Sue Recommends: Audiobooks
Looking for a good book to listen to? When library staff member Sue Hedin isn’t working at the Information Center she’s listening to audio books! She’s a discerning listener of diverse taste. Here are her latest recommendations. Recordings are unabridged unless otherwise noted.
Recordings are unabridged unless otherwise noted. Sue’s favorites = **. Good = *. If you are interested in sharing your audio finds with Sue, please contact her at: email@example.com
2017 Audio Books Working List
Another Brooklyn**, by Jacqueline Woodson. 2016. OneClickdigital. A story of friendship and coming of age in Brooklyn in the 1970’s. Told from the point of view of August, who experiences the wonder of friendship, the danger of the dark side of Brooklyn, and the melancholy of loss. Beautifully written and narrated.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, by Agnes Martin-Lugand. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is a translation of a French bestseller about a young woman, who owns a bookstore, and loses her husband and young daughter in a tragic car accident. This is her long, long road to re-entry into life involving a move to Ireland. Light read, with an American reader.
Still Life with Tornado*, by A.S. King. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is a teen ‘coming of age’ book, featuring a 16 year old dealing with repressed family abuse issues. Delicately and creatively portrayed – a story of resilience and survival.
The Story of the Treasure Seekers*, By Elizabeth Nesbit. 1899. OneClickdigital. This is a classic British children’s book written by the Nesbit, who was a key influence of C.S. Lewis in writing the Chronicles of Narnia among others. It is a story of six siblings from a family who are regularly left to their own devices who face perils with humor and pluck as they attempt to recover the family’s fortune.
Booked*, by Kwame Alexander. 2016. OneClickdigital. 2 Discs. This is a middle grade novel (written in verse, but this is not obvious while listening), about a 12 year old soccer kid, his family, dealing with bullies and very young love. An award winning author.
The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act*, by Alex Prud’homme. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is in essence a sequel to My Life in France, focusing on Julia Child’s television career, and the myriad of ways she has influenced American cooking. Very detailed.
The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father**, by Kao Kalia Yang. 2016. OneClickdigital. 7 Discs. This is a beautifully written biography of Kao Kalia Yang’s father who was driven from the mountains of Laos to become a refugee and immigrant in Minnesota. A remarkable work that has the ability to transport you into the lives and hearts of a close immigrant Hmong family in Minnesota. It also fills in the story of Kao and her immediate and extended family. This would make a great book club selection.
Homegoing**, by Yaa Gysai. 2016. OneClickdigital. 11 Discs. This is the story of two sisters born in Ghana in the 18th century. One is sold into slavery and the other becomes the second wife of a British slaver in Ghana. The book traces the stories of the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of both sisters. It is broad sweeping and intensely powerful with the juxtaposition of both families. Beautifully written and narrated.
Claire of the Sea Light**, by Edwidge Danticat. 2013. OneClickdigital. 6 Discs. Set in a small coastal fishing village in Haiti, it is the story of Claire and her father and their life after Claire’s mother dies in childbirth. Many of the people of Ville Rose are close to Claire and her father, and their stories are woven together in Danticat’s beautiful prose.
The Chemistry of Tears*, by Peter Carey. 2012. OneClickdigital. 7 Discs. This is an engaging story within a story. One of love, grief, memory, and obsession that is centered on a beautiful mechanized automaton from the 19th century. Beautifully narrated.
Nutshell**, by Ian McEwan. 2016. OnceClickdigital. 5 Discs. I thoroughly enjoyed this classic story of deception and murder. What was unique, extremely clever, and humorous, was the perspective of the narrator, which I will not elaborate on to avoid a spoiler. I binge listened to this one and liked it on several levels.
The Haters*, by Jesse Andrews. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is an engaging teen book from Andrews, the author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A coming of age story about three teens who connect at music camp and decide to form a band, leave the camp and go on tour to play the amazing music they feel is a possible, all this before their parents and the law catches up. A tale of friendship, music, and love.
The Nest**, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. OneClickdigital. 9 Discs. A warm, funny and perception debut novel of four siblings and their families who are all anticipating a shared inheritance. While this is about a highly dysfunctional family, there are some universals on the impact money and expectations have on relationships.
The Vegetarian*, by Han Kang. 2016. OneClickdigital. Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. A rather strange, but beautifully written novel about marriage, family, control, obsession and estrangement.
All the Bright Places**, by Jennifer Niven. 2015. OneClickdigital. 9 Discs. Teen. A young adult heart wrenching love story about teens who intend to kill themselves. It is unclear who saves whom. It is an intense and gripping novel that deals with death, grief, and living with bi-polar disorder. Soon to be a motion picture. For fans of Eleanor and Park.
What Elephants Know*, by Eric Dinerstein. 2016. OneClickdigital. 6 Discs. Grades 4-7. Set in the jungles of Nepal, an abandoned boy is taken in by the owner of an elephant stable, and nurtured by Devi Kali, an affectionate female elephant. He struggles to find his place in the world in this story which brings the jungle to life.
Everything, Everything**, by Nicola Yoon. 2015. OnceClickdigital. 6 Discs. Teen. A young adult novel about a girl who is allergic to the outside world and a boy who moves into the house next door. A heartfelt story about love, life, and risk with a surprising denouement.
Pax**, by Sara Pennypacker. 2016. OneClickdigital. 5 Discs. For Grades 4-7. This is an engaging story of a young boy who has a very close relationship to an orphaned fox he raised from a kit. A war that begins to intrude on his neighborhood forces him to leave the fox in the wild. The story then alternates between the point of view of the fox and the boy as they journey back towards each other illustrating power of relationships, loyalty, and growth.
Born With Teeth**, by Kate Mulgrew. 2016. OneClickdigital. A memoir of the hardworking acclaimed actress Kate Mulgrew who started out in her teens in the television soap opera Ryan’s Hope. This is a fascinating and engaging inside view into the life of a remarkable actress filled with romance, adventure, and heartbreak.
The Witches*, by Stacy Schiff. 2015. OneClickdigital. 15 Discs. This is a serious in-depth account of the Salem witches and their trials. Besides being psychologically thrilling and terrifying, Schiff puts the events into a historical perspective and also explains how this episode in history shaped the future republic.
The Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person**, by Shonda Rhimes. OneClickdigital. This was a very enjoyable and enlightening book about a year in the life of the uber-successful Shonda Rimes, the well-known script writer of Gray’s Anatomy, producer and head of the production company Shondaland. She was an expert at declining invitations, but vowed to spend a year saying ‘Yes’ to everything. Funny, entertaining, and candid with lots of take-aways.
My Name is Lucy Barton,** Elizabeth Strout. 2016. OneClickdigital. 4 Discs. A beautifully written in-depth look at a brief reconciliation of an estranged mother and daughter. A powerful narrative.
The Wild Robot, ** by Peter Brown. 2016. OneClickdigital. This was a wonderful kids book, grades 3-5, but also entertaining for adults. A lone robot (Roz – a girl robot) survives a crash on a wild island and learns survival skills from the animals. After a tragic fall killing a family of geese, she adopts the remaining gosling and learns even more. The harsh realities of survival are intricately woven into the story.
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours,** by Helen Oyeyemi. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is a selection of short stories with a ‘key’ theme woven throughout each piece. This was the first book I have read of Oyeyemi, but I will read definitely read more. The writing is beautiful, with elusive characters, and the listener must pay attention as the author also weaves in and out of reality.
Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program to Help you Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Eliminate Pain,** by Dr. Vincent Pedre. 2016. OneClickdigital. 5 Discs. Everything you need to know to heal your gut, plus some. There is also an interesting conversation on the brain-gut connection. The author has a line of products and indexes that you miss out on with the audio version, but the book is very informative.
Dear Mr. You,** by Mary-Louise Parker. 2015. OneClickdigital. 5 Discs. Parker’s book is a series of beautiful letters written to men in her life, from childhood through the present. Each letter is a glimpse into the complexity of life and memory suffused with gratitude.