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21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

by Yuval Noah Harari | Read by Derek Perkins

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Derek Perkins's tone reflects a thoughtful balance of authoritative knowledge and openness, making this audiobook less a lecture of ideas and more a shared conversation. Harari, the Israeli historian who is the author of SAPIENS, offers essays on the intellectual and practical needs of the 21st century, focusing on the grand-scale issues facing humanity. His concerns... Read More

ALGORITHMS OF OPPRESSION

ALGORITHMS OF OPPRESSION How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

by Safiya Umoja Noble | Read by Shayna Small

Audible, Inc. | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Shayna Small masterfully handles Noble's criticism of a predominantly white tech industry that presents itself as neutral--but is actually producing problematic search results that demoralize and devalue people of color. When search results reveal questionable associations--for example, interchangeable results of apes and African-Americans or returning only images of... Read More

ALL THAT JAZZ

ALL THAT JAZZ The Life and Times of the Musical Chicago

Earphones Award Winner

by Ethan Mordden | Read by Joel Froomkin

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

If this were just an audiobook about the evolution of the play CHICAGO, it would be engaging, but with Joel Froomkin's narration, it is absolutely delightful. Froomkin's performance is a marvel, making the politicians, the "dolls," and the smoke-filled rooms of the notorious city sizzle with decadence. The narrative details the play's extensive history: the Maurine Watkins play... Read More

AMERICAN PRISON

AMERICAN PRISON A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment

Earphones Award Winner

by Shane Bauer | Read by James Fouhey, Shane Bauer [Intro]

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This has to be one of the best nonfiction audiobooks of the year, with a narrator performance to match. Bauer, a journalist, went undercover to take a job in a Louisiana prison run by Corrections Corporation of America. The result is an important, riveting look at what the United States is doing to people who are incarcerated or who work in the for-profit incarceration... Read More

ART MATTERS

ART MATTERS Because Your Imagination Can Change the World

by Neil Gaiman | Read by Neil Gaiman

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sounding a little bit wise and a little bit cheeky, author Neil Gaiman delivers four brief paeans to free speech, the importance of libraries, and perseverance in writing and other creative pursuits. Taken together, they serve as inspiration, encouragement, and rallying cry. In "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming," Gaiman talks about the librarians... Read More

BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY BURN AGAIN

BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY BURN AGAIN Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution

Earphones Award Winner

by Ben Fountain | Read by Ron Butler

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Ron Butler puts forth a bronze-star-worthy effort in the face of this relentless barrage of facts and anecdotes describing the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Fountain's disturbing yet salient distillation of that time, in the form of essays written more or less contemporary with the events, deserves an audience--but in print it could be a depressing read and... Read More

BOOM TOWN

BOOM TOWN The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding... its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

by Sam Anderson | Read by Sam Anderson

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook brings to life the fascinating and surprisingly interesting history of Oklahoma City, a place that is likely unfamiliar to many listeners. Author and narrator Sam Anderson has unearthed a wealth of information, beginning with city's founding in 1889 and taking the listener to the present. The narrative explores politics and sports and showcases successes and... Read More

BROCA'S BRAIN

BROCA'S BRAIN Reflections on the Romance of Science

Earphones Award Winner

by Carl Sagan | Read by Dion Graham

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrating this collection of writings from the late astronomer and media darling, Dion Graham uses an impressive array of tonal patterns and phrasing tools to capture the meaning and wonder in Carl Sagan's poetic writing. Graham's fluid and nuanced performance shines an admiring light on Sagan's reverence for science and gift for teaching. The writings sampled here are from the... Read More

CALL THEM BY THEIR TRUE NAMES

CALL THEM BY THEIR TRUE NAMES American Crises (and Essays)

by Rebecca Solnit | Read by Cassandra Campbell

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

As the audiobook title suggests, essayist Rebecca Solnit is not interested in pretense or adulteration. Too much is at stake, particularly related to America's political climate when considering issues of social justice, gender and racial equality, and the environment. Similar to the essays themselves, narrator Cassandra Campbell is unrelenting in her steadiness, and her... Read More

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS?

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS? New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism

by June Eric-Udorie [Ed.] | Read by

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Collection editor and activist June Eric-Udorie shares the mic with a powerful array of women in this necessary discussion on intersectional feminism. Multiple contributors, most of whom perform their own essays, drive forward a vision of an all-encompassing feminism reflective of marginalized, multifaceted identities. Eric-Udorie briefly introduces each writer's work, before... Read More

CAN YOU LEARN TO BE LUCKY?

CAN YOU LEARN TO BE LUCKY? Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others

by Karla Starr | Read by Arielle Siegel

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Arielle Siegel's sensitivity to the flow of ideas, along with her appealing vocal energy, help make this an accessible guide to performing better in seemingly chaotic and unpredictable environments. Magazine writer and NYU business professor Karla Starr offers zippy narratives and lucid research summaries to make the case that life is not as random as we think. We may... Read More

THE CHILDREN

THE CHILDREN

by David Halberstam | Read by Bahni Turpin

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Bahni Turpin narrates a heartrending and uplifting true story of the young men and women who changed the United States forever as they led the Civil Rights movement. Turpin's normally emotive voice is somber and steady as she guides listeners through horrific events ranging from beatings and jail time to surviving bombings. Through Halberstam's historical perspective... Read More

CHOP SUEY

CHOP SUEY A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

by Andrew Coe | Read by Eric Martin

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Eric Martin's warm, authoritative voice brings steadiness to food writer Andrew Coe's intriguing look at the cultural history of Chinese people in America through their cooking. And what better entry into the story than the iconic Chinese-American dish chop suey, which may have originated in New York City or San Francisco and may have been a last-minute mess or a... Read More

THE CLASS

THE CLASS A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America

by Heather Won Tesoriero | Read by Heather Won Tesoriero

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Tesoriero narrates her story of a year in the life of Andy Bramante, a science teacher at Greenwich (Connecticut) High School whose skills have guided many students to major scientific breakthroughs and awards, as well as entry to prestigious colleges. The author's narration can be a bit choppy. She oscillates between a disinterested progression through the facts and emotive... Read More

THE COMING STORM

THE COMING STORM

by Michael Lewis | Read by Michael Lewis

Audible, Inc. | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Michael Lewis continues to report on his study of the world through analytics. He narrates this latest audiobook with engaging authority. Here, Lewis discusses the data used to support U.S. infrastructure, particularly information collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The title refers specifically to the National Weather Service, where data gathering has led to lives... Read More

CRACK OF THE BAT

CRACK OF THE BAT A History of Baseball on the Radio

by James R. Walker | Read by Joseph Bevilacqua

University Press Audiobooks | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Joseph Bevilacqua's tone throughout every minute of this narration is one of engagement. The chronological work examines the relationship between radio and baseball--from the medium's nascent beginnings to its most recent big-money technological advancements. Bevilacqua's steady voice is a professional one that emphasizes intonation, expresses genuine interest, and... Read More

THE DINOSAUR ARTIST

THE DINOSAUR ARTIST Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy

by Paige Williams | Read by Ellen Archer

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The first thing that greets listeners is a list of abbreviations. The fact that ICE and the MPP, a Mongolian political party, relate to fossil collecting is a sign that the true story of smuggler Eric Prokopi has many strands. Narrator Ellen Archer draws listeners in, laying out facts while building sympathy for Prokopi and curiosity about where his story is going. Prokopi... Read More

THE DISORDERED MIND

THE DISORDERED MIND What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves

by Eric R. Kandel | Read by David Stifel

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Why do people struggle with thoughts or understanding? How does the structure of the brain impact who we are? David Stifel provides a confident professorial tone in his narration of Kandel's fascinating audiobook. Listeners searching for a fundamental review of neurobiology will find it satisfyingly comprehensive. Kandel, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, covers a broad... Read More

THE END OF THE END OF THE EARTH

THE END OF THE END OF THE EARTH Essays

by Jonathan Franzen | Read by Robert Petkoff

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Robert Petkoff gives voice to the edgy, eclectic, and energetic ideas of National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen. Petkoff hits the difficult balance between being ironic and earnest that is so characteristic of the author's essays. Petkoff races through the complicated, interesting sentences while at the same making sure that we keep track of their meaning with... Read More

EVERYTHING'S TRASH, BUT IT'S OKAY

EVERYTHING'S TRASH, BUT IT'S OKAY

Earphones Award Winner

by Phoebe Robinson, Ilana Glazer [Fore.] | Read by Phoebe Robinson

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

If current events have got you down, Phoebe Robinson will ease the doldrums with her second collection of laugh-out-loud sardonic essays. Robinson narrates her insights with the sharp wit that had listeners tuning in to her cohosted podcast. Listeners can escape from the bleak daily news feed by choosing to hear Robinson giggle in their ears at her own outlandishness. Her style... Read More

EXOPLANETS

EXOPLANETS Hidden Worlds and the Quest for Extraterrestrial Life

by Donald Goldsmith | Read by Peter Noble

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Imagine a British physicist, learned and friendly, providing a seminar for a select group of students, none of whom are up to date on whether or not planets exist outside our solar system. As it turns out, such phenomena have recently moved from speculation to fact, and narrator Peter Noble describes some of these new discoveries--which now total 4,000--in an engaging tone. A... Read More

THE FIFTH RISK

THE FIFTH RISK

by Michael Lewis | Read by Victor Bevine

Audible, Inc. | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

For those who are are still shocked by the results of the 2016 election, the author, who loves to dig deeply into the crevices of current events, has more anxiety in store in this audiobook. Narrator Victor Bevine has a low, restrained voice that underlines Lewis's sense of foreboding. The main point is that almost immediately after being sworn in as president, Donald Trump... Read More

FISHERMAN'S BLUES

FISHERMAN'S BLUES A West African Community at Sea

by Anna Badkhen | Read by Anna Badkhen

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Anna Badkhen immerses herself in the rhythms of life in Joal, a fishing village in Senegal, laying bare the doubtful future for artisanal fishermen because of industrial fishing fleets that have swept up everything in their wake, leaving empty oceans. The prose is lyrical and almost mournful, and it teems with energy, but the author's narration does not pulse with the same... Read More

FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED POLITICS

FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED POLITICS

by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers | Read by Robin Miles

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This group autobiography highlights the challenges, travails, and successes of four women leaders of color in the Democratic Party over the last five decades. Robin Miles narrates in a tone that lets these determined women's experiences shine. She captures joyful experiences such as finding role models and working with mentors to more personal experiences such as grieving the... Read More

GOOD AND MAD

GOOD AND MAD The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger

by Rebecca Traister | Read by Rebecca Traister

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Rebecca Traister's steady and powerful narration lends strength to her chronicle of women's anger. She examines moments in time when women's anger and actions drove the Suffrage movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the present movement, born after the 2016 election. It is a deeply researched study, and Traister's narration clearly reframes key moments in history from a... Read More

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ: THE BOOK OF BOOKS

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ: THE BOOK OF BOOKS Explore America's 100 Best-Loved Novels

by Jessica Allen, Meredith Vieira [Fore.] | Read by Robin Miles

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Robin Miles narrates broadcast journalist Meredith Viera's invitation to fellow booklovers to join her in discovering and rediscovering the 100 books discussed in the PBS series "The Great American Read." Miles speaks in such a welcoming tone that listeners will feel Viera's invitation as a personal request. At the heart of the audiobook are descriptions of the books and... Read More

HARRY POTTER: A HISTORY OF MAGIC

HARRY POTTER: A HISTORY OF MAGIC Wizarding World

by | Read by Natalie Dormer

Pottermore Publishing | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

As part of the celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter lore--the first book was published in 2008--an exhibition of Potter artifacts is coming to the U.S. This formidable audio documentary is a companion to that event. Listeners will be plunged into the magical origins that inspired Harry's enchanted world. Divided into the Hogwarts' curriculum, the audiobook introduces new... Read More

HOW FASCISM WORKS

HOW FASCISM WORKS The Politics of Us and Them

by Jason Stanley | Read by MacLeod Andrews

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

History's dictators have all had unique characters, but many of them followed similar patterns as they rose to power as populists and ultimately became despots. In this concise and thoughtful work, MacLeod Andrews's narration is an ideal complement to the writing: His pace is just slow enough to allow the arguments to sink in but brisk enough to avoid a lecturing tone.... Read More

HOW SCHOOLS WORK

HOW SCHOOLS WORK

by Arne Duncan | Read by Arne Duncan

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Arne Duncan narrates this audiobook about his work as Secretary of Education for the Obama administration. Duncan's policy initiatives received criticism; this audiobook acts as a defense, as well as a deeper explanation, of those policies. Duncan's take that schools are "run on lies" includes the view that they use a lowest-common-denominator approach to pass students... Read More

HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE

HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide

by Crystal M. Fleming | Read by Melanie Taylor

Beacon Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Fleming offers an masterful critique of the American culture's failure to meaningfully engage in the discussion of racism and white supremacy both before and after the election of Donald Trump. Melanie Taylor delivers the narration in a matter-of-fact tone that conveys the nuances and complexity of Fleming's thoughts as she explores racism and how it is enacted in history, the... Read More

THE IMMEASURABLE WORLD

THE IMMEASURABLE WORLD Journeys in Desert Places

by William Atkins | Read by Jonathan Cowley

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Jonathan Crowley is an exceptional narrator for this round-the-world tour of some of the planet's most austere places. His intonation of this quintessentially British audiobook--eccentric, erudite, and eloquent--allows listeners to feel they're inside the author's mind. This audiobook charts a geographic excursion from Australia to Kazakhstan to the Sonoran Desert; it also maps... Read More

THE INDISPENSABLE COMPOSERS

THE INDISPENSABLE COMPOSERS A Personal Guide

by Anthony Tommasini | Read by Mark Bramhall

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Several people have famously said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Even with Mark Bramhall's fine narration, there are stretches here where non-musician listeners will not quite get what Tommasini is talking about. Nevertheless, with Bramhall's help we do learn which composers the NEW YORK TIMES music critic considers indispensable, from Monteverde... Read More

INVISIBLE COUNTRIES

INVISIBLE COUNTRIES Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood

by Joshua Keating | Read by Joshua Keating

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author Joshua Keating's book on the longing of peoples like the Kurds for a nation of their own is a compelling work in itself. But he would have been better served if a more experienced narrator had delivered this audiobook edition. His discussion challenges and broadens our notion of nationhood and illuminates many of conflicts that endure today, some of them centuries old.... Read More

KILLING IT

KILLING IT An Education

by Camas Davis | Read by Camas Davis

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Lifestyle journalist and magazine editor Camas Davis offers a subdued and predominantly monotone narration of her work. The audiobook is jointly a memoir and an examination of issues, ethical and otherwise, related to the humane killing of animals for food consumption. The author's narration style does not absorb the listener. Davis founded the Portland Meat Collective in... Read More

LANDS OF LOST BORDERS

LANDS OF LOST BORDERS A Journey of the Silk Road

by Kate Harris | Read by Amy Landon

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook and its narration are excellent. The work is a travelogue, a memoir, and an engaging lesson on the history and ethics of science. Its foundation is Harris's drive to explore and her adventure-filled bicycle trip along the Silk Road. Narrator Amy Landon has a warm, conversational voice marked by a slight breathiness and drawn-out vowels at the end of many... Read More

THE LIBRARY BOOK

THE LIBRARY BOOK

Earphones Award Winner

by Susan Orlean | Read by Susan Orlean

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Susan Orlean is a wonderful narrator for her terrific new book--part memoir, part paean to libraries and librarians, with a focus on the Los Angeles Public Library and the unusual man who may or may not have caused the library's catastrophic 1986 fire. As she has proven in such books as THE ORCHID THIEF, and in her work for THE NEW YORKER, Orlean is an amazing writer. At... Read More

THE LIES THAT BIND

THE LIES THAT BIND Rethinking Identity

by Kwame Anthony Appiah | Read by Kwame Anthony Appiah

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Who are you? It's a simple question, and most people will answer it with a reference to race, gender, religion, and/or culture. It's also the question that launches this thoughtful, fascinating, remarkable audiobook. The author narrates his own work and does a terrific job. His reassuring, playful voice, tinged with a British accent, is immediately friendly and knowledgeable.... Read More

THE MENTAL LOAD

THE MENTAL LOAD A Feminist Comic

by Emma | Read by Amy McFadden, Kate Rudd, Lauren Ezzo, Jess Nahikian, James Anderson Foster, Braden Wright, Jeff Cummings

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In her first book, comic strip creator Emma takes a blistering look at the mental load of women--that running list of everything that needs doing that every woman lives with. The narrators work together to create a chorus of pretend personas that paint the reality facing contemporary women. The men give voice to a range of traditionalists in places like the office, beach, or... Read More

MONSTERS OF THE WEEK

MONSTERS OF THE WEEK The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files

by Zack Handlen, Todd VanDerWerff | Read by Joe Hempel, Chris Carter [Fore.]

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

These "X-Files" audio recaps adapted from the A.V. Club are aimed at newcomers, but longtime fans may find themselves reliving a few favorite scenes or episodes. As they recap each episode or movie, authors Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff weave in their own opinions along with interviews with people involved in the productions, such as creator Chris Carter and actor Robert... Read More

MY MOTHER. BARACK OBAMA. DONALD TRUMP. AND THE LAST STAND OF THE ANGRY WHITE MAN.

MY MOTHER. BARACK OBAMA. DONALD TRUMP. AND THE LAST STAND OF THE ANGRY WHITE MAN.

by Kevin Powell | Read by Kevin Powell

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Powell's collection of essays on hip-hop, football, politics, black identity, and his own limitations to be a better person are given even more gravitas by his slightly raspy and emphatic voice. Whether he's debating the merits of Tupac, Prince, Beyoncé, or Kanye; tracing the roots of his own challenging upbringing in an urban single-family home; or considering what it means to... Read More

MY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN PROVENCE

MY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN PROVENCE Reflections on Then and Now

by Peter Mayle | Read by John Lee

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator John Lee, a master of accents and voices, enlivens this collection of 21 pieces about British author Mayle's experiences living in southern France. The late author's signature sense of humor, much of it self-directed, and his perceptive observations of the people who became his neighbors and the places he eventually called home are at the forefront of his final memoir.... Read More

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN And Other Tales of True Crime

by David Grann | Read by Mark Deakins

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

NEW YORKER staff writer David Grann has collected three true-crime articles in this audiobook, deftly narrated by Mark Deakins. The cover story, THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, is now a movie starring Robert Redford as the charismatic, dashing gentleman bank robber and prison escape artist who is still plying his craft in his 70s. The other two stories of deeply flawed but fascinating... Read More

THE OMEGA PRINCIPLE

THE OMEGA PRINCIPLE Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet

by Paul Greenberg | Read by Paul Greenberg

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author Greenberg narrates his deep dive into the science, history, and culture of the omega fatty acids--3 and 6--with passion and verve. He even takes the occasional foray into impersonating some of his subjects. A close student of fish, the oceans, and the implications of our land-based diet, Greenberg leads the listener around the world, stopping off to interview omega... Read More

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM The Case for Hope

by DeRay Mckesson | Read by DeRay Mckesson

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

DeRay Mckesson's lilting voice can be hypnotic and endearing as narrates this mixture of memoir and call to action. He explores how he decided to stand at the front lines in the Ferguson, Missouri, protests and ultimately quit his job to pursue greater racial equality through the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether he's discussing the police misconduct he witnessed, his own... Read More

OUT THERE

OUT THERE A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (For the Cosmically Curious)

by Michael Wall | Read by Will Collyer

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

"Wow!" It's the introduction's first word, and Will Collyer tries to keep the wow factor in his narration. He sounds flip and funny, keeping a sense of wonder in his voice as author Michael Wall considers the future of space flight and the possibility of finding alien life. Wall's first stop on his survey of space is 1977, when a radio telescope received "The Wow Signal," which... Read More

PALACES FOR THE PEOPLE

PALACES FOR THE PEOPLE How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

by Eric Klinenberg | Read by Rob Shapiro

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wants listeners to understand his call for a national investment in social infrastructure, the environment that affects our human interactions. Narrator Rob Shapiro makes Klinenberg's pitch in a gentle, generally upbeat tone. Listeners will be intrigued as he details plans for projects involving libraries, schools, and abandoned properties. He also... Read More

PATIENT CARE

PATIENT CARE Death and Life in the Emergency Room

Earphones Award Winner

by Paul Seward | Read by Jim Seybert

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Jim Seybert's narration achieves the learned tone of a physician who's been through some of the most challenging medical cases a doctor can face. Listeners seeking insights about the difficult work of emergent care will find this audiobook fascinating and sometimes challenging. Seward, a retired physician, provides a series of reflective essays on his decades of work as an... Read More

PLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

PLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our Worldand Ourselves

by Matt Simon | Read by Holter Graham

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Zombies are real? Narrator Holter Graham talks about movie monsters at first, for comic effect, but science writer Matt Simon has found some real-life zombies in nature. Parasites--wasps, worms, fungi--often have properties that take control of their hosts in ways similar to what listeners have seen in movies and on TV. There's a creepy cheerfulness in Graham's voice as he... Read More

THE POISON SQUAD

THE POISON SQUAD One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

by Deborah Blum | Read by Kirsten Potter

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

"I Wonder What's in It," an 1899 poem by Harvey Washington Wiley, read in Dr. Seuss-style by Kirsten Potter, raises questions about the food listeners eat. Wiley, long the Agriculture Department's chief chemist, devoted his life to answering that question. Listeners may become uneasy about the borax, chalk, and other substances that were common before the 1906 Food & Drug Act.... Read More

THE REVOLUTIONARY GENIUS OF PLANTS

THE REVOLUTIONARY GENIUS OF PLANTS A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior

by Stefano Mancuso | Read by Gibson Frazier

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

How important are plants? Gibson Frazier calmly narrates the many things they provide: medicine, wood, and, eventually, oil as an energy source. From there, the tour of plant life branches out into topics such as how they move, how their memory works, and how they can be addictive. It includes stories of projects such as plantoid machines for gathering data in space and a... Read More

RULE MAKERS, RULE BREAKERS

RULE MAKERS, RULE BREAKERS

by Michele Gelfand | Read by Katherine Fenton

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Katherine Fenton's vocal personality makes listening to this audiobook interesting without straying too far from the documentary reading style that typically works well with social science titles. With few exceptions, her phrasing and vocal clarity make this a seamless, fast-moving experience. The author shows how tribes, states, and countries develop rules of conduct... Read More

SEAWEED CHRONICLES

SEAWEED CHRONICLES A World at the Water's Edge

by Susan Hand Shetterly | Read by Laural Merlington

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Listening to Laural Merlington narrate these pieces--which reflect on the quietly central role seaweed plays in the life of the ocean and in our own earthly lives--is strangely addictive. Merlington's calmly intense delivery of Maine writer Shetterly's insights offers a sense of conviction and urgency without ever hitting a strident note. Merlington's mature thoughtfulness is... Read More

THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

by Rosamund Young | Read by Rosamund Young

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Rosamund Young relates funny and sweet vignettes about the cows and other livestock living at Kite's Nest Farm in England. The gentle and meandering style of this audiobook is charming and also provides evidence against factory farming. Young's tone, along with her Worcestershire accent, suggests warmth and practicality. One cow plays hide-and-seek with her on the way to... Read More

TELL

TELL Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights

by Major Margaret Witt, Tim Connor [contributor], Coloniel Margarethe Cammermeyer [Fore.] | Read by Donna Postel, Major Margaret Witt

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sometime a perfect plaintiff appears to challenge a law in a civil rights case, and Major Witt is an example of that phenomenon. This audiobook is the story of the defeat of "Don't ask, don't tell," which was the final effort to prevent gays and lesbians from serving in the U.S military. Witt's exemplary career served as the battleground. Because this memoir is written in the... Read More

THIRD THOUGHTS

THIRD THOUGHTS

by Steven Weinberg | Read by John Lescault

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

John Lescault provides a clear, inviting performance of Weinberg's audiobook on the nature of science. Weinberg, the 1979 Nobel Prize winner in physics, provides a series of engaging essays, some debuting in this audiobook, covering the realm of scientific research and quantum physics. Some perspectives are controversial; for example, Weinberg does not see the value in... Read More

THROUGH TWO DOORS AT ONCE

THROUGH TWO DOORS AT ONCE The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

by Anil Ananthaswamy | Read by Rene Ruiz

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It's difficult to popularize anything involving quantum mechanics, fundamentally counterintuitive as it is in various aspects. Narrator Rene Ruiz grapples with this text in an engaging way, making it as accessible as anyone possibly could. The audiobook itself takes on the task by starting from the perspective of the classic double-slit experiment, in which light photons are... Read More

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

TIP OF THE ICEBERG My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier

by Mark Adams | Read by Mark Adams

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Plug Mark Adams into your ears as he travels Alaska, retracing the steps of the Edward Harriman expedition in 1899. Adams is a genial, informative, and amusing guide, both as an author and a narrator. Harriman refitted a ship and took all his famous friends--John Muir, George Bird Grinnell, and Edward Curtis, just for starters--to explore the west coast of North America up to... Read More

THE TRAVELING FEAST

THE TRAVELING FEAST On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes

by Rick Bass | Read by Rick Bass

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Rick Bass is the best--perhaps the only--choice to narrate his account of visiting mentors and admired fellow writers to cook for them. His light Southern accent is pleasant, his voice warm and strong, and he seems honest, humble, and engaging, even endearing. Unfortunately, he reads much of the audiobook in "poet voice," a mannered intoning as of a sacred text. Most sentences... Read More

UNDER FIRE

UNDER FIRE Reporting From the Front Lines of the Trump White House

by April Ryan, Tamron Hall [Fore.] | Read by Janina Edwards

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Janina Edwards provides a sincere but tempered voice for author April Ryan, an African-American White House correspondent who finds herself in the thick of dealing with a racist and sexist U.S. president. Ryan reveals the public and personal changes, challenges, and open hostility that she has faced during the Trump administration and articulates how Trump's war on the... Read More

UNDERBUG

UNDERBUG An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology

by Lisa Margonelli | Read by Christina Moore

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

An audiobook about termites may, understandably, give listeners pause. But those willing to delve into an unlikely subject will find a delightful and informative piece of popular science. Author Lisa Margonelli fully immerses herself in the world of termites, traveling the globe with leading scientists in the field to learn about their research and how these insects are... Read More

WE THE CORPORATIONS

WE THE CORPORATIONS How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

by Adam Winkler | Read by William Hughes

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

From the birth of the nation to life after the Citizens United case (2009), the author takes listeners on a historical tour of how and where businesses gained more rights in the United States than its citizens. William Hughes narrates in a serious tone with emphatic deliberation that effectively conveys the sometimes-complex legal discussions at the heart of Winkler's prose.... Read More

WELL-READ BLACK GIRL

WELL-READ BLACK GIRL Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

by Glory Edim [Ed.] | Read by Glory Edim

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Glory Edim, founder of the celebrated book club Well-Read Black Girl, narrates a profoundly reflective and inspiring collection of essays by black female authors. One hears a tone of youthful homage as she portrays a different artist in each chapter. The stories intertwine and connect through the women's shared experiences. They also connect through the steady cadence in Edim's... Read More

WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH?

WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH? Essays

by Heather Havrilesky | Read by Heather Havrilesky

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author Heather Havrilesky narrates her essays with zeal and style. The works share her passions (family and feminism), her interests (literature and television), and her opinions (on getting away from it all, love, and child-rearing). A longtime TV critic, she offers takes on TV antiheroes, which are especially good. An excellent narrator, she has a quirky sense of humor,... Read More

THE WORLD AS IT IS

THE WORLD AS IT IS A Memoir of the Obama White House

by Ben Rhodes | Read by Mark Deakins, Ben Rhodes {Prologue}

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Mark Deakins provides a humane, mindful narration of Rhodes's political memoir, which focuses on his stint as a national security advisor during the Obama administration. Political memoirs often fall into the tell-all category, with little substance and questionable veracity. Rhodes avoids this entirely. His reflections even include critiques of his own motivations. In one... Read More

THE WORLD IN A GRAIN

THE WORLD IN A GRAIN The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization

by Vince Beiser | Read by Will Damron

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

For those who sweep it off the sidewalk or pour it out of their shoes, sand may not seem like a remarkable substance--until they listen to journalist Beiser's account of its importance in our modern world. With narrator Will Damron's even voice as our guide, Beiser explains how the raw material of glass, concrete, roads, and vacation resorts has encouraged sand mining on a... Read More

THE WORLD OF LORE: WICKED MORTALS

THE WORLD OF LORE: WICKED MORTALS The World of Lore, Book 2

by Aaron Mahnke | Read by Aaron Mahnke

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Award-winning podcaster Aaron Mahnke narrates his own collection of stories that explore the darkest corners of our history. He delves into the truths and folklore surrounding a miscellany of depravity, including the acts of infamous serial killers and swindlers to the hysteria, hypocrisy, and violence of witch hunts. Though this audiobook is not for the squeamish, Mahnke's... Read More

YES WE (STILL) CAN

YES WE (STILL) CAN Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump

by Dan Pfeiffer | Read by Dan Pfeiffer

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This is an audiobook for anyone who misses the Obama administration and wants to hear about what it was like working for and with Barack Obama from the start of his longshot campaign in 2006 to the end of his second term as president. Dan Pfeiffer served in numerous high-level communications and strategy positions, and he was obviously very good at his job. As a narrator, it's... Read More

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