To Dwell in the Wonder of the World

6 Audiobooks About the Natural and the Divine

Blossoming cherry tree

It’s spring! Yes, even if a snow-bomb cyclone dumped a foot of white stuff in your yard last week, Passover, Easter, and Earth Day are all right around the corner, followed by maypole dances. So let’s savor this froth of cherry tree blossoms as we consider the best new and classic celebrations of the natural and spiritual worlds.

Barbara Brown Taylor’s Earphones Award performance of her celebrated essay collection, AN ALTAR IN THE WORLD, is a listening experience to treasure, preferably while enjoying spring flowers. The theology professor and former Episcopal priest has a pleasant voice with a slight southern lilt that welcomes listeners like the smile so audible in her tone. In essays both personal and universal, she writes about encountering the sacred while living every day—talking a walk, ironing a shirt, waiting in line at the grocery store. As a non-churchgoer, I appreciated her broad view of God and her embrace of the holiness to be found in a garden, as well as in a cathedral or temple. 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.

On the Town in Spring: These Audiobooks will Make You a City Lover

Listen and travel from New York to San Francisco to Rome and Beyond

Here Is New York

Here Is New YorkSpringtime in the city.  Blue skies, warming temperatures, birds singing. I walk out without a hat, breathe deep, and inhale the pungent scent of aged dog poop revealed by melting snow. Urban life is full of surprises. Yet I love cities in spring, and, for that matter, in summer, fall, and winter. Herewith are a few of my favorite listens in which the city is a character.

E.B. White’s classic, HERE IS NEW YORK, may have been written about the great metropolis of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, but it remains a timeless, perfect love letter to an imperfect urban mistress. The audiobook begins with a cogent 1999 introduction written by White’s stepson, editor and writer Roger Angell, which brings the family reminiscences into a contemporary era. Narrator Malcolm Hillgartner reads the introduction and the all-too-brief stroll around the city in an endlessly listenable baritone that manages to be simultaneously rugged and refined.   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.

It’s Official — YA Rocks (In 6 Audiobooks)

Why I’m drawn to YA writing

Bahni Turpin for Audiobook of the Year
Bahni Turpin for Audiobook of the Year
Narrator Bahni Turpin

We adults who love YA titles used to be hesitant to reveal our passion, lest other adults recoil in literary-fiction-horror. But no longer. Bahni Turpin’s amazing performance of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, a YA fantasy by Tomi Adeyemi, took the top prize — Best Audiobook — at the 2019 Audie Awards. AudioFile had already given Turpin an Earphones Award for her riveting rendition of the fierce tale about three teenagers who must return magic to an African kingdom from which it has been stolen. Do not miss Turpin’s singing of Yoruba incantations. 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.

Florida in 6 Audiobooks (plus palm trees and gators)

P.S. The sand really is sugar white

Aurelia in Florida

Ah, the joy of sun hats and short sleeves, palm trees and warm blue waters. Yes, that’s me, escaping the icy Maine weather last month for some time on Florida’s gulf coast. I prepared by listening to a fun mix of audiobooks (and by forgetting to pack my swimsuit and my husband’s sneakers).

Lauren Groff set the scene with an Earphones Award-winning narration of FLORIDA, her arresting and quirky collection of beautifully told short stories, which was a National Book Award finalist. Her light, musical voice contrasts disarmingly with the dangers that lurk in her tales, which span characters, places, and centuries. They’re captivating and dangerous, like peering close at a winking flower that’s actually the eye of a camouflaged alligator. 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.

Make a Wish! Great Listens for Grown-Up Birthdays

Audiobooks to treat yourself

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

The remarkable coincidence that this blog entry is posting on my birthday encourages me to share that on the first birthday I remember, I hid under a table at the Wharf Theater in Monterey, California, while the actors serenaded me. I was five and had never before had a room full of strangers sing my praises. Now it happens all the time.

Or not, which brings me to David Sedaris. Birthdays need laughter, and his newest painfully comic essay collection, CALYPSO, is about aging. He thinks about it while recalling his family’s never-less-than-dramatic beach vacations. Sedaris reads in his famous tongue-in-cheek manner and with a vivid ability to dramatize a range of characters. Listen for the mirth and cherish the honesty. 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.

Sci-Fi Is About More Than the Future — 6 Terrific Audiobooks

Thank You, Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering

Artemis

ArtemisI listened to Andy Weir’s ARTEMIS, just nominated for an Audie Award in Science Fiction, because long ago, my dyslexic brother-with-a-PhD learned to read with the help of comic books about Buck Rogers and the 25th Century. (Make that with the inspiration of Buck’s backpack transporter and sidekick Wilma’s conical breasts.) My brother fell in love with science fiction, and guided by him, I did, too. Hence my delight in Rosario Dawson’s Earphones Award-winning performance of a rule-breaking woman in a moon colony. Plus all that realistic-sounding science that Weir throws in. I love that stuff.

Speaking of the science part of sci-fi, including robots (always include robots), I finished Martha Wells’s final fantastic Murderbot Diaries novella, EXIT STRATEGY, two nights ago. The wonderful Kevin R. Free has aced all four books about an honorable, thinking-person’s cyborg in a far future when space colonies are as big as planets and corporations battle for control of everything. It had me explaining every plot point to my non-sci-fi-fan husband, and actually, he was fine with that. We love our hero Murderbot. 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.

Everybody’s Talkin’ in These Full-Cast Productions

6 Engaging Full-Cast Audiobooks

Carmalita
Carmalita
Aurelia’s mother on stage

When I say that I come from a family of spoken word enthusiasts, it’s not just that we talk a lot. It’s that when I was born, my mother was a theater actress and my father a lighting designer. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my father was raised in a traveling marionette theater. So, declaiming in full sentences and the general trying-on of plot lines and personalities were big in our house. That’s why I’m delighted that AudioFile’s 2019 Listening Challenge includes Listen to an audiobook performed by a full cast. But why stop at one? Here are some of my favorites, most of them Earphones Award winners, starting with a trip around the galaxy with Arthur Dent. 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 Thrill of Knowing Stuff (in Five Audiobooks)

Inspiration! Enlightenment! Entertainment!

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Brief Answers to the Big QuestionsThis time of year, I want to be inspired and enlightened about things that matter while also being entertained. I seek hope about the future, even if that hope is tethered to a “what must happen to save the world” to-do list. Yes, watching the Great British Baking Show and listening again to Henning Mankell’s AN EVENT IN AUTUMN (read by the marvelous Simon Vance) have been satisfying diversions. But now I’m looking for empowerment, energy, and the happiness that comes from knowing stuff.

You too? Well, here are five audiobooks to get us started, beginning with Stephen Hawking’s BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS. Hawking’s “parting gift to humanity,” according to NPR, this short audiobook offers an eloquent and moving consideration of all that science has given us and the challenges left to face. Ben Whishaw’s gentle clear voice stands in eloquently for Hawking, making the science easy to understand and the human lessons significant. This will be one to play more than once and treasure forever. 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.

5 Surprising Audiobooks to Make You Smile

Discover delightful end-of-the-year listens

Snowman Smile

Snowman SmileAs we count down the remaining days of December, I wish all of you a new year filled with unexpected moments of delight—the smile of a passing stranger; a tune that sends you shuffle-dancing down the supermarket aisle; learning that your favorite barista loves the same François Truffaut films you do; discovering the most amazing book at the library.

Take Susan Orlean’s THE LIBRARY BOOK, which I loved so much that I listened to it and then checked it out of the library and read it all over again. Ever since I was empowered by my own borrower’s card at age seven, libraries have been a source of intrigue, joy, solace, drama, and education. Orlean’s captivating nonfiction audiobook offers all that and more. Read by Orlean herself in an Earphones Award-winning performance, it is an investigation into who set the devastating 1986 Los Angeles Library fire, a look at the library’s occasionally wacky history, and a celebration of libraries (and library patrons) all their excess and weirdness. It’s not that I recognized myself in any of those oddball patrons. Oh no. 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 5 Best Histories and Biographies of 2018

Finding Hope for Today in What Once Was

2018 Best Biography & History Audiobooks

2018 Best Biography & History AudiobooksIt turns out that “May you live in interesting times” was probably not an ancient Chinese curse, but I mutter it to myself anyway, because, hey, are these interesting times or what?  In between muttering, I have turned to AudioFile’s selection of the best histories and biographies of the year. They offer perspective, inspiration, and occasional comfort. I figure that folks have already lived what’s described in the books, so today has got to be manageable. 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.