Check It Out Category: Audiobooks

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.

Audiobook: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mue

Behold The Dreamers book coverLife is brimming with potential for Cameroonian immigrant Jende Jonga and his family. Set in New York in 2007, Jende has just gotten a new job chauffeuring for the rich, white Edwards family and his wife Neni is on her way to becoming a pharmacist. Their journeys are about to get harder however, as they face the realities of living in a new country on the brink of recession and the Edwards family’s own hardships start to bleed into their lives.

Prentice Onayemi is the versatile narrator of this 2016 debut, changing tones and cadences to take on the different characters’ accents and genders to fully bring the characters alive. A story simultaneously of hope and heartbreak,  Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue is all about the turbulence of trying to achieve your dreams no matter where you reside in life.

Audiobook: The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin

Broken Ones book coverThe dead have risen, and they are shadowing us. Three years ago the earth’s poles inexplicably switched, plunging the planet into chaos. One effect was the appearance of personal ghosts, usually with a close connection to the haunted. Detective Oscar Mariani, however, can’t place the 16-year-old boy who is now his otherworldly companion. His unit specializes in those who are driven to murder by the presence of spirits, and he’ll need all his faculties intact to solve the latest gruesome killing.

Horror tales (or horror-blends) are especially heightened in audio, and Australian narrator Grant Cartwright shows how a strong performance can intensify the crawling of our skin. His skill in intonation, emotion, and pacing keeps us listening even though we’re tempted to hide under the covers. The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin is both fascinating and creepy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Staff Pick: Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, narrated by an all-star cast!

Picture of ColleenTreat your ears to a feast and check out Grimm’s Fairy Tales produced by Listening Library. Whether you are new to listening to audiobooks or a seasoned veteran, the award-winning cast of narrators is bound to impress.  Standouts include Katherine Kellgren’s Rapunzel, January LaVoy’s Cinderella, Jim Dale’s Rumpelstiltskin, and Alfred Molina’s The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces.

New Audio Spotlight: Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe audiobook coverSometimes we’re looking to be dropped into a rich, moody world that doesn’t bear much resemblance to our everyday. A favorite escape is to the dark streets of mid-century Los Angeles, in the company of legendary detective Easy Rawlins. In Charcoal Joe, Rawlins is asked to aid a promising Stanford student charged with the race-related murder of a white man in the late 1960s. Author Walter Mosley, winner of the 2016 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, once again creates a door to history with gritty settings, lifelike characters, and velvet words.

Narrator Michael Boatman knows that the language of a Mosley story is its power, and he emphasizes the swagger and silk of the characters’ dialogue. Descriptions are spun with a cadence that makes them reality, and hard-boiled tension is equally earned. It’s a smooth performance, and one Easy himself would approve.

 

What Books Are People Talking About?

This summer, Twitter users took to sharing online what they have been reading using #MPPLSummer16. Below is a sampling of the books that have struck Mount Prospect Library users enough to tweet about.

 

Cover of JewelsJewels: A Secret History
by Victoria Finlay
“For my first Challenge book (A), I am LOVING the non-fiction book, Jewels: a Secret History by . ” -@amymerda

The Widow book coverThe Widow
by Fiona Barton

“Can’t put down “The Widow”. It’s a great psychological thriller! ” -@mooti

Citizen book coverCitizen
by Claudia Rankine

“CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine injects texture into race conversation with boldness and grace. Powerful, compact audio choice for ” -@nglofile

Rogue Lawyer book coverRogue Lawyer
by John Grisham
Just finished Rogue Lawyer by Grisham, easy and intriguing. Starting Stiletto by O’Malley. If you haven’t read The Rook, do.” -@jenzerbenz

Boys in the Boat book coverThe Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown
“Picked up our Summer Reading Challenge at – we are now on a mission! ” -@prospectdad

Bet Me book coverBet Me
by Jennifer Crusie
“After 3 recs, finally made time for BET ME by , and it didn’t disappoint. Missing fun rom-coms? Start here! ” -@nglofile

Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

“Just finished Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta and it has this quiet fierce beauty to it. So good! ” -@jennyandthings

Cover of Dead WakeDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson

Reading Dead Wake by . Love the description of the Lusitania as a “floating village in steel.” – @CKmorency

 
 
 

Summer isn’t over yet! Share what you’ve been reading using #MPPLSummer16!

The Summer Reading Challenge ends July 31st. If you’ve read 3 books since June 1, they may be applicable for the challenge! Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk to see and enter to win for a prize.

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Audiobook: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus book coverIt’s Thursday the first time Ted sees it. Thursdays are the nights he and Lily talk about cute boys. This night they are debating the Chrises (Hemsworth, Evans, Pine, or Pratt?) but suddenly it doesn’t matter because there is an octopus perched like a birthday party hat on his dog’s head. The octopus, what others might call a tumor, is hungry, and its arrival changes everything.

Steven Rowley’s debut Lily and the Octopus is one of the warmest, wittiest, heart-squeeziest celebrations of love between pet and owner that you will ever encounter. Actor Michael Urie narrates with a nimble flexibility: barking out Lily’s staccato excitement, adding edge to the taunting of the octopus, and giving voice to Ted’s ongoing swirl of emotions. Ted and Lily’s tale will make you giggle, make you weep, and make you very, very glad such stories are in the world.

2016 Audie Award Winners

Audies award headerThe winners of one of the most buzzed about Audiobook awards of the year were just announced! Experience one of these notable books on your commute, while washing the dishes, or relaxing by the beach this summer. For a full list of award winners and nominees, check out AudioFile.

Audiobook of the Year
Girl on the Train book coverThe Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
Fiction
The Nightingale book coverThe Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
Read by Polly Stone
Non-Fiction
Ghettoside book coverGhettoside
by Jill Leovy
Read by Rebecca Lowman

 

Original WorkThe Starling Project book coverThe Starling Project
by Jeffery Deaver
Read by Alfred Molina and a Full Cast
Humor
Furiously Happy
by Jenny Lawson
Read by Jenny Lawson

Young Adult
Lair of Dreams book coverLair of Dreams
by Libba Bray
Read by January LaVoy

Multi-Voiced Performance
Illuminae book coverIlluminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Read by Lincoln Hoppe, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Jonathan McClain
and a Full Cast

Narration by the Author
Born With Teeth book coverBorn with Teeth
by Kate Mulgrew
Read by Kate Mulgrew

Best Male NarratorThe English Spy book coverThe English Spy
by Dave Silva
Read by George Guidall

Thriller/Suspense
The Patriot Threat book coverThe Patriot Threat
by Scott Berry
Read by Scott Brick

Science Fiction
Jurassic Park book coverJurassic Park
by Michael Crichton
Read by Scott Brick
MysteryCareer of Evil Book CoverCareer of Evil
by Robert Galbraith
Read by Robert Glenister