The Radical King: MLK on Audio

Hello again, audiophiles!

an american marriageWhat are you listening to this week? I just started listening to An American Marriage which is very different than I expected (and yet I don’t really know what I expected?) and very good.

The book alternates between two POVs (husband and wife) and the two narrators of the audiobook (Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis) are excellent.

Sponsored by The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Performed by Cristin Milioti

They call themselves the May Mothers. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

Unfolding over the course of thirteen fraught days and culminating in an exquisite and unexpected twist, The Perfect Mother is the perfect audiobook for our times—a nuanced and addictive story that exposes the truth of modern mothers’ lives as it explores the power of an ideal that is based on a lie.

Giveaway downloads courtesy of

I love hearing what y’all have in your ears, and Elizabeth from North Carolina wrote to say that she’s on the hold list at her library for some of Dion Graham’s audiobooks (heart eyes emoji). In the meantime, she says, “I just finished listening to Uncommon Type. Hanks is a surprisingly good writer and a wonderful narrator. He managed to get typewriters into almost every story. It’s worth a listen.”

Elizabeth has now moved on to A Wrinkle in Time and is pleased to report that L’Engle recorded her own introduction for it. (I also love it when authors make some kind of appearance on the audiobook.)

Get in touch anytime at or on twitter where I’m msmacb.

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Now, let’s dig into some audiobooks news:

One thing I’m particularly excited about is Audible’s release of The Radical King: a collection of 23 of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s essays and speeches read by Gabourey Sidibe, Mike Colter, Michael K. Williams, Wanda Sykes, and Danny Glover. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his assassination, The Radical King is, “the first time the MLK Estate has ever allowed a dramatic interpretation of King’s words — even Ava DuVernay’s Selma had to improvise his speeches — and features words of King’s that were never recorded for posterity.”

Entertainment Weekly interviewed Gabourey Sidibe, Michael K. Williams, and L Mike Colter about the experience. The whole interview is a great read, but I particularly appreciate this part from Gabby Sidibe:

“I was just thinking about the first time I learned about Martin Luther King. I was in kindergarten and it was Black History Month when we went to the auditorium to hear some speeches by him and learn about him. At the age of 5 years old, I just accepted this was a great man. I certainly had benefited from all of the work that he’d done, and in a lot of ways, everyone has. But it’s almost like he’s omnipotent. He’s great, and we know he’s great, but we don’t really need to dive any deeper than just that. It wasn’t until I actually read the chapter that I was given that I actually really read his words — that weren’t just quotes from, like, the “I Have a Dream” speech,” which we’ve all heard at some point. To read something that was different than that, while still showing his value and his greatness and his mind and his genius and really his heart, it made me want to read more about him.”

Read the entire interview here: Gabourey Sidibe, Mike Colter, Michael K. Williams on bringing Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to life

Someone returned an audiobook of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to a Kansas library 42 years overdue. That’s not what I found most interesting about the story, though. (I saw some pretty overdue books come back in my public library days). The most interesting part is the format of the audiobook: IT WAS ON VINYL. That’s right, 6 vinyl records made by the library of congress for the blind. It’s possible everyone reading this is thinking “yes, and? Have we gotten to the interesting part yet?” But I just think it’s so cool. Read the full article here.

A horse named Audible won the Florida Derby and is now going on to compete in the Kentucky Derby. With Audible’s Win In The Florida Derby, Has A Kentucky Derby Horse.

April is National Poetry Month, which–-if you know or follow any poets on social media, you are undoubtedly aware of. In honor of said month, “award-winning scholar and author, Dhrubajyoti (Dru) Bhattacharya, announces the forthcoming release of a mixed-media multicultural epic poem, “Light of the North Star”. The work straddles the Eastern and Western canons by telling a tale of two empires from ancient Greece and India after the Trojan War and a flood that submerged the city of Dwaraka.”

The narrators of the audiobook may be familiar to sci-fi enthusiasts: It’s narrated by Dominic Keating (known for his role as Lieutenant Malcom Reed on “Star Trek”) and Jean Gilpin (who has worked on adventure films, including “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “The Chronicles of Riddick”, and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”). Read more: Award-Winning Scholar Chases Homer With New Epic.

I’ve mentioned MacMillian’s new podcast But That’s Another Storyin this newsletter before but haven’t (yet!) gotten around to listening to it. I need to though, because they really do have a killer lineup of guests, including Pachinko author and National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee, National Public Radio host Sam Sanders, writer and illustrator Mari Andrew, and Josh Gondelman, comedian and writer on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

I’m mentioning the podcast again because they’re doing something great that I wish more podcasts would do: posting the transcripts of the podcast. The pod has partnered with LitHub to feature the transcripts. One of the things I love most about audiobooks is the level of accessibility the provide for folks who have vision impairments or other challenges with written material. For people on the other end, who have auditory impairments, podcasts are often often challenging. So I think it’s extremely awesome that But That’s Another Story is doing this.

Host of the podcast, Will Schwalbe, says that accessibility was a motivating factor in the transcript decision. He says, “Sharing written transcripts from these conversations is important as it will provide greater access—particularly for those who are hearing impaired.”

Quick aside on the wonders of books and tech: both my grandmothers are in their 90s and love reading. One grandmother listens to audiobooks exclusively because print is tough on her eyes. The other only reads on her eReader because she can make the type as big as she wants. Neither woman is much interested in technology outside of their reading habits, but both are happily reading thanks to the wonders of technology. It is so awesome.

That’s it for me!

Until next week,