Archive | Audiobooks

Audio Book Review: Love, Anthony by Lisa Genova

Last night at 1:00 am I finished listening to Love, Anthony on audio. I had been listening to it in my car as I drove around doing errands but I was working on a project indoors and decided to bring the cd’s inside so I could play them while I worked. My computer worked fine to play the cd on and pulled double duty after I finished my project and turned to Pinterest. I pinned away as the story progressed. An enjoyable Sunday afternoon elapsed as I steadily worked away and Debra Messing read a story to me. The words pleasant and cozy come to mind.

A few thoughts on this particular audio book:

Debra Messing was a delightful narrator. I searched to see if she’d done any other books but alas, she has not. Here’s hoping she does in the future. I honestly think her voice made the book better.

This was my first Lisa Genova book. Known for her extensive knowledge of anything neurological related, she’s made a name for herself with her books about a woman struggling with alzheimers (Still Alice) and a woman struggling with the loss of awareness on her left side (Left Neglected).  That I knew. What I didn’t know was that she humanizes those rather clinical diagnoses– delving into the  range of emotions that come with these afflictions. She explores the way neurological impairments affect our relationships and self image, our outlook for the future and our interpretation of the past.

Or at least that is what she did  with Love, Anthony, the story of two women who are inexplicably linked by a dead boy who had autism. One woman is his mother.  The other  is a woman who spotted him on  a  Nantucket beach and was forever changed by this brief encounter. Both women are dealing with major changes and loss in their lives and learning to cope, each in her own way. The way that  these two women’s lives come together is part of the story… and the reason why I was up until 1:00  am. I wanted to see how Genova was going to “bring it on home.”

And speaking of home, that was the other element about this story that I wanted to note. The setting of Nantucket is a vital part of this story. The isolation of the residents in the dead of winter. The pecking order of this established  place steeped in history. The exhilaration combined with chaos that comes with the dawn of summer– and the arrival of tourists. The way the place defines both the locals and the visitors spoke to me and drew me further into the story.

The question that threads through the story is “Why was Anthony here?” How could this brief, limited life have meaning? And I’ll be honest, for most of the book I didn’t know the answer to that question. But Genova did and I’m glad she revealed it to us. If you have been touched by autism I highly recommend this book. Or if you just enjoy a story about women’s relationships set in an intriguing place, this might be a good fit for you. And if Debra Messing reads it to you, all the better.

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Audiobook Feature: The River Witch

We’re delighted to announce that the audiobook for Kimberly Brock’s debut novel, THE RIVER WITCH, is now available. It’s no secret that we’re terribly fond of this novel (it was our June book club selection) and of Kimberly herself (she joined the She Reads family earlier this summer and overseas our blog network). Narrated by Allison Edwards and bringing to life the lyrical, Southern landscape that Kimberly so richly envisions, this is the perfect audiobook to add to your library.

We’re giving away a copy of THE RIVER WITCH audiobook today. If you’ve not had a chance to read this wonderful debut, now is your chance to hear it in all its glory. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered.

Can the river heal her?

Roslyn Byrne is twenty-four years old, broken in body, heart and soul. Her career as a professional ballet dancer ended with a car wreck and a miscarriage, leaving her lost and grieving. She needs a new path, but she doesn’t have the least idea how or where to start. With some shoving from her very Southern mama, she immures herself for the summer on  Manny’s Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Isles, to recover.

There Roslyn finds a ten-year-old girl, Damascus, who brings alligators, pumpkins and hoodoo into her sorry life.

Roslyn rents a house from Damascus’s family, the Trezevants, a strange bunch. One of the cousins, Nonnie, who works in the family’s market, sees things Roslyn is pretty sure she shouldn’t, and knows things regular people don’t. Between the Trezevant secrets and Damascus’s blatant snooping and meddling, Roslyn finds herself caught in a mysterious stew of the past and present, the music of the river, the dead and the dying who haunt the riverbank, and a passion for living her new life.

You can find the charming and lovely Kimberly Brock on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Why Some Authors Come Alive On Audiobooks

Today’s post by She Reads co-founder, Marybeth Whalen | @marybethwhalen

Marybeth Whalen

My love for Joshilyn Jackson’s books was not instantaeous. I would hear how good they were, pick them up, page through them (because I still love a print book, yes I do) and put them down again. I had a hard time “getting” her books. The characters had strange names and talked funny. I am a southerner, to be sure, but I tend to shy away from deep southern accents. Suburban North Carolina and small town Alabama are two entirely different things. To be honest, I just thought that Joshilyn had something going on that was entirely apart from my literary tastes. And no matter how many rave reviews I heard or read, that wasn’t going to change.


My friend (and She Reads blog network member) Sandy Nawrot explained that the best way to grasp the greatness that is Joshilyn Jackson is to experience her books on audio. Because she reads them herself you get the full extent of what she was going for in her writing– pronunciation of those crazy names, inflections of those funny accents. You literally and figuratively hear her voice. So I decided to give the audio version of one of her books a try. I had a car trip coming up and my library had one on the shelf. I snatched it up and hoped for the best.

And the best is what I found. The best voice. The best characters. The best humor. The best weaving together of events and emotion, secrets and drama. One book and I was hooked. Since then I’ve worked my way through all of Joshilyn Jackson’s books, declaring each one of them “my favorite.” My friend Sandy was right, listening to her changed my opinion of her books and ushered me into what I’ve privately dubbed as my “year of JJ.” (Last year, incidentally, was my “year of Sarah Addison Allen.”) Of course very few writers actually read their books on audio but in this case it only magnifies the story. I highly recommend  reading Joshilyn Jackson. And if reading doesn’t work out, then give her a try on audio. Either way don’t miss her.

We’re giving you an opportunity to experience her latest book on audio. Leave a comment on this post to win a copy of A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty.

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Audiobooks — A Reader’s Best Friend

We asked Sandy Nawrot to share with you today about audiobooks and how they can be a busy reader’s absolute best friend. Sandy is an avid reader, a book blogger, and audiobook evangelist. She is also a member of the She Reads Blog Network. And to prove our point, we’re giving away the audio copy of Joshilyn Jackson’s latest novel, A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY, to one lucky reader today. Just leave a comment on this post.  

Sandy Nawrot

So tell me, does this sound familiar?  Get up around 5:30am, go for a walk, make breakfast for the kids, get the kids up and chauffeured to school, run an hour’s worth of errands, go home and clean the house and pull a few weeds, clean up some cat vomit, wait for electrician/plumber/cable guy to show up and fix something, eat a bite of lunch, take a quick shower, pick the kids up from school, drop one kid off at football practice, and the other to horseback riding lessons, sit and wait for said activities to finish up, bring the kids home, make dinner, feed the hungry natives, clean up, take a hot bath, and collapse into bed at 10:00pm.  Some of you might work outside the home full time, some might have more or less kids and different activities, but we are all singing the same anthem.  We are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.  I like to think of us all as the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants.

Until their kids head off to college, many of my friends have abandoned all hope of ever reading anything but e-mails from the school, rules of conduct for sports activities, and maybe a Facebook post or two.  So how on earth do I manage to read 150 books a year?  I have always been a master at multi-tasking my day…we all are, because it is a matter of survival.  I just put those skills to use to enable my reading addiction, and the answer, my friends is THE AUDIOBOOK.  A busy woman’s BFF.

I am always plugged in.  For Christmas a number of years ago, my husband got me the biggest iPod he could find (160 gigs), and I loaded that puppy up and away I went.  I listen to books when I’m cleaning the house or the pool (take care not to fall in…I’ve done it).  When I’m doing yard work.  When I am exercising, when I’m driving, when I’m cooking, when I am doing my hair and putting on my makeup.  I’ve even gotten my kids into audios, so sometimes we listen when we are all in the car.  We spent one entire year once listening to all the Harry Potters.  Please know that if people are around me, I do take the headphones off…but often I’m on my own, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Listening to audios is definitely a learned skill.  It is easy to get distracted and miss an important reveal or fact, but as you get used to this method of “reading” it becomes easier.  Your ears become more nimble!  You can become frustrated when there are numerous names and all kinds of complicated plots, but I have learned that if you just relax and let the story wash over you, the important names and events will float to the top and make themselves known.  In some cases, it is a huge advantage.  Take the Stieg Larssen series for example.  I would have driven myself crazy reading all those Norwegian names, but with Simon Vance purring them out and making them sound like a love song?  Painless.  As a blogger who reviews audios, I guess I do miss out on being able to easily capturing great quotes that I can use, but it is amazing how much you can find with Google.

I have two main sources for my audio needs.  First, my library has an absolutely AMAZING inventory of audios, and they get everything new that comes along as well.  They not only have the physical CDs, but MP3s, playaways (like a little box that you plug your earphones into), and downloadable content through a free app called Overdrive.  There is very little I cannot get from the library.  I also receive new audios from Hachette and Penguin for whom I write reviews in return, so if you are a blogger you might give this some thought.  But if you have a small library and aren’t in the business of audio reviews, one excellent place to turn is, where you can pay a monthly prescription and receive credits towards downloads.

I maintain that an audio, in the hands of a seasoned narrator, can take a good book and convert it into a mind-blowing experience.  There are a number of narrators that are like Rock Gods to me, and there are some novels that I will adamantly REFUSE to read in print.  If you get the chance to listen to Cassandra Campbell, Simon Vance, Robin Sachs, Hope Davis, Lenny Henry, Jonathan Davis or Barbara Rosenblat, give them a shot and I’m pretty sure you will agree that they could read the phone book and make it sound good.  (And honestly, there are probably two dozen more I could give you.)

But one particular author, who has narrated all of her books except one, bears a special mention, and that is Joshilyn Jackson.  First of all, her books themselves are amazing…full of strong Southern women who laugh to keep from crying, who you will wish were in your lives.  But when Joshilyn, in her girlish little twang of a voice, brings them to life?  You’ll want to weep when its over.  And the best news yet?  She is now narrating OTHER authors’ books too!

So if you are a card-carrying member of the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants, and love to read and miss your beloved books, I’d give audio a try.  If you have an iPod but don’t know how to figure out the uploading thing, ask your kids to help.  Or if you don’t have an iPod or MP3, go out to the dollar store and buy a “Discman” (yes they still exist, I know because my mom got one for this very purpose).  Prepare to have more fun than you ever thought possible while waiting in a carline.

Sandy Nawrot (You’ve Gotta Read This)

Sandy is a stay-at-home mother of two teenagers, and has been blogging for four years.  She is obsessed with reading, half of which is done via audiobooks (it is all about multi-tasking).  She reads and reviews all genres.  When she isn’t doing bookish things, she is running, golfing, volunteering at the kids’ school, chauffeuring the little darlings to their activities, traveling, or partaking of a fine wine.

Twitter:  @youvegottaread

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