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How To Love A Country

Poets & Audiobooks: The Interestingness of Connections

How To Love A CountryOne of the things I like best about doing my blog posts is the places I go. For the audiobooks I write about here, I follow a wide variety of breadcrumbs and chase bits of information to amplify the story of the audiobook with details about authors or the topics. This type of research—a bit of web surfing, a rabbit hole to check out, or the discovery of an archival tidbit—is a great pleasure. Today I’m looking at Richard Blanco, Maria Popova, and Leonard Cohen.

Richard Blanco is one of our most influential poets and storytellers. While he lives in Maine, he writes about the world, including his Cuban-American heritage, and invites conversation with all Americans. He was President Obama’s inaugural poet performing his poem, “One Today.” He has published six collections of poetry. The newly released collection HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY  is a great listening experience. Jennifer Dowell writes in our review, “With a quiet but driving intensity, Richard Blanco delivers poems that speak to our times.”  Watch Richard working in the studio recording the collection—this gives a glimpse at what the full collection offers. Read more…

Elizabeth Acevedo by Max Flatow Photography

5 Novels in Verse: Audiobooks for National Poetry Month

Elizabeth Acevedo by Max Flatow Photography
Author Elizabeth Acevedo

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? That makes this month the perfect time to push your audiobook envelope and add some variety to your listening.

Although your first inclination might be to listen to a poetry collection (try Richard Blanco’s HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY), I have another suggestion. One of my personal favorite ways to enjoy poetry is to listen to novels in verse. For today’s Take 5 recommendations, I’ve concentrated on audiobooks that are appropriate for teens but that deal with issues that listeners of all ages can relate to, such as self-image, the #MeToo movement, racial profiling, immigration, family, and finding one’s path.

By the way, today’s picks can also serve double duty for Children’s Book Week, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, starting on April 29. Listen to these audiobooks for the poetry, to discover the power of children’s stories, and to learn something about yourself and the world we live in. Read more…

A Boy Called Bat

7 Kids’ Audiobooks About Autism

A Boy Called BatAs the step-parent of an autistic boy, I understand firsthand the challenges—and joys—of living with someone on the autism spectrum, and I often worry that neurotypical people will not recognize his kind heart and amazing mind. These audiobooks show autism from many different perspectives and offer opportunities for families to listen together and learn about understanding and accepting the neurodiversity of all people. Read more…

San Francisco through my hotel window

Explore Colorado, Arizona, and California with Mystery Audiobooks from Out West

San Francisco through my hotel window
San Francisco through my hotel window

Having traveled this past week to Denver and San Francisco, I thought I’d share some of my favorite mystery/thriller audiobooks that revel in the color, the light, and the landscape of the western United States.

Since my trip started in Colorado, I want to highlight Stephen White’s Dr. Alan Gregory series. The final book (number 20), COMPOUND FRACTURES, is narrated by Golden Voice Dick Hill, who performed many of the books in the series. I must confess, however, that my favorite in the series is THE PROGRAM, narrated by Earphones Award Winner Sandra Burr. The books feature Boulder, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies, as the backdrop for the serious crime solving and ethical struggles of psychologist Alan Gregory and his sometimes friend, police detective Sam Purdy. I was sorry to have the series end, but Dick Hill’s performance of the dramatic conclusion seemed like a good way to close the book on this one. Read more…

Anthony Rey Perez

Finding the Heart of Bill Konigsberg’s New YA Audiobook with Narrator Anthony Rey Perez

In Bill Konigsberg’s latest novel for teens, THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS, Max and Jordan meet by chance when Jordan and his mom are trying, and failing, to get their family food truck business going again. But Max needs a job, so he and Jordan spend their summer vacation working to to make the business a success—in hotter-than-hot Arizona. In the video below, Anthony Rey Perez, who performs from Max’s point of view, shares why this story of identity and authenticity appealed to him.

“What drew me to this story were the layers of in between. I love how the character I read, and all of the characters, aren’t the stereotypical idea of social normative, whether it be based on their culture or sexual identity.”—Narrator Anthony Rey Perez

Read more…