An Audiobook About Audiobooks | Audio in Advance November 2016 | Nonfiction

Allen, Frederick. Secret Formula: The Inside Story of How Coca-Cola Became the Best-Known Brand in the World. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520038131. Read by Kevin Stillwell.
Allen begins with Asa Candler, a 19th-century pharmacist in Atlanta who secured the rights to the original Coca-Cola formula and then struggled to get the cocaine out of the recipe. After many tweaks, he finally succeeded in turning a backroom belly-wash into a thriving enterprise. Written with unprecedented access to Coca-Cola’s archives, as well as the inner circle and private papers of Woodruff, Allen’s business biography is the account of what it took to build one of the world’s greatest business success stories.

51_kuxwxnxl-_sx324_bo1204203200___1473363680_77861Athill, Diana. Stet: An Editor’s Life. Brilliance. ISBN 9781522637738. Read by Jan Cramer.
For nearly five decades Diana Athill edited (nursed, coerced, coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language—among them V.S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Mordecai Richler, and Norman Mailer. Athill takes listeners on a guided tour through the corridors of literary London, offering an insider’s portrait of the glories and pitfalls of making books in a work that’s spiced with candid insights about the type of people who make brilliant writers and ingenious publishers and the idiosyncrasies of both. 

Bennetts, Leslie. Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478987635. Reader TBA.
Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers’s career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life.

Cole, Teju. Known and Strange Things. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501925368. Read by Peter Fernandez.
The 40-plus essays span art, literature, and politics, with topics from Virginia Woolf and James Baldwin to President Obama and Boko Haram. The collection includes new and pre-published essays that have gone viral, such as “The White Industrial Savior Complex,” first published in The Atlantic.

Diamond, Jason. Searching for John Hughes: Or, Everything I Thought I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching ’80s Movies. Blackstone. ISBN 9781441728715. Reader TBA.
For as long as Diamond can remember, he’s been infatuated with John Hughes’ movies. Here he tells how a Jewish kid from a broken home in a Chicago suburb—sometimes homeless, always restless—found comfort and connection in the likewise broken lives in the suburban Chicago of John Hughes’ oeuvre. 

Douglas, John & Mark Olshaker. The Cases That Haunt Us: From Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, the FBI’s Legendary Mindhunter Sheds Light on the Mysteries That Won’t Go Away. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504766517. Read by Malcolm Hillgartner.
Did Lizzie Borden murder her own father and stepmother? Was Jack the Ripper actually the Duke of Clarence? Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? America’s foremost expert on criminal profiling and 25-year FBI veteran John Douglas, along with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, explores those tantalizing questions and more. The authors reexamine and reinterpret the accepted facts, evidence, and victimology of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime, including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Zodiac Killer, and the Whitechapel murders. Utilizing techniques developed by Douglas himself, they give detailed profiles and reveal chief suspects in pursuit of what really happened in each case.

Duneier, Mitchell. Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504767620. Reader TBA.
On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto―a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. Here Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present.

Graham, Lauren. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524708955. Read by the author.
In her first work of nonfiction, Graham recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls—the first and second time—and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood, including tales of living on a houseboat, meeting guys at awards shows, and that time she was asked to be a butt model.

Herstand, Ari. How To Make It in the New Music Business. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681683348. Read by Derek Sivers & the author.
In the last decade, no industry has been through as much upheaval and turmoil as the music industry. Giving today’s aspiring musicians the practical tools they need to build and maintain a lifelong career, Herstand compiles a tutorial on how to accomplish specific tasks―routing a tour, negotiating contracts, getting paid for Spotify and Pandora plays, or even licensing music to commercials, film, and television―but also a manifesto that encourages musicians to pave their own path.

9780399184482__1473363781_77492Johnson, Steven. Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735288317. Reader TBA.
This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson’s storytelling is full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.  

Jones, Cleve. When We Rise: Coming of Age in San Francisco, AIDS, and My Life in the Movement. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478942757. Reader TBA.
Jones brings to life the magnetic spell cast by 1970s San Francisco, the drama and heartbreak of the AIDS crisis and the vibrant generation of gay men lost to it, and his activist work on labor, immigration, and gay rights, which continues today. As did thousands of young gay people, Jones moved to San Francisco in the early ‘70s, nearly penniless, finding a city electrified by progressive politics and sexual liberation. Jones dove into politics and activism, taking an internship in the office of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. With the advent of the AIDS crisis in the early ’80s, Jones emerged as one of the gay community’s most outspoken leaders.

Kendrick, Anna. Scrappy Little Nobody. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781508213543. Read by the author.
Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Kendrick’s essays offer commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.

King, Martin Luther. The Radical King. Brilliance. ISBN 9781511392815. Reader TBA.
Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became perhaps the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than 40 years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was. Arranged thematically in four parts, this work includes 23 selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, that illustrate King’s revolutionary vision, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism.

Kinsman, Kat. Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves. Blackstone. ISBN 9781441724687. Read by the author.
Kinsman expands on the pieces she wrote for about depression, and its wicked cousin, anxiety. Diagnosed with depression at 14, Kinsman speaks with pathos and humor about her “nervousness” that made her the recipient of many a harsh taunt. With her mother also gripped by depression and health issues throughout her life, Kinsman came to live in a constant state of unease. Now, as a successful media personality, Kinsman still battles anxiety every day. That anxiety manifests in strange, and deeply personal ways. But as she found when she started to write about her struggles, she is not alone. And though periodic medication, counseling, a successful career and a happy marriage have brought her relief, the illness—because that is what anxiety is—remains.

Lowery, Wesley. They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of #blacklivesmatter. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478943211. Reader TBA.
From the killings of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Lowery takes readers to the front lines of history as it unfolds. The repercussions of police violence have sent citizens into the streets proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and politicians scrambling. Lowery examines the economic, political, and personal histories that inform this movement, and place what it has accomplished—and what remains to be done—in the context of the last fifty years of American history.

myersanatomycoverrevised__1473363841_37900Myers, Marc. Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B, and Pop. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681683140. Reader TBA.
Covering the history of rock, R&B, country, disco, soul, reggae, and pop, this is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners from the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” to Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” After being discharged from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and revises Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to come up with “Proud Mary.” Joni Mitchell remembers living in a cave on Crete with the “mean old daddy” who inspired her 1971 hit “Carey.” Elvis Costello talks about writing “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” in ten minutes on the train to Liverpool. Mick Jagger, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and many other leading artists reveal for the first time the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. 

Oshinsky, David. Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735285200. Reader TBA.
New York City’s Bellevue Hospital occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe—or groundbreaking scientific advance—that did not touch Bellevue. Oshinsky chronicles the history of America’s oldest hospital and in so doing also charts the rise of New York to the nation’s preeminent city, the path of American medicine from butchery and quackery to a professional and scientific endeavor, and the growth of a civic institution.

Pomfret, John. The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681682686. Read by Tom Perkins.
Pomfret here lluminates every major event, relationship, and ongoing development that has affected diplomacy between these two booming, influential nations. Pomfret takes the myriad historical milestones of two of the world’s most powerful nations and turns them into one story, leaving listeners with a nuanced understanding of where these two nations stand in relation to one another, and the rest of the world.

Ribowsky, Mark. Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681683300. Reader TBA.
After he died in the backseat of a Cadillac at the age of 29, Williams―a frail, flawed man who had become country music’s first real star―instantly morphed into its first tragic martyr. Having hit the heights with simple songs of despair, depression, and tainted love, he would become in death a template for the rock generation to follow. Examining his music while also re-creating days and nights choked in booze and desperation, Ribowsky traces the miraculous rise of this music legend―from the dirt roads of rural Alabama to the now-immortal stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and finally to a sad, lonely end on New Year’s Day, 1953.

Robertson, Robbie. Testimony. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780804166034. Reader TBA.
With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” Robertson and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians. In this memoir, Robertson weaves together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at 16 to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of the Band and the forging of their unique sound.

Rosen, Fred. Blood Crimes: The Pennsylvania Skinhead Murders. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520037875. Read by Neil Hellegers.
Raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses and frustrated with their parents’ repressive rules, Bryan and David Freeman rebelled as teenagers. Encouraged by an acquaintance he met while institutionalized at a reform school, Bryan became a neo-Nazi. Bryan then indoctrinated David, and their flare for defiance took a dark turn. After callously murdering their father, mother, and younger brother, the skinhead brothers took flight across America, with police from three states in pursuit. During the trial, Rosen uncovered evidence that one of the brothers might not have been as culpable as authorities claimed, and divulged the history of a family torn apart by stringent religious beliefs.

41etqnfxmtl__1473364044_20987Rubery, Matthew. The Untold Story of the Talking Book. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504743884. Reader TBA.
Histories of the book often move straight from the codex to the digital screen. Left out of that familiar account is nearly 150 years of audio recordings. Recounting the fascinating history of recorded literature, Rubery traces the path of innovation from Edison’s recitation of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for his tinfoil phonograph in 1877, to the first novel-length talking books made for blinded World War I veterans, to today’s billion-dollar audiobook industry. He focuses on the social impact of audiobooks, not just the technological history, in telling a story of surprising and impassioned conflicts: from controversies over which books the Library of Congress selected to become talking books to debates about what defines a reader. Delving into the vexed relationship between spoken and printed texts, Rubery argues that storytelling can be just as engaging with the ears as with the eyes, and that audiobooks deserve to be taken seriously. 

Shriver, Mark K. Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524722395. Read by Jim Frangione.
Early on the evening of March 13, 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Before he imparted his blessing to the crowd, he asked the crowd to bless him, then bowed low to receive this grace. In the days that followed, Mark K. Shriver—along with the rest of the world—was astonished to see a pope who paid his own hotel bill, eschewed limousines, and made his home in a suite of austere rooms in a Vatican guesthouse rather than the grand papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace. Here Shriver retraces Francis’s personal journey, revealing the origins of his open, unpretentious style and explaining how it revitalized Shriver’s own faith and renewed his commitment to the Church. 

Smith, Chris. The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478936558. Reader TBA.
For 16 years (1999-2015), The Daily Show was a game-changer in television, blurring the line between opinionated news reportage and comedy. It launched careers, lampooned legions of public figures and garnered 18 Emmys. Starting with the inception of the show and Craig Kilborn’s turn as host, this history covers the groundbreaking election coverage, Jon’s famous monologue in the wake of 9/11, confrontations with John McCain and Hillary Clinton, The O’Reilly Factor, the war with CNN and every satirical moment in between, including legendary cast members Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Lewis Black, Jon Hodgman, Steve Carell, Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and a foreword from Jon Stewart.

Wagner, Robert. I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood’s Legendary Actresses. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524703356. Read by the author.
In a career that has spanned more than 60 years Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. Among Wagner’s subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. 

Ward, Jesmyn. The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501941023. Read by Cherise Boothe, Michael Early, Kevin R. Free, Korey Jackson, & Susan Spain.
Ward takes James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping-off point for this collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time. Contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

Wiltz, Christine. The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520051307. Reader TBA.
1916: Norma Wallace, age 15, arrived in New Orleans. Sexy and shrewd, she quickly went from streetwalker to madam and by 1920 had opened what became a legendary house of prostitution. There she entertained a steady stream of governors, gangsters, and movie stars until she was arrested at last in 1962. Shortly before she died in 1974, she tape-recorded her memories—the scandalous stories of a powerful woman with the city’s politicians in her pocket and whose lovers included the 25-year-old boy next door, whom she married at age 64. Wiltz chronicles Norma’s rise and fall with the social history of New Orleans and resurrects a vanished secret world.

Vance, Erik. Suggestible You: Placebos, False Memories, Hypnosis, and the Power of Your Astonishing Brain. Blackstone. ISBN 9781441731494. Reader TBA.
Vance takes listeners from Harvard’s research labs to a witch doctor’s office in Mexico to an alternative medicine school near Beijing to show how expectations, beliefs, and self-deception can actively change our bodies and minds. Vance builds a case for our “internal pharmacy”—the very real chemical reactions our brains produce when we think we are experiencing pain or healing, actual or perceived. Supporting this idea is centuries of placebo research in a range of forms, from sugar pills to shock waves; studies of alternative medicine techniques heralded and condemned in different parts of the world (think crystals and chakras); and most recently, major advances in brain mapping technology. 

Zapruder, Alexandra. Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478924166. Reader TBA.
Abraham Zapruder didn’t know when he began filming President Kennedy’s motorcade on November 22, 1963 that his home movie would change not only his family’s life but American culture and history. Now his granddaughter tells the whole story of the Zapruder film for the first time. With the help of personal family records, previously sealed archival sources, and interviews, she traces the film’s complex journey through history, considering its impact on her family and the public realms of the media, courts, federal government, and the arts community. 

Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

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