Audio Book Reviews | January 2014

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Atwood, Margaret. MaddAddam. (MaddAdam Trilogy, Bk. 3). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13½ hours. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385367400. $45; 11 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F

maddaddamaudio013114 Audio Book Reviews | January 2014This is the final installment in Atwood’s epic trilogy (After Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood) chronicling a postapocalyptic world in which a human-made plague has wiped out most of civilization, leaving behind a small group of human survivors and a clan of genetically engineered semi­humans called the Crakers. While familiarity with the preceding books will magnify the pleasures of this one, it isn’t strictly necessary, as readers are quickly brought up to speed. The theme of storytelling is central: what it means and why it matters and its ethical and philosophical implications. In typical Atwood style, all of this is grounded in vivid descriptions of this new physical world and underlined by her unique brand of brutal humor. In spite of the dark subject matter, one can’t help but take delight in ­Atwood’s creation. Appropriately, this is both a caution against and a praise for our human desire to leave our mark on the world we see as ours. Bernadette Dunn and Bob Walter bring convincing grit to Toby and Zeb, the book’s compelling central characters. Robbie Daymond comes in late in the audiobook as the young Craker Blackbeard, adding a satisfyingly rueful note to the final chapters. ­Verdict Essential listening for fans of speculative fiction and longtime fans of Atwood, but even readers who fall into neither category should find this a compelling odyssey, well suited to audio. [“Certainly of great interest to Atwood fans…and for fans of dystopian/postapocalyptic fiction generally, this finale is a gripping read,” concurred the review of the Nan A. Talese: Doubleday hc, LJ 8/13.—Ed.]—Heather Malcolm, Bow, WA

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Gruber, Michael. The Return. 14 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 17½ hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781482924718. $118; 14 CDs. retail ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

thereturn013114 Audio Book Reviews | January 2014In Gruber’s (The Good Son) latest, a retired book editor and his army buddy return to his late wife’s Mexican hometown, only to be besieged by vicious drug gangs that covet his property. However, readers of this review should renounce the above plot summary as a lame attempt to summarize a listening experience that surpasses synopsis, trivializes character sketches, transcends its cover illustration, and eclipses any superlatives proffered by reviewers. Gruber’s cinematic writing coupled with Jonathan Davis’s seamless performance creates a literary thriller that will commandeer all its listeners’ waking moments. VERDICT Those who can handle physical and sexual violence will not want the experience of this audiobook to end and afterward will plumb the library catalog for previous Gruber novels in a reading frenzy. Highly recommended. [“Despite some flaws, this novel will please readers who enjoy their thrillers on the literary side,” read the review of the Holt hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 9/13/13.—Ed.]—Judith Robinson, Dept. of Lib. & Information Studies, Univ. at Buffalo

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Massey, Sujata. The Sleeping Dictionary. 13 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624067136. $29.99; 2 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; digital download. F

sleepingdictionary013114 Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Massey’s harrowing yet hopeful story concerns Kamala, a strong, clever girl who perseveres through even the direst of circumstances toward her dream of independence, not only from the British rule of India that she finds so stifling but from her checkered past. Set during the 1920s through the end of World War II, around the time of the tumultuous Indian independence movement, Massey’s (Shimura Trouble) novel takes listeners on a journey with Kamala as she loses her family at a young age, forcing her transformation from an innocent peasant girl to a perceptive and astute young woman who is accepted in the proper British society she secretly roots against. The author’s attention to detail and character development combined with narrator Sneha Mathan’s ability to differentiate each distinctive voice will have audiences clinging to every poignant word as they listen to this masterly written saga. Historical fiction fans will love this title, but the surprising plot twists and satisfying conclusion will appeal to a much larger audience. VERDICT Highly recommended for public libraries.—Elizabeth Hoff, Bulverde Spring Branch Lib., TX

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

fiction

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Complete Sherlock Holmes. 50 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 59 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781469210049. $159.97; 50 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F

Eggers, Dave. The Circle. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804191180. $45; digital download. F

Farizan, Sara. If You Could Be Mine. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 5¼ hours. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622312252. $26.95; 5 CDs. library ed.; digital download. F

Knox, Ruthie. About Last Night. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452617084. $42.99; 6 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; digital download. F

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014McCrumb, Sharyn. King’s Mountain. (Ballad, Bk. 10). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470328535. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

McGuire, Jamie. Red Hill. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442369061. $29.99; digital download. F

McMillan, Terry. Who Asked You? 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762013. $39.95; 1 MP3-CD/10 CDs. library ed. Blackstone Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Project. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7½ hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442363014. $29.99; digital download. F

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Valente, Catherynne M. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two. (Fairyland, Bk. 3). 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624067617. $59.99; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Yanagihara, Hanya. The People in the Trees. 13 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 16½ hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013.

ISBN 9781624066955. $47.99; 2 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; digital download. F

nonfiction

Bryson, Bill. One Summer: America, 1927. 14 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 17 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804127356. $45; 14 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | January 2014Fullilove, Michael. Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America into the War and into the World. 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470364014. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; digital download. HIST

Healy, Thomas. The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10½ hours. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452616162. $39.99; 9 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST

Howard, Clark & others. Living Large for the Long Haul: Consumer-Tested Ways To Overhaul Your Finances, Increase Your Savings, and Get Your Life Back on Track. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452613956. $34.99; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. BUS

Klickstein, Michael. Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781480539617. $62.97; 8 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. SOC SCI

Labor, Earle. Jack London: An American Life. 14 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 17½ hrs. Tantor Media. 2013. ISBN 9781452616759. $95.99; 14 CDs. library ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. BIOG

Lindhout, Amanda & Sara Corbett. A House in the Sky. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442367548. $39.99; digital download. MEMOIR

Matthews, Chris. Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013.ISBN 9781442368668. $39.99; digital download. POL SCI

Snyder, Don J. Walking with Jack: A Father’s Journey To Become His Son’s Caddie. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470341732. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. MEMOIR

Williams, Geoff. C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 978452611099. $83.99; 9 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST

 

This article was published in Library Journal's January 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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