Ananthaswamy, Anil. The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781101914939. Read by Rene Ruiz.
In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, this book offers a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders. Ananthaswamy interviews individuals who have all lost some part of themselves, but who offer remarkable, sometimes heart-wrenching insights into what remains.
Badkhen, Anna. Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504617550. Reader TBA.
Badkhen embeds herself with a family of Fulani cowboys—nomadic herders in Mali’s Sahel grasslands—as they embark on their annual migration across the savanna. The cycle connects the Fulani to their past even as their present is increasingly under threat—from Islamic militants, climate change, and the ever-encroaching urbanization that lures away their young. The Fulani, though, are no strangers to uncertainty—they’ve contended with famines, droughts, and wars for centuries .Badkhen narrates the Fulani’s journeys and her own with compassion and keen observation, transporting listeners from the Neolithic Sahara crisscrossed by rivers and abundant with wildlife to obelisk forests where the Fulani’s Stone Age ancestors painted tributes to cattle.
Beran, Michael. Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance With the Macabre. Tantor. ISBN 9781494509873. Read by Jonathan Yen.
In the early 19th century, a series of murders took place in and around London that shocked the whole of England. These slayings all took place against the backdrop of a London in which the splendor of the fashionable world was haunted by the squalor of the slums. Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and others were fascinated by the blood and deviltry of these crimes. Interweaving these cultural vignettes alongside criminal history, Beran paints a vivid picture of the time and the crimes.
Casey, Susan. Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780385367158. Read by Rebecca Lowman.
Casey (The Devil’s Teeth) presents a breathtaking look into the mysterious world of dolphins and their conflicted history with man. Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have felt a kinship with the sleek and beautiful dolphin, an animal whose playfulness, sociability, and intelligence seems like an aquatic mirror of mankind. In recent decades, scientists have discovered that dolphins recognize themselves in reflections, count, feel despondent, adorn themselves, rescue one another (and humans), deduce, infer, form cliques, throw tantrums, gossip, and scheme. For two years Casey traveled the world, and has turned those experiences into a book about the other intelligent life on the planet.
Coburn, Broughton. Everest: Mountain Without Mercy. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504616812. Reader TBA.
David Breashears, the first American to scale Everest twice, was a veteran of nine previous Himalayan filmmaking expeditions when he agreed to lead an expedition to film the first IMAX footage from the peak. Coburn traces each step of the team’s progress to a disaster that riveted the world’s attention—the May 10, 1996, blizzard that claimed eight lives, including two of the world’s top climbing-expedition leaders—and chronicles the courage and cooperation that resulted in the rescue of several men and women who were trapped on the lethal, windswept slopes. In a struggle to overcome both the physical and emotional effects of the disaster on Everest, Breashears and his team rose to the challenge of achieving their goal—humbled by the mountain’s overwhelming power yet exhilarated by their own accomplishment.
Conley, Dalton. Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety. Brilliance. ISBN 9781501270987. Read by Christopher Lane.
Over the past three decades, boundaries between leisure and work, public space and private space, and home and office have blurred and become permeable. Conley connects daily experience with occasionally overlooked sociological changes: women’s increasing participation in the labor force; rising economic inequality generating anxiety among successful professionals; the individualism of the modern era—the belief in self-actualization and expression—being replaced by the need to play different roles in the various realms of one’s existence.
Day, Felicia. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781442386839. Read by the author.
The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, and compulsive gamer who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet geeks and Goodreads book clubs. After growing up in the south where she was “homeschooled for hippie reasons,” Day moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But her misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, The Guild, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.
de Salcedo, Anastacia Marx. Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat. Tantor. ISBN 9781494513863. Read by C.S.E. Cooney.
Supermarkets are filled with foods that have a military origin: canned goods, packaged deli meats, TV dinners, cling wrap, energy bars—the list is almost endless. de Salcedo shows how the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate plans, funds, and disseminates the food science that enables it to produce cheap, imperishable rations, working with an immense network of university, government, and industry collaborators. The conglomerates get exclusive patents or a headstart on the next breakthrough technology; the Army ensures that it has commercial suppliers if it ever needs to manufacture millions of rations. And consumers, who eat this food originally designed for soldiers on the battlefield, are the guinea pigs in a giant public health experiment.
Gifford, Justin. Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim. HighBridge. ISBN 9781622317653. Read by J.D. Jackson.
The first biography of Iceberg Slim, née Robert Beck, author of the memoir Pimp and such novels as Trick Baby and Mama Black Widow, describes his career as a ruthless pimp in the 1940s and 1950s and how he refashioned himself into a “street lit” master. Gifford draws on a wealth of archival material—including FBI files, prison records, and interviews with Beck, his wife, and his daughters—to explore the sexual trauma and racial violence Beck endured and his reinvention as Iceberg Slim.
Goodman, Simon. The Orpheus Clock: The Search For My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781681415055. Reader TBA.
Goodman’s grandparents perished in concentration camps. His father rarely spoke of their family history or heritage, but when he passed away, Simon received his father’s old papers, and a story began to emerge. The Gutmanns, as they were known then, rose from a small Bohemian hamlet to become one of Germany’s most powerful banking families. They also amassed a world-class art collection that included works by Degas, Renoir, Botticelli, and others. But the Nazi regime snatched from them everything they had worked to build: their remarkable art collection, their immense wealth, their prominent social standing, and their very lives. With the help of his family, Goodman initiated the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States.
Greene, Ronnie. Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina. Tantor. ISBN 9781494514372. Read by Jonathan Yen.
Six days after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans, New Orleans Police Department officers opened fire on residents crossing the Danziger Bridge. When the shooting stopped, a mentally challenged man and a 17-year-old boy were dead, and four other seriously wounded. All six of the victims, along with two others arrested at the scene, were black and unarmed. The shooters and their supervisors immediately hatched a cover-up. They would plant a gun, invent witnesses, and charge two of their victims with attempted murder. Investigative journalist Greene reveals the fear that gripped the police of a city fallen into anarchy, and dissects the cover-up that nearly buried the truth and the legal maze that, a decade later, leaves the victims still searching for justice.
Harding, Kate. Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It. Blackstone. ISBN 9781483038681. Reader TBA.
In the first nonacademic, single-author book since the 1990s to examine sexual assault as a social phenomenon, Harding tackles rape culture and offers some suggestions for moving toward a culture that fully respects and supports victims while protecting the rights of the accused. Sexual violence has been so prominent in recent years that the feminist term “rape culture” has finally entered the mainstream. But what, exactly, is it? And how do we change it? Combining in-depth research with practical knowledge, Harding makes the case that 21st-century America—where it’s estimated that out of every 100 rapes only five result in felony convictions—supports rapists more effectively than victims, and she offers ideas and suggestions for addressing how we as a culture can take rape much more seriously without compromising the rights of the accused.
Hill, Henry & Daniel Simone. The Lufthansa Heist: Behind the Six-Million Dollar Cash Haul That Shook the World. Tantor. ISBN 9781494513511. Read by Jonathan Yen.
On December 11th, 1978, a daring armed robbery rocked Kennedy Airport, resulting in the largest unrecovered cash haul in world history, totaling $6 million. The perpetrators were never apprehended and 13 people connected to the crime were murdered in homicides that, like the crime itself, remain unsolved to this day. In 2013, this infamous criminal act again flared up in the national news when five reputed gangsters were charged in connection to the robbery. This latest twist lends the project an extraordinary sense of timing.
Kershaw, Alex. Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780553551808. Read by Mark Deakins.
The leafy Avenue de Foch was Paris’s hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son at Number 11, got involved with the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11, but his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors and he and his family were forced to undertake a journey into the dark heart of war-torn Europe.
Korra, Monika. Kill the Silence: A Survivor’s Life Reclaimed. HighBridge. ISBN 9781622318834. Read by Carla Mercer-Meyer.
In 2009, college sophomore and track star Korra was grabbed by three men on her way home from a party and brutally raped. In this extraordinary story of recovery, she shares how she made herself whole again after the attack, describing the combination of mental, spiritual, and physical work that helped her heal. Korra refused to feel ashamed about her experience, outing herself to the Dallas area media during her attackers’ trial and speaking about her recovery in the frenzy that followed. Today, Korra has become an outspoken advocate raising awareness about rape and sexual abuse and speaking regularly about her recovery.
Lieven, Dominic. The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution. Tantor. ISBN 9781494511500. Read by Shaun Grindell.
World War I and the Russian Revolution together shaped the 20th century in profound ways. Here Lieven connects the two events, providing both a history of the First World War’s origins from a Russian perspective and an international history of why the revolution happened. He links World War I to the sweep of 20th-century global history and shows how contemporary hot issues such as the struggle for Ukraine were already crucial elements in the run-up to 1914.
Mitchell, Joseph. Up in the Old Hotel, and Other Stories. Blackstone. ISBN 978-1-5046-5356-5. Reader TBA.
Saloon keepers, street preachers, gypsies, steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady, and a 93-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades are among the people whom Mitchell immortalized in his reportage for the New Yorker and in four books—McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbor, and Joe Gould’s Secret—that are still renowned for their respectful observation, their graveyard humor, and their offhand perfection of style. These masterpieces (along with several previously uncollected stories) are available in one volume, which presents an indelible collective portrait of New York and its odder citizens.
Ramos, Jason A. & Julian Smith. Smokejumper: A Memoir by One of America’s Most Select Airborne Firefighters. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504625586. Reader TBA.
An elite crew of firefighters employed by the Department of the Interior, smokejumpers are specially trained to fight monstrous fires in the deepest wilderness at a moment’s notice—in inaccessible terrain where conventional firefighting is impossible, often alone or with the aid of just a single partner. To stay alive, smokejumpers must combine knowledge of the terrain, meteorological and ground conditions, and their own judgment and instincts to survive. Ramos weaves a compelling history of wilderness firefighting, takes listeners through the brutal training it requires, and explains the psychological strength needed to go to work each day knowing it could be your last. Here are some of his most harrowing missions—when the ground is so hot that truck axles melt and a split-second decision can mean the difference between living and dying.
Rock, David. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504637732. Read by Bob Walter.
Rock shows how it’s possible for listeners not only to survive in today’s overwhelming work environment but to succeed in it—and still feel energized and accomplished at the end of the day. He explores issues such as why our brains feel so taxed, how to maximize our mental resources, why it’s so hard to focus, how to better manage distractions, how to keep your cool in any situation, how to collaborate more effectively with others, why providing feedback is so difficult, and how to make it easier, and how to be more effective at changing other people’s behavior.
Roker, Al with William Hogeland. The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster—the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504625500. Reader TBA.
The beloved NBC weather personality vividly brings to life the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in American history. On the afternoon of September 8, 1900, 200-mile-per-hour winds and 15-foot waves slammed into Galveston, TX. By dawn the next day, the city that existed just hours before was gone: 8,000 corpses littered the streets and were buried under the massive wreckage. Rushing water had lifted buildings from their foundations, smashing them into pieces, while intensive winds had upended girders and trestles, driving them through house walls and into sidewalks. In less than 24 hours, one storm destroyed a major American metropolis—and awakened a nation to the terrifying power of nature.
Santamaria, Abigail. Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504616157. Read by Bernadette Dunne.
The first full biography of Joy Davidman brings her out from C.S. Lewis’s shadow, where she has long been hidden, to reveal a powerful writer and thinker. Davidman is known, if she is known at all, as the wife of C.S. Lewis. A poet and radical, Davidman was a frequent contributor to the communist vehicle New Masses and an active member of New York literary circles in the 1930s and ’40s. Born Jewish in the Bronx, she was an atheist, then a practitioner of Dianetics; she converted to Christianity after experiencing a moment of transcendent grace. A mother, a novelist, a vibrant and difficult and intelligent woman, she set off for England in 1952, determined to captivate the man whose work had changed her life. Davidman became the intellectual and spiritual partner Lewis never expected but cherished.
Schechter, Harold. Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal. Brilliance. ISBN 9781491598597. Reader TBA.
In the winter of 1873, a small band of prospectors lost their way in the frozen wilderness of the Colorado Rockies. Months later, when the snow finally melted, only one of them emerged. His name was Alfred G. Packer, though he would soon become infamous throughout the country under a different name: “the Man-Eater.” After the butchered remains of his five traveling companions were discovered in a secluded valley, Packer vanished for nine years, becoming the West’s most wanted man. What followed was a saga of evasion and retribution as the trial of the century worked to extricate fact from myth and Polly Pry, a once-famed pioneering journalist, took on the cause of Packer.
Stamp, Terence. Double Feature. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504654357. Reader TBA.
In this second installment of Terence Stamp’s captivating memoirs, he takes listeners right into the heart of the swinging ’60s. From his Academy Award nomination for Billy Budd to his coming of age under the direction of the legendary Federico Fellini, the “marmalade skies” are the limit. With beautiful women and beautiful people from London to California, Stamp captures the spirit of the decade. He was the face, the man to be seen with. And then the decade ended, along with his romance to famous model Jean Shrimpton, and Stamp, unemployed and brokenhearted, boards a plane for a solo pilgrimage to India.
Steiner, Leslie Morgan. Crazy Love. Brilliance. ISBN 9781501270833. Read by Tanya Eby.
At 22, Steiner seemed to have it all: a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job at Seventeen magazine, a downtown New York City apartment. Plus a handsome, funny, street-smart boyfriend who adored her. But she’d made a mistake shared by millions: She fell in love with the wrong person. In this memoir, Steiner takes listeners inside the violent, devastating world of abusive love.
Vigeland, Tess. Leap Without a Net: Leaving a Job with No Plan B. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504624848. Read by the author.
Until recently, Vigeland was the longtime host of NPR’s Marketplace; it was a rewarding, high-status job, and she was very good at it—but she’d begun to feel restless. Without any clear sense of what she wanted to do next—but an absolute certainty that what she’d been doing was no longer truly satisfying—she walked away from a job that millions of people would kill to have. With her signature humor, she writes honestly about the fear, uncertainty, and risk involved in leaving the traditional workforce—but also about the excitement, resources, and possibilities that wait on the other side. Part memoir and part field guide, this book offers a funny, thoughtful, and provocative look at how to find happiness, satisfaction, and success when pursuing a career less ordinary.