AudioFile - Find your next great audiobook
Get our Newsletter

New Reviews: Contemporary Culture

Home»Reviews»New Reviews by Category
AGAINST TECHNOABLEISM

AGAINST TECHNOABLEISM Rethinking Who Needs Improvement

by Ashley Shew | Read by Maria Pendolino

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Maria Pendolino performs this short collection of essays featuring Dr. Ashley Shew's concept of "technoableism," a type of ableist belief that technology can, and should, "cure" disabled people. Shew uses her experience as a chronically ill, hard-of-hearing cancer survivor and amputee to illustrate how technology helps assist her in her everyday life. But, at the same time,... Read More

THE BEST AMERICAN FOOD WRITING 2023

THE BEST AMERICAN FOOD WRITING 2023

by Mark Bittman, Silvia Killingsworth [Eds.] | Read by Elyse Dinh, Will Tulin, Carolina Hoyos, Dylan Moore, Nikki Massoud, Chanté McCormick, Justin Chien, Anthony Rey Perez, Johnny Rey Diaz, Terrence Kidd

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

To cite a few of the many fine narrators of these essays and blogs about food, Nikki Massoud gives an inspired performance with perfect pitch of "Border Lines," Anya von Bremzen's nuanced debunking of national dishes. Johnny Rey Diaz, with clear Italian enunciation, does a fine turn on John Last's clever "There is No Such Thing as Italian Food." Dylan Moore brings empathy and... Read More

CROSSINGS

CROSSINGS How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet

by Ben Goldfarb | Read by Malcolm Hillgartner

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Malcolm Hillgartner epitomizes a fine nonfiction narrator. He lets these often disturbing stories of road ecology (annals of roadkills) reveal themselves in an understated way. A master of pace and cadence, his tone works with the dramatic statistics provided: About one million wild animals perish daily from cars, 40 million miles of roads ring the planet, and the fires in... Read More

CURIOUS SPECIES

CURIOUS SPECIES How Animals Made Natural History

by Whitney Barlow Robles | Read by Daniela Acitelli

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Rattlesnakes are just one of the creatures science writer-turned-academic Robles ponders as she blends her own perspectives and historical writings into this audiobook of essays on the human study of various species, such as coral and sharks. Narrator Daniela Acitelli brings a sense of wonder to a Native American story about the rattlesnake world. Her pace increases with... Read More

THE DAWN OF A MINDFUL UNIVERSE

THE DAWN OF A MINDFUL UNIVERSE A Manifesto for Humanity's Future

by Marcelo Gleiser | Read by Timothy Andrés Pabon

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Astronomer and physicist Marcelo Gleiser's manifesto calls for more awareness, gratitude, and kindness toward our planet. Focusing on biocentrism, he reminds listeners of the sacred relationship between humanity and our world, and argues that a call to action is crucial for their continued existence. Timothy Andrés Pabon's soft-spoken and lyrical narration supports the author's... Read More

DETERMINED

DETERMINED A Science of Life Without Free Will

by Robert M. Sapolsky | Read by Kaleo Griffith

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This thought-provoking audiobook presents listeners with a curious neuroscientific argument: Free will doesn't exist. The bestselling author, a Stanford neuroendocrinologist, argues that all life is predetermined; it's a product of conditioning and hormones, expressed as unconscious and reflexive neurological responses. With a measured pace and a tone of excitement, Kaleo... Read More

DOPPELGANGER

DOPPELGANGER A Trip to the Mirror World

by Naomi Klein | Read by Naomi Klein

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author and narrator Naomi Klein shares the complicated autobiographical story of how her online presence became entwined with that of another Naomi. A liberal Canadian activist and writer, Klein discovered that her name was being frequently confused with that of an American writer who was sharing false information about COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. What started as a... Read More

ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ARCHDRUID

ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ARCHDRUID

by John McPhee | Read by Grover Gardner

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Four men, four environmental philosophies, three wilderness settings. From these various and, at times, competing perspectives, author John McPhee weaves a deep debate over how to best protect the future of the planet and humanity. Grover Gardner's clear, conversational narration makes these sometimes complex discussions easy for listeners to follow. There's no false drama, but... Read More

ENDANGERED EATING

ENDANGERED EATING America's Vanishing Foods

by Sarah Lohman | Read by Sarah Lohman

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Sarah Lohman is a surprisingly effective narrator of her thoughtful audiobook. She narrates with a pointed reportorial style and measured cadence that suit this text on vanishing foods. She does Native accents impressively in sections on the Navajo (Diné) and Choctaw people. And she's an active participant in the journey to test and taste foods identified by the Ark of Taste,... Read More

ENDEMIC

ENDEMIC A Post-Pandemic Playbook

Earphones Award Winner

by Monica Gandhi | Read by Gabra Zackman

Mayo Clinic Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In this manual on pandemic management, a professor of infectious diseases describes how containment methods can be used more sparingly, be just as effective, and cause less disruption to people's lives. Gabra Zackman's performance sounds warm, authoritative, and quietly persuasive. The clarity of this scientific writing is helped by her pure timbre, natural-sounding diction,... Read More

GET THE PICTURE

GET THE PICTURE A Mind-Bending Journey Among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See

Earphones Award Winner

by Bianca Bosker | Read by Bianca Bosker

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Journalist Bianca Bosker narrates her witty audiobook about the art world with pizzazz. She has a pleasing sound, paces the sometimes frantic-sounding proceedings well, and comes across as an authentic seeker. Performing in a comic style, she enhances the audiobook's ironic undertone, which suggests that many in the art world see journalists as "the enemy." In this work she... Read More

HOMEGROWN

HOMEGROWN Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism

by Jeffrey Toobin | Read by Jeffrey Toobin

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Jeffrey Toobin gives a thorough, detailed, yet quickly moving account of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh's life, beliefs, actions, and death--and how his credo lives on in current right-wing extremism. Like his text, Toobin's narration is brisk, clear, and free of adornment. His guy-next-door manner keeps the material approachable and the focus on the story. No emotional... Read More

HOW MIGRATION REALLY WORKS

HOW MIGRATION REALLY WORKS The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics

by Hein de Haas | Read by Matthew Spencer

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This timely audiobook on migration translates extremely well to audio due to its straightforward organization and clear summaries of statistical material. Matthew Spencer's measured pacing and professorial tone are well suited to represent the author, a Dutch sociologist who is director of Oxford University's International Migration Institute. The audiobook begins with precise... Read More

I LOVE RUSSIA

I LOVE RUSSIA Reporting from a Lost Country

by Elena Kostyuchenko, Bela Shayevich, Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse [Trans.] | Read by Tiana Yarik

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Tiana Yarik does well in narrating Kostyuchenko's collection of essays and stories of life in Russia as she saw it. Kostyuchenko, an émigré Russian journalist now living in Germany and an outspoken critic of Putin, has compiled a work that one critic has called a "haunting book of rare courage." Yarik, a non-native speaker of English, does a splendid job delivering this work.... Read More

INVITATION TO A BANQUET

INVITATION TO A BANQUET The Story of Chinese Food

Earphones Award Winner

by Fuchsia Dunlop | Read by Fuchsia Dunlop

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

UK-born-and-bred author Fuchsia Dunlop adds zest to her ardent narration of her epicurean adventures around China and the history of Chinese food. A year-long academic scholarship in Sichuan, China, led to an invitation to study at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine. Her acceptance, which stemmed from a love of food, cooking, and a desire to spend more time in the city,... Read More

THE LAST FIRE SEASON

THE LAST FIRE SEASON A Personal and Pyronatural History

by Manjula Martin | Read by Manjula Martin

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Manjula Martin delivers this audiobook as if reading to a friend. While she's not blessed with a sonorous voice, her delivery is both passionate and authentic. She captures the complications of living in proximity to wildfires in Sonoma County, California, which was devastated by conflagrations in 2020. The audiobook presents three interlocking stories: The first is about a... Read More

THE LAST ISLAND

THE LAST ISLAND Discovery, Defiance, and the Most Elusive Tribe on Earth

by Adam Goodheart | Read by Will Tulin

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Adam Goodheart shares his experiences visiting "the most isolated people in the world" on North Sentinel, in the Andaman Islands in India's Bay of Bengal. In this audiobook he shares accounts of their history. Will Tulin calmly narrates Goodheart's first visit, leaving room for amazement at flying fish and dolphins. Tulin reflects Goodheart's lament over the plastic trash that... Read More

LISTEN

LISTEN On Music, Sound and Us

Earphones Award Winner

by Michel Faber | Read by Nathaniel Priestley

Harlequin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Nathaniel Priestley's creative pitch patterns and British enunciation give wonderful vitality to Michel Faber's colorful prose and expansive thinking about music. The Scotland-based writer of short stories and novels is controversial in literary circles. His idiosyncratic opinions on how music connects with the human race can sound snarky and unsubstantiated--more like "sofa... Read More

MY VENICE AND OTHER ESSAYS

MY VENICE AND OTHER ESSAYS

Earphones Award Winner

by Donna Leon | Read by Suzanne Toren

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Suzanne Toren's exquisite enunciation and no-nonsense manner meld beautifully with Donna Leon's sardonic, witty reflections on Venice and its denizens. Author of the much loved mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, American-born Leon has made her home in the watery city for more than 40 years. Many of her Brunetti mysteries are built around Venice's essential... Read More

NJUTA

NJUTA The Swedish Art of Savoring the Moment

by Niki Brantmark | Read by Karen Cass

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

If you're looking to get more out of the simple things in life, this audiobook is for you. A transplanted Londoner, Niki Brantmark has thoroughly embraced the Swedish custom of njuta, finding satisfaction in the smallest pleasures: a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a sweet treat, a walk in the woods. Karen Cass keeps to a brisk pace and an appropriately upbeat tone as she itemizes... Read More

ONE NATION UNDER GUNS

ONE NATION UNDER GUNS How Gun Culture Distorts Our History and Threatens Our Democracy

by Dominic Erdozain | Read by Dan Bittner

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The gun control debate in America has both emotional and legal dimensions, and this audiobook focuses on the latter. It's a brief audiobook that would have felt longer without the energetic narration of Dan Bittner, who prevents it from bogging down. Not that the writing is turgid--on the contrary, it's as lucid and conversational as one can expect from a dissection of the... Read More

ORANGES

ORANGES

Earphones Award Winner

by John McPhee | Read by Grover Gardner

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

AudioFile Golden Voice narrator Grover Gardner comfortably inhabits McPhee's curious mind and captures the eloquence of his prose in this splendid rendition of his short classic. The audiobook brings together the supreme storyteller and the exceptional story performer. Gardner's singular voice and intelligent style were made to deliver McPhee--his voicing of the author's TABULA... Read More

OUR HIDDEN CONVERSATIONS

OUR HIDDEN CONVERSATIONS What Americans Really Think About Race and Identity

Earphones Award Winner

by Michele Norris | Read by Michele Norris and a Full Cast

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Peabody Award-winning journalist Michele Norris and a full cast deliver a must-listen performance of Norris's riveting examination of race in America. Based on 12 years of submissions to Norris's Race Card Project--six words about race from over half-a-million people--the audiobook shifts between Norris's clear, warm, thoughtful commentary and participants' contributions, all... Read More

OUR MOON

OUR MOON How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are

by Rebecca Boyle | Read by Rebecca Lowman

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Rebecca Lowman's warm, easygoing performance creates a relaxed space for listeners to engage with this expansive cultural and scientific exploration of Earth's and humanity's relationship with the moon across time. The interconnectedness between each section is enhanced as Lowman clearly voices the science behind our world and its living organisms, and the mythos inspired by... Read More

OUTRAGE MACHINE

OUTRAGE MACHINE How Tech Amplifies Discontent, Disrupts Democracy--And What We Can Do About It

by Tobias Rose-Stockwell | Read by Justin Price, Bolton Marsh, Tobias Rose-Stockwell

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It's not just you. Social media is built around a model that encourages conflict and rewards users with more of the same. It's refreshing that Justin Price's performance is so warm and, in a welcome contrast to the subject matter, thoughtful and evenly paced. Listeners are provided a clear, concise history of the Internet and social media. Why do people gravitate so quickly to... Read More

OUTRAGEOUS

OUTRAGEOUS A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars

by Kliph Nesteroff | Read by Kliph Nesteroff

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Cultural historian Kliph Nesteroff narrates his affected and opinionated treatise on the evolution of American cultural trends, especially how immediately succeeding generations find newer forms of entertainment to be outrageously without merit. It all adds up to a dry narrative. While maintaining an appropriate pace, Nesteroff's delivery is breathy and includes... Read More

OVER THE SEAWALL

OVER THE SEAWALL Tsunamis, Cyclones, Drought, and the Delusion of Controlling Nature

by Stephen Robert Miller | Read by Jon Vertullo

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Jon Vertullo narrates this ecological warning with an even tone and a deliberate pace. His thoughtful delivery allows the detailed and meticulous reporting to speak for itself, that is, without excessive drama. His task is made easier by author Miller's crisply written journalistic reports from three sites: northeast Japan, where in 2011 seawalls were no match for a massive... Read More

THE PINE BARRENS

THE PINE BARRENS

by John McPhee | Read by Grover Gardner

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Grover Gardner imbues this exploration of a charming section of rural New Jersey, first published in 1968, with a knowledgeable and authoritative tone. The celebrated and groundbreaking NEW YORKER reporter John McPhee runs into several colorful characters, now long gone, during his visit. This look back at a simpler, more rural time both entertains and informs. Gardner's even... Read More

SONGS ON ENDLESS REPEAT

SONGS ON ENDLESS REPEAT Essays and Outtakes

by Anthony Veasna So, Jonathan Dee [Fore.] | Read by Keong Sim

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It's impossible to hear this posthumously released collection of essays and fiction without heartbreak, knowing it will be So's last. Keong Sim narrates it expertly, infusing it with the electric energy, wry humor, and curiosity that defined So's first story collection, AFTERPARTIES. The fiction pieces, from his unfinished novel STRAIGHT THRU CAMBOTOWN, are full of that same... Read More

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BIRD

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BIRD From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing--What Birds Are Doing, and Why (Sibley Guides)

by David Allen Sibley | Read by Evan Sibley

Echo Point Books & Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Bird lovers should flock to this fascinating audiobook. David Allen Sibley's field guides for bird identification are the worthy successors to Roger Tory Peterson's classic guides and are indispensable for birders. Here, Sibley has thoughtfully adapted his beautifully illustrated print version of WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BIRD. Sibley's son, Evan Sibley, narrates with aplomb,... Read More

WHAT WE SOW

WHAT WE SOW On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds

by Jennifer Jewell | Read by Jennifer Jewell

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Jennifer Jewell does a fine job narrating her own work, a fascinating and sometimes frightening examination of the complex world of seeds. It is personal, political, and technical as it dives into the work of seeds, the threats they face, and the politics and economics that surround them. Jewell hosts a National Public Radio program and podcast, so she is no stranger to the art... Read More

WHITE HOLES

WHITE HOLES

by Carlo Rovelli | Read by Harry Lloyd

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Harry Lloyd's affable narration echoes physicist Carlo Rovelli's casual writing style. Their conversational approach to the concept of white holes allows a variety of listeners to engage with complex physics regardless of how much knowledge they start with. Simply put, white holes cannot be entered but allow information to escape; they are the opposite of black holes,... Read More

Search by Range

The latest audiobook reviews, right in your inbox.

Get our FREE Newsletter and discover a world of audiobooks.

envelope

AudioFile Newsletter

Let us recommend your next great audiobook!

No algorithms here!
We pick great audiobooks for you.
Sign up for our free newsletter with audiobook love from AudioFile editors.

If you are already with us, thank you! Just click X above.

×

Thank you for signing up.

×

Thanks!

Thank you for contacting us!

Our group will review and follow up within 72 hours.
Thanks for your interest!

Back Home ×

Thanks!

Thank you for signing up!

Our group will review and follow up soon.

Back Home ×