The Australian author, who narrates his own work, details his life as a competitor in wheelchair basketball and tennis, his music-festival-hopping lifestyle, world travels, and so much more. He makes it clear that using a wheelchair will not stop him from what he wants to do and accomplish. With a gravelly voice, Alcott narrates his story, which is inspiring without being... Read More
Regrettably, the narrator of this audiobook is not the British actor featured in WOLF HALL and HOMEFRONT, but a prolific British author of military and dog-themed titles. Neither has he, equally regrettably, enlisted a professional narrator to present his history of American singer-dancer Josephine Baker's career as an anti-Nazi operative during WWII. Instead, most regrettably,... Read More
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
Narrator Imogen Church introduces Anna Wintour to listeners as a soft-spoken, young British socialite. This Anna developed her appetite for beautiful clothes as a teenager in 1960s London, where she caught the fashion bug so completely that she left high school to devote herself to developing her role in this domain. (She later graduated.) Church's expert performance captures... Read More
Rosie Perez convincingly narrates this memoir by Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes, a complicated woman who was socially naïve, emotionally fearless, and prone to melodrama. Perez and Spector are spiritual kin--showbiz outliers with distinctive voices, street cred, and all-in performing styles. Much of the audiobook is devoted to her producer/husband Phil Spector, who... 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
In this memoir full of grief, rage, and the healing power of the queer community, Gabe Montesanti recounts how joining a roller derby team helped her face childhood traumas, disordered eating, and her relationship with her emotionally abusive mother. Her narration is full of compassion, especially for her younger self who couldn't process what was happening to her, let alone... 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
This audiobook is a challenge. A companion piece to writer and critic Jefferson's previous memoir, NEGROLAND, its poetic style and fragmented structure may put off listeners expecting a more linear narrative. Karen Murray's skillful delivery, though, reminds us that challenge is a good thing. With patience and an open mind, one is exposed to both Jefferson's life experience and... 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
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
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
Ann Hood (KITCHEN YARNS) gracefully narrates her memoir of the years she spent as a TWA stewardess. Opening with a history of flight attendants, she segues into airline training, travel adventures, and bumps in the air, and finishes with the demise of TWA and some words on its legacy. Hood's smoky mature voice expresses the self-confidence she gained as a result of her aviation... Read More
The engaging snarkiness of Jim Bouton's writing shines in this entertaining audiobook. Bouton chronicles his efforts to save Wahconah Park, an old stadium in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and to bring a minor league baseball team to the city. Jim Seybert narrates with the right mix of candor, hubris, and resentment. This is not a baseball book, as many would expect. Instead, it's... Read More
Twenty-four hours spent tracking Harvey Weinstein's rise and fall may be more than enough for many listeners. Jonathan Coleman is an accomplished narrator, but his pace is deliberate, each detail carefully underscored, as if he were telling a story fresh and new. In fact, much of what's revealed here has been reported already. Thoroughly researched, the narrative goes from... 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
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
Featuring the stories of 25 women in gospel music, this audiobook is a short but powerful listen. Focusing on a mix of legends in the genre and newer performers, the work provides a journey through gospel that is well researched, personal, and engaging. From Inez Andrews to Mahalia Jackson, from Aretha Franklin to Yolanda Adams, this production focuses on the many ways that... 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
Putsata Reang's quiet narration of her beautiful, poignant memoir holds both deep compassion and raw pain. In the 1970s, she fled Cambodia with her family. She was small and sick, and the captain urged her mother to throw her overboard; instead, her mother saved her. That debt haunted Reang as a child and a young adult as she strove to become the perfect Cambodian daughter. She... 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
Actor Selma Blair recounts the story of her life, starting with her childhood struggles and continuing through her present challenges as a mother who has multiple sclerosis. Sounding vulnerable and authentic, Blair also shares her highs and lows with humor and wisdom. She powerfully expresses an array of emotions from moments of bliss to immense anguish, showing a total... Read More
This audiobook highlights why, in certain circumstances, nothing can replace the power of the spoken word. Aoife McMahon's narration is extraordinary, as are the first-person accounts she presents of the lives of refugees in Libyan detention camps and their efforts to escape seemingly unfathomable conditions. McMahon's delivery is precise and in many ways as haunting as the... Read More
Nine months before the enactment of Title IX, Briana Scurry was born. She took full advantage of the law that expanded women's sports. This is an audiobook about resilience and courage; Scurry narrates her story with vulnerability and authenticity. She details her journey through childhood, then a full sports scholarship to college, and on to women's soccer. Her 14 years on the... 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
Ken Caminiti was among the first of baseball's superstars to be tainted by steroids, and his struggles with substance abuse went much deeper than performance-enhancing drugs. Tom Parks's narration of Caminiti's tragic story is languid, almost sleepy, a style that emphasizes the fact that the text is longer than it needs to be. At times, the research is not just exhaustive, but... Read More
This engaging audiobook is not a biography of baseball's home run king. Rather, it's a portrait of Hank Aaron as seen through the eyes of a journalist who has experienced many of the same racial issues during his own career. Terrence Moore calls himself "the Hank Aaron whisperer" because he was one of the slugger's few confidants. Narrator James Shippy is equally comfortable... 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
JD Jackson is always a joy to listen to and a fine choice for this audiobook on the enigmatic Rickey Henderson, whose professional baseball career spanned more than 20 years. Veteran sports writer Howard Bryant handles Henderson fairly--revealing the greatness of the Hall of Famer who is the game's all-time runs and stolen-base leader. But he was a mercurial ballplayer prone to... 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
Sarah Polley's essays hit so hard that this listener didn't--at first--notice that she extracts volumes of feeling from every word. A voice this agile would make music of the tax code. Instead, she tells personal stories that would enthrall even without the successes about which this Canadian star of stage and screen never pauses to boast. When she was a child actor being... Read More
Gifted with a dramatic voice and, equally important, dramatic instinct, Michael David Axtell demonstrates his ability to sustain, balance, and shape a narrative that has a wide reach and many branches. Freud, paradoxically, recognized that savagery is wedded to mankind's nature but discounted the danger he himself was in as the Nazis took over Vienna. His actual rescue proves... 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
Author Toni Bentley delivers the opening chapters of this evocative ode to her career as a dancer for the legendary choreographer George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet. The main narrative, performed by Leslie Howard, is a minute-by-minute, movement-by-movement deconstruction of Balanchine's first original American ballet, SERENADE. Bentley's thorough research and... 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
When Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri began writing in Italian, her relationship with words shifted, becoming more conscious and thoughtful. This audiobook explores aspects of that shift. Sneha Mathan is an excellent narrator; her voice is precise and animated, lending a personal element to the audiobook's tone that makes its subject come alive. The essays are specialized in... 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
Listeners may feel the watchful gaze of security guards as Raphael G. Warnock tells the story of the time he walked, hands in his pockets, through a store with his sister and was stopped as a suspected shoplifter. After years in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, once home to Martin Luther King, Jr., Warnock won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2020. He sounds warm and gentle... 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
Courtney Maum's memoir of finding her way through depression and insomnia by reconnecting with horses is honest, thoughtful, and wry. She recounts her journey to peace and a reinvigorated marriage with gentle humor and self-deprecation. It feels a bit like Maum is a close friend who is talking with you about deep topics. She is clear-eyed in her reckoning with teenage anorexia,... 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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