25 July 2013

Sound Recommendations: Something for Everyone

The three audiobooks I recommend today have only one thing in common: Each is a superb listening experience. If you're an eclectic reader, like I am, then be sure to listen to (or read) all of them; otherwise, pick the one that suits your taste. For my full audiobook reviews for these titles, see the AudioFile Magazine website.

Sisterland by Curtis SittenfeldTwin sisters Vi and Kate couldn't be more different. Kate has chosen a conventional path of work, marriage, and motherhood. Vi, however, has never moved past her hippie days and has shunned traditional relationships and a middle-of-the road career. What they do share, however, is an innate sensitivity to psychic phenomena, although Kate is careful to keep her abilities buried deep inside. When Vi publicly announces that their native St. Louis will be the epicenter of a major earthquake, even predicting a date, the sisters' lives begin to spin out of control. Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland explores a number of contemporary issues, from the alarmist media to family relationships. The audiobook (Random House Audio; 14 hr, 59 min) is brilliantly read by Rebecca Lowman. She not only does an amazing job with the wide range of needed characterizations but also keeps the tension building as the predicted day of the natural disaster approaches. I recommend the novel for those who like contemporary stories about family relationships, marriage, twins, and parenthood. It would also make a good book club pick.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Bob BuyeaAlthough Rob Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt was published in 2010 to much acclaim and starred reviews, the audiobook edition was released only recently (Tantor Audio; 4 hr, 10 min). This charming novel follows seven fifth-graders as they are get to know and then are changed by the school's newest teacher, Mr. Terupt, who has an unusual way of bringing out the best in his students. Each child has a unique personality (for example, one is shy, one is a bully, and one is a prankster), and the story is told alternately through their eyes. Buyea captures the inner essence of each student as he or she begins to blossom under Mr. Terupt's tutelage. When an accident puts their teacher out of commission, the children are deeply and differently affected. Arielle DeLisle (who reads the girls' chapters) and Mike Chamberlain (who takes on the boys) make a wonderful narrative team and are especially talented at projecting the students' maturation and changes over the course of the school year. This short middle grade novel will win over kids and adults alike, making it a great family listen. The book is a wonderful tribute to special teachers who devote themselves to giving their students more than just book learning.

The Longest Road by Philip CaputoWhen Philip Caputo looked his seventieth birthday square in the eye, he decided it was time to fulfill one of his long-time dreams: drive across America . . . the long way. Starting at the tip of Key West, the southernmost point of continental United States, and making his way all the way to the Arctic Ocean, at the end of the country's northernmost road, Caputo, his wife, and two dogs saw America as few ever do. But Caputo's journey, told in The Longest Road, was more than just a vacation; he set out to discover what holds this vast country together, especially in the current climate of political strife. Throughout the trip, he posed the question to the people he met, and their answers may surprise you. Caputo also shares his adventures, including encounters with wildlife and the weather. The audiobook (Highbridge Audio; 11 hr, 49 min) is narrated by Pete Larkin, who takes a conversational approach, which fits the story perfectly. He is a master at the necessary regional accents and enhances the story's great mix of humor, wonder, and drama. Whether you have the travel bug or like to stay safely inside, you'll be fascinated by Caputo's 16,000-mile trip and the people and places he saw along the way.

Sisterland, ISBN-13: 9781400068319; Because of Mr. Terupt, ISBN: 9780385738828; The Longest Road, ISBN: 9780805094466
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 7/25/13, 6:48 AM  

I always feel inadequate when I read about really good teachers! I think one is supposed to feel inspired, but my inevitable comparisons with myself do the opposite!

bermudaonion 7/25/13, 8:02 AM  

Julie loved Because of Mr. Terupt too. I need to get my hands on that book.

Julie P. 7/25/13, 11:50 AM  

I haven't listened to any of these, but I can only imagine how amazing BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT is on audio!

Darlene 7/25/13, 12:21 PM  

I have Sisterland on my iPod. I'm glad to hear its good.

Col (Col Reads) 7/25/13, 2:09 PM  

I am dying to read The Longest Road. It sounds fantastic!

Sandy Nawrot 7/25/13, 7:43 PM  

OK so here is the deal! I am going to go on my library website and order any of these that they have!

JoAnn 7/26/13, 3:08 PM  

Adding Sisterland to my wish list.

Jennifer 7/27/13, 7:32 PM  

These all look like great picks to me! I'm adding them to my Audible wishlist right now! I'm especially excited about Sisterland. I'm a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld ever since I read Prep but have yet to read any of her other works.

Anonymous,  7/28/13, 12:33 AM  

I want to read these too. I have had Sisterland on my TBR for awhile, and was reminded to read it earlier today when I read a wonderful review.
-Dilettantish Reader

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