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ACCESSORY TO WAR

ACCESSORY TO WAR The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military

by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang | Read by Courtney B. Vance, Neil deGrasse Tyson [Prologue]

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The relationship between science and the military is thousands of years old. This fascinating audiobook connects the two with regard to the contemporary world, discussing how the universe is being used for industry and government power. DeGrasse Tyson reads the introduction, and he does a terrific job. He has a silky, deep voice, and he paces himself well. He could credibly... Read More

THE ANGRY CHEF'S GUIDE TO SPOTTING BULLSH-T IN THE WORLD OF FOOD

THE ANGRY CHEF'S GUIDE TO SPOTTING BULLSH-T IN THE WORLD OF FOOD Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating

Earphones Award Winner

by Anthony Warner | Read by Jonathan Cowley

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It's difficult not to break into a smile when narrator Jonathan Cowley dons the persona of the Angry Chef and begins his tirade on ridiculous claims about food and diets. Speaking with a British accent, Cowley adds humor to author Anthony Warner's frustration and explanations of the pseudoscience that celebrities use as the basis for their diet plans. Cowley's enthusiastic... Read More

BACKLASH

BACKLASH What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America

by George Yancy | Read by George Yancy

Post Hypnotic Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

George Yancy's 2015 NEW YORK TIMES op-ed piece about racism in America--"Dear White America"--has garnered threats and hate mail ever since. Here Yancy addresses his mean-spirited, racist, and ignorant critics, along with white America as a whole, to call out the problem of white privilege in our nation. Yancy's choice to narrate works well--the raspy resonance of his timbre... 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

THE BILLIONAIRE RAJ

THE BILLIONAIRE RAJ A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age

by James Crabtree | Read by Shridhar Solanki

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The riches of India's prominent families are magnified because they exist alongside the abject poverty of the masses. Narrator Shridhar Solanki's tenor voice casts a questioning tone on their lifestyles and a system that allows so much wealth inequality. He presents to us the author's anecdotes and analysis of India's billionaires in a storytelling style that makes us shake our... 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

BURDEN

BURDEN A Preacher, a Klansman, and a True Story of Redemption in the Modern South

by Courtney Hargrave | Read by Dion Graham

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This extraordinary true story narrated by silky-smooth voiced Dion Graham follows the conversion of a former Ku Klux Klansman from an overt racist to a friend by a brave African-American preacher in the segregated South. Graham shines as he portrays Michael Burden with a hint of sadness and anger in his voice. Reverend David Kennedy, as depicted by Graham, shows the grace and... Read More

CELESTIAL BODIES

CELESTIAL BODIES How to Look at Ballet

by Laura Jacobs | Read by Tiffany Morgan

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In this audiobook, the author sets out to convince listeners that there's more to ballet than first meets the eye. It's not a compilation of tips on on how to watch ballet--it's an all-encompassing primer on dance that will enlighten novices and ballet enthusiasts alike. Narrator Tiffany Morgan is the perfect pairing for this listen. Her friendly but scholarly sounding style... Read More

CHASING NEW HORIZONS

CHASING NEW HORIZONS Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

by Alan Stern, David Grinspoon | Read by Alan Stern, David Grinspoon

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author and narrator David Grinspoon takes listeners behind the scenes of New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto, which passed by the planet in July 2015. This illuminating account reveals how stakeholders, Plutophiles, and advocates overcame numerous obstacles--including the securing of approvals, funding uncertainties, and inter-agency rivalries--to reach this planet.... Read More

CHASING THE DEMON

CHASING THE DEMON A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It

by Dan Hampton | Read by John Pruden

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In today's world of jets, helicopters, drones, and spacecraft, it can be hard to remember it was only in 1903 that the first heavier-than-air machine took to the skies. Of the many obstacles in the quest to go faster, farther, and higher, breaking the sound barrier was one that presented challenges some thought impossible to overcome. Fortunately for author Dan Hampton, and for... Read More

CHESAPEAKE REQUIEM

CHESAPEAKE REQUIEM A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

by Earl Swift | Read by Tom Parks

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The author's journalistic style and poetic eye for description combine with narrator Tom Parks's conversational tone to make this story about Virginia island life easy to listen to. Tangier Island, 12 miles off the Virginia coast, is home to a few hundred hardy souls who have one foot in the past--an economy based on commercial crabbing--and one in the present--a changing... 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

DON'T MAKE ME PULL OVER!

DON'T MAKE ME PULL OVER! An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

by Richard Ratay | Read by Jonathan Todd Ross

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Folks old enough to remember the "joys" of road trips in the family station wagon in the 1970s will delight in this fascinating look at the evolution of travel in the U.S. Narrator Jonathan Ross delightfully handles the first-person narrative about piling into the family land yacht and driving across the country. Ross speaks with tongue in cheek about squabbling siblings,... Read More

DOPESICK

DOPESICK Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

Earphones Award Winner

by Beth Macy | Read by Beth Macy

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In this razor-sharp indictment of the government, doctors, and Big Pharma, Beth Macy, author and narrator of this audiobook, exposes their attempts to control what is now an epidemic of opioid addiction among people of all walks of life in our nation. Doctors who do not understand the depth of the problem are overprescribing pain medications for small injuries and creating drug... Read More

EAGER

EAGER The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

by Ben Goldfarb | Read by Will Damron

Chelsea Green Publishing | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Will Damron channels Ben Goldfarb's enthusiasm for beavers as saviors of the environment. The author tramps around the country interviewing all sorts of "beaver believers"--scientists, biologists, ranchers, engineers, and crafty sorts selling beaver tchotchkes--who are committed to the reintroduction of beavers to try to offset the extensive damage to wetlands, rivers,... Read More

EVERYTHING YOU LOVE WILL BURN

EVERYTHING YOU LOVE WILL BURN Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America

by Vegas Tenold | Read by Vegas Tenold

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Vegas Tenold narrates his shocking audiobook on the rise of white supremacy in the United States. Tenold embeds himself in the homes and offices of white supremacists, witnessing street fights, riots, and everyday bickering. Part of what makes Tenold's on-the-ground reporting even more striking--and equally disturbing--is the mundane nature of the members of these hate groups.... 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

FEAR

FEAR Trump in the White House

by Bob Woodward | Read by Robert Petkoff

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

With the steely, measured delivery of a seasoned newscaster, Robert Petkoff narrates an audiobook that truly lives up to its title. As he has done for decades since breaking the Watergate scandal, reporter Bob Woodward dissects the White House, in this case since the election of Donald Trump. The results are frightening. Using hundreds of hours of interviews with White House... Read More

FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL

FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL A New Journey Through Anxiety

by Sarah Wilson | Read by Sarah Wilson

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sarah Wilson offers an intensely personal and engaging study of anxiety, its history and mythology, its impact on individuals and society, and the ways it can be treated and managed. Her pointedness and vulnerability come through in her narration. As the author blurb notes, Wilson is a journalist, entrepreneur, and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, and the founder of... 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

FORMERLY KNOWN AS FOOD

FORMERLY KNOWN AS FOOD How the Industrial Food System Is Changing Our Minds, Bodies, and Culture

by Kristin Lawless | Read by Jennywren Walker

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Jennywren Walker blends directness and dismay in this distressing message about how we are really not eating food anymore, but rather, highly industrialized food products. Walker effectively conveys the author's powerful message about how industry-influenced dietary guidelines have affected our bodies on the microscopic level and how the food industry affects how we... Read More

A GIRL'S GUIDE TO JOINING THE RESISTANCE

A GIRL'S GUIDE TO JOINING THE RESISTANCE A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good

by Emma Gray | Read by Andi Arndt

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In spite of its brevity, this audiobook edition of journalist Emma Gray's primer on the fundamentals of contemporary American feminism drains rather than inspires energy for joining the movement. Narrator Andi Arndt keeps to an even pace that is almost entirely lacking in inflection, rolling along with only rare deviations from a surprisingly uninvolved--and... Read More

HEALING THE SOUL OF AMERICA

HEALING THE SOUL OF AMERICA 20th Anniversary Edition

by Marianne Williamson | Read by Marianne Williamson

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author/narrator Marianne Williamson delivers a passionate and compelling message on the need for citizen involvement in America's current political system. Using updated information and clear supporting points, she calls for social activism inspired by a spiritual foundation. Williamson's narration is equally clear as she argues powerfully for a better America. She is... Read More

THE HERITAGE

THE HERITAGE Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism

by Howard Bryant | Read by Ron Butler

Beacon Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Bryant crafts a powerful commentary on black athletes' efforts to leverage their influence into a more meaningful conversation about racial inequality in the face of an increasingly politicized sports environment. As narrator, Ron Butler pulls off a superb performance. First, he delivers the straightforward content at a clear and steady clip made all the more inviting by his... Read More

HOMEY DON'T PLAY THAT!

HOMEY DON'T PLAY THAT! The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution

by David Peisner | Read by JD Jackson

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The TV comedy show "In Living Color" proved to be the culmination of numerous black comedians' efforts in an industry that had limited their voices in the prior 30 years. It was also the birthplace of a diversifying of black comedians for the next 30 years. In narrating the history of the show's rise, its height, and its aftermath, JD Jackson moves seamlessly from recounting... 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 CHANGE YOUR MIND

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND

by Michael Pollan | Read by Michael Pollan

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

With an intriguing blend of investigative research and personal exploration, Michael Pollan takes a deep dive into the science of psychedelics in an effort to examine their potential to enhance our inner lives and offer relief from emotional or physical disturbances. Pollan's narration matches his journalistic approach: He's calm and measured, though not immune to the delight... Read More

HOW TO LISTEN TO JAZZ

HOW TO LISTEN TO JAZZ

by Ted Gioia | Read by Peter Ganim

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The author's career as a pianist and music critic positions him well to explain how to critically listen to a complex musical form like jazz. Narrator Peter Ganim's ear for sentence structure makes him an able interpreter of the author's ideas. Some listeners will notice that his phrasing palette is a bit limited or repetitive, or that his vocal pitch sounds like it's being... Read More

I'D RATHER BE READING

I'D RATHER BE READING The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

by Anne Bogel | Read by Anne Bogel

Mission Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Anne Bogel loves to read--she hides in the bathroom to finish a book, plans trips around visiting favorite bookstores, and visits the library next door multiple times a day. She says she is a fast reader; she also speaks really, really quickly. It can be a challenge to keep up as she relates hilarious anecdotes of carting so many books in the passenger seat of her car that the... 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

KINTSUGI WELLNESS

KINTSUGI WELLNESS The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit

by Candice Kumai | Read by Caitlin Kelly

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Reading the introduction, the author sounds natural and excited about the ideas she offers in this inspiring audiobook. Caitlin Kelly's heartfelt narration, in contrast, communicates a gentle urgency that doesn't interfere with the learning but takes something away from the writing's relaxed optimism. This audiobook offers principles of living, growth, and repair that draw on... Read More

MAEVE IN AMERICA

MAEVE IN AMERICA Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else

by Maeve Higgins | Read by Maeve Higgins

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In this audiobook memoir, comedian Maeve Higgins presents stories about her family and friends, her world travels, and some mistakes in her life. She uses a soft Irish lilt to great effect when she tells family tales and gives a much stronger presentation when she discusses her values and her opinions about comedy. She is not above creating sound effects for her funniest story,... Read More

THE MARGINALIZED MAJORITY

THE MARGINALIZED MAJORITY Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America

by Onnesha Roychoudhuri | Read by Priya Ayyar

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Priya Ayyar narrates this audiobook with empathy and conviction. Her enunciation is on point, and her clear delivery of humorous anecdotes as well as serious analysis works. Her cadence brings this cultural critique to life. The author charts her course from journalist to activist in this impassioned plea to the "marginalized minority"--women, Latinos, LGBTQs,... Read More

MORE TOGETHER THAN ALONE

MORE TOGETHER THAN ALONE Discovering the Power and Spirit of Community in Our Lives and in the World

by Mark Nepo | Read by Mark Nepo

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Poet and philosopher Mark Nepo reflects on our human interconnectedness, weaving in a wealth of quotations from around the world. For example: "All things are connected. The art of community is discovering how." Nepo's voice is both clear and attractive; however, not all listeners will find his delivery engaging. Reading his prose in the sometimes lofty-sounding manner and... 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

ORIGIN STORY

ORIGIN STORY A Big History of Everything

by David Christian | Read by Jamie Jackson

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Listeners' minds will soar as this audio history reaches across billions of years to trace the origin of our universe, and our own hospitable but fragile sphere of living things. This "Big History of Everything" is a comfortable listening length, and Jamie Jackson narrates it at a natural pace. He maintains the immediacy of the narrative even when the subject is as vast as the... Read More

OUT OF THE CLOUDS

OUT OF THE CLOUDS The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings

by Linda Carroll, David Rosner | Read by Kevin T. Collins

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook proves that everyone loves an underdog--or, in this case, an "underhorse." The story is more than a one-trick pony; it also highlights the history of horse racing in the 1930s and 1940s. Narrator Kevin Collins's delivery is an excellent complement to the narrative, particularly his natural-sounding surprise at the success of trainer Hirsch Jacobs. A pigeon racer... 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

THE PERFECT WEAPON

THE PERFECT WEAPON War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age

by David E. Sanger | Read by Robertson Dean

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sanger offers a scouring critique of our nation's failure to prepare for the cyberattack on the 2016 election and those ahead, particularly given how active the U.S. has been in enacting cyber warfare abroad. Sanger's concerns sound all the more ominous in the gravelly voice of narrator Robertson Dean. There is a soft element to his deep voice that comes through in useful ways,... Read More

PLANET FUNNY

PLANET FUNNY How Comedy Took Over Our Culture

by Ken Jennings | Read by Ken Jennings

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

According to this audiobook, funny is the coin of the realm, the price of admission to our culture, the hip way to make yourself known, heard, famous, and rich. After all, news shows now include funny stories, advertisements rely on comedy to sell goods, and politicians need to be seen as funny by their audiences in order to get elected. Ken Jennings narrates his own audiobook,... Read More

PLAYING CHANGES

PLAYING CHANGES Jazz for the New Century

Earphones Award Winner

by Nate Chinen | Read by Ron Butler

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Ron Butler narrates this exceptional audiobook with the laid-back flair and nuanced understanding of a seasoned jazz musician. His diverse phrasing palette is as interesting to hear as it is clarifying, and his performance is never too conspicuous as he conveys the drama surrounding the growth of jazz in America. Fans of this genre will recognize many of the key... 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 POISONED CITY

THE POISONED CITY Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

by Anna Clark | Read by Xe Sands

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The tainted and harmful water supply of Flint, Michigan, did not happen accidentally. It resulted from an ongoing failure of individuals and institutions and reflects how our nation values some lives over others. To communicate such a blunt message, Xe Sands is the perfect narrator because her voice is smartly intimate. Her inviting tone comes through like a confidante's... Read More

READER, COME HOME

READER, COME HOME The Reading Brain in a Digital World

by Maryanne Wolf | Read by Kirsten Potter

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Kristen Potter directs listeners through Wolf's incisive examination of the increased consumption of digital media over the written word--and its impact. The exponential growth of digital formats has measurably changed what readers read--therefore, what they absorb, think, learn, and communicate. This change, Wolf says, comes at a cost to our shared humanity. Sound alarmist?... Read More

REWIRING EDUCATION

REWIRING EDUCATION How Technology Can Unlock Every Student's Potential

by John D. Couch, Jason Towne, Steve Wozniak [Fore.] | Read by P.J. Ochlan

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

From his perch as Apple's first vice president of education, Couch engages listeners with another manifesto on how technology will improve education in ways hitherto unknown. Narrator P.J. Ochlan's voice, with its slight nasal resonance, conveys Couch's writing in a congenial style but fails to be as inspiring as Couch's message. Even as the author waxes on about excited and... 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

SAVING CENTRAL PARK

SAVING CENTRAL PARK A History and a Memoir

by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers | Read by Erin Bennett

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers has devoted much of her adult life to restoring and preserving New York City's Central Park according to designer Frederick Olmstead's vision. Narrator Erin Bennett's rich voice is clear and expressive, with a lively pacing that maintains the listener's attention even when Rogers goes deep into the weeds of the history of Central Park. Rogers charms rich... Read More

THE SHIPWRECK HUNTER

THE SHIPWRECK HUNTER A Lifetime of Extraordinary Discoveries on the Ocean Floor

by David L. Mearns | Read by Dan Woren

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Listeners may have a sinking feeling as narrator Dan Woren tells the story of the HMS HOOD. The author's recollections of a life spent searching for lost ships have the feel of the TV documentaries Mearns has been involved with. There's always the sense of the methodical work of sifting through historical records and eyewitness accounts to target the underwater searches.... Read More

SPYING ON WHALES

SPYING ON WHALES The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures

by Nick Pyenson | Read by Nick Pyenson

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Nick Pyenson, the Smithsonian's curator of fossil marine mammals, is fascinated by whales--not only the massive ones living in our oceans but also the smaller prehistoric land whales that once lived in what is now India. Pyenson's narration often bubbles with excitement. When he takes listeners on a tour of a whale bone vault, he finds delight in the waxy oil smell. His voice... Read More

SQUEEZED

SQUEEZED Why Our Families Can't Afford America

by Alissa Quart | Read by Carly Robins

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Carly Robins takes her tone for much of this narration from the author's anger at the predicament of "the middle precariat," the struggling (often failing) middle class. These are the families who are trying to hold onto jobs, homes, and status in the face of declining salaries, uncertain work, and rising costs. But Robins's pervasive tone of wry cynicism and arch... Read More

TAMING THE SUN

TAMING THE SUN Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet

by Varun Sivaram | Read by Barry Abrams

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Think of the world of 2050. It could be a polluted world of droughts, floods, and heat waves. It could also be a solar world, with carbon emissions stored or used in industry. Varun Sivaram, a senior adviser to Los Angeles' mayor, reviews the hurdles in both policy and the technology itself as he offers glimpses of a brighter solar future. Narrator Barry Abrams captures the... Read More

THE TANGLED TREE

THE TANGLED TREE A Radical New History of Life

by David Quammen | Read by Jacques Roy

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Do you like science? How about matters of DNA, species origins, and evolution? Do terms like "archaea," "prokaryotes," "eukaryotes," and "horizontal gene transfer" enthrall you? If so, you are in luck. THE TANGLED TREE is a deep dive into what makes us--us. It's about how interconnected all living things are. As narrated quite nicely by Jacques Roy, this listen offers insights... Read More

TASTING THE PAST

TASTING THE PAST The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine

by Kevin Begos | Read by PJ Ochlan

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

After tasting a little-known red wine while on assignment in Jordan, journalist Begos set off to find the origins of that bottle and to learn why most commercial wine is produced from only a handful of grape varieties. Narrator PJ Ochlan's pleasant, expressive delivery takes listeners on this journey, which explores wine's role in ancient history, religion, culture, and... Read More

TEN ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW

TEN ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW

Earphones Award Winner

by Jaron Lanier | Read by Oilver Wyman

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Oliver Wyman brings his full complement of vocalizations to this polemic on social media and what it is doing to us. His cadence and delivery are spot-on, and his modulation of tone is especially effective when delivering the recurrent exhortation: "Delete your accounts." Author Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality and longtime Silicon Valley guru, has created a... Read More

THRILLING CITIES

THRILLING CITIES

by Ian Fleming | Read by Barnaby Edwards

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Barnaby Edwards narrates Ian Fleming's travel pieces with the right accent (upper-class Brit), cadence (breezy), and timbre (Fleming-esque). His stylized emulation of the famed creator of James Bond gives this audiobook an authentic feeling. Fleming's global peregrinations in 1959 and 1960 for the LONDON TIMES reveal his sharp-edged observations, patrician tastes, and... 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

TRANS LIKE ME

TRANS LIKE ME Conversations for All of Us

Earphones Award Winner

by C.N. Lester | Read by C.N. Lester

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

With a distinctive voice that is both light and deep, C.N. Lester delivers a broad yet personal, challenging but affirming, thoughtful and compelling introduction to many of the common questions surrounding the transgender experience. The complexity comes from the subject matter--human experience--which is both singular and shared. Lester makes the case for greater awareness of... Read More

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS A Journey to the End of Classic Rock

by Steven Hyden | Read by Patrick Lawlor

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

At 40, author Steven Hyden is a bit young to be nostalgic about classic rock, a genre he argues was launched with the Sgt. Pepper album in 1967 and ended at the turn of the millennium. And narrator Patrick Lawlor sounds a little, well, square for this celebration of the music of that era. The combination works well enough in this entertaining reflection on the giants of rock... 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

US VS. THEM

US VS. THEM The Failure of Globalism

by Ian Bremmer | Read by Willis Sparks

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Many audiobooks about the Trump era merely lament the deterioration in political discourse arising from his presidency without offering any solutions. Ian Bremer takes a different and more effective approach, examining the us versus them divide not only in America, but also throughout the world, and offering ways to bridge the gap. Willis Sparks is an effective narrator who... Read More

WE MATTER

WE MATTER Athletes and Activism

by Etan Thomas | Read by Julian Thomas

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Julian Thomas delivers this manifesto on why athletes have the right to a voice on social issues and why their activism is necessary in the face of today's injustices. Author Etan Thomas, a former basketball player, weaves together his personal experiences and verbatim interviews with more than 50 athletes. Thomas narrates with clarity, bringing gravitas to the many... Read More

WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE

WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE Scientists Predict the Next Great Discoveries and Reveal How Today's Breakthroughs Are Already Shaping Our World

by Jim Al-Khalili | Read by Pete Cross

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Pete Cross gives a crisp, erudite performance of this collection of thought-provoking essays, which envision the influence of technology, science, and nature on the future of society. How does automation impact our future lives? What should we make of the possible impact of artificial intelligences? Curious listeners who aren't versed in the minutiae of concepts like... Read More

WHAT TO READ AND WHY

WHAT TO READ AND WHY

by Francine Prose | Read by Allyson Johnson

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In the follow-up to her bestseller, READING LIKE A WRITER, author and critic Francine Prose recommends some of her favorite literary works. Narrator Allyson Johnson perfectly evokes Prose's conversational tone. Some of these essays have been published before and some not. A handful of classic novels are covered, as well as lesser-known works and authors. Throughout her... Read More

WHITE FRAGILITY

WHITE FRAGILITY Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

by Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson [Fore.] | Read by Amy Landon

Beacon Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook, a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller in print, is instructive, informational, and clear. The author provides an introduction to the social phenomenon called "white fragility," in particular its discomforts and pushback. As part of the discussion, she explains various racial terms and their history. Narrator Amy Landon's objective tone allows the audiobook to speak for... 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 OF ALL SOULS

THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life

by Deborah Harkness, Claire Baldwin, Lisa Halttunen, Jill Hough | Read by Saskia Maarleveld, Deborah Harkness, Steve West, Jennifer Ikeda

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The author and an ensemble of narrators guide listeners through the phantasmic world of Harkness's bestselling All Souls trilogy. Harkness is an academic historian whose expertise informs her imagined saga of witches, vampires, demons, and humans coexisting in contemporary and Elizabethan times. The lengthy interview with Harkness at the beginning is informative and genial.... 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

YOUR HAPPINESS WAS HACKED

YOUR HAPPINESS WAS HACKED Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain--and How to Fight Back

by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever | Read by Alex Salkever

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Coauthor Alex Salkever narrates this timely audiobook in an uninflected manner. While he's far from a dramatic reader, his earnest style suits the seriousness of the issues he raises. He is convincing. The authors share their personal stories, each in a kind of mea culpa for what inspired this project: email addiction leading to failing health for Wadhwa and a near... Read More

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