Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, June 14, 2013

Week ending June 14, 2013

Josefson, Dan. That’s Not a Feeling. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 9780792794493. $69.95; digital download. F
Josefson’s debut is an odd, engaging, and, eventually, fulfilling coming-of-age story that takes a little getting used to. Sixteen-year-old Benjamin and the third-person narrator with whom he shares storytelling duties speak in the invented vocabulary of the Roaring Orchard School for Troubled Teens, where Benjamin has been sent after two suicide attempts. Ably voiced by veteran narrator Charles Carroll, this satire could have easily bogged down in mordant, postmodern foolishness. Instead, Josefson breathes compassionate life into the absurdities of existence at Roaring Orchards.
Verdict Recommended for all adult readers. [“Funny at times, and more than a little sad, the book’s form perfectly mirrors Benjamin’s profound sense of dislocation and uncertainty. This is a powerful, haunting look at the alternate universe of an unusual therapeutic community,” read the starred review of the Soho Pr. pb, LJ 7/12.—Ed.]—Wendy Galgan, St. Francis Coll., Brooklyn

starred review starOlson, Lynne. Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939–1941. 15CDs. library ed. unabridged. 18½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452612003. $54.99; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
Olson’s (Citizens of London) most recent work captures the contentious debate over American intervention into World War II. Olson chronicles the “Great Debate” between the interventionists, led by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the isolationists, unofficially led by Charles Lindbergh. Digging more deeply than a simple retelling of policy and events, Olson provides intimate details through a variety of sources including diary entries. Readers will appreciate Olson’s fair criticism of both sides and her honest approach to the often shocking events that included death threats, vicious personal attacks, and even fistfights among politicians. Multiple award–winning narrator Robert Fass has a smooth, deliberate cadence that makes it easy to soak up the extensive coverage of the era.
Verdict A must for history fans. [“Though this subject is not new, Olson’s focus on the Lindberghs and the pressure groups opposing and supporting the aviator offers additional insight into the period that ended with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Its readability further recommends the book to history buffs,” read the review of the New York Times best-selling Random hc, LJ 3/15/13.—Ed.]—Sean Kennedy, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.

Pope, Barbara Corrado. The Missing Italian Girl. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10¼ hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 9780792798378. $69.95; digital download. F
Clarie and Bernard Martin are back in Pope’s (The Blood of Lorraine) third mystery involving social injustice and the working-class poor in France. Bernard, no longer a magistrate, is just starting out as an advocate for the Labor Exchange and trying to establish himself in Paris with his wife and young son. Two young Italian émigrés, Angela and Maura, live with their mother in a one-room apartment and work as seamstresses for a brutal employer. A witness sees the girls and their friend, a young Russian anarchist, dump the body of the murdered employer in a canal. Soon more murders occur. The girls’ mother asks Clarie to help her daughters. The mystery takes a backseat while much of the book focuses on the social injustices of the time. Meredith Mitchell has a soft, pleasant voice, but at times the reading is overwrought and the accents are inconsistent. Some Italian and French characters are read with an accent, while others are not.
Verdict Recommended only for fans of Pope’s earlier works. [“Pope’s absorbing, detailed mystery provides an eye-opening look at the class struggles of the working poor in fin de siècle France. Historical mystery buffs, especially fans of Elizabeth Peters and Anne Perry, will enjoy Bernard and Clarie’s adventures,” read the review of the Pegasus Crime hc, LJ 2/1/13.—Ed.]—Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Shalvis, Jill. Rescue My Heart. (Animal Magnetism, Bk. 3). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452612218. $39.99; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
In this third entry in Shalvis’s series (after Animal Attraction), former lovers Adam and Holly reunite to locate Holly’s missing father. Adam, an ex-soldier who experiences episodes of PTSD, is the only person who takes Holly’s worry seriously. He’s also the man who broke Holly’s heart first—and hardest. The former lovers must battle treacherous weather conditions and their own personal demons to accomplish their goal. Although their eventual pairing is never in doubt, their journey to mental and emotional wellness makes for an enjoyable read. Karen White’s languid narration is soothing but mutes the impact of the novel’s more eventful moments.
Verdict Recommended for collections where romance audiobooks are popular. Events of the previous novels are mentioned but not to the extent that readers new to the series will be lost. [The Berkley pb was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Nicole Williams, Rochelle Park Lib., NJ

starred review starSussman, Ellen. The Paradise Guest House. 7 CDs. library edition. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385359450. $40; digital download. F
Jamie and Gabe’s lives were instantly connected as they fought side by side to help others after the Bali nightclub bombings. Despite being intensely drawn to each other, they parted ways. A year later, Jamie returns to Bali for the memorial service and seeks Gabe out. Will they be able to find a way to be together at last? Sussman’s (French Lessons) is a moving tale of picking up the pieces after experiencing the unimaginable and moving forward once again. Ann Marie Lee does a good job balancing the various accents and voices throughout the narration; her ability to convey what the characters are feeling allows listeners to be as moved by the narration as by the vivid story.
Verdict Highly recommended.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P.L., MI

Weiss, Dara-Lynn. The Heavy: A Mother, a Daughter, a Diet. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804120623. $35; digital download. MEMOIR
Weiss’s parenting memoir expands upon her controversial April 2012 Vogue article about placing her obese seven-year-old daughter on a restrictive diet. Amanda Tepe’s spirited performance wrings an impressive amount of empathy from Weiss’s self-justificatory and prolix narrative. Marketed as 2013’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, this title is a conversation starter.
Verdict Given the amount of buzz Weiss’s original article generated, there is likely to be widespread interest for the audiobook. This book is a personal account, not a nutritional guide.—Julie Judkins, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"