This week two new audiobooks that caught my eye, and ear, are filled with humor, warmth, and family dynamics. Mother and daughter author duo, Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella, are pretty irresistible in their latest essay collection I NEED A LIFEGUARD EVERYWHERE BUT THE POOL. Smile from the title on in. Another writer who keeps me in stitches is Adrianna Trigiani. Her new audiobook KISS CARLO looks like a winner. With Edoardo Ballerini as the narrator, how could this sojourn with a postwar Italian-American family not be a delicious listen? (The story does include culinary specialties!)
When I talk about author-read memoirs, I always reserve the right to dispute whether the author IS actually the best narrator. In the case of John McEnroe’s BUT SERIOUSLY it seems like this just had to be the author. McEnroe gives the full-on assault of voice and personality. It’ll be love it or leave it, for sure.
The mash-up of MATCHUP sounds really intriguing to me. Lee Child edited a collection of short stories in which A-List thriller writers pair up their series’ protagonists: Lee Child and Kathy Reichs match Jack Reacher and Temperance Brennan; Lisa Scottoline and Nelson DeMille pair their Benny Rosato and John Corey. Add in talented narrators and, what a gang!
AudioFile Magazine chats with author CD Reiss about her award-winning audiobook MARRIAGE GAMES, and her views on the audio experience.
AudioFile Magazine: Your book MARRIAGE GAMES just won an Audie Award for Erotica, and you attended the Audies Gala in New York City in June. What was that experience like?
CD Reiss: I brought my 13-year-old son with me, and since I grew up in Brooklyn, there were a lot of family visits that week. I wasn’t thinking about business until I got there and met some narrators I love working with like Xe Sands, Andi Arndt, and Jeremy York. It was a lot of fun, the food was terrific, and to be honest, I was convinced I wasn’t going to win, so I just relaxed and had a good time.
When Andi won her first award [for DIRTY], I was so happy for her, and I became even more convinced MARRIAGE GAMES wouldn’t win because . . . who wins two awards in a night?
Andi, apparently. Read more…
“If it bleeds it leads” is a well-known newspaper aphorism that may explain the strong correlation between crime novels and current events. Many a crime plot has had its beginnings in a captivating story or headline. There are no shortages of stories about Jack the Ripper, large corporations contaminating water supplies, terrorist attacks, or high-profile unsolved murders. Often, the more outrageous the real-life scenario, the better. The true-life events trigger a “what if” question in the minds of great suspense writers, and then they run with it.
One of—if not THE—best crime novel of our time, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, was influenced by the news stories of the Scottsboro Boys that Harper Lee would have read as a child. And chillingly enough, a much more modern nonfiction story from Lee’s own Monroe County, Alabama, is told in Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY.
One murderer who intrigued a writer enough to put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—is Peter Manual, the man who terrorized Glasgow in the 1950s. Denise Mina crafts a fictionalized version of his story in THE LONG DROP.
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to hear from Thérèse Plummer on her narration of PERFECT LITTLE WORLD by Kevin Wilson, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner. We’re introduced to this offbeat audiobook about a pregnant high school graduate invited to join a collective child-rearing social experiment called The Infinite Family Project.
“Izzy Poole, 18 years old, a child raising a child in a social experiment just blew my mind.”—Narrator Thérèse Plummer
PERFECT LITTLE WORLD
by Kevin Wilson,
read by Thérèse Plummer
AudioFile Earphones Award
Listeners get a chance to consider what it means to be a family through a large cast of characters. Thérèse allows us to dive into this strange, experimental world and witness as the cracks in the collective family begin to form and threaten the “perfect little world.” Thérèse’s intimate narration invites listeners to reflect on the poignant imperfections inherent in families of all kinds.
In the week when I had eyes on the G-20 meeting of world leaders, I should have listened to BEHAVE, Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky’s audiobook on the science of human behavior—the good and bad. Narrator Michael Goldstrom gets top marks for getting listeners through this dense and fascinating topic. (And you have to love Sapolsky’s author photo from a 2007 Stanford News article.)
Talk about bad behavior—Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde gets a splendid backstory from Jenni Walsh in BECOMING BONNIE. Susan Bennett gets Earphones for her performance. And Henry VIII ranks right up there in bad behavior . . . something to think about while listening to ANNE BOLEYN: A KING’S OBSESSION by historian Alison Weir. Narrator Rosalyn Landor delivers both pitch-perfect characters and Tudor atmosphere.
An interesting audiobook of debut fiction that caught my eye was Alexandra Fuller’s QUIET UNTIL THE THAW. Fuller, known for her memoirs of pre-apartheid Africa (DON’T LET’S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT), tells an intense story of two Lakota Oglala Sioux cousins. Listen to Fuller’s recent interview on NPR for more insights into the research and story behind this novel.
Look for more highlights in next week’s Robin’s RoundUp!