STAFF PICK: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin, and Octavia Spencer

Hey audiobook lovers! I must share my latest listen with you all. I just finished The Help, which I finally downloaded thanks to my sister’s recommendation. It had been idling on my wishlist before that nudge I needed to start. The novel follows three ladies in Mississippi during the 1960’s as they embark on a risky plan to have the voices of colored maids heard. The book is set during the time of segregation in the US, and we are reminded of how much progress has been made, as well as how much has stayed stagnant. Secrets and motivations of the characters are revealed as the book unravels and it truly was hard to stop listening. I loved the three main characters; they were well developed and layered with wit, sass and smarts. 

I loved it even more as an audiobook. The narrators portray each character’s accent, background and personality to a tee. Minny, my favorite character is bold and hot-headed, and her volatile, no-nonsense attitude spills through your ears. This contrasts Aibileen, the other maid in the tale who makes decisions with level-headed calculation. The third main character, Skeeter, is a white lady from the town who uses what advantages and smarts she has to give a voice to the other ladies. Whether you’re determined with Aibileen or tense and worked-up with Minny, the narrators keep you submerged in the story. By the end of the book I was sad to see them go, but very satisfied by a good listen.

The Help is similarly adored by our listeners, with 4.5 stars for the story and a 5-star narration. If you’ve been looking for a new story to dive into, please give this one a listen and let me know what you think!

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August’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Check out this month’s roundup of the top titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members! We’ve separated out fiction and non-fiction for your browsing convenience.

 

FICTION

 

1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall.

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

2. It by Stephen King, narrated by Steven Weber

It

Stephen King’s #1 national bestseller about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

 

 

3. Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate, narrated by Catherine Taber and Emily Rankin

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

 

 

4. The Good Daughter: A Novel by Karin Slaughter, narrated by Kathleen Early

The stunning new novel from the international #1 bestselling author-a searing, spellbinding blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense.Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind …

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

 

5. The Late Show by Michael Connelly, narrated by Katherine Moennig

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

 

 

 

NON-FICTION

 

1. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls, narrated by the author


Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation… For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. 

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

 

 

2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, narrated by the author

Bestselling author, speaker, and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her own verbal meat cleaver in You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. In this refreshingly blunt how-to guide, Sincero serves up twenty-seven bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, life-changing insights, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word.

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

3. Unfu*k Yourself, by Gary John Bishop, narrated by the author

Are you tired of feeling fu*ked up? If you are, Gary John Bishop has the answer. In this straightforward handbook, he gives you the tools and advice you need to demolish the slag weighing you down and become the truly unfu*ked version of yourself. 

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

4. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson, narrated by the author

An American Library Association Notable BookA powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need…

Read more and sample the audio. 

 

 

5. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, by Thomas C. Foster, narrated by David DeVries

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey?. Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface-a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character-and there’s that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

Read more and sample the audio. 

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GIVEAWAY: Brain Rules for Aging Well by John Medina

How healthy is your brain? Thanks to our friends at Pear Press, for the entire month of September, you can download Brain Rules for Aging Well written and read by John Medina for FREE! Simply open the Audiobooks.com app, search for Brain Rules for Aging Well, and click “Download”.

Here’s a little bit about the book:

In a book destined to be a classic on aging, Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into neuroscience. Brain Rules for Aging Well is organized into four sections, each laying out familiar problems with surprising solutions. First up, the social brain, in which topics ranging from relationships to happiness and gullibility illustrate how our emotions change with age. The second section focuses on the thinking brain, explaining how working memory and executive function change with time. The third section is all about your body: how certain kinds of exercise, diets, and sleep can slow the decline of aging. The final section is about your future: Medina connects all the chapters into a plan for maintaining your brain health. Each section is sprinkled with practical advice – for example, the fascinating benefits of dancing – and the brain science behind each intervention.

This giveaway ends on October 3, 2017, so don’t delay! To learn more about this title and sample the audio, find it in our app or click here. We also recommend that you sign up for a free trial membership if you aren’t already an Audiobooks.com subscriber. That way, your downloaded content won’t be local to your device – you can sign into your account from anywhere, on any device, and pick up right where you left off.

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Page to Screen in September 2017

The month of September will see a couple of shows and movies adapted from popular books. Check out what’s upcoming and take a listen before they hit the screen!


It
, by Stephen King
Expected Release: September 8th

Stephen King’s #1 national bestseller about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It . Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.… Read more and listen to a sample

Fallen, by Lauren Kate
Expected Release: September 8th

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her. Read more and listen to a sample

American Assassin, by Vince Flynn
Expected Release: September 15th

New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn returns with his most exhilarating political thriller to date, a pulse-pounding tale of espionage that introduces fans to the young Mitch Rapp as he takes on his first, explosive assignment. Read more and listen to a sample


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

Expected Release: September 22nd

Tall and handsome Abdul was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Within a year, Abdul had grown to become a powerful figure at court, the Queen’s teacher, or Munshi, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to the Queen’s heart. “I am so very fond of him.,” Queen Victoria would write in 1888, “He is so good and gentle and understanding….a real comfort to me.” This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria’s long reign. Devastated first by the death of Prince Albert in 1861 and then her personal servant John Brown in 1883, Queen Victoria quickly found joy in an intense and controversial relationship with her Munshi, who traveled everywhere with her, cooked her curries and cultivated her understanding of the Indian sub-continent-a region, as Empress of India, she was long intrigued by but could never visit. The royal household roiled with resentment, but their devotion grew in defiance of all expectation and the societal pressures of their time and class and lasted until the Queen’s death on January 22, 1901… Read more and listen to a sample

Which of September’s renditions are you most excited for? Let me know!

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STAFF PICK: Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar

Title: Everybody’s Son
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Narrator: Josh Bloomberg

Born into the rough projects, Anton is only 10 years old when his single mother Juanita’s crack addiction sends him into foster care. His foster parents, David and Delores Coleman, are still reeling from the death of their own son a few years prior and grip onto Anton with a ferocity that ultimately sees them manipulate the law to keep Anton in their care – a dangerous decision for a family who works in politics and criminal justice.

The story is told in three parts: Anton’s boyhood, his college years, and his middle-age. Despite his role as the protagonist, we never really get to know Anton – largely because he doesn’t know himself. He serves as a passive everyman for us to see the development of the characters around him – the true architects of his life. And although Anton is smart, attractive and successful, he’s consumed by a crisis of identity as a black boy with a white family. Years down the line, it all comes to a head when Anton’s mother re-enters his life and he must decide who he wants to be: everybody’s son, or his own man?

I liked author Thrity Umrigar’s nuanced approach to the complicated morals and motivations of the major players in Anton’s life. While the characters’ skin tones are all black and white, nothing else is: this book deals with the grey zone of what’s right and wrong, where Anton belongs, and how far someone should go for the person they love. It all makes for great discussion (my book club had a thoughtful conversation dissecting it), but I’m still left without answers to some of the book’s plot points as well as overarching themes.

Over the 10 hours of listening, I was kept engaged by skillful narration from Josh Bloomberg. There was never any confusion about who was speaking: Bloomberg created a distinctive voice for every character, no matter how minor, and I was drawn in by his wide range of accents. I credit him for making Everybody’s Son a story worth hearing.

If you’ve read it, too, comment below with your thoughts!

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