Statistics, Grammar, & Black Lives Matter | Nonfiction Audiobooks Coming in July

Alexander, Stephon. The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520078144. Reader TBA.
More than 50 years ago, John Coltrane drew the 12 musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Now, physicist and jazz musician Alexander follows suit, using jazz to investigate physics. Following in the tradition of the great minds that first drew links between music and physics—Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim—this work visits both the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one and Alexander’s own life. For, in Alexander’s attempts to reconcile and balance his own passion for music and physics, he uncovered a connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else-a connection which reveals that, when the ancient poetic idea of the “music of the spheres” is taken seriously, it can clarify some of physics’ most vexing questions.

Bozzo, Donna. What the Fun?: 427 Simple Ways To Have Fantastic Family Fun. Blackstone. ISBN 9781469066042. Read by the author.
Creating more fun in your days will make you a joy to be around and you’ll be a great example to your children. They will learn how to find their own happiness. What more could you want for your kids? Bozzo has shared her prescription for folding tons of fantastic fun into your days with millions of people on television and in magazines.Here she gives listeners 427 easy ideas to help you put more fun in your family’s life any and every day, including five-minute fun fixes; zany ways to shake up the ole (yawn) daily routine; clever bedtime, homework, and chore time struggle stoppers; quick ways to create family memories; and other ways to make each and every day a special occasion.

Crystal, David. Making Sense: The Glamorous Story of the English Language. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501959585. Reader TBA.
Crystal confronts the foe of many: grammar. Once taught relentlessly to all students in the English-speaking world, grammar disappeared from most school curricula, so that terms such as “preposition” and “conjunction” now often confound children and adults alike. Explaining the nuts and bolts of grammar presents a special challenge, because—far more than is the case with spelling and punctuation—the subject is burdened with a centuries-old history of educational practice that many will recall as anything but glamorous. One of the world’s foremost authorities on the English language, Crystal sets out to rid grammar of its undeserved reputation as a dry and intimidating subject, pointing out how essential grammar is to clear and effective speech and writing. He moves briskly through the stages by which children acquire grammar, along the way demystifying grammar’s rules and irregularities and showing us how to navigate its snares and pitfalls.

Danticat, Edwidge. The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story. ISBN 9781501954078. Reader TBA.
At once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work. “Writing has been the primary way I have tried to make sense of my losses,” Danticat notes in her introduction. “I have been writing about death for as long as I have been writing.” The book moves outward from the shock of her mother’s diagnosis and sifts through Danticat’s writing life and personal history, all the while shifting fluidly from examples that range from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Toni Morrison’s Sula. The narrative, which continually circles the many incarnations of death from individual to large-scale catastrophes, culminates in a beautiful, heartrending prayer in the voice of Danticat’s mother.

Davis, Angela J., ed. Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538420652. Read by Robin Miles & Kevin Kenerly..
A comprehensive analysis of the key issues of the Black Lives Matter movement, this thought-provoking and compelling anthology features essays by some of the nation’s most influential and respected criminal justice experts and legal scholars. Contributing authors include Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Institute, NYU Law professor, and author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and many others. Essays range from an explication of the historical roots of racism in the criminal justice system to an examination of modern-day police killings of unarmed black men. The coauthors discuss and explain racial profiling, the power and discretion of police and prosecutors, the role of implicit bias, the racial impact of police and prosecutorial decisions, the disproportionate imprisonment of black men, the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, and the Supreme Court’s failure to provide meaningful remedies for the injustices in the criminal justice system.

Eggerichs, Emerson. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache. Brilliance. ISBN 978-1536693119. Read by the author.
Our methods of communication today allow for something to potentially be broadcast to everyone from Pekin, IL, to Peking, China. But it’s not only Twitter fanatics who can find themselves in trouble. Every single one of us is capable of falling prey to this growing plague. Every day we have the potential of both verbal and written blunders. It makes no difference if we are talking to a stranger over a meat counter, chatting on a cell phone with our mother, or sending an e-mail to a coworker; we can and do miscommunicate and people can and do get the wrong idea. When we don’t pause long enough to think before speaking or writing, it commonly yields a misunderstanding and leads to a clash. This book is about preventing that misunderstanding and allowing for understanding.

Flair, Ric & Charlotte. Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427288943. Reader TBA.
For the first time ever, WWE’s illustrious father-daughter duo “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Charlotte come together to tell their legendary story. Ric Flair is a 16-time World Champion and two-time WWE Hall of Fame Inductee. Despite his effortless brilliance in front of the cameras, his life away from the cameras includes personal struggles, controversy and family tragedy. Charlotte grew up in the shadow of her famous father, “the dirtiest player in the game,” but now she is poised to take the Flair name to new heights. As the inaugural WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte has had an impressive career, and she’s just getting started.

Hesse, Monica. American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520075846. Reader TBA.
Shocked by a five-month arson spree that left rural Virginia reeling, Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse drove down to Accomack County to cover the trial of Charlie Smith, who pled guilty to 67 counts of arson. But Charlie wasn’t lighting fires alone: he had an accomplice, his girlfriend Tonya Bundick. Through her depiction of the dangerous shift that happened in their passionate relationship, Hesse brilliantly brings to life the once-thriving coastal community and its distressed inhabitants, who had already been decimated by a punishing economy before they were terrified by a string of fires they could not explain.

Kean, Sam. Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478950523. Reader TBA.
With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you’re probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra’s perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe’s creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we’ll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time.

McMeekin, Sean. The Russian Revolution. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478994794. Reader TBA.
McMeekin traces the origins and events of the Russian Revolution, which ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and changed the course of world history. Between 1900 and 1920, Russia underwent a complete and irreversible transformation: by the end of these two decades, a new regime was in place, the economy had collapsed, and over 20 million Russians had died during the revolution and what followed. Still, Bolshevik power remained intact due to a remarkable combination of military prowess, violent terror tactics, and the failures of their opposition. And as McMeekin shows, Russia’s revolutionaries were aided at nearly every step by countries like Germany and Sweden who sought to benefit—politically and economically—from the chaotic changes overtaking the country.

Nye, Bill. Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501948992. Read by the author.
Nye believes we’ll never be able to tackle our society’s biggest, most complex problems if we don’t even know how to solve the small ones. Step by step, he shows his readers the key tools behind his everything-all-at-once approach: radical curiosity, a deep desire for a better future, and a willingness to take the actions needed to make it a reality. Problem solving is a skill that anyone can harness to create change, and Bill Nye is here to teach us how. Each chapter describes a principle of problem solving that Nye himself uses—methodical, fact-based approaches to life that aspires to leave no stone unturned. He explains how the nerd mindset leads to a richer and more meaningful life; far more than that, it can help address hunger, crime, poverty, pollution, and even assist the democratic process.

Roosevelt, Curtis. Upstairs at the Roosevelts’: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor. Blackstone. ISBN 9781470852511. Read by Robertson Dean.
Curtis Roosevelt knew what it was like to live with a president. His grandfather was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From the time Curtis, with his sister Eleanor and recently divorced mother, Anna Roosevelt Dall, moved into his grandparents’ new home—the White House—Curtis played, learned, slept, ate, and lived in one of the most famous buildings in the world with one of its most famous residents. Writing about his childhood from that perspective, Curtis Roosevelt offers anecdotes and revelations about the lives of the president and First Lady and the many colorful personalities in this presidential family. From Eleanor’s shocking role in the remarriage of Curtis’s mother to visits from naughty cousins and trips to the “Home Farm,” this work provides an intimate perspective on the dynamics of one of America’s most famous families.

Roy, Arundhati & John Cusack. Things That Can and Cannot Be Said: Essays and Conversations. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538411360. Read by the authors.
In this rich dialogue on surveillance, empire, and power, Roy and Cusack describe meeting with National Security Agency whistleblower Ed Snowden. In late 2014, Roy, Cusack, and Daniel Ellsberg traveled to Moscow to meet with Snowden. In these discussions, Roy and Cusack discuss the nature of the state, empire, and surveillance in an era of perpetual war, the meaning of flags and patriotism, the role of foundations and NGOs in limiting dissent, and the ways in which capital but not people can freely cross borders.

Scottoline, Lisa & Francesca Serritella. I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427285904. Read by the authors.
Lisa and Francesca are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman.

Smith, Gary. Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics. Blackstone. ISBN 9781469066189. Read by Timothy Andres Pabon.
Did you know that baseball players whose names begin with the letter “D” are more likely to die young? Or that Asian Americans are most susceptible to heart attacks on the fourth day of the month? Or that drinking a full pot of coffee every morning will add years to your life, but one cup a day increases the risk of pancreatic cancer? All of these “facts” have been argued with a straight face by credentialed researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics. Lying with statistics is a time-honored con. Here Smith walks us through the various tricks and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories. Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief they are committing. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful indicators and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool us, we fool ourselves.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

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