Lamb, Wally. We Are Water. 19 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 23 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062282842. $44.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
In Lamb’s (Wishin’ and Hopin’) latest, the two major characters—artist Annie Oh and her ex-husband Orion—are still bound by the past and their three distinctly different children even as she is on the verge of marrying her art dealer patron, Viveca. Their present-day story is wrapped in more than one past—Annie’s initial artistic forays inspired by the discovery of art created by a troubled lesser-known African American “primitive” painter, her own difficult childhood, and Orion’s professional difficulties. Lamb creates a complex and terrifying villain in one of Annie’s relatives, and readers are forced constantly to reexamine their sympathies for one character or another. The novel is perfectly suited to its multiple readers, including Maggi-Meg Reed, George Guidall, Edoardo Ballerini, and the author as Orion. VERDICT Highly recommended for fiction audiences and lovers of well-presented audiobooks. [“Clear and sweetly flowing; highly recommended,” read the starred review of the Harper hc, LJ 9/15/13.]
Sullivan, Michael J. The Rose and the Thorn. (Riyria Chronicles, Bk. 2). 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470341930. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
After a year’s absence, Roye Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater return to Medford to find the town in a mess and their friends endangered. Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved them both from certain death, now refuses to see them. Roye and Hadrian immediately start putting things right in this follow-up to The Crown Tower, the second in Sullivan’s prequel series to his popular “Riyria Revelations.” While those familiar with the books will enjoy an introduction to key characters, the book is a freestanding adventure. Humor, magic, a bit of romance, and fast-paced action enhance a plot that addresses current problems while dropping clues to the future. Tim Gerard Reynolds turns in another stellar performance as narrator. VERDICT With less gore and a smaller cast of characters than George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice & Fire” but equally satisfying, Sullivan’s epic fantasy will be gaining fans at exponential rates.
Finkel, David. Thank You for Your Service. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427235336. $34.99; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
After being embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the intense surge campaign in Baghdad, Finkel produced The Good Soldiers. That critically acclaimed tale of the war in Iraq took readers into the soldiers’ painful struggle to survive. Here, he follows up, staying close to the soldiers after their deployments end. In American homes and clinics, these veterans, their families, and their caregivers deal with the war’s aftermath of PTSD, brain injuries, emotional shrapnel, and, in the midst of all this, spare moments of hope. Finkel’s plain-spoken clarity is ably voiced by narrator Arthur Bishop. A story so moving, and so vital, has no need of pyrotechnics. VERDICT Highly recommended for all listeners.
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Albom, Mitch. The First Phone Call from Heaven. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7¾ hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062306425. $34.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Baker, Nicholson. Traveling Sprinkler. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781629230917. $59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Balogh, Mary. The Arrangement. (Survivors’ Club, Bk. 2). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470339715. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
Cornwell, Patricia. Dust. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761979. $39.95; digital download. F
duBois, Jennifer. Cartwheel. 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804164870. $45; 12 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio. Playaway digital; digital download. F
King, Laurie R. The Bones of Paris. (Harris Stuyvesant, Bk. 2). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781464046308. $102.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Lynch, Scott. The Republic of Thieves. (Gentleman Bastard, Bk. 3). 19 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 24 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781400110537. $59.99; 19 CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
Seamon, Hollis. Somebody Up There Hates You. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622312108. $26.95; digital download. F
Spencer-Fleming, Julia. Through the Evil Days. (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, Bk. 8). 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780427231048. $50; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Cahill, Thomas. Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World. (Hinges of History, Bk. 6). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307967510. $40; digital download. HIST
Goleman, Daniel. Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062300287. $34.99. Playaway digital; digital download. PSYCH
Halperin, Mark & John Heilemann. Double Down: Game Change 2012. 16 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 19 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762150. $39.95; digital download. POL SCI
Malone, Chris & Susan T. Fiske. The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies. 5 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. Highbridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622312986. $59; 5 CDs. retail ed.; digital download. BUS
Meltzer, Brad with Keith Ferrell. History Decoded: the 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622312788. $26.95; 5 CDs. library ed.; digital download. HIST
Patchett, Ann. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062282866. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR
Perlmutter, David with Kristin Loberg. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619698468. $30; Playaway digital; digital download. HEALTH
Shorto, Russell. Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804149327. $50; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. HIST
Winchester, Simon. The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062282811. $44.99; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
Crystal. Billy. Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427229502. $29.99; Playaway digital; digital download. autobiog
Don’t let him fool you, this book is not just for the senior crowd. Crystal pokes fun at growing old but also takes listeners through his life decade by decade, recalling the highlights of his amazing life and career. Even those who have followed him through the years will be surprised at the extent of his accomplishments, which include multiple Emmys, a Tony, and even a day as a New York Yankee. Crystal recounts his past, alternating between performing chapters like a stand-up routine with a live audience and a more standard narration. He shares his classic impersonations of Muhammad Ali, Sammy Davis Jr., and others, and his great acting and comedic timing take this audiobook to a level that print alone just can’t match. Crystal is hilarious, but what really stands out is not just his funny bone but his big heart. VERDICT This book should be listened to in order to be truly appreciated.
Huston, Anjelica. A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7½ hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442361591. $29.99; digital download. AUTOBIOG
Part one of Huston’s planned two-part autobiography delivers nearly everything one could hope for in an old-school Hollywood memoir. Not that there is much Hollywood, since the early part of Huston’s life was spent at the family estate in Ireland, with pedigreed dogs and horses rather than swimming pools and convertibles, but the other ingredients supply plenty of glamor, with famous visitors and stories of tragedy, romance, and beauty. While Huston reveals much that could be considered difficult (suicide attempts, an abusive relationship), she does so with a certain steeliness and lack of self-pity, lingering only where it seems to please her, clearly taking great joy in remembering her beloved parents and the pleasures of her early years with them. In certain places, this restraint serves to heighten the emotion of the book, while in others it may increase the distance between the reader and the author, as with her sudden, almost taken for granted success in the world of modeling. Huston reads, and her rich voice, elegant accent, and occasionally quirky pronunciation make the audio version particularly delightful. Verdict Unusually well written for a celebrity memoir, this should delight those with an interest in Huston or Hollywood, as well as fans of memoir in general. [“Recommended for fans of the Hustons...as well as those who enjoy Vanity Fair–type showbiz profiles,” read the review of the Scribner hc, LJ 11/1/13.]
Keach, Stacy. All in All: An Actor’s Life on and off the Stage. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452616056. $39.99; 8 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. AUTOBIOG
Prolific actor Keach, candidly narrating, here reflects on a career that has included numerous credits in film, television, and theater. He discusses his most memorable roles in film (Fat City) and television (The New Mike Hammer) as well as some infamous ones (Up in Smoke) and the big parts he lost out on (The Exorcist). He is passionate about the theater, and the concluding chapter on what he’s learned about the craft of acting should be invaluable to students. Keach also discusses more personal subjects including a romantic relationship with singer Judy Collins, his 27-year marriage to actress Malgosia Tomassi, and an addiction to cocaine that resulted in a six-month prison term in England and almost ended his career. Listeners will also enjoy anecdotes about Orson Wells, John Huston, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor. VERDICT Recommended for those who enjoy celebrity biographies and have an interest in acting and the theater.
Morrissey. Autobiography. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762907. $49.95; digital download. AUTOBIOG
Cofounder of the Smiths and an iconic performer in his own right, Morrissey has been a solo artist for 26 years, during which time he has had three number one albums in England. This work covers Morrissey’s life from his birth, as Steven Patrick Morrissey on May 22, 1959, in Manchester, until the present day. The artist hasn’t forgotten his hardscrabble northern England roots, which he recalls in lilting lines that verge on wordplay. He is a public artist who shies away from shared intimacies, as well as an animal rights activist who in this work slags a host of humans. Yet, fans listening to actor David Morrissey’s atmospheric narration know that the musical Morrissey’s stock-in- trade is disaffection, so venom laced with lyricism is his favorite cocktail. Verdict Recommended for music fans or those with similarly strong feelings about animal rights. Essential for fans of the man himself.