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"Dictionaries are like watches. The worst is better than none at all and even the best cannot be expected to run quite true."


— Samuel Johnson

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Better Heard       View List as Printable PDF

Outstanding recent audiobooks

1Q84

1Q84
by Murakami, Haruki
LISTLIB DISC FICTION MURAKAMI
Read by Alison Hiroto, Mark Vietor, Mark Boyett.

"The three performers ideally complement Murakami's fantastic Japanese tale. This outstanding translation weaves the stories of a beautiful vigilante assassin who is caught in a bewildering warp of dimensions and an aspiring writer who is asked to ghostwrite a disturbing fantasy (which just might be reality)....With precise enunciation, the narrators make Murakami's multilayered vision a cohesive and engaging experience as they immerse themselves in the novel's complex threads and their profoundly divergent roles. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Finalist."--Audiofile

Bossypants

Bossypants
by Fey, Tina
LISTLIB DISC BIO FEY
Read by Tina Fey.

"Part personal story, part comedy, and part career advice, Tina Fey's memoir is full of her signature smart and self-deprecating humor. The author's narration of the audio version keeps the laughs coming...Her delivery and timing make it extra funny, with voices, impressions, and asides, as well as the audio from her famous depictions of Sarah Palin for SNL. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Winner." --Audiofile

The Civil War

The Civil War
by National Public Radio (U.S.)
LISTLIB DISC 973.7 CIV
Read by Neal Conan et al.

"Highlights include Sam Waterston reciting the Gettysburg Address and author Shelby Foote talking about his books on the war and about growing up in the South with a grandfather who fought for the Confederacy at Gettysburg. The episodes are uniformly engaging and create a "you-are-there" atmosphere. Occasional music--including a piece on the song "Dixie"-- adds to mood....Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Finalist."--Audiofile

Cleopatra

Cleopatra
by Schiff, Stacey
LISTLIB DISC BIO CLEOPATRA
Read by Robin Miles.

"Robin Miles gives an expressive yet understated delivery of Cleopatra's story--one that is far more complex than the more infamous incidents she is best remembered for. Miles reads the copious footnotes in their proper place in the text, increasing her pace and softening her tone, which clearly delineates the additional information from the main text. Her measured reading, with long pauses that separate ideas, gives listeners time to take in all the details as well as draw their own conclusions about Schiff's biographical hypotheses."--Audiofile

Drama: an actor's education

Drama: an actor's education
by Lithgow, John
LISTLIB DISC BIO LITHGOW
Read by John Lithgow.

"The author narrates with all the skill and charm that one expects of the talented actor, wielding his vocal tool kit beautifully. He offers helpful pacing that matches the action, a smile in his voice when the anecdote is funny and severity when it's painful, and enough differentiation in voices that conversations remain clear. He's also a pro with subtle tonal variation. There is not a flat note anywhere. 2012 Audies Finalist."--Audiofile

Fallen

Fallen
by Slaughter, Karin
LISTLIB DISC MYSTERY SLAUGHTER
Read by Shannon Cochran.

"Old and new fans will be engaged by Shannon Cochran's narration. Cochran's natural low vocal register and clear, articulate delivery fully present each character. Her animated tone brings out the engaging details of the many female characters. Cochran's occasional Southern drawl punctuates this Georgia-based series. The listener is pulled into this heart-pounding drama complete with gritty action and forensic details. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

Feast Day of Fools

Feast Day of Fools
by Burke, James Lee
LISTLIB DISC MYSTERY BURKE
Read by Will Patton.

"Will Patton is a superb listen. He combines passion, power, and pathos with exquisite voicing to bring this latest Burke mystery to even higher levels than listeners might be used to from these two accomplished storytellers...Patton will wind the listener up again and again as the plot twists and turns through an allegorical landscape rooted in the evil that men do and the good that opposes them. 2012 Audies Winner"--Audiofile

Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep
by Watson, S.J.
LISTLIB DISC FICTION WATSON
Read by Orlagh Cassidy.

"Cassidy portrays Christine in crisp tones that alternate between cool, logical determination and the terror of remembering just snatches of her past. Cassidy draws listeners into the shadowy depths of Christine's increasing fear each time a snatch of memory returns. This novel will haunt listeners, and Cassidy's narration is top-notch. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

Malcolm X: a life of reinvention

Malcolm X: a life of reinvention
by Marable, Manning
LISTLIB DISC BIO MALCOLM X
Read by G. Valmont Thomas.

"G. Valmont Thomas's tone of gravitas embodies Malcolm's strengths and flaws: among them, his powerful drive and his failure to envision the possibility of integration. The momentum of Thomas's voice keeps the listener on track with the decades of personal, historical, and political details. Also impressive is Thomas's ability to shade in the voices of diverse African-Americans, including well-known figures such as Maya Angelou and Muhammad Ali."--Audiodfile

The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot
by Eugenides, Jeffrey
LISTLIB DISC FICTION EUGENIDES
Read by David Pittu

"The sound of silk drawn across fine-grain sandpaper best describes David Pittu's voice in The Marriage Plot, by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides...The talented Pittu rises to the occasion of this challenging work, rewarding the listener with a sense of satisfaction reserved for great works of literature. AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Finalist."--AudioFile

Murder of the Century

Murder of the Century
by Collins, Paul
LISTLIB DISC 364.1523 COL
Read by William Dufris.

"William Dufris does wonders narrating this long, convoluted tale of the shocking murder and mutilation of William Guldensuppe in New York City in the summer of 1897....From the discovery of a headless, legless torso in the East River, to the battle between newspaper giants Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst and the onset of yellow journalism, to the trial of the accused and its lurid details--Dufris offers a colorful narration of the bizarre incidents that kept turn-of-the-century New Yorkers glued to their tabloids. 2012 Audies Winner."--Audiofile

My Dog Tulip

My Dog Tulip
by Ackerley, J.R.
LISTLIB DISC BIO ACKERLEY
Read by Ralph Cosham.

"Narrator Ralph Cosham makes this sublime memoir even grander with his precise yet warm and humane delivery. The old-fashioned love affair between owner and dog becomes even more poignant when one learns that others who knew Tulip pronounced her a terror. In addition to Tulip and her four-legged friends, many wonderful and eccentric dog owners are also introduced. Cosham does each human and canine justice. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Finalist."--Audiofile

New American Stories

New American Stories
by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi and Alexie, Sherman and Hemon, Aleksandr and Lahiri, Jhumpa
LISTLIB DISC 813.0108 NEW
Read by Rita Wolf, B.D. Wong, Boyd Gaines, Condola Rashad.

"Each performer delivers a substantial performance before a live audience, and as each story unfolds, the listener is treated to the striking realities of the process of becoming accepted as an American. Boyd Gaines's voice beseeches as the Sarajavan character he portrays in Hemon's "Good Living"; Rita Wolf's subtle accent and urgency are just right for Lahiri's "Hell Heaven"; Condola Rashad keenly grasps the daily toils depicted in Adichie's "The Thing Around Your Neck"; and B.D. Wong's passion and anger suit Alexie's homespun tale of mistaken identity in "Breaking and Entering." Like all Selected Shorts productions, this is an irresistible listening experience featuring ideally paired talent. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Winner."--Audiofile

Pirate King

Pirate King
by King, Laurie R.
LISTLIB DISC MYSTERY KING
Read by Jenny Sterlin.

"Jenny Sterlin IS Mary Russell, aka, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes...Sterlin's intelligent performance keeps Laurie R. King's delightful descriptions, breakneck action, and appealing characters humorous and captivating. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in Beauty
by Kennedy, Caroline
ACQ7358
Read by Caroline Kennedy, Jane Alexander, John Bedford Lloyd, Hope Davis, Campbell Scott.

"Best experienced in audio form, Caroline Kennedy's contemporary and classic poetry selections represent "passages" in a woman's life. Sharon Olds's contemporary poem "High School Senior," performed by Jane Alexander, beautifully cuts deep into the experience of motherhood. In Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton's classic poem "I Do Not Love Thee," Hope Davis coquettishly muses on the experience of falling in love. These are just two examples in a stellar collection. Kennedy introduces each section, reading in her patrician voice. As the poems reflect on a woman's life journey, the combination of narrators creates a verbal ambrosia, delicate to the ear and heart, evoking deep emotions. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

Smiley's People

Smiley's People
by Le Carré, John
LISTLIB DISC FICTION LE CARRE
Read by Simon Russell Beale, Anna Chancellor, and a full cast.

"Simon Russell Beale is nuanced and deft as Smiley, playing a hard and driven spy while revealing through internal monologue his vulnerable and uncertain inner self. Condensing such a rich novel into three hours is no small feat, and the BBC delivers with outstanding richness. A gem of the genre. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

State of Wonder

State of Wonder
by Patchett, Ann
LISTLIB DISC FICTION PATCHETT
Read by Hope Davis.

"The audiobook equivalent of "couldn't put it down" must be "couldn't pause it." There was little pause time during this reviewer's amazing experience of Patchett's new novel. Hope Davis astutely paces the suspenseful odyssey from a sedate Minnesota pharmaceutical lab to the darkest Amazonian jungle... Davis expresses a vivid vocal range of ages, as well as Australian, German, and Brazilian accents. AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Winner."-- AudioFile

Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind
by LaPlante, Alice
LISTLIB DISC FICTION LAPLANTE
Read by Jean Reed Bahle.

"Jean Reed Bahle's performance of this gripping puzzle is nothing short of uncanny. When Jennifer, the ultimate unreliable narrator, is in the present, aware of her condition and plight, her voice is that of a 65-year-old. When she has drifted back in time, her timbre modulates to the appropriate age. This remarkable alchemy is performed without pyrotechnics, but it dazzles anyway. A powerful audio experience. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award."--Audiofile

Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption

Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption
by Hillenbrand, Laura
LISTLIB DISC BIO ZAMPERINI
Read by Edward Herrmann.

"Both author Laura Hillenbrand and narrator Edward Herrmann share the muse for biography...Keeping in the background, Herrmann avoids upstaging this intimate memoir, loaded with enticing psychological detail. He modulates his voice to communicate emotion, reading the many moments of sadness with respect. Without resorting to the annoying convention of pauses before quotes or conjuring up comedic characters, he conveys multiple personalities and their quotations with subliminal ease. The writer and narrator integrate their talents to bring the life of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent, Olympic athlete, and decorated combat hero--into suspenseful reality. To the end, they keep the story engrossing. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2012 Audies Finalist."--Audiofile