Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Chapman, Emma. How To Be a Good Wife. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470376475. $92.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F

After 25 years of marriage, Marta Bjornstad has gone off her meds. She can quote passages with ease from How To Be a Good Wife (a wedding present from her mother-in-law) but is increasingly unable to operate in the world. She’s either the traumatized victim of a brutal act in the past, or she’s descending into psychosis, but which is it? Since Marta is telling her own story, it’s hard to decide. Susan Lyons as reader is a near-perfect choice. All characters are rendered skillfully, but with the inner voice of Marta, Lyons strikes just the right notes of hesitation, desperation, and despair. VERDICT Highly recommended. [“[T]his confident and compelling debut novel is a chilling and very creepy tale of deception and distrust,” read the starred review of the St. Martin’s hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 9/20/13.]—Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Gilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things. 18 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 22 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN . $39.95; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) returns to fiction with a signatureofallthings021314 Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014sprawling 19th-century saga about a young botanist, Alma Whittaker. Alma’s fascination with plants (mosses in particular), combined with her recently broken heart, leads her from her birthplace of Philadelphia to Tahiti and, eventually, to the formulation of her “Theory of Competitive Alteration.” Substitute finches for mosses and the Galapagos Islands for Tahiti, and you will see where Alma is headed with her ideas about how plant life evolves in order to survive. Beautifully read by the English actress Juliet Stevenson, this audiobook encompasses Alma’s experiences with natural science, love, loss, and enlightenment and delivers a cracking good story in the process. ­VERDICT Highly recommended. [“Gilbert’s (Stern Men) first novel in 13 years gets off to a strong and compelling start but loses its way midpoint; awkward plot points make the second half feel at times like another book entirely,” read the less impressed review of the Viking hc, LJ 10/1/13.]—Wendy Galgan, St. Francis Coll., Brooklyn

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Kent, Hannah. Burial Rites. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619699793. $30; Playaway digital; digital download. F

burialrights021314 Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014This mesmerizing debut from Kent is a haunting fictionalized account of the final months of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, an Icelandic work maid condemned to execution in 1829. Charged with the brutal murder of two men, Agnes is shipped off to the ­Jónsson family’s remote farm in northern Iceland to await her fate—death by beheading. As the narrative gracefully shifts among historical documents, flashbacks, and multiple characters’ perspectives, listeners become captivated by the complex Agnes, a woman whose intelligence has offended many in the patriarchal 19th-century Icelandic society. Kent’s prose is achingly beautiful, and her descriptions of even the smallest incidents are so exquisite listeners will want to go back and hear them over again. ­VERDICT Recommend this heartbreaking tale, masterfully narrated by Scottish actress Morven Christie, to anyone who enjoys suspenseful, smart historical fiction. [“[T]his compulsively readable novel entertains while illuminating a significant but little-known true story. Highly recommended,” read the starred review of the Little, Brown hc, LJ 7/13.]—Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.

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

fiction

Grisham, John. Sycamore Row. 16 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 20½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385366496. $45; 16 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Koontz, Dean. The Servants of Twilight. 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781469248806; $69.97; 13 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Lethem, Jonathan. Dissident Gardens. 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307940919. $50; 13 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; digital download. F

Modesitt, L.E. The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, with Winds and Accompaniment. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452616087. $39.99; 1 MP3-CD/10 CDs. library ed.; digital download. SF

Moyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781470382742. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Setterfield, Diane. Bellman and Black. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10½ hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442364387. $39.99; digital download. F

Shreve, Anita. Stella Bain. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619692183. $30; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Trigiani, Adriana. The Supreme Macaroni Company. (Valentine Trilogy, Bk. 3). Harper Audio. 8 CDs. 10 hrs. unabridged. ISBN 978006236098. $39.99; digital download. F

nonfiction

Baker, Peter. Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House. 23 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 29½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385362368. $70; 23 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; digital download. POL SCI

Barr, Luke. Provence, 1970. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804148856. $40; digital download. BIOG

Brennan, Chrisann. The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Tantor Audio. ISBN 9781452618081. $34.99; 9 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. MEMOIR

Ephron, Delia. Sister Mother Husband Dog.

4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. Brilliance Audio. ISBN 9781480557116. $79.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. MEMOIR

Fagen, Donald. Eminent Hipsters. 4 CDs. unabridged. 5 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762198. $29.95; digital download. MUSIC

Gneezy, Uri & John List. The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624068096. $59.99; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. SOC SCI

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Goodwin, Doris Kearns. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. 30 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 37 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442353152. $75; 4 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; digital download. HIST

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Henry, David & Joe Henry. Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452615578. $42.99; 8 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. BIOG

Lamott, Anne. Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. 2 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 2 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762372. $17.95 [check price; I added]; digital download. SELF-HELP

Smart, Elizabeth. My Story. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427233424. $29.99; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

OrangeReviewStar Audio Reviews | February 1, 2014Yousafzai, Malala, with Christina Lamb. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781478979784. $30; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

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