Staff Picks: Three Favorite Audiobooks
Listening to a book as opposed to reading it can make all the difference for some in enjoying a book. Sometimes reading is not possible or convenient but listening is. From commuters and vacation travelers, people with vision problems or other physical limitations, to gym rats and iPod listeners, being able to “read” a book without looking at the text can certainly be a form of freedom. Here are a few that the staff at the John Marshall library enjoyed.
Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole
I was drawn to this book because of the title. The Isle of Skye is a remote island in Scotland, and since I’d visited Scotland, I was curious about the story. I checked out the audiobook and listened to it during my commutes here to the John Marshall library, and was immediately drawn in. It is the story of a relatively unknown young Scottish author, and a college student from the U.S. who begins sending her fan letters. They strike up a correspondence that spanned from World War I through World War II, and the entire book is told through letters that imaginatively and intimately record their relationship. Their romance develops against the backdrop of a tumultuous time in history, which greatly affects the storyline. The awesome aspect of listening to this book rather than reading it was the multiple readers, each taking a character, so there was a feeling that it was a play being performed. And the readers who took on the Scottish characters are actually Scottish, providing such an authentic audio experience that was lovely to listen to. Sometimes I replayed a section just to listen to the Scottish brogues! I recommend this well-done audiobook, especially to those Anglophiles out there.
~Cheryl, Page, John Marshall branch
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
When asked for an audiobook recommendation, many times I’ll think back to my personal listening to find a selection for someone and often times this works, but on occasion, because we are so different, a recommendation will fall short. This happened with the audio book “The Lake of Dreams.” I chose this book for a road trip to Pennsylvania several years ago and just loved it! Read by Ann Marie Lee, this book became my travel companion for the journey. To my ears, Ms. Lee’s voice was soothing and melodic and combined with Kim Edwards’ lyrical writing style, I became totally immersed in the story and enjoyed their company. I recommended the audio book several weeks later and was surprised to learn the patron couldn’t finish listening to the first CD. They had found the narrators’ voice to be extremely monotonous and boring! How could I have been so wrong? I now realize the reader of an audio book can be just as important as the writing style of the author. While all of these differences may make recommending the perfect story a bit difficult, it is this same diversity that allows others to create these amazing pieces of literature for us to enjoy.
~Joan, Clerk, John Marshall branch
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Translated from Swedish)
Ove is a loveable curmudgeon. We all probably have an Ove in our lives – an old-fashioned man who believes there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things, and of course his way is the only right way. Ove’s beloved wife Sonya has been dead for six months, and all Ove wants to do is be left in peace to kill himself. He comes up with many ingenious ways to do the deed, and even puts down tarps so he won’t leave a mess that someone will have to clean up. Each and every time Ove thinks he has some time to himself one of his needy neighbors is at the door demanding attention. I laughed a lot and cried some too. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the reader’s pleasant voice. He did a very good job changing his narration enough so that it was clear which character was speaking. I wouldn’t have had any idea about how to pronounce some of the Swedish words if I had just read the print version.
~Gloria, Associate, John Marshall branch
If you have never listened to an audiobook, give one a try. You may find that you love “listening” to books!
~Cheryl, Page, John Marshall branch