Rebecca Woolf, writer and blogger, narrates her memoir with devastating clarity and compassion. She married young when a surprise pregnancy occurred in a relationship that had just barely begun. After 14 years in a stifling and abusive marriage that included raising four kids and a life that asked her to sacrifice too much of herself, she finally demanded a divorce. Weeks... Read More
In many ways, this audiobook defies description. When Calhoun unearthed interview recordings that her father--NEW YORKER critic Peter Schjeldahl--had made years prior, she decided to use them herself to finish his intended biography of poet Frank O'Hara. What emerges here, though, is a memoir about O'Hara's presence in Calhoun's own identity and in her relationship with her... Read More
Novelist and poet Jesse Ball seems to be completely honest in this memoir, so much so that he comes across as arrogant, neurotic, and, frankly, unpleasant. The structure of the audiobook is quite unusual, making it difficult for narrator James Patrick Cronin to develop characters in any of the usual ways. The text jumps around in seeming free association rather than a... Read More
Fans of Melissa Gilbert and "Little House on the Prairie" will get a lift during this performance of her second memoir, this one detailing her life with Timothy Busfield. Although Gilbert's voice has matured with age, one still hears the perky nuances that made her performances as Laura Ingalls so endearing. Anecdotes are filled with joy, anger, hope, and laughter as the couple... Read More
Zibby Owens recounts her meandering path from coping with self-doubt and battling an eating disorder to launching a successful podcasting career. She treats listeners to her characteristic honesty whether she's describing crippling self-consciousness or later love and finding her métier. Owens's style is gentle, easy on the ears, and relatable. She chronicles her search for... Read More
Winston Churchill led a life that would be hard to believe in a fictional account. Churchill's lineage--he was descended from John Churchill, the bane of Louis XIV--all but assured that he would be a character of legend--a politician and a warrior, or so it seems. His career in politics, which covered a span of more than a half-century, is enough to demand notice. Jonathan... Read More
Author Erika L. Sánchez expertly narrates her own collection of essays about growing up the foul-mouthed outcast daughter of Mexican immigrants. She also addresses the frustrating experience of finding her identity despite racism, bad relationships, and inherent sexism in America and abroad. From living in apartments without heat to becoming a Fulbright scholar in Spain,... Read More
Nina Totenberg's remarkable memoir about friendship, love, fortitude, and the marvelous Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a gift to each woman's multitudinous fans. Listeners who recognize only one of their names, or even neither, will still be moved by Totenberg's affecting, wise, and often funny reflections on loving the people we love. Narrated by the author, a renowned journalist and... Read More
James "Jimmy' Burrows, the son of legendary playwright Abe Burrows, is the longtime king of situation comedy directing. In this audiobook he offers a sober, deliberately measured, entertaining, and remarkably casual glimpse of his professional life behind the scenes. The principal narration by Burrows is understated, unemotional, with a consistent tone and pace. While this... Read More
Trust the author/narrator when he says this memoir is a confessional--because it is. And there may be some things about Fitzgerald's life listeners would prefer not to know. Nonetheless, this is an interesting listen about a person who's led a fascinating, if at times, shocking, life. Fitzgerald had a troubled upbringing and shares some heartbreaking stories of violence and... Read More
This well-researched, well-written dual biography of the two great Lakota leaders Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse is a detailed account of their lives beyond their victory over the U.S. Army at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Shaun Taylor-Corbett's baritone voice is a splendid vehicle to perform this account. Listening to this production, one hears the constant conflict between... Read More
Daniel Gillies sounds weary at times as he narrates accounts of WWI battles--much as the soldiers who fought the battles might have. Listeners will come to feel that the new war technology of the time only brought new ways to disfigure faces. That's natural for an audiobook about the man who found new ways to put those faces back together. Dr. Harold Gillies also saw the need... Read More
Jennifer Jill Araya's narration bubbles over with the author's enthusiasm for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mendel is the president's former press secretary. Araya adds a soupçon of Mendel's anger toward Zelensky's rivals to the discussion of Ukraine's political environment before the recent war. When Mendel turns to the current invasion by Russia, mostly in the last... Read More
British actress Diana Quick brings her aristocratic voice and impeccable pacing to this biography of the writer Jean Rhys. Most known for her mesmerizing novel WIDE SARGASSO SEA, Rhys was as extraordinary as the women in her work. Of mixed Welsh, Scots, and Creole descent, she was raised on the Caribbean island of Dominica. After moving to England at age 16, she lived a... Read More
In her memoir, author/narrator Jennette McCurdy uses a dynamic voice for her mother's lines and a flat tone for much of her own thoughts and dialogue. The writer, director, podcaster, singer, and former child actor shares details of her dark adolescence. Years after her mother's death, she is now coming to terms with the emotional and physical abuse she endured from a mother... Read More
Mark Vanhoenacker, the author of SKYFARING, is an international airline pilot whose charming and intimate memoir is also a love letter to many of the world's principal cities. The combination travelogue/autobiography is artfully narrated by Kyle Soller with tone and pacing that are consistently wonderful in their unhurried way. Vanhoenacker's personal journey as a gay man is... Read More
Tanaïs narrates their memoir about their personal life, the Covid-19 pandemic, and perfume. This material is intermixed with the complicated history of the Indian subcontinent. The overall effect of Tanaïs's soft voice and contemplative pace has a meditative effect on the listener. This work could be listened to while unwinding on long walks but perhaps not during road trips.... Read More
Pamela Almand's narration makes listening to this literary biography of Elinor Glyn (18641943) informative and intriguing. Soon after Glyn's socially advantageous marriage to her charming, philandering husband, she begins to realize that something is missing in her well-ordered life. Almand emphasizes Glyn's frustration and determination as she defies repressed Victorian... Read More
Chef Michael Twitty's candid and warm style allows his intimate memoir to excel as an audiobook. Far more than an autobiography, KOSHERSOUL is a revealing account of Twitty's lifelong journeys--as a Black man, as a Jew, and as a gay man--and how those worlds have united and clashed. Twitty's style is engaging, and he narrates in a tone that embraces listeners and invites them... Read More
Narrator Jessica Garcie takes listeners through this memoir of ordinary days punctuated by traumatic events, as explored through the eyes of writer Mary Pipher. As the beloved author and well-known psychologist specializing in women's experiences describes her childhood and adult years, listeners hear the lessons of a well-lived life. Garcie's narration is thoughtful and... Read More
Narrator Beth Eyre shares the personal triumphs and heartbreaks of a young woman who is caught in the middle of WWII, Winston Churchill's youngest daughter, Mary. Taken directly from Mary's wartime diaries, this audiobook explores the day-to-day life of a young woman who is both growing up at the center of a powerful British family and becoming her own person during turbulent... Read More
This anthology covering the diverse lived experiences of Asian-Americans is enhanced by a full cast of vocal performers. Composed of 30 essays and poems, the collection covers a wide range of experiences from different intersectionalities. The talented narrators deliver the vignettes in varying styles, creating a compelling aural smorgasbord. Similar themes of being othered,... Read More
Fans of the cult classic DIRTY DANCING will be all ears as its female lead, Jennifer Grey, narrates the story of her rise to fame--and sudden loss of it--in this unflinching memoir. From her childhood with her famous father, actor Joel Grey, to behind-the-scenes anecdotes of the film, and beyond, Grey retraces her path from stardom to a mistimed cosmetic procedure, and then to... Read More
The author of this in-depth biography of the legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe narrates the text earnestly but flatly. It's too bad because, while this is a long listen, Maraniss reveals the mythology and pure fiction relating to the oft-called "greatest athlete in the world." Thorpe, who described himself as five-eighths Indian, won the decathlon and pentathlon in... Read More
Sasha LaPointe is an Indigenous artist--a descendant of the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian tribes--as well as a poet and now an author/narrator. She voices her coming-of-age memoir in soft, melodic tones while recounting a nomadic childhood full of identity conflict. LaPointe is an engaging storyteller who shares her various journeys, which range from expanding her... Read More
Fans of MSNBC anchor Katy Tur will be familiar with her skills and confidence in front of the camera. Here she narrates her memoir of her unconventional life. Her story will appeal not only to listeners interested in journalism, but also to anyone who enjoys a forthright or thoughtful narrative about an unusual life, along with personal takes on current events. Tur gives... Read More
Narrator Dion Graham's deep voice and emotionally fueled performance beautifully portray Michael K. Williams's journey from outsider to actor to activist. In this posthumously published memoir, Williams is open about many aspects of his life in the arts, including how finding success as Omar on "The Wire" couldn't help him escape addiction. Graham channels Williams, in part, by... Read More
Baseball great Shohei Ohtani has captured the attention of fans from Japan to the U.S. with his rare ability to play on both sides of the ball. He is a gifted pitcher and hitter. The author traces Ohtani's path from his homeland to his sought-after signing by the majors, especially his time with the Los Angeles Angels. Kyle Tait delivers a clear performance, never imitating... Read More
Robert Fass's new performance of writer Frank Conroy's 1967 memoir has the feel of classic storytelling in the 1930s and '40s. It's a perfect match for the stories unfolding here. It's best to hear these stories in order--they work as a chronological narrative of nostalgic reflections. Amusement parks, train rides, comic books, and yo-yo tricks all make appearances. Yet... Read More
Portraying the life of the seventeenth-century poet John Donne, narrator Simon Vance is, as always, eloquent, precise, and finely attuned. He delivers some of the finest lines in British poetry with ease and assurance. Donne's poetic genius emerged out of long struggle and deprivation, shadowed by a love-match elopement that ruined his prospects but inspired much of his... Read More
Narrator Gabra Zackman has that rare ability to get inside the souls of her authors. Here she reads Feiring's memoir with an understanding of its confessional dips into the past and its compelling journeys into the wine world of the present. Her pauses matter, she chats when needed, and her pacing is spot-on. Zackman's French and Italian are musical. The audiobook is an... Read More
Opening with the film-like sounds of a gathering storm at sea and a group of captive African women staging a desperate battle for their freedom, this combined memoir/audio play/graphic novel bursts with energy, inspiration, and little-known historical facts throughout. Based on Rebecca Hall's pioneering research into women-led slave revolts, the story becomes personal when... Read More
In wry tones, T. Ryder Smith deftly narrates David Sipress's bittersweet and charming memoir about growing up in New York City in the 1960s and his rocky road to being a successful cartoonist for the NEW YORKER. Smith gives Sipress's father a brusque tone and Brooklyn accent that is in direct contrast to the relaxed tenor of the rest of the narration, artfully conveying... Read More
Elizabeth Wiley's warm voice and audible enthusiasm welcome listeners to the remarkable story of Louise de Kiriline Lawrence, a Swedish aristocrat who became a WWI front-line nurse, then a Canadian wilderness nurse, and finally a pioneering bird-watcher known as Canada's Rachel Carson. Captivating even for those with only a passing interest in birds, Simonds's book is an artful... Read More
Mostly, Mike Lenz narrates in a low-key, evenhanded way. Still, he becomes excited as he describes the atmosphere surrounding Volodymyr Zelensky's victory in the Ukrainian presidential election. Lenz drops a few hints of trouble ahead, though. And not just the war with Russia. Although the author, a Ukrainian journalist, praises Zelensky's fight against the Russian invasion, he... Read More
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