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
Actor Paul Adelstein narrates in a way that Brooklyn-born Herb Cohen might have sounded in his prime: confident, strong, and with a hint of know-it-all impatience. With Adelstein's clear vocal tone and unwavering clarity, he is a wonderful choice to narrate these sharp-witted anecdotes about a unique American personality. The son of Jewish immigrants, Cohen was trained as an... 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
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
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
Author/narrator Shane Jenek delivers the journey of his self-discovery and transformation at a jaunty pace that captures his personality and engages listeners. Raised in Australia by loving parents, he never felt fully comfortable with his assigned gender. His memoir recounts how he found international success as a drag queen. Fans of his alter ego, Courtney Act, will be... Read More
Narrator Michael Butler Murray delivers a discussion of the ambiguities surrounding filmmaker Michael Cimino with a conversational approach that suggests an intent to set the record straight. His transparent narration avoids dramatic flourishes, providing a neutral though engaging delivery of the contradictions that encompassed Cimino. Was Cimino born in 1939--or in 1951, as he... Read More
The British Olympian recounts his own story of growing up, meeting the challenges of being a competitive diver, and falling in love with a screenwriter who is now his husband. The subsequent birth of their son via a surrogate is also included. Daley narrates with clear diction and an empathetic tone. The author simply opens up about his life--in and out of the pool. Daley's... 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
Dara McAnulty is an Irish teenager on the autism spectrum who is obsessed with the natural world. His Northern Irish accent is charming--all the "th" sounds disappear into "d" sounds--and evokes a sense of the landscape. McAnulty explains that his meticulous observations of birds, insects, plants, and animals help him to focus and to process information in a positive way. He... Read More
This audiobook is for anyone who thinks they know and understand the life and challenges of singer Whitney Houston. Narrator Leon Nixon's impassioned performance as the author and real-life music critic obsessed with Houston will make you cheer. And maybe shed a tear. Nixon gives context to Houston's over-publicized life and career. When he breathes a song lyric or two--as... Read More
Performing this sophisticated, often poetic, writing about his personal journey through the "fertile tableau and morass" that was New York City in the 1990s, former VANITY FAIR insider Dana Brown sounds assured and thoughtful--like the charismatic and intellectually savvy Gen-X New Yorker he is. What makes this combination memoir and cultural history so compelling is that the... 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
Jeremy Denk is a pianist and so intimately familiar with harmony, melody, and rhythm that it even seeps into his voice with a tone and expressiveness that is musical. He's reflective and wonderfully droll in this memoir in the broadest sense of coming of age--becoming a person, a pianist, and a teacher, along with getting comfortable in his romantic life. He often seems amused... Read More
This charming, humorous audiobook recounts bandleader Peter Duchin's early life and includes anecdotes of his adult life in midcentury America. Golden Voice narrator Johnny Heller turns these details into a cohesive story, which he delivers with ease and clarity. His natural ability to control the pace and rhythm of his presentation provides a skillful examination of events.... 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
Narrator Eric Jason Martin adds gusto to this mini-memoir, which spans much of author Bill McKibben's lifetime. Listeners first see him as a proud American teen who guides tours on the Revolution in his hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts. But as he grows older, he observes continued racism--including inequality of income, housing, education, and more--and cries out WHY?... Read More
A fascinating study of the life and work of Mary Hiester Reid, a turn-of-the-century still life painter, FLOWER DIARY promises listeners an audio biography full of personality and unique insights. Molly Peacock, a poet, personalizes this biography by inserting interludes of her own connections to the artist and research process without overshadowing the interesting biographical... 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
Alexander Vindman is the presidential advisor who testified at an impeachment hearing that our last president pressured a foreign leader to deliver damaging information about a political opponent. While the author's reading of the introduction and epilogue is serviceable, Jacques Roy's performance of the chapters is pleasing and sensitive to the pathos in Vindman's epic story.... Read More
In the last moments of his life, George Floyd called out for his mother. Dion Graham narrates this passage with such knowing naturalism and compassion that it will just about break listeners' hearts. With his ease with American regional accents and idioms, Graham follows Floyd's life from North Carolina to coming of age in the tough Third Ward of Houston, Texas. Sensitive and... 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
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
Deepti Gupta is a soulful voice for this feminist memoir about migration, food, and staying true to one's choices. As narrator, she is a believable stand-in for the author, who reveals her struggles, and those of her extended family, as they undergo many major life transitions. Gupta dramatically expresses Ghosh's disorientation at her new life in America, annoyance with... Read More
Rosemary Benson's melodic and expressive voice is perfect for these introspective essays about bird-watching, finding community, and striving for love. Susan Fox Rogers, a professor, is embarrassed when she can't identify a birdcall to her nature-writing students--and so begins her journey of learning about birds. She buys practical pants and good binoculars and becomes... Read More
Everyone knows the music of the Doobie Brothers, but how many know the true history of the band? Narrators T. Ryder Smith, Graham Winton, Chris Coffey, and Leon Nixon re-create the band's story, as written by founding members Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston (along with music journalist Chris Epting). The alternating--and sometimes contradictory--delivery of events by band members... 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
English actor Minnie Driver's captivating performance of her exceptional memoir will have you listening 24/7. In witty prose and with great storytelling skill, Driver offers beautifully crafted, often funny, always wise snapshots of her life. Ten-year-old Minnie revenge-shopping on a solo trip from Barbados to Florida to England. Minnie evading the Coast Guard while delivering... 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
Written as a portrait of four friends who attended Oxford together during WWII, this audiobook explores the ways that these women-- Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe, and Mary Midgley-- introduced new approaches to the discipline of philosophy. Alex Dunmore narrates both the women's voices and the occasional German or American voice, complete with accents, with... Read More
AudioFile Golden Voice Bahni Turpin turns A.J. Verdelle's reflections on her relationship with Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison into a song of praise and wonder. Morrison, born Chloe Wofford, first entered the author's life after the publication of Verdelle's novel, THE GOOD NEGRESS. They built a friendship based on their shared love of language and literature and their... 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
The author served for close to a year as a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam. Alex Hyde-White's narration captures Davis's accounts of humans in combat, jungle conditions, and death. Davis, who became an attorney after the war, describes in vivid detail what war is like from the point of view of the soldier on the ground. Hyde-White's delivery makes all the descriptions come to... Read More
This audiobook provides insight into the epic battles often necessary for unions to organize and to protect and improve the lives of workers. Written and narrated by veteran union organizer Daisy Pitkin, the audiobook succeeds because of the author's ability to weave personal stories and extensive historical background into each chapter. Pitkin's performance is surprisingly... Read More
Narrator Edoardo Ballerini immerses listeners in a lost world with this memoir. In a melancholy tone, he captures the author's longing for his boyhood home in cosmopolitan Alexandria, Egypt. He masterfully portrays the characters, especially his quirky grandmothers--one dubbed the saint and the other the princess--and ensures that the other members of his lively Sephardic... 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
Narrator Lisa Flanagan's bright, impassioned tones are perfect for this memoir by Elkins-Tanton, a planetary scientist, professor, and NASA lead investigator. Flanagan's ease with conveying complex scientific terminology and concepts, as well as her consistent and enthusiastic pacing, helps listeners absorb subject matter that may be unfamiliar. Much of this memoir focuses on... Read More
A.J. Jacobs knows puzzles--he's even been a NEW YORK TIMES Crossword answer. Nevertheless, with self-deprecating humor he lets listeners commiserate with his frequent frustration over the most demanding puzzles. That's good because listeners will be stumped by the audio-exclusive teasers at the end of each chapter. They're fun--but harder to do on audio. Listeners' struggles... 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
A veteran storyteller and performer as well as a writer, Ivan Coyote is in full control of this audiobook. Coyote, who is trans, writes about their experience in a world in which a mundane activity like using a public bathroom is not only political, but also potentially dangerous. The personal stories and essays in this collection are wonderfully varied but united by Coyote's... 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
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
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
Pete Townshend, legendary guitarist and songwriter for The Who, narrated his lengthy memoir WHO I AM more than a decade ago. He is just as thoughtful, articulate, and compelling in this installment, which is informal and unscripted. The 2-hour listen focuses on Townshend's career from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, a period of both triumphs and turmoil in his musical and... Read More
Paul O'Neill is remembered by baseball fans as a passionate, hard-nosed competitor, and that spirit comes through in Jack Curry's narration of his memoir. Curry, who was also O'Neill's coauthor, must have absorbed some of the intensity of the five-time World Series champion. His performance is well paced and delivered with the confidence of a sportscaster, and his familiarity... Read More
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live and work on a remote island, this listen, originally published in print in 2011, is for you. And if you don't mind a liberal amount of danger, drinking, and drug use in an audiobook, you'll enjoy hearing about Barry's experiences while living and working on Maine's most remote inhabited island, Matinicus--22 miles out to... 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 historic facts throughout. Based on Rebecca Hall's pioneering research into women-led slave revolts, the story becomes personal when Hall,... Read More
Ann Richardson narrates the story of Julia Child as she developed recipes, found an editor and publisher, and eventually produced her popular television series "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Subtitled "The Remarkable Figures Who Shaped a Legend," the audiobook follows Child's ten-year path to fame, all of which is recounted in Richardson's bright voice. Richardson... 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
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
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