Sue Reads

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: shedin@ci.stillwater.mn.us

May Audio Book List

Fiction

Flight Behavior**, by Barbara Kingsolver. 2012. OneClickdigital. 14 Discs. One of Kingsolver’s best. A novel set in the poverty stricken Appalachia, it weaves together the way climate change impacts everyone in a gentle and compassionate way.  Brilliantly narrated by the author.

The High Mountains of Portugal, by Yann Martel. OneClickdigital. 2016. An inventive novel set in Portugal that is at times both charming and weirdly disturbing. Like Martel’s past work, there is a quest, a fable, and a journey with humor, surprise, and grief.

Raymie Nightengale**, by Kate Dicamillo. OneClickdigital. 2016. This is a Juvenile book by two-time winner of the Newbery Award. Set in the central Florida, three young girls form an unlikely friendship and help each other out through each of their life challenges.  Gentle and compassionate, it is a good one for a family car ride with young girls.

The Night Gardener*, by Jonathan Auxier. This is a Victorian style ghost story for kids. It takes place in a creepy mansion in England where two Irish orphans seek shelter with a young family and are drawn into the fantastical drama.

Let the Dead Lie,* by Malla Nunn. OneClickdigital. This is the second Detective Emmanual Cooper book set in South Africa in the 1950’s when apartheid laws were introduced. It is a fast-paced interesting crime story rife with moral and racial conundrums.

Nonfiction

The Death of Cancer**, by Vincent T. Devita Jr. 2016. OneClickdigital. A fascinating book that is part memoir and part history of the treatment of cancer from the 1940’s to the present. Devita was a medical student during the infancy of chemotherapy, and subsequently developed the first successful chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A fascinating story of someone in the trenches advocating for his patients and working tirelessly for cures.

Too Much of a Good Thing: How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us*, by Lee Goldman. 2016. OneClickdigital. Dr. Goldman delves into evolutionary biology and explains how and why key survival strategies that have evolved over the millennia are now the leading global causes of illness and death. He focuses on diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart attack, and mental illness.

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain*, by Bill Bryson. 2016. OneClickdigital. 11 Discs. Bryson is in true form as he travels from one end of Britain to the other writing about what has changed and what has stayed the same over the last 20 years. The book is filled with reminiscences and humor with touches of sharper criticism.

Maggie Smith: A Biography, by Michael Coveney. 2016. The biography of a true theatrical genius. One learns the details of her early years in British theatre and Hollywood. Her grace, beauty, talent, and total dedication to the craft shines through.

March 2016 list

Fiction

The Skeleton Tree**, by Iain Lawrence. 2016. OneClickdigital. 7 Discs.  This is a captivating survival story of two young boys who become shipwrecked on the shores of Alaska. They are like oil and water, but have to overcome differences in order to survive. For those who loved Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.  This is a J title, but a good one for the whole family.

Nonfiction

Spark Joy*, by Marie Kondo. 2015. OneClickdigital.  After reading and learning from Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I went for Spark Joy but with the expectation of more of the same.  Turns out that she delves into the details and offered up lots more.  If you liked the first one, you will like this one.  However, with the audiobook, you miss out on the folding illustrations, which are a bit hard to follow without the photographs.

The Seven Good Years, A Memoir,** by Etgar Keret. OneClickdigital. This is an excellent collection of short stories from a master storyteller.  Poignant and humorous, it is also a window into life in Israel.

The Climb**, by Anatoli Boukreev. OneClickdigital.  This is Anatoli Boukreev’s first-hand account of the worst human disaster in the history of Mt. Everest taking place in 1996. This book was written in 1999 and is as spell-binding as ever.  It is the same disaster written about in, ‘Into This Air,’ by Jon Krakauer, but from the perspective of Boukreev and the Mountain Madness team.

When Breath Becomes Air**, by Paul Kalanithi. OneClickdigital. 5 Discs. Outstanding, beautiful, moving, and devastating memoir by Kalanithi, a Stanford neurosurgeon who is diagnosed with terminal cancer during his last year of his residency. Learning to live and die while being a doctor and a patient.

 

January 2016 Recommends

Fiction

A Wild Swan,** by Michael Cunningham. 2015. OneClickdigital. Cunningham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has reimagined 10 fairy tales either by Hans Christian Andersen or the brothers Grimm. By listening to the book you miss the interesting black and white illustrations by Yuko Shimizu, but the stories have a contemporary edge and are very entertaining.

The Heart Goes Last,* Margaret Atwood. 2015. OneClickdigital. 10 Discs.  This is one of Atwood’s books about the future and clashes with evil greedy influences. She has a way of writing about very creepy concepts in amusing and at times downright humorous ways.

The Gun, by Fuminori Nakamura. 2015. OneClickdigital.  This debut novel is considered ‘Japanese Noir,’ focusing on the psychological impact the finding and carrying a gun has on the young protagonist. Existential evenly paced work.

The Newlyweds*, by Nell Freudenberger. 2015. OneClickdigital. This was an entertaining book about  a couple that connected on the internet; George from Rochester NY and Amina from Bangladesh. Although there is a serious clash of cultures, values, and families with secrets it is in essence a book about getting married and staying married that transcends the differences.

Carry On**, by Rainbow Rowel. 2015. OneClickdigital.  This is an addicting teen book of mystery, magic, political intrigue, and teenage lust. It seemed to start out as Harry Potter fanfic, but quickly came into its own.  It is well read, wonderfully written, and hard to put down.

 

Nonfiction

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War,** by Lynsey Addario. 2015. Lynsey is an American photojournalist who has covered conflict  in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur and the Congo. This is her story and it is a remarkable one.  It is now in the process of being made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

December Recommendations

Fiction

Thirteen Ways of Looking,** by Colum McCann. OneClickdigital. This is a collection of several short pieces by the award winning author Colum McCann. They are all powerful, intimate, and exquisitely written character driven pieces. His work will stick with you.

Nonfiction

The Invention of Nature Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World*, by Andrea Wulf. 2015. OneClickdigital. This was an exceptional book in that the remarkable and amazing life and work of Alexander Von Humboldt has been so completely forgotten by the modern world. It not only brings to light all of his theories and concepts of interconnected global natural consequences and man’s early impact on climate and nature, but describes his life and the influence that he had on all of the subsequent naturalists such as Darwin, Thoreau, Muir, Goethe, and many others. He was the most famous scientist of his time, 1769-1859. This is a long book with many forays into little known and forgotten political and social history of Europe and South America.

M Train**, by Patti Smith. 2015. OneClickdigital. From the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids, Smith writes a memoir style book of her artistic life as seen through the cafes and coffee shops she frequented and the homes she lived in during this time in her life. This was a very pleasant and insightful book into the inner life of Smith.

The Art of Memoir,** by Mary Karr. 2015. OneClickdigital. Karr is an accomplished memoirist and writing professor. Her book on the process and form of writing memoir is extremely engaging even if you are solely a reader who is not interested in writing. She reads many beautiful excerpts from some of the best memoirists throughout history as examples. If you are a writer interested in memoir, I believe that this book would be invaluable.

Big Magic,** by Elizabeth Gilbert. 2015. OneClickdigital and 4 Discs. This is Gilbert at her best. It is a brilliant work describing the creative process with tips and techniques used by her and other creative types throughout history. She tells a couple of very memorable stories drawn from her life as a writer.