Happy August, Audiophiles,
August may be the sleepy, end of summer month everyone simultaneously dreads (because it means summer is ending) and wants to last forever (because more summer, please) but when it comes to audiobook publishing, August is firing on all cylinders. In other words, there are a TON of new audiobooks to get through. So many, in fact, that I’m going to do a two-parter: Audiobooks coming out in the first half of the month will be in this newsletter, audiobooks in the second half of the month will be next week. In both cases, I’ve tried to pick some of the lesser known titles/ones you may not have heard of.
We’re giving away 16 of the books featured on Recommended! Click here, or on the image below to enter:
But first, because it is sadly this time of year in California, I want to send a heartfelt thanks to all the firefighters out there. I love California so much and watching it burn, watching your family, friends, neighbors lose everything is heartbreaking. And yet there are still people running into the flames, trying to help. This picture, of firefighters resting in the backyard of a house they just saved before heading back to keep fighting the Carr Fire, brings me to tears. Thank you, firefighters. And thanks, newsletter readers, for indulging me this sentimentality.
WHEW, ON A LIGHTER NOTE! You can win 16 awesome books featured on the Recommended podcast! Enter here by August 31.
New Audiobooks for August: Part 1
(publisher’s description in quotes)
Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy by Savannah Knoop; narrated by Kristen Stewart; release date: 08-01-18
“In January 2006, the New York Times unmasked Savannah Knoop as the face of the mysterious author JT LeRoy. A media frenzy ensued as JT’s fans, mentors, and readers came to terms with the fact that the gay male-ex-truck stop prostitute turned literary wunderkind was really a girl from San Francisco whose sister-in-law wrote the books…Telling her side of the story for the first time, Savannah reveals how being perceived as a boy gave her a sense of confidence and entitlement she never had before.” I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a Kristen Stewart movie but I’m excited to hear her narration of this.
Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton; narrated by Kirsten Potter; Release date: 08-01-18
Goddamn, I’m a sucker for anything related to Ernest Hemingway–-not least his wives, all of whom are fascinating in their own right. Martha Gellhorn met Ernest Hemingway when he was married to his second wife. Gellhorn, an accomplished war correspondent and journalist, began a love affair with Hemingway. “Beautiful Exiles is a stirring story of lovers and rivals, of the breathless attraction to power and fame, and of one woman – ahead of her time – claiming her own identity from the wreckage of love.”
American Conspiracy Theories by Joseph E. Uscinski, Joseph M. Parent; narrated by Tristan Morris; release date: 08-07-18
Our world is saturated with conspiracy theories. As I write this newsletter, I’m listening to a podcast called “The RFK Files,” about the murder of Robert Kennedy. But why are conspiracy theories so prevalent and what does a preoccupation with conspiracy theories say about where we’re at as a culture? “ Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent…address crucial questions, such as similarities and differences in the nature of conspiracy theories over time, the role of the Internet and communications technologies in spreading modern conspiracy theories, and whether politics, economics, media, war, or other factors are most important in popularizing conspiratorial beliefs.”
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman; narrated by Kate Bornstein; release date: 08-07-18
If you aren’t familiar with Kate Bornstein, I am honored to be able to introduce you to her work. Gender Outlaw was first published 20 years ago and it’s as relevant as ever. “On one level, Gender Outlaw details Bornstein’s transformation from heterosexual male to lesbian woman, from a one-time IBM salesperson to a playwright and performance artist. But this particular coming-of-age story is also a provocative investigation into our notions of male and female, from a self-described nonbinary transfeminine diesel femme dyke who never stops questioning our cultural assumptions.”
Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything by Randi Hutter Epstein MD; narrated by Donna Postel; Release date: 08-07-18
Hormones are one of those things I don’t think about a lot unless I’m faced with pictures of myself as an angry, acne-faced, awkward teenager. But hormones control so much more. “Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, Randi Hutter Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals and their discovery, from the London laboratory where the concept of hormones was identified to a basement filled with jarred brains to a canine sex lab.” Look, brains in jars and canine sex labs aren’t necessarily my thing. But it’s worth it to learn the mystery of why we crazy humans (among other species) behave the way we do.
Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert; narrated by Maya Barton; release date 8-07-18
This YA novel sounds like a heartbreaker (but like a really good heartbreaker).
“Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.
Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle…When Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.”
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim; narrated by Greta Jung, Keong Sim; Release date: 08-07-18
“When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, 16-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan. Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi – and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come.”
Alright, that’s it for me this week! More next week and in the meantime, you can always say hi on twitter, where I’m msmacb or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.