The Future of Food, Fiction from Mengestu, Priest, & Rowell, plus Memoir by Ward | Audio Reviews

redstarBarber, Dan. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Penguin Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781611763218. $45; digital download. SOC SCI

thethirdplate070714Executive chef of farm-to-table restaurants Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Barber is known for championing sustainability and making responsible decisions about food sourcing. In this revolutionary book, he blows up the idea that locavorism and organic farming are the best ways to ensure the availability of good food for everyone. Dividing his thoughts into sections relating to “Soil,” “Land,” “Sea,” and “Seed,” Barber shares the results of his years of investigating integrated food systems, taking listeners to Spain and Washington State and along the Atlantic Coast to visit food producers whose work supports long-term sustainability. With the author narrating, listeners feel as though they are having a conversation with him: one that is groundbreaking, frightening, and hopeful all at once. VERDICT This work challenges listeners to rethink both taste and sustainability with the knowledge that better options are out there and stands next to The Omnivore’s Dilemma as an essential book about food.—Donna ­Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL

redstarMengestu, Dinaw. All Our Names. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781490616032. $77.75; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Here Mengestu (How To Read the Air) uses the story of an affair between Helen, an American social worker in the Midwest, and Isaac, an African immigrant posing as an exchange student, to examine questions of loyalty and community. Do not come to this novel expecting a “traditional” immigrant narrative. Mengestu uses the framework of geography and immigration to tell his sad and often harrowing tale of identity, responsibility, and love. Helen and Isaac relate their own parts of the story in alternating narratives read beautifully by Saskia Maarleveld and Korey Jackson. This structure lends grace notes to a moving, lyrical novel. VERDICT A wonderful listen. [“A highly recommended read that’s as absorbing as it is thought-provoking; the ending is a real punch,” read the starred review of the Knopf hc, LJ 3/15/14.]—Wendy Galgan, St. Francis Coll., Brooklyn

Priest, Cherie. Boneshaker. (Clockwork Century, Bk. 1). 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Graphic Audio. 2014. ISBN . $19.99; digital download. F

BoneshakerIn Priest’s (Fiddlehead) novel, originally published in 2009, Seattle is a walled city filled with a gas that transforms men into the walking dead. The titular machine was a mining engine that unleashed the gas. Leviticus Blue, the man who built it, disappeared, and his son, Ezekiel, has gone into the walled city to find proof of his father’s innocence. His mother follows to protect him from the denizens of the city, both living and not. The story that unfolds is a grand adventure filled with danger, secrets, and steampunk creations. This new audio adaptation is a dramatization, rather than a straight reading. The chief difference is that the work is about half as long as the 2010 production, primarily because descriptive text has been turned into excellent sound effects and dialog tags have been reduced. The 20-plus performers do a great job. Each voice is distinct, and clever devices are used, such as voice filters to suggest when the characters are wearing gas masks. VERDICT While elements of the story will be familiar to fantasy and steampunk fans, they blend into something very fun, particularly in this new dramatization. Recommended for listeners who enjoy sf and genre fiction. [For more on this title, see the Q&A with the author.]—Tristan M. Boyd, Westbank Community Lib., Austin, TX

redstarRowell, Rainbow. Landline. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781427239327. $29.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F

LandlineGeorgie and Neal are on the brink of a major shift in their relationship. The last straw comes in the form of television writer ­Georgie’s “big break”—the opportunity for the show of her dreams to be greenlit, at the expense of spending Christmas with her family. When Neal takes their daughters on the annual family trip without her, Georgie realizes that this might indicate more than a holiday apart. As she struggles to repair her marriage with her husband in the present day, Georgie finds herself talking, through a magical rotary phone, to the very same man 15 years in the past, during the tumultuous week before he proposed. Is this a second chance to make their relationship stronger, or a way for Georgie not to marry Neal in the first place? Rowell (Eleanor & Park) hits all the right notes in this humorous, touching, and evocative novel. The supporting characters, including Georgie’s mother who loves pugs, leisurewear, and her much younger pool boy–turned–husband, are all too relatable in their endearing eccentricity, and the dialog is as realistic as it is hilarious. Rebecca Lowman’s narration deftly captures the pacing of this tale, and her impressive ability to portray distinct voices, from 22-year-old Neal to the couple’s four-year-old daughter pretending to be a cat, enhances the listening experience. VERDICT This fantastic recording of an equally fantastic novel is highly recommended for all and essential for Rowell fans. [“Reading [Rowell’s] work feels like listening to your hilariously insightful best friend tell her best stories,” read the starred review of the St. Martin’s hc, LJ 5/1/14; for an interview with Rowell, see July LibraryReads Spotlight.]—Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

redstarWard, Jesmyn. Men We Reaped. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781490609997. $77.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. MEMOIR
A scorching journey through a heartbreaking Southern landscape, this memoir by National Book Award winner Ward (Salvage the Bones) is perfectly narrated by Cherise Booth, whose nuanced and understated performance allows the raw emotional content of the story to speak for itself. The deaths of five black men in Mississippi and Louisiana are recounted in a sort of reverse chronology, starting with the one who died last and moving back in time to the death of the author’s younger brother. The author’s own story never takes center stage as she talks about the potential and promise of these young men who were lost in various ways from suicide to accidents to murder, with all of the strife involving racial and social inequities endemic to the American South. Her recollections—sometimes of innocent youth, sometimes of adolescent misbehavior—take on an almost unbearable poignancy because the ends of these brief lives overshadow the occasional sweetness of her memories. VERDICT A must for all libraries. [“Ward’s candid account is full of sadness and hope that takes readers out of their comfort zone and proves that education and hard work are the way up for the young and downtrodden,” read the review of the Bloomsbury hc, LJ 9/1/13.]—Victoria A. Caplinger, NoveList, Durham, NC


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Allende, Isabel. Ripper. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Harper Audio. 2014. ISBN 9780062311016. $44.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Cameron, Claire. The Bear. 5 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6½ hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2014. ISBN 9781629232768. $59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Moore, Christopher. The Serpent of Venice. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10½ hrs. Harper Audio. 2014. ISBN 9780062311009. $39.99; digital download. F

Powers, Richard. Orfeo. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781490600734. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Rowland, Amy. The Transcriptionist. 4 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. Highbridge Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781622313419. $26.95; 4 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F


Gibney, Michael. Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line. 5 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804192118 $35; digital download. BIOG

redstarGold, Russell. The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781480596986. $62.97; 10 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; digital download. BUS

Keegan, Marina. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 5½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781494501259. $37.99; 5 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. MEMOIR

Mandis, Steven G. What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider’s Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Highbridge Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781622314461. $34.95; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; digital download. BUS

Wallace, David Foster. David Foster Wallace: In His Own Words. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781478900733. $35; Playaway digital; digital download. LIT

redstarWarren, Elizabeth. A Fighting Chance. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781427239167. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. AUTOBIOG

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