen King’s Everything’s Eventual: Five Dark Tales, there is something for every mood.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
Either of these could count as a book of short stories, a book from a favorite genre, a book from a new-to-you genre, or a book with a small town setting.

For the Master Class Designers…
Either may count as a book of short stories or a book highlighted on the MPPL website.  The Stephen King collection is also an option for a scary book.

Audiobook: Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 40 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Morgue Drawer Four audiobook cover

As a finalist for one of Germany’s most prestigious crime novel awards, Morgue Drawer Four could have been…stiff. Dear listeners, it isn’t. Instead we have mild-mannered Martin who likes the solitude of his work as a coroner. One day he performs his customarily precise autopsy on car thief Pascha — and then begins hearing the man’s ghost. First smart-alecky and then downright obnoxious, Pascha wants Martin to get to the bottom of the ‘accident’ that claimed his life.

Reader MacLeod Andrews effectively plays up Pascha’s wry, self-absorbed narration as well as the tension of Martin’s out-of-character escapades. Written by Jutta Profijt and translated from German by Eric J. Macki, this odd-couple pairing of reluctant detective and annoyed ghost is a promising pick for those who like action-driven mysteries with a decidedly sarcastic bent.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book is a blend of thriller, mystery, and paranormal (fantasy) and might count as a favorite genre or a genre you haven’t tried before. It also qualifies as a book with a big city setting.

For the Master Class Designers…
This could count as a book translated from another language, a humorous book, a book with a big city setting, or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Audiobooks for Your Summer Road Trip

“Nothing behind me, everything in front of me, as is ever so, on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Heading out on the open road this summer? The Library has audiobooks that are sure to keep you engaged while the miles fly by.

For a light read, try Someday, Someday, Maybe by Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham. This is a sweet tale of a young woman trying to keep up her spirits and her bank account while seeking success as an actress in New York City. 8 hrs, 30 minutes (about the time it’d take to get from Mount Prospect to Toronto, Canada)

 

 

 

 

Astrophysics for people in a hurry book cover

 

If it’s an exercise for your grey matter that you want, pop in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Dr. Tyson gives a crash course in the nature of time, the cosmos and our place in the universe with his trademark wit and accessibility. 3 hrs 30 minutes (enough time to get you to the Wisconsin Dells or Saugatuck, Michigan)

 

 

 

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the perpetual sci-fi dystopian adventure bestseller. If you haven’t read it, or even if you have, you’re in for a treat with the audio, read by none other than Wil Wheaton. This is the story of Wade Watts, who escapes the dreary reality of life in 2044 by playing in the virtual reality utopian world of OASIS. By solving puzzles and unlocking clues Wade might be able to find the lucrative treasure hidden within, but he could risk his own life to do so. 15 hrs, 41 minutes (long enough for a drive to New York City or Tallahassee, Florida)

 

 

On the Road book cover

 

And of course, there’s the classic Beat Generation road trip tale, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Chronicling the cross country road trip of Sal Paradise and various friends as they drive toward vague destinations and explore debauchery and philosophical musing in 1950’s-era America. (At 11 hours, it would get you almost to Atlanta, Georgia.)

 

 

 

For more great titles to match your tastes, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk to get suggestions. Road-tripping with your family? We currently have  a display on family-friendly titles located by the audiobook collection you can take a peek at!

Asked at the Desk: Classic American Novels

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

When we receive the same question twice in one week, we take note! Here’s what two of your neighbors recently asked:

I haven’t read more than one or two of the classic American novels. Now I’m ready, but I don’t know which are most important. Also, do you have them as audiobooks?

We understand this can be overwhelming. Not only are there differing opinions about the most essential, there are different definitions of classic! Here we’ll suggest American classics in three categories to help you find your gateway.

Shorter American Classics

If delving into classic literature is new for you, try one that is not only short in length but also accessible in story and writing:

Great Gatsby book coverThe Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fahrenheit 451 book coverFahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
John Steinbeck

 

American Classics by Authors of Color

Too many lists of classics limit the rosters to those authored by white men. Make the choice to invest in other perspectives.

Invisible Man book coverInvisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Their Eyes Were Watching God book coverTheir Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
W.E.B. Du Bois

 

Most Cited American Classics

If your goal is to be familiar with books likely to be referenced in conversation or in other writing, here are three to know:

J.D. Salinger

 

Audiobooks are a great way to experience the classics! Let a talented voice actor bring great writing to life for you. Click for a sampling of American classics on audio. Lists of British classics and World classics are also available.

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor to ask at the desk yourself, or ask online to visit our virtual desk.

Narrator Spotlight: Davina Porter

Davina PorterReaders (and nonreaders) try audiobooks for a variety of reasons. Once hooked, however, it doesn’t take long to form strong opinions about which qualities of voice acting are most important. Truly skilled narrators inspire devotion to the point that listeners will follow a favorite reader to any book s/he records, no matter the plot! One such talent is the celebrated Davina Porter.

Porter’s graceful, lilting expression brings warmth to every book, and her skill with accents and dialects is nothing short of astounding. (After a taste, you won’t want to hear anyone else read anything that begs for a brogue!) Though Porter’s voice is “surely one of the most elegant and refined in audiobooks,” don’t mistake that for being stuffy. She is game for all sorts of storytelling. Hear for yourself:

Outlander audiobook coverOutlander by Diana Gabaldon

Porter is best known for narrating this popular series.  When a WWII combat nurse is transported back to 1743, she soon finds herself married to a young Scotsman. Will she find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever entwined with the gallant Jamie Fraser?

 
 

Just One Evil Act audiobook coverJust One Evil Act by Elizabeth George

In this gripping child-in-danger story, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, investigate the kidnapping of a friend’s little girl from an Italian marketplace. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most, and how far she’s willing to go to protect it.

 

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Overcoming a life of hardship and loneliness, Gemma Hardy, a brilliant and determined young woman, accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands where she faces her biggest challenge yet in this imaginative re-telling of Jane Eyre set in Iceland.

 

 

Tess of the DUrbervilles audiobook coverTess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

A ne’er-do-well exploits his gentle daughter’s beauty for social advancement in this masterpiece of tragic fiction. Thomas Hardy’s impassioned story tells of hope and disappointment, rejection and enduring love, and Porter’s magnificent reading offers a new accessibility to a true classic.

 

Dinner with Churchill audiobook coverDinner with Churchill by Cita Stezler

Dinners for Churchill were about more than good food, excellent champagnes, and Havana cigars. He loved using the dinner table both as a stage on which to display his brilliant conversational talents and an intimate setting in which to glean gossip and diplomatic insights and to argue for the many policies he espoused over a long life.

Sunday Philosophy Club audiobook coverThe Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher by training, and an amateur sleuth by choice. When a young man falls from a balcony to his death in this first of a series, Isabel does not believe it was an accident. Plunging deep into the shady business community of Edinburgh, she is determined to root out the truth.

 
 

Invasion of the Tearling audiobook coverThe Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

In this second of a celebrated series, with each passing day Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers.

Audiobook: Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Men We Reaped book coverCrafted in near-novelistic style, Men We Reaped may tempt you to forget that the vivid vignettes are from National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward’s own life rather than from her imagination. Even if so, the poignancy with which she describes the abrupt loss of five young men in a period of a few short years will reveal that this is a writer who knows tragedy firsthand and, even more dishearteningly, knows the struggle to believe that their lives matter to others.

Narrator Cherise Booth is an ideal partner for Ward’s prose, reading with grace and conviction. She skillfully toggles among characters and tones, never losing sight of the harsh truths of the author’s personal experience. Her performance underscores the resignation, strength, uncertainty, and stubborn hope that make this layered, lyrical memoir unforgettable.

Staff Pick: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Picture of NancyH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is a deeply personal memoir about grief, falconry, and T. H. White.  A unique combination for sure, but Macdonald masterfully blends these threads into an engrossing work of art.  I highly recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by the author herself for a particularly mesmerizing experience.

Audio is also available on Hoopla.