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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Underground Railroad**, by Colson Whitehead. 2016. 9 Discs. OneClickdigital. This is a very powerful and at times brutal story of one woman’s journey to escape slavery through a mystical Underground Railroad. Very deserving of the National Book Award for 2016, and read well in the audio version. A book that uses the power of fiction to help us interpret and understand the foundation of our nation’s history. I highly recommend it.
Mischling**, by Afinity Konar. 2016. OneClickdigital. A harrowing tale of twin sisters who are fighting to survive World War II and its aftermath. In 1944 the twins, Sasha and Pearl arrive at Auschwitz and become part of the experimental population of ‘Mengele’s Zoo.’ Brutal, with moments of beauty and hope. I highly recommend it.
Hag-Seed, **, by Margaret Atwood. 2016. 7 Discs. OneClickdigital. This is a creative, clever, and entertaining retelling of Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, in part set in a modern day British prison with the inmates performing the play that is full of surprises.
Swing Time*, by Zadie Smith. 2016.11 Discs. OneClickdigital. This is a story of the friendship of two girls growing up in public housing in Northwest London who connect in a dance class (the only brown girls in the class) at age 7. The book zig zags through the decades of their relationship, from closeness to being estranged from London to Africa. Lovely narration.
Public Library and Other Stories**, by Ali Smith. OneClickdigital. One of my favorite authors writing about one of my favorite subjects. ‘Woven between the stories are conversations with writers and readers reflecting on the essential role that libraries have played in their lives.” Although the writer is British, the connection to libraries is universal.
SmokeJumper : A Memoir by One of America’s Most Select Airborne Firefighters*, by Jason A. Ramos and Julian Smith. 2015. OneClickdigital. Veteran smokejumper Ramos sheds insight into what it takes to be a member of this elite team along with firsthand accounts of what it is like in the middle of the worst fires in the Pacific Northwest. He also includes accounts of historical blazes and the impacts on policy and safety.
Lab Girl**, by Hope Jahren. 2016. OneClickdigital. This is one of those books that can change the way you view the natural world. A memoir starting with a childhood in rural Minnesota to J life’s passion of being a geobiologist running her own lab in Hawaii. A tale of sacrifice, friendship, passion, and serious dedication with fascinating and detailed insight into the complex and wondrous inner workings of plants. I highly recommend it.
The Glass Universe*, by Dava Sobel. 2016. OneClickdigital. …”The little-known true story of the women’s landmark contributions to astronomy.” One of the best books of the year by NPR. Women were originally hired in this field to do complex mathematical problems and were called ‘computers.’ When photography came into use for astronomical purposes, the women who had been doing the computing studied all the glass plates and discovered most everything that was discoverable at the time. An eye-opener regarding the contribution by many women in this field and the inequity in pay and acknowledgment. The book is very detailed and long – a good read for those interested in the history of astronomy.
Sent to Aurora – March , 2017
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.