Audio Reviews, April 15, 2012

starred review starHarris, Robert. The Fear Index. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780449008751. $40; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Dr. Alex Hoffman, one of the world’s most brilliant mathematicians, has created an algorithmic program that permits his Geneva-based hedge fund company to make obscene profits. In the course of a single day, his empire comes under attack from an unseen source that bypasses the highly secure program and slowly drives Hoffman insane. He is brutally attacked in his own home, but the Swiss police officer investigating the crime begins having suspicions about the victim’s claims. No matter what actions Hoffman takes, the assailant always is one step ahead. Harris has created a financial world far beyond what most readers will understand, but the tension and suspense are just as powerful as the often-confusing stock market jargon. VERDICT British reader Christian Rodska does a great job presenting the slow disintegration of Hoffman’s seemingly untouchable life, and readers won’t be disappointed in the breathtaking sequence of events that culminates in a startling climax. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Get ready to enjoy a brilliant integration of fascinating research, compelling themes, and vivid characterization, read the review of the New York Times best-selling Knopf hc, LJ 1/12; the Arrow: Random mass-market pb will publish in June 2012.‚ Ed.]‚ Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA

starred review starBanerjee, Abhijit V. & Esther Duflo. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11¬Ω hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611747539. $73; 9 CDs. retail ed.; digital download. BUS

Economists Banerjee and Duflo present an important analysis of the complexities of poverty around the world. Their work spans more than 15 years in dozens of under developed countries. Here, they provide a refreshingly new understanding of poverty, along with their absorbing solutions to it. In 2005, people in worldwide poverty numbered 865 million, or 13 percent of the world’s population. The focus in this work is on the poorest of the poor, where the estimated minimum level of income needed to secure life’s necessities is 16 Indian rupees (36¬¢) per person per day. Relating this fact to Americans, the authors suggest imagining trying to live in Miami, FL, on 99¬¢ a day. The material covers the economic lives of the poor, various prevalent theories of poverty, how governments can succeed in combating poverty, what the lives and choices of the poor tell us, how the poor can attend school but not really learn, and how many poor actually benefit very little from insurance. VERDICT Narrator Brian Holsopple’s nicely paced, steady reading conveys world poverty in a unique manner and is highly recommended for all university libraries. [The PublicAffairs pb published in March.‚ Ed.]‚ Dale Farris, Groves, TX

starred review starSmith, Kevin. Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611760613. $29.95; digital download. AUTOBIOG/SELF-HELP

Smith is a most unlikely success story. Fat geeks from the Jersey burbs with no connections don’t break into cutthroat Hollywood and stay 20 years. He willed himself to do the impossible while remaining a nice guy. Smith recounts his life and career, from the amateurish Clerks to the superb Red State, and his early days at Miramax under Harvey Weinstein until buyouts and sellouts decayed the maverick indie-film house into the type of dollar-driven movie machine Weinstein and his collaborators despised. The audiobook is equal parts biography and personal philosophy, with loads of laughs. Smith is a funny, cordial, and embarrassingly honest host‚ he’ll tell you anything (and does) about himself‚ but much of the dialog is R-rated. He also expounds on the wonders of smoking weed. VERDICT Self-expression is Smith’s true art form, making him the perfect reader for his own material. Despite a career based on fart and dick jokes, Smith emerges as a loving, devoted son, husband, and father and an artist who never sacrificed his vision for profits. Film heads and Smith’s legions of fans will enjoy the sh*t out of this.‚ Mike Rogers, Library Journal

The following titles are reviewed in the April 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Barry, Dave & Alan Zweibel. Lunatics. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7 hrs. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780307989765. $29.95; 6 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Audio; digital download. F

Bondurant, Matt. The Wettest County in the World. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10¬Ω hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792785279. $74.95; 9 CDs. retail ed.; digital download. F

Heinlein, Robert A. Sixth Column. 5 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781455152735. $51.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. SF

Krentz, Jayne Ann. Copper Beach: A Dark Legacy Novel. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781441896797. $92.97; 8 CDs. retail ed. abridged/unabridged; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. MYS

Maron, Margaret. Three-Day Town: A Judge Deborah Knott Mystery. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9¬Ω hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781461830412. $92.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Willett, Marcia. The Summer House. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8¬Ω hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792783657. $69.95;
digital download. F


Brady, Diane. Fraternity: In 1968, a Visionary Priest Recruited 20 Black Men to the College of the Holy Cross and Changed Their Lives and the Course of History. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780307712202. $35; digital download. Random Audio. HIST

Gibson, William. Distrust That Particular Flavor. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5¬Ω hrs. Tantor Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781452635996. $59.99; 5 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. LIT

Grant, Kimi Cunningham. Silver Like Dust: One Family’s Story of America’s Japanese Internment. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7¬Ω hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792784722. $59.95; 6 CDs. retail ed.; digital download. BIOG/memoir

McMeekin, Gail. The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792784708. $59.95; 8 CDs. retail ed.; digital download. SELF-HELP

Macomber, Debbie. One Perfect Word. 4 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 4¬Ω hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781442348264. $24.99;

Michael Rogers About Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers ( is Media Editor, Library Journal and Managing Editor of LJ Reviews.