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AFROPESSIMISM

AFROPESSIMISM

by Frank Wilderson III | Read by Frank Wilderson III

Recorded Books | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Successfully combining political philosophy and memoir, author Frank Wilderson also succeeds as a first-rate narrator of his work. As he reveals the stages of his development intellectually and psychologically as a Black man in a world of dominant white power, he moves smoothly between theoretical passages and moments in his life as a son, student, teacher, worker, a person... Read More

THE AGE OF WOOD

THE AGE OF WOOD Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization

by Roland Ennos | Read by Dennis Boutsikaris

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Dennis Boutsikaris, no stranger to nonfiction, performs a re-examination of human evolution that puts our arboreal origins at its hub. Boutsikaris takes on a conversational tone, which increases the accessibility of this well-researched audiobook by helping listeners connect with the importance of trees, not only for humankind's physical development but also for our... Read More

AMERICAN COVENANT

AMERICAN COVENANT

by Michael A. Soukup, Gary E. Machlis | Read by Danny Campbell

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Danny Campbell delivers this eloquent appreciation of our national parks in his somewhat hoarse-sounding and sometimes wavering voice. Once the listener is accustomed to his timbre, this audiobook delivers an informed celebration of the National Parks System (NPS) but also offers a critique of its management. The authors say the system has focused more on visitor... Read More

ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, JUNK

ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, JUNK A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal

by Mark Bittman | Read by Mark Bittman

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

A great storyteller, food writer Bittman narrates this history of food (from "sustainable to suicidal") in a friendly, accessible way that invites listeners to consider food's centrality to everything, including pressing issues such as climate change and social justice. Sounding engaged and conversational as he shares his research on how we got to our current state of affairs... Read More

BLACK, WHITE, AND THE GREY

BLACK, WHITE, AND THE GREY The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant

by Mashama Bailey, John O. Morisano | Read by Mashama Bailey, John O. Morisano

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano smoothly alternate delivering the chapters of their memoir, which is part reminiscence of their friendship and part the story of the restaurant business they built together. Bailey's warm, sincere tone holds listeners close as she details her experiences as a Black female chef. Morisano, who is white, has a humorous take on getting to know... Read More

BONES

BONES Inside and Out

by Roy A. Meals, MD | Read by L.J. Ganser

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

L.J. Ganser's performance is almost jovial--his intonation accentuates the audiobook's accessibility. This is no dull biology lecture: The audiobook covers a fascinating overview of bones, which have the ability to rebuild without scarring. The material also captures fascinating points throughout history and casts an eye on the future of medical care. Historically, medical... Read More

CHARLES DARWIN'S BARNACLE AND DAVID BOWIE'S SPIDER

CHARLES DARWIN'S BARNACLE AND DAVID BOWIE'S SPIDER How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels

by Stephen B. Heard | Read by Jonathan Todd Ross

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

You don't have to be a scientist to enjoy this examination of the lighter side of taxonomy, but it helps to have an interest in science. Jonathan Todd Ross offers an easygoing narration of the author's commentary on how plants and animals are named. Ross's voice has almost an impish quality when he recounts stories like the ones about how the cartoonist Gary Larson ended up the... Read More

CITY OF CHAMPIONS

CITY OF CHAMPIONS A History of Triumph and Defeat in Detroit

by Stefan Szymanski, Silke-Maria Weineck | Read by Leon Nixon

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audio history of Detroit addresses various sports and goes way beyond them with a sociological look at the struggles the city has endured. The authors use sports--moments, games, and personalities--as their perspective for conveying what has happened, evolved, and stalled in the Motor City. Leon Nixon always brings gravitas to his narrations, and this one is no different.... Read More

THE CONFEDERACY: TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

THE CONFEDERACY: TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Words + Music

by T Bone Burnett | Read by T bone Burnett

Audible, Inc. | Audio Program
Contemporary Culture

Grammy Award winner T Bone Burnett combines a selection of his songs with his reflections on America's history of racial injustice. New productions of relevant songs from his vast catalog sound raw and give the audiobook a gritty feel. Equally intense are his song lyrics and spoken comments, both rough-hewn expressions of his outrage about racial atrocities and injustices. He... Read More

EVERYBODY HAS A PODCAST (EXCEPT YOU)

EVERYBODY HAS A PODCAST (EXCEPT YOU) A How-To Guide from the First Family of Podcasting

by Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy | Read by Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

The McElroy brothers, hosts of several successful podcasts, offer a conversational, self-deprecating primer on launching or better understanding the process of Internet audio offerings--better known as podcasts. The brothers, along with their extended family, share narration duties, each in a pleasant tone and manner. While much of the information provided is simply common... Read More

EXPEDITION DEEP OCEAN

EXPEDITION DEEP OCEAN The First Descent to the Bottom of All Five of the World's Oceans

by Josh Young | Read by Eric G. Dove

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook recounts the true story of the Five Deeps Expedition of 2019-2020, a quest launched by equity investor and well-known explorer Victor Vescovo. The goal was for a manned submersible to reach the deepest points of the Earth's five oceans, with side trips to the TITANIC, the Horizon Deep, the Challenger Deep, the Sirena Deep, and the Diamantina Fracture Zone. The... Read More

EXTRATERRESTRIAL

EXTRATERRESTRIAL The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

by Avi Loeb | Read by Robert Petkoff

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In this audiobook, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb takes listeners through the beguiling interstellar mystery surrounding "Oumuamua"--a not easily identified object that was observed in our solar system in 2017. Like all good detectives, Loeb unravels every clue and eliminates all but one explanation for Oumuamua's odd shape, spin, non-gravitational acceleration, and luminosity:... Read More

FIELD NOTES FROM AN UNINTENTIONAL BIRDER

FIELD NOTES FROM AN UNINTENTIONAL BIRDER

by Julia Zarankin | Read by Nan McNamara

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Nan McNamara brings an enthusiastic and relatable voice to this fun and fulfilling story of discovering birding. She expresses the author's transformation with the zeal of someone whose new hobby has taken over her every thought. Effervescent tones and buoyant pacing bring listeners into this new source of rapture in Zarankin's life. Growing up in a family of music... Read More

FOOTSTEPS OF FEDERER

FOOTSTEPS OF FEDERER A Fan's Pilgrimage Across 7 Swiss Cantons in 10 Acts

Earphones Award Winner

by Dave Seminara | Read by Paul Heitsch

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Dave Seminara loves tennis and hero-worships champion Roger Federer. Narrator Paul Heitsch makes sure that we understand these things about Seminara with a performance that adeptly reveals the enthusiasm, humility, and sincerity of the author. After a long struggle with autoimmune disease and an injury, Seminara decides to combine his own return to the court with a trip around... Read More

THE JOURNEYS OF TREES

THE JOURNEYS OF TREES A Story about Forests, People, and the Future

Earphones Award Winner

by Zach St. George | Read by Daniel Henning

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

A surprisingly delightful audiobook takes what might be a dry topic--the migrations of forests and trees--and turns it into a compelling listening experience. Part of the credit goes to Daniel Henning's lively narration. He animates this fascinating collection of stories and scientific studies at a steady pace and gives a nuanced performance. Make no mistake--this audiobook... Read More

LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I MEAN

LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I MEAN

Earphones Award Winner

by Joan Didion | Read by Kimberly Farr, Hilton Als

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Kimberly Farr's clear, warm voice and intentional pacing--not too fast, not too slow--are the perfect vehicles for this collection of Joan Didion's early journalism. Farr, who often narrates Didion's work, skillfully delivers the author's tone, which is a mix of bemusement and amusement, irony, empathy, and toughness. The book offers a variety of subjects and writerly... Read More

LET THE LORD SORT THEM

LET THE LORD SORT THEM The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty

Earphones Award Winner

by Maurice Chammah | Read by Kevin R. Free

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Kevin Free's approachable narration of Chammah's multifaceted historical investigation of the death penalty makes the topic easier to bear while simultaneously delivering a gut punch as one realizes the horror of it all. In 1972, SCOTUS found the nation's death penalty laws to be unconstitutional, prompting states to rewrite them. Chammah explores the sentence's racist origins,... Read More

THE LONELY CENTURY

THE LONELY CENTURY How to Restore Human Connection in a World That's Pulling Apart

by Noreena Hertz | Read by Noreena Hertz

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

British economist Noreena Hertz says that people living in busy cities, Trump voters, and children allowed excessive screen time reported more unhappiness and isolation and less interest in social interactions than those in normative groups. She is a gifted writer whose vivid examples and concise research summaries reveal how contemporary society lures people into minimizing... Read More

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN 23 Rules for Living from Britains Longest-Reigning Monarch

Earphones Award Winner

by Bryan Kozlowski | Read by Kirby Heyborne

Blackstone Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Kirby Heyborne's congenial performance is perfect for this diverting audiobook based on HRH Queen Elizabeth II's rituals and routines for daily living. There is a liveliness and charming affability in Heyborne's narration as he relays the 23 rules that have contributed to HRH Queen Elizabeth II's longevity and well-being--and that make her surprisingly accessible to us... Read More

THE LOST PIANOS OF SIBERIA

THE LOST PIANOS OF SIBERIA

by Sophy Roberts | Read by Catherine Bailey

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrating this spellbinding travelogue/crusade, British actor Katherine Bailey puts her charming sophistication and refined steadiness to good use. Her graceful restraint draws listeners in and pays homage to the author's artistic sensibilities and lucid writing. Travel writer Sophy Roberts is obsessed with finding the pianos Russia imported in the nineteenth and early... Read More

THE MISSION

THE MISSION A True Story

by David W. Brown | Read by JD Jackson

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrated with aplomb by JD Jackson, this audiobook tells the strange but true account of a planned space mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. While the mission's launch date is currently 2024, the journey so far is worthy listening for those interested in the inner workings of NASA, space travel, politics, and the nature of obsession. The story is packed with interesting... Read More

THE NATURE OF NATURE

THE NATURE OF NATURE Why We Need the Wild

by Enric Sala | Read by Will Damron

Disney Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It would all too easy to narrate this audiobook in a basso profundo voice-of-doom style, but Will Damron wisely chooses a more conversational tone. That makes the author's introduction to ecology easier for the layperson to follow. Damron strikes a more hopeful tone when the author presents his solutions to the world's environmental problems, along with his belief in the need... Read More

NATURE'S BEST HOPE

NATURE'S BEST HOPE A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard

by Douglas W. Tallamy | Read by Adam Barr

Dreamscape | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Adam Barr presents this do-something vision of how we can all take a grassroots approach to conservation. In measured tones that emphasize urgency, Barr presents ecologist Tallamy's fact-based belief that we need to develop a new mindfulness about how our actions degrade the environment. Arguing that it's easy to slip into dangerous indifference--the disappearance of species... Read More

NEVER MIND THE B#LL*CKS, HERE'S THE SCIENCE

NEVER MIND THE B#LL*CKS, HERE'S THE SCIENCE A Scientist's Guide to the Biggest Challenges Facing Our Species Today

by Luke O'Neill | Read by Ruairi Conaghan

Bolinda Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

With his appealing voice and moderate accent, Irish national Ruairi Conaghan performs this entertaining review of popular science topics, written by an Irish biochemistry professor with a knack for accessible writing. The summaries of what science knows about topics like gender differences, discrimination, and global warming intend to debunk common misconceptions and resolve... Read More

NOBODY EVER ASKED ME ABOUT THE GIRLS

NOBODY EVER ASKED ME ABOUT THE GIRLS Women, Music and Fame

by Lisa Robinson | Read by Lisa Robinson

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Lisa Robinson, music reporter, as well as author and narrator of this audiobook, creates an affecting portrait of life for female music stars. In her husky timbre and New York accent, she reveals anecdotes and quotes from her own interviews of some of the greatest female music stars of the 20th and 21st centuries. Linda Ronstadt, Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, and Stevie Nicks all sat... Read More

NOT LIGHT, BUT FIRE

NOT LIGHT, BUT FIRE How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom

Earphones Award Winner

by Matthew R. Kay | Read by David Sadzin

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

While Kay's audiobook on discussing race focuses on skills for teachers, its theme is important for everyone, and David Sadzin's narration engages listeners beyond the target audience. The title comes from Frederick Douglass's call to action, placed in the context of classroom learning. Students are too often given "light"--the "February soup" of Black History Month's... Read More

AN OUTSIDER'S GUIDE TO HUMANS

AN OUTSIDER'S GUIDE TO HUMANS What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are

by Camilla Pang | Read by Camilla Pang

Penguin Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Being on the autism spectrum and having attention deficit disorder, British scientist Camilla Pang felt different growing up. In this affecting and informative memoir/guide, the biologist describes the effort it took to learn, from scratch, the human operating skills that other people were born with. Pang sounds warm and authentic narrating her accessible (for a scientist)... Read More

SEVEN AND A HALF LESSONS ABOUT THE BRAIN

SEVEN AND A HALF LESSONS ABOUT THE BRAIN

Earphones Award Winner

by Lisa Feldman Barrett | Read by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Acclaimed neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett narrates her series of essays in this brief but sprightly introduction to the brain. In her erudite, enthusiastic voice she repudiates the neuroscience myths of past ages--such as the "triune brain," a layered brain of increasing sophistication--and describes the brain as a complex arrangement of neurons that perceives data and acts... Read More

SOUL CITY

SOUL CITY Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia

by Thomas Healy | Read by Larry Herron

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Larry Herron dynamically narrates the true story of Floyd McKissick, a racial equity leader who sought a solution to urban unrest in 1969. McKissick's dream was to create a city for people of all races that featured equality for people of color, particularly in jobs and housing. Herron brings alive those involved in establishing Soul City, a project backed by $14 million in... Read More

STEAK

STEAK One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef

by Mark Schatzker | Read by Mike Lenz

Tantor Media | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Mike Lenz is an effective maître d' for this beef-centric audiobook. His manner is easygoing, and his style unhurried. This is a story of the search for the world's best steak. Lenz's inquisitive tone and straightforward storytelling benefit this planet-spanning journey to identify both the finest meat and cattle. Author Schatzker has put in the work: travelled 60,000 miles,... Read More

THE STORY OF MORE

THE STORY OF MORE How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here

by Hope Jahren | Read by Hope Jahren

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

In careful, measured tones, author/narrator Hope Jahren offers listeners an accessible--and sobering--assessment of how and why we are facing what she sees as our current inflection point in climate change. Pointing out that we've become increasingly practiced at not listening to scientists' warnings, she notes, "Only by seeing where we are can we ask ourselves if this is where... Read More

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs

by Ina Park | Read by Ina Park

Macmillan Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Author/narrator Ina Park is the spoonful of sugar that accompanies the science and medicine of sexually transmitted infections. There may be nothing funny about genital herpes for the millions of Americans who have contracted it, but there is something hilarious about Park's young sons fighting over the herpes soft toy she uses as an educational prop. Park's enthusiasm is... Read More

SURRENDER, WHITE PEOPLE!

SURRENDER, WHITE PEOPLE! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace

by D.L. Hughley, Doug Moe | Read by D.L. Hughley

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

D.L. Hughley pulls no punches performing his audiobook about racism, reparations, and the state of race in America. Hughley, an activist/writer/comedian for decades, reveals bitter truths about racism in America that are pretty hard to hear. The framework of the audiobook is a peace treaty between the races and the establishment of reparations. He softens the blows by adding... Read More

A SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN

A SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life

Earphones Award Winner

by George Saunders | Read by George Saunders, Phylicia Rashad, Nick Offerman, Glenn Close, Keith David, Rainn Wilson, BD Wong, Renée Elise Goldsberry

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It is not often that the listener is asked to multitask, but here we are invited to be audience, critic, and student all at once. With a voice that expresses academic passion and easy humor, Syracuse University creative writing professor George Saunders takes us on a deep dive into the literary craft, psychology, and historic background of seven superb nineteenth-century... Read More

TAKE BACK THE TRAY

TAKE BACK THE TRAY Revolutionizing Food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions

by Joshna Maharaj | Read by Joshna Maharaj

ECW Press | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Chef Joshna Maharaj presents her passionate plea to ensure that institutional food is given a central place at the human table. Good food, she argues, is no trimmable frill but a human right--one that can and should play a role in rehabilitation and recovery, whether served on a hospital or prison tray. By turns persuasive, insightful, compassionate, and resolved, Maharaj... Read More

UNDER A WHITE SKY

UNDER A WHITE SKY The Nature of the Future

Earphones Award Winner

by Elizabeth Kolbert | Read by Rebecca Lowman

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Rebecca Lowman is an excellent choice for Kolbert's report on the future of our environment. Lowman narrates clearly, enunciates precisely, and provides a sense of immediacy while bringing energy and intelligence to the task. The work looks at the sinking of New Orleans, carbon capture in Iceland, invasive carp on the Mississippi River, geo-engineering, and more.... Read More

UNSOLACED

UNSOLACED Along the Way to All That Is

by Gretel Ehrlich | Read by Gretel Ehrlich

Random House Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

A practiced narrator and an elegant stylist, Gretel Ehrlich delivers her memoir in a poetic voice. Her deliberate pace and conversational tone produce a relaxed listening experience that belies the intense adventures she recounts. The prose shows her gift for language and her abiding love of nature. This audiobook travels to the remotest places on earth. She maps the ravages of... Read More

UPSWING

UPSWING How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again

by Robert D. Putnam , Shaylyn Romney Garrett [contributor] | Read by Arthur Morey

Simon & Schuster Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Arthur Morey delivers statistical concepts with insightful tonal variations that enhance comprehension and maintain the listener's interest. Robert Putnam posits that the last 120 years of economic history have followed an "I-we-I" trajectory. The Gilded Age was marked by massive inequality and exploitation of workers. Then the New Deal and civil rights shared gains... Read More

THE WAKE-UP CALL

THE WAKE-UP CALL Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It

by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wolldridge | Read by Kristen Scott Thomas

Harper Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

It only takes a little bit of emphasis for narrator Kristen Scott Thomas to hit home the death tolls around the world from COVID-19 and the failures of the United States in fighting the pandemic. THE ECONOMIST'S John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge explain that these pandemic failures have shown the weaknesses of government. By the end of the first chapter, listeners will be... Read More

WHY WAKANDA MATTERS

WHY WAKANDA MATTERS What Black Panther Reveals About Psychology, Identity, and Communication

by Sheena C. Howard [Ed.] | Read by JD Jackson

HighBridge Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

JD Jackson narrates this essay collection about the social effects of the film BLACK PANTHER. The premise is that it is more than a comic- book movie--it is an inspirational work of art that will change the lives of those who see it. In order for this premise to work, the narrator has to sell it, and Jackson brings the gravitas that the audiobook needs. His powerful voice and... Read More

THE WOMAN WHO STOLE VERMEER

THE WOMAN WHO STOLE VERMEER

by Anthony M. Amore | Read by Karen Cass

Brilliance Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

British narrator Karen Cass vividly narrates this captivating audiobook. She realistically delivers the upper-class English accents and Irish brogues of those featured in this true account of a 1970s aristocrat turned revolutionary. In an engaging style and intelligent tone, Cass recounts how wealthy Rose Dugdale, a conservative debutante who attends Oxford and gains a PhD in... Read More

WORK WON'T LOVE YOU BACK

WORK WON'T LOVE YOU BACK How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

by Sarah Jaffe | Read by Sarah Jaffe

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

An articulate journalist and cultural observer provides a historically grounded analysis of today's work and its costs to the human spirit. Jaffe's exhaustive research, expressed in crisp and lucid sentences, is served well by her high-quality narration. With her amiable vocal clarity and diction, she sounds assertive and confident. She has a beef with the way demeaning and... Read More

YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TO LACEY

YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TO LACEY Crazy Stories about Racism

by Amber Ruffin, Lacey Lamar | Read by Amber Ruffin, Lacey Lamar

Hachette Audio | Unabridged
Contemporary Culture

Comedian Amber Ruffin ("The Amber Ruffin Show") and Lacey Lamar are sisters and co-narrators of this hilarious romp through a series of unfortunate encounters with the racially ignorant. They take turns narrating their no-holds-barred commentary on the incidents that happen to Lacey, a Black woman, in homogenous white Nebraska. Ruffin and Lamar are upbeat as they share their... Read More

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