2018 Academy Award Nominations

Now that the 2018 Academy Award Nominations have finally been announced, check out the audiobooks of the works that helped inspire these great films!

 

1.Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. André Aciman’s critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion.

 

 

2. Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Anthony McCarten

May 1940. Britain is at war, Winston Churchill has unexpectedly been promoted to Prime Minister, the horrors of Blitzkreig witness one western European Democracy fall after another in rapid succession. Facing this horror, with pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, Churchill wonders what words could capture the public mood when the invasion of Britain seems mere hours away.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched and wonderfully written new book, The Darkest Hour. A day-by-day (and often hour-by-hour) narrative of this crucial moment in history provides a revisionist look at Churchill-a man plagued by doubt through those turbulent weeks-but who emerged having made himself into the iconic, lionized figure we remember.

 

3. Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture by Joshua Levine

The Battle of Dunkirk, in May/June 1940, is remembered as a stunning defeat, yet a major victory as well. The Nazis had beaten back the Allies and pushed them across France to the northern port of Dunkirk. In the ultimate race against time, more than 300,000 Allied soldiers were daringly evacuated across the Channel. This moment of German aggression was used by Winston Churchill as a call to Franklin Roosevelt to enter the war. Now, historian Joshua Levine explores the real lives of those soldiers, bombed and strafed on the beaches for days on end, without food or ammunition; the civilians whose boats were overloaded; the airmen who risked their lives to buy their companions on the ground precious time; and those who did not escape.

 

4. The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.

 

5. The Pentagon Papers: The Secret History of the Vietnam War by Neil Sheehan

Pentagon Papers: The Secret History of the Vietnam War, Neil Sheehan

The Pentagon Papers is a series of articles, documents, and studies published by The New York Times that revealed the true depth of US involvement in the Vietnam War for more than two decades starting in 1945, bringing to light startling conclusions about America’s role in that conflict. It won both a Pulitzer Prize and a ground-breaking Supreme Court decision.

With a foreword by James L. Greenfield, who coordinated the team that reported the series, this edition is sure to provoke discussion about freedom of the press and government deception, and shed light on issues that are still relevant now, more than four decades later.

 

6. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Mudbound, Hillary Jordan

Hillary Jordan’s mesmerizing debut novel won the Bellwether Prize for fiction. A powerful piece of Southern literature, Mudbound takes on prejudice in its myriad forms on a Mississippi Delta farm in 1946. City girl Laura McAllen attempts to raise her family despite questionable decisions made by her husband. Tensions continue to rise when her brother-in-law and the son of a family of sharecroppers both return from WWII as changed men bearing the scars of combat.

 

7. Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Wonder, R. J. Palacio

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school-until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

 

8. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Breadwinner, Deborah Ellis

In this powerful and realistic tale, eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city during the Taliban rule. Parvana’s father- a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed- works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day he is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food. As conditions in the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden by the Taliban government to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy and become the breadwinner.

 

9. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf

With music and sound effects, this audiobook is perfect for those who love Ferdinand and those who have yet to meet him.

A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. And he does just that, until the day a bumblebee and some men from the Madrid bullfights give gentle Ferdinand a chance to be the most ferocious star of the corrida—and the most unexpected comic hero.

 

10. Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-in): The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu

Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-in): The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant, Shrabani Basu

Drawn from never-before-seen first-hand documents that had been closely guarded secrets for a century, Shrabani Basu’s Victoria & Abdul is a remarkable history of the last years of the 19th century in English court, an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen, and a fascinating portrayal of how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the British Empire.

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Looking for Comic Relief? – A Review of Fluke

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 Looking for Comic Relief? – A Review of Fluke

I once read that a doctor actually prescribed Christopher Moore books to a patient who needed to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol. How awesome is that? I guess laughter really is the best medicine!

To those of you who haven’t experienced the joy and sometimes unending laughter or fits of giggles that come from listening to a Christopher Moore audio book, I suggest that it’s about time you did! I am a huge Christopher Moore fan and recently sat down to listen to Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings.

This is story about  whale researchers (or action nerds as they are lovingly described) who are trying to discover why the Humpback Whales sing. They have been living in Hawaii and documenting whale songs for years without any real leads on why the whales sing. After hundreds of hours of work, they finally hire a young, stoned fake-Hawaiian with dreadlocks who unexpectedly gives them their first real clue about what the whales are singing. Unfortunately for the action nerds, this is where the trouble starts. Their house is broken into, their ship is missing, and the head researcher is eaten by a whale.

Christopher Moore takes his listeners on a wild ride where any science that you don’t understand is simply, magic. I highly recommend that you start listening to this, or anything else by Christopher Moore, but be careful where you listen. Public transit riders may give you some strange looks when you’re sitting on the bus laughing to yourself.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain – A Hidden Gem

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The Art of Racing in the Rain – A Hidden Gem

As an avid reader, I’m always scanning through staff picks, bestseller lists and book blogs for my next read. After seeing this book on a number of lists I figured it was time to give The Art of Racing in the Rain a try. I hadn’t heard any reviews, and didn’t know anyone who had read it, but it just kept popping up so I wanted to hear what all the fuss was about for myself.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by Enzo, the beloved family dog, on the day of his death. Enzo knows that he is different from other dogs, almost human, and he explains how he knows this and how he desperately hopes to come back to life as a human.

Throughout the story, Enzo is reliving his life as a dog and tells the tale of Denny, his race car driving best friend and human owner, Denny’s wife Eve and their daughter Zoe. There are many hardships faced by the family as well as many wonderful heart-warming events.

This audio book is brilliantly narrated and will take you on a wild ride of emotions. It is a wonderful pick for any fiction lover, and particularly great for those who love their canine companions.

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Are Spoilers A Good Thing?

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Spoilers Are A Good Thing?

I just finished reading an article about spoilers and I have an interesting insight I wanted to share. The article was about what makes a great experience when either listening to or reading a story, and if knowing the ending makes the experience better. I know for myself, one of my favourite parts of a good story is the ending, (I’m sure there are others that agree). I go through great lengths to make sure I don’t overhear the ending, or read a review accidently. However, when the unfortunate event occurs and I end up overhearing the end before I get there, I can’t help but feel my experience has undoubtedly been spoiled.

But has the experience truly been spoiled? According to the latest research published in the Journal of Psychological Science, it shows that “knowing the ending of a story before you read it doesn’t hurt the experience of the story. It actually makes you enjoy the story more.” This is what the article coined as the “Spoiler Paradox”.

Enjoy it more? How does that make any sense?

Easy. Storytelling fulfills a basic human function. Stories are an important tool to help us understand human behaviors and to communicate our understanding to others. We have the ability to attribute thoughts, desires, motivations and intentions of others, and we use this to predict and explain actions and behaviors of others in stories. That’s why it’s argued a “spoiled” story, that we know the ending to beforehand, is more engaging than stories that leave us hanging. Spoiled stories are also easier to follow and understand because we know what is to come. When you don’t know the ending to a story, you might find yourself paying attention to details that may not even be relevant.

So, with all this said and done, which side do you find yourselves on? After all, a spoiler may not be a spoiler, just a great way to simplify a complex story, who wouldn’t want that!

To read about the experiments that were conducted, check out the full article here.

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