Book Clubbin’: 8 Discussion Questions for ‘It Ends With Us’ by Colleen Hoover

It’s that time again! Our Book Clubbin’ feature is back to bring you some conversation sparking questions for your next book club meeting. Whether you and your friends have planned a full night to chat this month’s pick through, or you’ve got a virtual meeting in your calendar, these questions will keep the conversation going!

This time around we’ve chosen It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. If you haven’t heard of Colleen Hoover yet, then chances are, you’re not as deep into #BookTok as we are over here (guilty!). Hoover’s titles have been blowing up on TikTok over the last year, and have also seen some time climbing the New York Times bestsellers list.

In It Ends With Us, we follow Lily, who didn’t have the easiest time growing up, but now she has moved out on her own and started her own business. Then, she meets the handsome neurosurgeon, Ryle, who seems too good to be true. Ryle’s fear of commitment worries Lily more and more as she continues to fall for him and in the meantime, she’s started reminiscing about Atlas—her first love and a link to her past.

If your book club has decided to see what all the hype is about and have chosen It Ends With Us for your next read, then you’re in luck! Keep reading for our discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————CONTAINS SPOILERS!—————

1) What did you think about the format of Lily reading her letters to Ellen DeGeneres?

2) Lily grew up witnessing an abusive relationship, how do you think this affected her relationships in the future?

3) Why do you think Lily continued to help Atlas when they were kids despite the judgement from her family and friends?

4) How did Lily’s relationship with Atlas differ than her relationship with Ryle? How did each help her grow as a person?

5) After reconnecting with Atlas, why do you think Lily agrees to marry Ryle despite the anger he’s displayed?

6) Did Hoover portray Ryle in a way that made you empathize with him despite his actions?

7) What would you have done if you were in Lily’s situation? Do you agree with the decision she made?

8) Why do you think Hoover titled this book, It Ends With Us?


Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.


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!

Top Free Audiobooks from October’s VIP Rewards

Audiobooks.com members (including free trial members) enjoy the benefits of our VIP Rewards program, which allows you to make a selection from a specially curated list of free audiobooks every month.

To browse the current month’s selection and choose your free audiobook, simply tap into the VIP Rewards section in the Audiobooks.com app or after logging into the Audiobooks.com website.

All new VIP Rewards will become available on the first day of each month. But don’t feel rushed to listen to your free audiobook every month—you can download today and listen whenever, for as long as you’re a member.

If you’re an Audiobooks.com member and are looking to make your free selection for October, we’ve got you covered! Check out this month’s top three VIP downloads below or click here to see the full list.


Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins, narrated by Xe Sands

Publisher Summary:

A funny and bittersweet story of a woman who returns to her hometown after a decade’s absence hoping to resuscitate her relationship with her family, only to discover that her homecoming is not as welcome as she had imagined.

It’s been over a decade since Nora left her hometown of Scupper Island, Maine, and very seldom looked back. She’s carved out a successful life in Boston where no one knows her as the awkward girl with the delinquent sister and the dad who left, but a not-as-dramatic-as-it-sounds brush with death has her taking stock of her life. Inspired to reconnect with her prickly mother and snarky teenage niece, Nora returns home for the summer, where she’s forced to face the people she’s spent the last ten years trying to avoid, and where some revelations about her family could either heal her, or send her scrambling back to Boston on the next ferry.

Read more and sample the audio →



Victim Six by Gregg Olsen, narrated by Corey M. Snow

Publisher Summary:

The bodies are found in towns and cities around Puget Sound. The young women who are the victims had nothing in common-except the agony of their final moments. But somebody carefully chose them to stalk, capture, and torture . . . a depraved killer whose cunning is matched only by the depth of his bloodlust. But the dying has only just begun. And the next victim will be the most shocking of all…

Read more and sample the audio →



The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman, narrated by Patrick Lawlor

Publisher Summary:

The astonishing, never-before-told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II-when the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines…

During a bombing campaign, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian villagers risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers, and for months the airmen lived in hiding, waiting for rescue.

In 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip-without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the rescue planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back-without getting shot down themselves.

Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time. The Forgotten 500 is the breathtaking, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.

Read more and sample the audio →


Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.


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!

Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for ‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ by Laura Dave

Welcome back to our Book Clubbin’ feature where we set you up with some book discussion questions to either ponder on your own or to take to your next book club. As certain areas begin to open up and you can visit with friends again, now is the perfect time to plan your next book club. If not, Zoom book clubs are still all the rage. Plus, then your long distance friends can join in on the conversation.

This month we decided to dive into Reese Witherspoon’s recent Hello Sunshine Book Club pick, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave!

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he leaves a note for his wife, Hannah, that simply says: Protect her. Hannah knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. As Hannah’s confusion and panic rise, the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, and a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

If you’ve recently read or listened to The Last Thing He Told Me and could not put it down (trust us, we couldn’t either), then we’ve got some book club questions to spark some great discussions! Keep reading for our discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————CONTAINS SPOILERS!————

1) Why do you think Owen hid his past from Hannah and Bailey?

2) Owen could have left any message for Hannah, why do you think he chose, “Protect her?”

3) We find out that Hannah’s mother left her when she was a child. How does her relationship with her mother compare to Bailey’s?

4) Did you have any suspicions for why Owen disappeared? Were you surprised by the reveal?

5)  Owen left some clues about his past, do you think that he wanted Hannah and Bailey to investigate and uncover why he had to disappear?

6) What did you think of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship? Was it an authentic depiction of a step-mom and step-daughter relationship?

7) Considering Owen and his disappearance are both a huge part of this book, did you feel satisfied only getting glimpses of what he was like through flashbacks?

8)  Do you believe it was fair of Owen to leave Hannah to care for his daughter by herself without ever discussing this with her?

9)  Do you think Hannah made the right decision when she chose for her and Bailey to not to go into witness protection with Owen?

10) Do you think there will every be an opportunity for Owen to reunite with Hannah and Bailey?


Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.


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!

Audiobooks to Help You Celebrate Pride Month: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Listens for Littles

This year, for Pride Month, some areas are easing back into normal life while other places are still in lockdown. So if you’re looking for a safe way to celebrate this month, why not pick up a new LGBTQIA+ audiobook! Keep reading to see some of the best listens to press play on for Pride or check out our full lists by clicking the applicable link: The Best LGBTQ+ Fiction, The Best LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction, LGBTQ+ Must-Listens for Kids and Teens.


Fiction

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters, narrated by Renata Friedman

Publisher Summary:

Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?

This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.

Read more and sample the audio →


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, narrated by Ocean Vuong

Publisher Summary:

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born—a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam—and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

Read more and sample the audio →


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, narrated by Ramon De Ocampo

Publisher Summary:

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius-his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Read more and sample the audio →


Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, narrated by Moira Quirk

Publisher Summary:

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead

Read more and sample the audio →


Non-Fiction

The Pink Line by Mark Gevisser, narrated by Vikas Adam, Mark Gevisser

Publisher Summary:

More than five years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is a globetrotting exploration of how the human rights frontier around sexual orientation and gender identity has come to divide—and describe—the world in an entirely new way over the first two decades of the twenty-first century. No social movement has brought change so quickly and with such dramatically mixed results. While same-sex marriage and gender transition is celebrated in some parts of the world, laws are being strengthened to criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity in others. A new Pink Line, Gevisser argues, has been drawn across the world, and he takes readers to its frontiers.

In between sharp analytical chapters about culture wars, folklore, gender ideology, and geopolitics, Gevisser provides sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered on the Pink Line’s frontiers across nine countries. They include a trans Malawian refugee granted asylum in South Africa and a gay Ugandan refugee stuck in Nairobi; a lesbian couple who started a gay café in Cairo after the Arab Spring, a trans woman fighting for custody of her child in Moscow, and a community of kothis—“women’s hearts in men’s bodies”—who run a temple in an Indian fishing village.

Eye-opening, moving, and crafted with expert research, compelling narrative, and unprecedented scope, The Pink Line is a monumental—and vital—journey through the border posts of the world’s new LGBTQ+ frontiers.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Other Mothers by Jennifer Berney, narrated by Xe Sands

Publisher Summary:

Jenn Berney was one of those people who knew she was destined for motherhood-it wasn’t a question of if, but when. So when she and her wife Kelly decided to start building their family, they took the next logical step: they went to a fertility clinic. But they soon found themselves entrenched in a medical establishment that didn’t know what to do with people like them. With no man factoring into their relationship, doctors were at best embarrassed and at worst disparaging of the couple.

Soon Jenn found herself stepping outside of the system determined to disregard her. Looking into the history of fertility and the LGBTQ+ community, she saw echoes of her own struggle. For decades queer people have defied the patriarchy and redefined the nuclear family-and Jenn was walking in their footsteps.

Through the ups-and-downs of her own journey, Jenn reflects on a turbulent past that has led her to this point and a bright future worth fighting for. With clarity, determination, and hope, The Other Mothers gives us a wonderful glimpse into the many ways we can become family

Read more and sample the audio →


The Bold World by Jodie Patterson, narrated by Jodie Patterson

Publisher Summary:

In 2009, Jodie Patterson, mother of five and beauty entrepreneur, has her world turned upside down when her determined toddler, Penelope, reveals, “Mama, I’m not a girl. I am a boy.” The Pattersons are a tribe of unapologetic Black matriarchs, scholars, financiers, Southern activists, artists, musicians, and disruptors, but with Penelope’s revelation, Jodie realizes her existing definition of family isn’t wide enough for her child’s needs.
 
In The Bold World, we witness Patterson reshaping her own attitudes, beliefs, and biases, learning from her children, and a whole new community, how to meet the needs of her transgender son. In doing so, she opens the minds of those who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. Patterson finds that the fight for racial equality in which her ancestors were so prominent helped pave the way for the current gender revolution.
 
From Georgia to South Carolina, Ghana to Brooklyn, Patterson learns to remove the division between me and you, us and them, straight and queer—and she reminds us to celebrate her uncle Gil Scott Heron’s prophecy that the revolution will not be televised. It will happen deeply, unequivocally, inside each and every one of us. Transition, we learn, doesn’t just belong to the transgender person. Transition, for the sake of knowing more and becoming more, is the responsibility of and gift to all.

Read more and sample the audio →


How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones, narrated by Saeed Jones

Publisher Summary:

Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

Read more and sample the audio →


Kids and Teens

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard, narrated by Frankie CorzoBailey CarrStephen Dexter

Publisher Summary:

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot—full of adventure—and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect… one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive. Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.

Read more and sample the audio →


Baby & Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma, narrated by Nick Walther

Publisher Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Joel Teague has a new prescription from his therapist: a part-time job, the first step toward the elusive Normal life he’s been so desperate to live ever since The Bad Thing happened. Lucky for Joel, ROYO Video is hiring. It’s the perfect fresh start-he even gets a new name. Dubbed “Solo” after his favorite Star Wars character, Joel works his way up the not-so-corporate ladder without anyone suspecting What Was Wrong With Him. That is, until he befriends Nicole “Baby” Palmer, a smart-mouthed coworker with a chip on her shoulder about… well, everything, and the two quickly develop the kind of friendship movie montages are made of. However, when Joel’s past inevitably catches up with him, he’s forced to choose between preserving his new blank slate persona and coming clean-and either way, he risks losing the first real friend he’s ever had. Set in a pop-culture-rich 1990s, this remarkable story tackles challenging and timely themes with huge doses of wit, power, and heart.

Read more and sample the audio →


You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, narrated by Alaska Jackson

Publisher Summary:

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay—Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down… until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams… or make them come true?

Read more and sample the audio →


Between Perfect & Real by Ray Stoeve, narrated by Mw Cartozian Wilson

Publisher Summary:

Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now—not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?

Read more and sample the audio →


Related Articles

• 9 LGBTQ+ Memoirs For Pride Month

• 13 #OwnVoices Audiobooks to Diversify Your Shelf

• Interview with ‘Soar, Adam, Soar’ author, Rick Prashaw and narrator, John Dickhout


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!

Interview with Ben Dolnick, Author of ‘The Wolf’s Mother Speaks’

Interview courtesy of Recorded Books

In The Wolf’s Mother Speaks, Ben Dolnick takes listeners on an unforgettable, hauntingly funny journey alongside a mother whose love takes many forms. A mother (Joyce) finds out a secret about her estranged adult son, namely that he regularly turns completely into a wolf. No, not a werewolf half-man half-wolf creature, but a full-on actual wolf. It’s out of his control when it happens, and he’s done some terrible things. Once Joyce finds out, she goes to great lengths to help her beloved son. But as the novel unfolds, the narrative explores ideas not only of survival and murder and familial devotion in the face of the most challenging and unbelievable circumstances, but also of mental illness if not actual insanity. The result is a thrill ride with a lot of bumps and a substantial body count. Here Ben talks about his new audiobook!

1. In The Wolf’s Mother Speaks, the main character Joyce is dealing with a painful estrangement from her son, which seems very realistic, and then things take a turn into the supernatural. Where did the inspiration for The Wolf’s Mother Speaks come from?

I think the first inkling I had of this book was when, years ago, I read a story about a serial killer being arrested at his house in Kansas. This was one of those situations in which the killer has a wife, a family, neighbors who think they know him, the whole domestic scene. And I was so fascinated, particularly by his family members—what did they know? What did they think of him now? 

But I knew that I didn’t want to write a standard serial killer book—I love a good serial killer novel (Red Dragon is one of the more compelling books I’ve ever read), but I didn’t want to write something with forensics, FBI agents, etc; I was after something weirder. 

So, I handed those inputs—some murder, some family dynamics, some strangeness—to the mysterious mental organ where novels gestate, and out popped this book!

2. Was the writing process different for this book from how it was for your previous novels (The Ghost NotebooksZoologyYou Know Who You Are, and At the Bottom of Everything)?

This was a much more “spoken” book than those—which is to say that the vast majority of the book is actually purporting to be transcribed speech. That made this book lots of fun to write—I love nothing more, as a writer, than doing various voices—but it also made for various narrative challenges. People tell stories very differently than they write them—there was no room for literary tricks, or elegant descriptions, or anything like that. It’s a much more compact and slangy sort of writing.  

3. You’re an avid audiobook listener, which we love to hear! What is it about audiobooks that speaks to you, both in your personal listening, and as a writer?

Yes, audiobooks are the best! I’ve always thought of writing, despite the silence in which it takes place, as fundamentally an auditory medium. When I walk into a library where everybody’s quietly reading in their little carrels or whatever, I see it like one of those weird silent raves, where everybody’s wearing headphones and quietly thrashing around in ecstasy. This person is hearing Vonnegut, this person is hearing Toni Morrison, this person is hearing Murakami—and all that hearing is taking place entirely internally.

So audiobooks just make that aural quality of writing even more tangible. I spent a lot of the quarantine so far—55 hours of it, in fact!—listening to War and Peace, and I don’t think I could have gotten through it, certainly not with such pleasure, if I had just been reading it. Each character, however long it had been since I’d heard from them, was immediately identifiable by their voice. It felt even more intimate than reading, in a way. My eyes can skim or rush in a way that my ears usually don’t. 

4. What was it like hearing your previous novels in audiobook form for the first time? 

It was amazing! I was so used to hearing the books in my head—by the time a book is published, you can all but recite it—but here it was actually taking form in space, in the sound of a stranger’s voice. And it was fascinating to hear the little choices the readers made, both at the sentence-level and in terms of character. It was kind of a bittersweet thing, like (I imagine) watching a kid go off to college—you’ve worked so hard on this thing and off it goes to lead an independent existence, no longer under even the illusion of your control.

5. What do you personally like to read or listen to?

Everything! Lately I’ve been listening to classics—I’m moved onto Proust, after finishing War and Peace—but I also listen to lots of Buddhist stuff (Already Free by Bruce Tift is a recent favorite). And reading-wise I’m all over the place. I read a lot of thrillers — police procedurals (Ed McBain is great), supernatural stuff (Dracula, Frankenstein), espionage (Eye of the Needle is truly amazing). Lately I’ve been reading some more experimental fiction—Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, a bunch by Mark Leyner, some Gerald Murnane. My bedside table is basically a perpetual avalanche of things I’m halfway through.

6. If you could curate a shelf for The Wolf’s Mother Speaks to sit on, what other books would be on it?

It would have to be an eccentric shelf! I think I’d love to put it somewhere between the funny, experimental, voice-obsessed books of, say, George Saunders and David Foster Wallace, on one side—and then on the other side I’d like to have the plotty, efficient novels of Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives, etc.). Oh, and let’s put some Alice Munro on that shelf too! She is hands-down the best at all things related to families—and she’s got quite a way with plot too. That would be a shelf where my book would live very, very happily.

7. What’s your favorite scary story?

I think Ira Levin’s [The] Boys from Brazil is my favorite of the moment. It’s tense and strange and brilliantly told. The whole last third—which I feel like I can’t describe at all without spoiling it—is just hilariously compelling. He’s able to do that Hitchcock thing of making you hold your breath for minutes at a time while the characters walk a tightrope over a flaming pit. ∎


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The Best Audiobooks for Less

Fall is creeping in, which means it’s time to bust out the sweaters and start doing cute autumnal activities. You know what I’m talking about: fall hikes, apple picking, baking cookies or pies (or anything pumpkin), and cozying up inside. “And how could we make those activities even better?” You ask. Simple, add an audiobook to the mix.

From now until September 21, 2020 we’re running our Fall Sale, which features tons of audiobooks for under $8 (£7 in the UK). On the hunt for something mysterious to listen to? Or are you in the mood to swoon over a new romance audiobook? Either way, we have something you’ll love.

We’ve rounded up a few of our fave picks from the sale below, but to browse the full sale list click the appropriate link below:

United States & Canada – click here

United Kingdom – click here


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Now: $8.00 Was: $14.95

These days, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Neil deGrasse Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while you’re in the car commuting or on a road trip, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Read more and sample the audio →


Moral Compass by Danielle Steel, narrated by Dan John Miller
Now: $7.99 Was: $19.99

Saint Ambrose Prep is a place where the wealthy send their children for the best possible education. Traditionally a boys-only school, Saint Ambrose has just enrolled one hundred and forty female students for the first time. While most of the kids on the campus have all the privilege in the world, some are struggling. One day after the school’s annual Halloween event, a student lies in the hospital, her system poisoned by dangerous levels of alcohol. Everyone in this sheltered community—parents, teachers, students, police, and the media—are left trying to figure out what actually happened. Steel’s Moral Compass illuminates the dark side of one drunken night, with its tragic consequences, from every possible point of view. As the drama unfolds, the characters will reach a crossroads where they must choose between truth and lies, between what is easy and what is right…

Read more and sample the audio →


Naked in Death by J. D. Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen
Now: $8.00 Was: $19.99

Go back to the beginning with the very first installment of the In Death series! Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire—and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about.

Read more and sample the audio →


Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr, narrated by Therese Plummer
Now: $7.99 Was: $24.99

Wanting to read the books before watching the show? Jump into the Virgin River series. This entry in the series tells the heartwarming lesson of second chances, rekindled love, and new hope.

Paradise Valley follows Rick Scudder, who joined the Marine Corps with high hopes, but left with a broken spirit and a shattered body. He’s been pushing away everyone close to him, including his father, Jack, and his longtime girlfriend, Liz. Now, Rick must find the strength to let Liz back into his heart.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, narrated by Kirsten Potter
Now: $4.99 Was: $20.00

Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion and TV is something other people watch. Their father—a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse—named them after the Bard’s heroines. It’s a lot to live up to.

These sisters have a hard time with communication and they are now finding that when confronted with their parents’ frailty and their collective disappointment of how their lives turned out, not even a good book can help them now.

Read more and sample the audio →


Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld
Now: $7.00 Was: $19.99

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars: one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces.

Read more and sample the audio →


Open Season by C. J. Box, narrated by David Chandler
Now: $7.99 Was: $19.99

This thrilling listen features Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming who finds his life in danger after he looks into a murder investigation and discovers a conspiracy involving an oil pipeline and its threat to an endangered species.

Read more and sample the audio →


Where Good Girls Go To Die by Holly Renee, narrated by Kelly PrunerRex Anderson
Now: $6.00 Was: $15.99

If you’re on the hunt for a new romance series, why not start with Where Good Girls Go To Die. This listen follows Livy, who knows she shouldn’t get involved with Parker James, her brother’s best friend, but she can’t resist. After having her heart broken, she runs.

Four years later, she runs into him again and he’s still just as she remembered him. Guarding her heart from him is top priority because Parker James is where good girls go to die. Unfortunately for him, Livy wasn’t a good girl anymore.

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!