New audiobooks arrive in time for summer vacation
By Karen MacPherson
Reading with your ears – otherwise known as listening to an audiobook – is a fun and different way to tackle a book. It’s also a popular way to read. A recent survey done for the Audio Publishers Association by Edison Research shows that 55 million Americans listened to an audiobook last year.
The most popular genre of audiobooks is a catch-all category called “mysteries/ thrillers/suspense,” followed closely by history, biography and memoir, and popular fiction, the survey showed.
We’ve got a number of great new audiobooks in these categories for both adults and kids – what follows is just a selection. Come into the library and check out these new audiobook offerings; they’re perfect for adding extra fun to any upcoming travel, but you can enjoy a good audiobook at home while doing chores, doodling or just sitting and relaxing.
“The Escape” by David Baldacci: “Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy are a triedand-true team, having already narrated a number of Baldacci’s books together. With Cassidy delivering all the female dialogue and McLarty reading everything else, their voices dovetail seamlessly in this story of a man on the run from the law and others who want him dead.” (Audiofile)
“The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith (alias of J.K. Rowling): “The wizardry here is in Rowling’s vividly drawn cast— their nuanced personalities and fabulous range of accents perfectly re 0alized by reader Robert Glenister—and in its intricately structured plot, replete with a long list of possible suspects and deftly hidden clues…” (Bookpage)
“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins: “Three talented narrators handle Hawkins’s debut psychological thriller, giving identifiable voices and personalities to the characters….Top-notch narration makes this perfect for audio.” (Audiofile).
“Revival” by Stephen King: “A chilling conclusion finishes off another fine tale, narrated in an effective performance by David Morse…. King fans will be delighted, and, despite supernatural elements, those who think of King as just a horror writer will be pleasantly surprised.” (Library Journal)
“The Long Way Home” by Louise Penny: “Narrator Ralph Cosham is back for the tenth installment in Penny’s beloved Three Pines mystery series, featuring Armand Gamache, chief inspector of homicide of the Süreté du Québec…. With pitch-perfect rhythm, Cosham pulls listeners irresistibly into the chief inspector’s world of art, jealousy, and murder.” (Audiofile)
“The Complete Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” by J.R. R. Tolkien: This unabridged recording features a full cast who bring author J.R. R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy to life.
“A Spool of Thread” by Anne Tyler: “Narrator Kimberly Farr’s experience with character-driven novels is evident from her nuanced performance of this compelling story about four generations of Whitshanks and the Baltimore, Maryland, home that bore witness to their public and private histories.” (Audiofile)
“As You Wish” by Cary Elwes: “For anyone who’s ever loved the movie ‘The Princess Bride,’ Cary Elwes’s memoir of filming it is a must-listen….recollections by director Rob Reiner and cast members Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, and others are interspersed, some read by the actors and the rest performed by Danny Burstein. But it’s Elwes’s reminiscences and behind-the-scenes stories- -and his impressions of the other actors- -that are the stars here.” (Audiofile)
“Unbroken,” by Laura Hillenbrand: “Narrator Edward Herrmann never gets in the way of this story of WWII heroism, survival, and redemption. His voice is so compelling that the narrative flows smoothly and engagingly.” (Audiofile)
“This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein: “Narrator Ellen Archer maintains excellent clarity as she delivers Klein›s comprehensive analysis linking climate change to a broader progressive agenda. Klein explains why everyone who cares about social justice should care about climate change and why our political leaders do so little to address such an important and well-documented crisis.(Audiofile)
“Dead Wake” by Erik Larson: “As events escalate toward the momentous sinking of the British passenger liner LUSITANIA by a German U-boat during WWI, this comprehensive history reads almost like a novel, and that’s exactly how Scott Brick narrates it.” (Audiofile)
“Yes Please” by Amy Poehler: “There are no doubt people in the world who do not wish to hang out with Poehler, including the crabby businessman who complained about the author and her “comedy wife,” Tina Fey, talking nonstop on a flight. For the rest of us, there’s Yes Please on audio… read by Poehler,” (Audiofile)
“Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed: “Bernadette Dunne’s narration reflects the emotional upheaval that Cheryl Strayed experienced as she plunged into a downward spiral following the death of her mother, the dissolution of her marriage, and a foray into heroin usage and sexual promiscuity….Dunne’s narration captures the author’s grit and heart in this absorbing memoir.“ (Audiofile)
“The Spycatchers of Maple Hill” by Megan Frazer Blakemore (Ages 8-12): “The year is 1953, and fifth grader Hazel Kaplansky is a girl in search of a mystery…. Narrator Meredith Orlow perfectly captures the spirit of this Cold War–era story, portraying neighbors turning against neighbors and whispers becoming rumors and lies.” (School Library Journal)
“The 14th Goldfish” by Jennifer Holm (Ages 8-12): “Georgette Perna’s deft narration enhances Holm’s story of a generation gap gone haywire. How do you cope when your grandfather turns up as a teenager who becomes your babysitter and draws you into a daring B and E of his former science lab? Perna voices 12-yearold Ellie’s wacky adventures with glee.” (Audiofile)
“Clementine and the Spring Trip” by Sara Pennypacker (Ages 7-10): “Jessica Almasy completely inhabits Clementine, a precocious third grader and budding artist. In addition to expressing Clementine’s generally upbeat nature, Almasy’s high tones and bouncy inflections capture the enthusiasm of the dynamic young protagonist as she flutters from one principle-inspired undertaking to the next.” (Audiofile)
“P.S. Be Eleven” by Rita WilliamsGarcia (Ages 8-12): “In this sequel to the Newbery Honor book ‘One Crazy Summer,’ Delphine and her younger sisters are caught between the middle-class mores of their Brooklyn grandmother and the radical views of their mother, a poet in California who sends them missives on the struggle for black power. Narrator Sisi Johnson conveys Delphine’s continual dilemmas as the eldest sister who is old beyond her years—hence her mother’s constant admonition—”PS Be Eleven.”
YOUNG ADULT (Ages 12 up):
“The Family Romanov” by Candace Fleming: “—Listeners need not have a background in Russian history to enjoy Fleming’s account of the dramatic rise and fall of the last Russian royal family. Kimberley Farr, along with a cast of voice actors, reads stories of the opulence in the palace and the destitution—ultimately leading to revolution—in the streets…. Farr’s narration combined with Fleming’s brilliantly researched writing will surely provide sustenance for those seeking meaty, narrative nonfiction.”
“Chomp” by Carl Hiaasen: “’Chomp’ is what happens when an animal takes a hunk out of its “owner.” Wahoo and his dad, Mickey, have had many such chomps because they’re animal wranglers–guys who loan their menagerie to TV and movie producers. Narrator James Van Der Beek delightfully captures the unique Cray family; Derek Badger, star of “Expedition Survivor”; and the people involved in so-called reality television. (Audiofile)
“Egg & Spoon” by Gregory Maguire: “Set in tsarist Russia, this story combines historical fiction and folklore and is told by a self-proclaimed ‘unreliable scribe’ who writes from within a tower prison…. Micharl Page especially shines as the story’s narrator. The character may be unreliable, but we believe his aged and patrician voice and hang on to his every measured word as he challenges us to ponder the nature of fate.” (Audiofile)
“Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space” by Lynn Sherr: “Narrator Pam Ward perfectly reflects the literary voice of author Lynn Sherr in this in-depth examination of the life of Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut. Ward’s animated voice and varied pace suit the narrative, particularly the passages about Ride’s personal life. Because Sherr and Ride were longtime friends, the text comes off like an extended conversation, and Ward picks up that tone nicely.”
“Winger” by Andrew Smith: “Mark Boyett does a wonderful job narrating, especially Ryan Dean’s voice, which reveals his wild imagination, full-blown adolescent hormones, and self-deprecating humor. Other characters’ voices are equally believable.” (School Library Journal)
This article appeared in the July 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.