Staff Pick: Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Post by Bora Pleasance

Title: Bangkok Wakes to Rain
Author: Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Narrator: Euan Morton

Through following the threads of different lives, Pitchaya Sudbanthad creates a tapestry of Bangkok — past, current, and potential future.

Although there is a narrative, it is secondary — an undulating foundation for the emotional and sensory story Sudbanthad was weaving of a city on which you can feel his complex yet complete love. The characters are a sample of diversity, both human and animal. Their only commonality is the city — whether they inhabit it, mourn it, choose it, or choose to keep it at a distance. Through them, you get to feel its pulse. You see its borders shift, its mentality divide. You see its history embed itself into reluctant inhabitants, you see it slip slowly into its next chapter. You feel the pain of loss, not of a person but of a place, because we all have a Bangkok somewhere.

The novel feels like looking at someone else’s photo album. You see snapshots of people you don’t know, of places you have never been, yet somehow it is familiar. This loose form allows Sudbandthad to cover a breadth of topics not normally found in one novel. It’s hard to put it into a genre. Science fiction, socio-political commentary, family drama, romance, poetry? It’s a bit of everything. Yet, somehow, it doesn’t read like a series of short stories. Whether it’s his consistent writing style or the varying connections between the characters or the constant theme of Bangkok, the audiobook feels very much like one (albeit incomplete) story.

One of the central pillars of the audiobook is a building — one that connects many of the characters and gives a visual metaphor for Bangkok that is easier to conceptualize than a sprawling metropolis. However, in order to fully appreciate the novel, you have to be willing to let go of the concrete and take the leaps Sudbandthad puts in your way. The further you get, the more you feel the historical energy of Bangkok itself, one of spirits and fevers and emotion over logic. Facts are exchanged for hints, answers for questions, and dangling threads are left as rags. There is no satisfying ending because cities rarely have endings. Instead, they are reinvented again and again by its inhabitants and its ghosts.

Euan Morton brings the flavor of Thai to his narration, seamlessly putting on an accent where needed without distracting the listener. His tone and depth capture the shifting moods and show respect for the characters and culture to which he is giving a voice. In Bangkok Wakes to Rain, we walk through this city, meeting people for brief moments and never seeing them again, we watch them impact each other in ways we will never know, we wonder about ghosts that might not exist. If that makes you uncomfortable, so will this audiobook. But if that makes you want to dive in and explore, you will have plenty to discover.


Publisher Summary:

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary fate. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house’s resident spirits. In the present, a young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in a New Krungthep yet to come, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember.

Time collapses as these lives collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is an elegy for what time erases and a love song to all that persists, yearning, into the unknowable future.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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October’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.

Fiction:

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, narrated by Joe Morton

Publisher Summary:

From the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom.

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks

Publisher Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett’s most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly, narrated by Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin

Publisher Summary:

Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him.

Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow gives Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.

Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.

The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigative team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

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The Guardians by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck

Publisher Summary:

In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.

Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. But no one was listening. He had no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. In desperation, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.

Guardian accepts only a few innocence cases at a time. Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.

They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Institute by Stephen King, narrated by Santino Fontana

Publisher Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen Kings gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

Read more and sample the audio →

Non-Fiction:

Me: Elton John Official Autobiography by Elton John, narrated by Elton John and Taron Egerton

Publisher Summary:

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from his rollercoaster lifestyle as shown in the film Rocketman, to becoming a living legend.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation to conquering Broadway with Aida, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot the Musical. All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. In a voice that is warm, humble, and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you by a living legend.

Read more and sample the audio →

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow, narrated by Ronan Farrow

Publisher Summary:

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.

All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain — until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture.

Read more and sample the audio →

Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore, narrated by Demi Moore

Publisher Summary:

Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight-or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years-all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception. As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress-and, always, if she was simply good enough.

As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life-laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender-a wrenchingly honest portrayal of one woman’s at once ordinary and iconic life.

Read more and sample the audio →

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, narrated by Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher Summary:

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne

Publisher Summary:

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be ‘positive’ all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. ‘F**k positivity,’ Mark Manson says. ‘Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.’ In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckis his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—’not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.’ Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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September’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.

Fiction:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Margaret Atwood, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, Mae Whitman, Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard

Publisher Summary:

Margaret Atwoods dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, has become a modern classic—and now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Institute by Stephen King, narrated by Santino Fontana

Publisher Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen Kings gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, narrated by Cynthia Farrell, Carlotta Brentan, Mozhan Marnò

Publisher Summary:

A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world—using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara–with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.

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It by Stephen King, narrated by Steven Weber

Publisher Summary:

Stephen Kings terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—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.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, narrated by David Pittu

Publisher Summary:

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by a longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into a wealthy and insular art community.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

Read more and sample the audio →

Non-Fiction:

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, narrated by Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher Summary:

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Read more and sample the audio →

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, narrated by Bryan Stevenson

Publisher Summary:

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: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Read more and sample the audio →

Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis, Bing West, narrated by Danny Campbell

Publisher Summary:

A clear-eyed account of learning how to lead in a chaotic world, by General Jim Mattis—the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of our time—and Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine.

Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis’s storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas—and short-sighted thinking—now facing our nation. He makes it clear why America must return to a strategic footing so as not to continue winning battles but fighting inconclusive wars.

Mattis divides his book into three parts: Direct Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Strategic Leadership. In the first part, Mattis recalls his early experiences leading Marines into battle, when he knew his troops as well as his own brothers. In the second part, he explores what it means to command thousands of troops and how to adapt your leadership style to ensure your intent is understood by your most junior troops so that they can own their mission. In the third part, Mattis describes the challenges and techniques of leadership at the strategic level, where military leaders reconcile war’s grim realities with political leaders’ human aspirations, where complexity reigns and the consequences of imprudence are severe, even catastrophic.

Call Sign Chaos is a memoir of a life of warfighting and lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey about learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy, one relevant to us all.

Read more and sample the audio →

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, narrated by Andrew Macmillian

Publisher Summary:

You can go after the job you want—and get it!
You can take the job you have—and improve it!
You can take any situation—and make it work for you!

Dale Carnegies rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you:

Six ways to make people like you
Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

And much more! Achieve your maximum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century with more than 15 million copies sold!

Read more and sample the audio →

Best Self: Be You, Only Better by Mike Bayer, narrated by Phil Mcgraw, Mike Bayer

Publisher Summary:

Ask yourself…are you truly who you want to be? Is this the life you really want? Are you living each day as your best self? What can you change, today? How would you answer those questions?

Think about your daily life. Are you thriving, or going through the motions? Are your days full of work, relationships and activities that are true to your authentic self, or do you feel trapped on a treadmill of responsibility? If you dream of a better life, now is the time to turn your dream into reality. And the tools you need are within your grasp, to design a life that is fulfilling on the deepest levels. Best Self will show you how.

Mike Bayer, known to the thousands of clients whose lives he has changed as Coach Mike, has helped everyone from pop stars to business executives to people just like you discover the freedom to be their best selves. By asking them and leading them to ask themselves a series of important but tough questions-such as “What are your core values?” “Do you go to bed each day more knowledgeable than when you woke up?” and “Am I neglecting some aspect of my physical health out of fear or denial?”-he helps them see what their Best Selves and Anti-Selves really look like. As a mental health specialist, a personal development coach, and an all-around change agent, Mike has seen the amazing ways in which lives can improve with honesty and clarity. He understands our struggles intimately, because he’s faced-and overcome-his own. And he knows that change is possible.

By working through each of the Seven SPHERES of life-Social, Personal, Health, Education, Relationships, Employment and Spiritual Development-Best Self is an accessible and interactive book that distills all of Coach Mike’s wisdom into a compact, focused guide that will ignite anyone’s desire for change. Chock full of revealing quizzes, and full of provocative questionnaires, Best Self will empower you to embrace your authenticity, acknowledge what is holding you back, and break through to live a passionate life to the fullest, forever.

Read more and sample the audio → 

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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STAFF PICK: Eve of Man by Tom Fletcher and Giovanna Fletcher

Title: Eve of Man
Author: Tom Fletcher, Giovanna Fletcher
Narrator: Josh Dylan, Charlotte Ritchie

When I was growing up I was always a bit slower at reading than a lot of my classmates which lead me to not want to read books. I would rarely pick up a book to read on my own. When I was in my pre-teens/teens, I started feeling left out because I could not join the conversation about books everyone was reading, specifically, Harry Potter. I then decided even though I was slow, I wouldn’t let that hold me back.

As soon as I was introduced to Teen novels, specifically Action & Adventure as well as Fantasy & Sci-Fi, I was absolutely hooked. From that point on, I was always seeking out new titles in those genres — I had found my calling. Eve of Man fits right in and surely did not disappoint.

Listeners are jolted into the future where no girls have been born in 50 years…until Eve. With the exception of security guards, Eve’s interactions with men are kept to a minimum. As soon as Eve turns 16, she is to fulfill her destiny and find a male suitor to have children with. The catch is she does not really get to choose the gentleman herself. The future of humanity is in her hands. Eve seemed to be on board and not question anything the Mothers told her to do until Bram came along and made her question everything. Now Eve wonders what their true intentions are and realizes her life was always planned out for her. She wants the freedom to make her own decisions, to choose her own path.

Josh Dylan and Charlotte Ritchie did such an amazing job narrating this audiobook. Their accents are so wonderful to listen to and you truly get wrapped up in the story with their characters Bram and Eve. They did such a great job and perfectly narrated this story. I truly felt like I could imagine what a film adaptation would look like with these two narrating the audiobook.

Tom Fletcher and Giovanna Fletcher did such a great job with all these characters, especially Eve, Bram and the three Mothers who take care of Eve. I enjoyed how every chapter rotated between Eve and Bram’s point of view. I cannot wait for the next book in this trilogy to be released in 2020 to see just what Giovanna and Tom have in store for these characters.

This audiobook was a true masterpiece. I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys imaginative, pulse-pounding listens those who were fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, Scythe, The Maze Runner series, and The Hunger Games series.

Publisher Summary:

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Scythe in this gripping new dystopian trilogy written by UK-bestselling authors Giovanna and Tom Fletcher.

She survived against all odds. The first girl born in fifty years. They called her EVE.

On the first day, no one really noticed. All those babies wrapped in blue blankets–not a pink one in sight. On the third day, people were scared–a statistic-defying abundance of blue. Not just entire hospitals, not only entire countries, but the entire world. Boys. Only boys.

Until Eve. The only girl born in fifty years. The savior of mankind. Kept protected, towering above a ruined world under a glass dome of safety until she is ready to renew the human race.

But when the time comes to find a suitor, Eve and Bram–a young man whose job is to prepare Eve for this moment–begin to question the plan they’ve known all along. Eve doesn’t only want safety, and she doesn’t only want protection. She wants the truth. She wants freedom.

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6 Perfect Cocktail + Audiobook Pairings

Take a load off, kick your feet up, press play on a new audiobook… but wait, something’s missing! I don’t know about you, but total relaxation for me usually includes a glass of wine or a simple (yet classy) cocktail.

So, if you’re like me, then worry not because we’ve rounded up six classic cocktails and audiobooks that pair perfectly together to make your sippin’ that much better! Grab a glass, some ice, and get ready to wet your whistle!


The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, narrated by James Cameron Stewart
Pairs with: Martini

What pairs better with a murder mystery/detective story than a martini? I’m just picturing a detective fresh off a case, decked out in their trench coat and fedora hat, sitting in the darkest corner of the bar, and sipping on a gin martini (one olive, please).

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a twist on the ‘whodunit’ story where Aiden Bishop must find out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. The catch? Every day he wakes up in a different body of one of the eight guests. With only eight days and eight bodies to get to the bottom of this mystery, Aiden only has one chance to escape once he has the name of the killer.

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The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill, narrated by Penelope Rawlins
Pairs with: Bellini

Picture yourself perched above the Gulf of Naples, surrounded by lemon groves, and under the Italian sun. That’s where The Summer Villa takes place. Sounds like the perfect backdrop to have a nice, refreshing Bellini in hand.

Kim, Colette, and Annie form an unlikely friendship when they each travel to the Amalfi Coast in need of an escape. Years later, Kim has renovated the same villa into a idyllic retreat and has invited her friends back. As long-buried secrets are revealed will these three friends be able to overcome them?

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, narrated by Scott Brick
Pairs with: Screwdriver

The way that Truman Capote tactfully tackles true crime in In Cold Blood shows why this book has remained so poignant since its original release in 1965. In the same way that In Cold Blood has become a tried and true fixture in the literary world, the quintessential screwdriver has the same lasting power in the world of cocktails.

Another reason to pair the screwdriver, consisting of simply vodka and orange juice, with In Cold Blood is because it turns out that this was Capote‘s cocktail of choice. How fitting!

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, narrated by Douglas Hodge
Pairs with: Shirley Temple

When I was little I always wanted to be like the grown ups. Whenever we would be out at a restaurant and the adults would have their alcoholic beverages they would always be sure to make me feel included by ordering me a Shirley Temple. We couldn’t do a cocktail round-up without including this sweet sip.

When I think of sweets my mind goes right to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, a classic. A bunch of kids get to take a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and eat all the candy? Sign me up. Press play on this nostalgic listen and grab your Shirley Temple, extra snozberries.

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Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, narrated by Jennifer O’Donnell
Pairs with: Cosmopolitan

Let’s face it, cosmopolitans are *still* exclusively linked with Sex and the City. That would be too easy of a connection to draw here, so I thought why not sip on this socialite specialty while listening to Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein.

This novel takes place in New York City (obviously) and follows Sasha, who finds herself working as a matchmaker for the dating service, Bliss. As she throws herself into her work, her personal life crumbles around her. Sure to make you laugh, Playing with Matches is about the dating world in our modern, technology-heavy world and how Sasha will find her place and her purpose.

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The Haunted by Danielle Vega, narrated by Holly Linneman
Pairs with: Dark ‘N’ Stormy

Everyone knows this cliché opening to those classic ghost stories, “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that in mind, this cocktail and audiobook combination might be a little on-the-nose. Let’s pair a Dark ‘N’ Stormy with The Haunted by Danielle Vega.

Hendricks just moved into Steele House in Drearfield, New York. While she’s busy trying to forget about her own dark past, it turns out the house that her and her family moved into has a dark past of its own. The Haunted is perfect if you’re looking for something spooky and it’s sure to make the hair on your neck stand on end.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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Book Clubbin’ – 10 Discussion Questions for Ask Again, Yes

Welcome to our new blog feature — Book clubbin’! We know that many of you (and us in the Audiobooks.com office!) are in book clubs, and so it seemed an obvious thing to blog about.

In the clubs I’m in (Yes, plural. I have a bit of an addiction) a lot of us are busy parents, have challenging jobs, or just have generally hectic lives, so listening to audiobook versions of the novel can be really useful. You can squeeze your book club choices into your commute, listen while you work, or even when your baby is napping (HAH!).

Every month we’ll pick a popular book club pick, and set up some discussion questions to get you and your book club going. This month, we’ve got questions for Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane, which was recently voted the Tonight Show Annual Summer Book Club Read. This is a really intense and awesome listen, with in-depth characters, and a lot to talk about. So here are our Ask Again, Yes book club questions!

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1. This novel has been described as a “Domestic” novel. Do you feel that’s the right genre for this novel? Why or why not?

2. Ask Again, Yes is told from the perspective of many different characters (Kate, Peter, Francis etc.). How do you think this adds to the development of the story?

3. The title Ask Again, Yes references the discussion Kate and Peter have at the end of the book. Do you feel that it applies to any other characters?

4. How are mental health and addiction issues portrayed in the novel? Do the characters’ experiences differ due to the era they grow up in?

5. Who do you think is the most sympathetic character in the book? Who is the least likable?

6. When Francis discovers Anne at Peter and Kate’s house, are you surprised at how calm he is? Or is this in line with his character?

7. The theme of history repeating itself is central to this novel. Which characters most fall into these patterns? Are there characters that don’t?

8. Kate, Lena, and Anne are very different women. How is the role of the traditional wife and mother portrayed in this novel?

9. The shooting changes the lives of almost everyone in the novel. How different do you think the following relationships would have been had it never happened? i) Kate and Peter ii) Lena and Francis iii) Anne and Brian.

10. What do you think the future holds for Kate and Peter?

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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