Star Spangled Audiobooks

Hello again, audiobook lovers, how was your week?

In the newsletter last week, I fangirled pretty hard over Titus Welliver and his narration of the later Harry Bosch audiobooks. Bear with me, cuz I have more (but different!) fangirling to do now: this weekend, I listened to all of Maile Meloy’s new book, Do Not Become Alarmed, in a single day.

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The first time I heard Meloy read something was in the New Yorker Fiction podcast when she read the story “Mr. Parker” by Laurie Colwin. “Mr. Parker” is one of my all-time favorite short stories; it’s about a girl on the brink of teenagehood, in that last moment of innocence before she is launched into womanhood and all the perils that come with it. Meloy’s voice is perfect for the story–-soft, but strong and clear with the self-awareness that begins to creep into the young girl’s consciousness. I highly recommend listening to it, which you can do here.  

So, I was thrilled to learn that Meloy reads the audio of Do Not Become Alarmed and, once again, her voice is perfect for the subject. It’s the story of two families who take a cruise together and on a land excursion, the children go missing. So much of the novel is about the tension between ignorance and awareness, between attitudes of those with privilege and those without. I listened to the whole book in a day; I lost of doing work but couldn’t stop without knowing how things turned out.

Star Spangled Audiobooks

One of the *few* silver linings I can see in the Trump presidency and the chaos around it is an increased conversation around how government works. Our president often seems unclear about how the three branches of government work or what the Constitution says and as a result, those issues have been discussed more widely than they have in the past. Remember that moment at the Democratic National Committee convention when gold-star father Khizr Khan offered to lend Trump a copy of his pocket Constitution? Something tells me the Trump never took him up on the offer.

Fortunately for all of us, Penguin Random House has teamed up with PEN America and the National Coalition Against Censorship to bring us free streaming audio recordings of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Narrated by Frank Langella and Boyd Gaines, these recordings will be available through the end of July. If you wanna let others know you’re brushing up on your founding documents and see what others have to say, folks will be using the #wethepeoplelisten hashtag to share their thoughts. Listen at

If you are a politics nerd like I am, you may also enjoy one of the most nerdtastic items I have ever purchased. May it Please the Court is a print book but it comes with an audio CD. The book contains the transcripts from the most seminal supreme court cases between 1955 and 2007; the audio CD has the actual recordings of those arguments. From the publisher, “May It Please the Court includes both live recordings and transcripts of oral arguments in twenty-three of the most significant cases argued before the Supreme Court in the second half of the twentieth century…through the voices of some of the nation’s most important lawyers and justices, including Thurgood Marshall, Archibald Cox, and Earl Warren, it offers a chance to hear firsthand our justice system at work, in the highest court of the land.”

Take a look at some of the cases included: Gideon v. Wainwright (right to counsel) Abington School District v. Schempp (school prayer) Miranda v. Arizona (“the right to remain silent”) Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) Edwards v. Aguillard (teaching “creationism”) Regents v. Bakke (reverse discrimination) Wisconsin v. Yoder (compulsory schooling for the Amish) Tinker v. Des Moines (Vietnam protest in schools) Texas v. Johnson (flag burning) New York Times v. United States (Pentagon Papers) Cox v. Louisiana (civil rights demonstrations) Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board (freedom of association) Terry v. Ohio (“stop and frisk” by police) Gregg v. Georgia (capital punishment) Cooper v. Aaron (Little Rock school desegregation) Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (public accommodations) Palmer v. Thompson (swimming pool integration) Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriage) San Antonio v. Rodriguez (equal funding for public schools) Bowers v. Hardwick (homosexual rights) Baker v. Carr (“one person, one vote”) United States v. Nixon (Watergate tapes) DeShaney v. Winnebago County (child abuse).

New Releases

(publisher description in quotes)

Hope and a Future: The Story of Syrian Refugees by John M. B. Balouziyeh

This is the first I have heard of the Refugee Rights series but count me in.

“This book tracks the author’s travels to Syrian refugee camps and informal tented settlements in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Relying on his legal background, he offers an unfiltered account of the plight of Syrian refugees from a legal, political, and humanitarian perspective.

Yet this book is more than just an account of the lives of Syrian refugees; it answers that burning question on so many people’s minds: how can I help? In discussing corporate partnerships with aid organizations, civil society initiatives, humanitarian missions, volunteering and fundraising, the author shows that there is a role anyone can play in making a lasting, positive impact on Syrian refugees and restoring dignity to their lives.”

The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater

“Lizzie, the only daughter of celebrated war photographer Kurtiz Ross, went missing four years ago. Kurtiz and her ex-husband, Oliver, arrive in Paris following an unconfirmed sighting of their daughter.

Oliver rushes to find her while Kurtiz waits, praying for a reunion. As sirens wail, Kurtiz finds comfort in Marguerite Courtenay – a glamorous former actress. As Marguerite distracts Kurtiz with stories of her life in postwar Provence, Kurtiz must confront her own ghosts and face up to home truths.”

Use of Force by Brad Thor

“As a storm rages across the Mediterranean Sea, a terrifying distress call is made to the Italian Coast Guard. Days later, a body washes ashore.

Identified as a high-value terrorism suspect (who had disappeared three years prior), his name sends panic through the Central Intelligence Agency. Where was he headed? What was he planning? And could he be connected to the “spectacular attack” they have been fearing all summer?

In a race against time, the CIA taps an unorthodox source to get answers: Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative, Scot Harvath. Hired on a black contract, Harvath will provide the deniability the United States needs while he breaks every rule along the way.”

Links for Your Ears

5 Audiobook Narrators Who Are Sure To Have You Falling in Love With the Format –Book Riot

How One Man Overcame Blindness and Started an Audiobook Show for New Scifi and Fantasy –Gizmodo

Samuel West to narrate new Inspector Morse audio series –The Bookseller

City seeking first poet laureate –Winnipeg Free Press

These Are The Most Popular eBooks And Audiobooks Of Summer 2017, According To Scribd –Bustle

Dear Match Book: What Audiobooks Will Liven Up My Summer Road Trips? –New York Times

Now Is a Good Time to Listen to Prodigy Tell His Life Story –SPIN

Disability Advocates Celebrate the End of Australia’s ‘Book Famine’ –Pro Bono Australia

Until next time,