Why Isabel Wilkerson’s CASTE Is a Must-Listen

On Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

On Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson’s powerful new work of nonfiction, CASTE: The Origins of Our Discontents, examines how caste, or a hereditary class system, underlies the oppression of Black people and other people of color in America. Racism certainly exists, she posits, but the country’s caste system, developed in Colonial Virginia to differentiate indentured immigrants from African slaves, is the root of the problem. A caste system permanently empowers those in the top group and permanently dehumanizes those at the bottom, setting them forever apart as “other.” It explains why President Andrew Jackson felt fine about his horse’s reins made from the flesh of American Indians. It explains why a white guest at a party full of liberals assumed that a Black man they didn’t know was a server who would get them a drink. The Black man was then Senator Barack Obama. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Can Listening to These Fictional Contagions Distract Us from Our Real One?

Can listening to these fictional contagions distract us from our real one

Can listening to these fictional contagions distract us from our real one

I have sewn a wardrobe of washable masks and discovered a heretofore unappreciated skill for following directional arrows along grocery store aisles. I don’t know what our post-COVID future will look like—better, worse, unrecognizable? The uncertainty makes me nervous, so I’m soothing my disquiet with fictional contagions. Some new; some classic; all guaranteed to divert you temporarily from the case counts in your neighborhood. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

A Symphony of Black Women’s Voices

A Symphony of Black Womens Voices
A Symphony of Black Womens Voices
Bernardine Evaristo (l) and Candice Carty-Williams

Daring, funny, relatable, eye-opening, moving, and filled with gorgeous prose.  Those are some of the adjectives I’d use to describe the two novels that won top honors in this year’s British Book Awards. I’d also say finally, because for the first time, both novels were written by Black female authors. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Celebrating Golden Voice Narrator Arthur Morey’s Audiobooks

Golden Voice narrator Arthur Morey

Golden Voice narrator Arthur Morey

In this happy month when we applaud the talents of AudioFile’s Golden Voices, let me forewarn you that Arthur Morey’s narrations are so diverting that while listening, you may walk right past friends without seeing them. And, like me, you may sit, mesmerized, long after the red light has turned green. The drivers behind me weren’t best pleased, but hey, I was in the midst of Emperor Nero’s bizarre rule of Rome, part of Barry’s Strauss’s terrific TEN CAESARS. As I listened to the inimitable Morey, I learned that while Nero was horrific, he also commissioned some of Rome’s most famous buildings. Go figure. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Julia Alvarez’s AFTERLIFE Helps Us See What Love Can Do

Julia Alvarez Photo by Brandon Cruz Gonzalez

Julia Alvarez Photo by Brandon Cruz Gonzalez

Poet and bestselling author Julia Alvarez’s first novel for adults in fourteen years, AFTERLIFE, is a timely and timeless exploration of what it means to care—for family, for yourself, for the difficult neighbor, for the person in need. Our guide is Antonia, a newly widowed, recently retired professor in her sixties. Dominican by heritage, she lives in a Vermont town where her late husband was everyone’s favorite doctor. As she navigates “a narrow path through loss,” taking “sips of sorrow, afraid the big wave might wash her away,” Antonia is caught up in the troubles of an undocumented Mexican farm worker and his pregnant girlfriend, and in the disappearance of Izzy, the most volatile of her three beloved sisters. Longing for her husband, the one person who would always “champion her way of being in the world,” she turns for guidance to his maxim: Let’s see what love can do. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Here’s to You, Girlfriend: 5 Audiobooks for Women’s History Month

Here's to You, Girlfriend

Here's to You, Girlfriend

Women make history in large and small ways every month of every year, including Women’s History Month in March. The third month of the year is also when I celebrate the memory of my mother. Dramatic, kind, brave, with a flair for rule-breaking and attentive listening, she was always proud of being accepted as a white woman at a Black Panther rally where she got to shake hands with Angela Davis. In that spirit, here’s to all the cool women in your life, the ones who look like you and the ones who don’t. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

What Is This Thing Called Love? 5 Audiobooks about Relationships

What Is This Thing Called Love

What Is This Thing Called Love

When I was single, I squirmed every time I was encouraged to bring a “friend,” aka romantic partner, to social gatherings. Arriving alone often resulted in excesses of sympathy. It was as if single meant incomplete. So as we approach the veneration of a martyred 3rd century Roman priest probably named Valentinus, I’m starting my February post with HAPPY SINGLEHOOD by Elyakim Kislev. Adam Lofbomm reads the research-based celebration of single living in clear, upbeat tones that resound with enthusiasm as he shares enlightening data and engaging interviews with people living their happy — happy!  — single lives. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

4 Audiobooks For Inspiration and Comfort

4 Audiobooks for Inspiration and Comfort

4 Audiobooks for Inspiration and Comfort

So, how is your new year going so far? While I hope it’s going brilliantly, I’ve found that many of us spend January in need of a boost, nudge, hug, or serious talking-to. That’s what these audiobooks offer. Listen to one or all, and by February, you’ll be raring to go.

Finding MeaningI wish I’d had David Kessler’s FINDING MEANING after my mother’s death on Christmas Eve, 2005. That January and for months afterward, I felt alternately numb and frantic, and despite our loving relationship, guilty about everything I’d ever said or not said to her. I needed Kessler’s blend of sincerity, patience, and good sense. They are a balm to the bereft. I trust you’re not mourning a death or job loss, divorce or even a broken leg. If you are, Kessler will help you through it. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Act Foolish Whenever Possible: Life Lessons from 4 Funny Audiobooks

Act Foolish Whenever Possible

Act Foolish Whenever Possible

In my family, we call it naked vacuuming. That urge to eradicate crumbs under the table while tiptoeing to the laundry room to retrieve underwear. One crumb leads to the next, which causes you not to hear the neighbor’s “Hello!” from the unlocked kitchen door until it’s too late. Hence my advice for the New Year — Leave the crumbs for the mice. Hoping that you, too, are inspired and amused by other people’s quirks and misadventures, I’ve decided to recommend four funny audiobooks filled with the kind of snippet I shared about my own life. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits on Audio

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits

This time of year puts me in a nostalgic mood to spend time with furry creatures that star in the sort of books that are loved by both adults and children. Rabbits, for instance. When the British publisher Rex Collings agreed to publish Richard Adams’s WATERSHIP DOWN, he wrote a colleague, “I’ve just taken on a novel about rabbits, one of them with extra-sensory perception. Do you think I’m mad?” Farsighted is a better description. The 1972 classic about a band of anthropomorphized rabbits on a quest for a new home has been republished and adapted repeatedly since publication, most recently in a terrific audiobook read by Peter Capaldi. That male rabbits get starring roles despite the matriarchal nature of real rabbit society is mostly forgivable because the story’s drama is enhanced by Capaldi’s rich voice and insightful pacing. The Scottish-born actor also starred as the twelfth Doctor in BBC’s epic Doctor Who series, which turns out to have been excellent preparation for creating an abundance of character voices for the brave group. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.