Audiobooks 09/17

Hola Audiophiles! Today’s newsletter is once again brought to you by the land of smoke, flames, and hazardous air quality. I’ve never prayed so much for rain in Portland. Here’s hoping all of you are managing to stay safe and healthy.

Ready? Let’s audio.

New Releases – Week of August 15 (publisher descriptions in quotes)

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro, read by Frankie Corzo (YA fiction) – Xochitl is a young woman destined to wander through the desert and tell her village’s stories to the winds. She longs for a kindred spirit to share her heart with, and she gets it—too bad that kindred spirit is Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the murderous man who conquered Xochitl’s village. “But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.”

Narrator Note: I know it looks like Frankie Corzo paid me to include books read by her in as many newsletters as possible, but I promise she hasn’t! She is a wonderful narrator and has been paired with some truly fantastic pieces of literature this year, and I for one am excited to see what life she breathes into this story.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, read by Chiwetel Ejiofor (fantasy) – Fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, rejoice! Susanna Clarke is back at last. Piranesi lives in a house of infinite rooms that each contain a unique statue. There’s also an ocean trapped in the house, but Piranesi knows how to navigate its tides. He spends his entire life exploring the house, room by room, and slowly learns a terrifying truth: there’s another occupant in the house.

Narrator Note: I almost didn’t include this book because I figured you all knew about it, but then I saw that it’s read by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. That voice!

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt (YA fantasy) – This book was already on my radar as a buzzy work of fantasy filled with Southern Black Girl Magic, and that was before I learned that it’s also a modern-day twist on Arthurian legend! After her mother dies in an accident, 16-year-old Bree Matthews needs an escape from family memories and her childhood home. She enrolls at a residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill thinking it’s just what she needs, but surprise! Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. Next comes an avalanche of revelations: Bree possesses a unique magic of her own, a magical war is on the horizon, and a secret demon-fighting society known as the Legendborn are all descendants of King Arthur’s knights.

Narrator note: You may recognize Joniece Abbott-Pratt from Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko and Patrick Ness’ Burn. I’m really looking forward to getting to know this narrator from what I’ve heard do far!

Latest Listens

transcendent kingdomTranscendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, read by Bahni Turpin (fiction) – I was warned about Yaa Gyasi and the heartbreaking beauty of her debut novel Homegoing. I’m also familiar enough with Bahni Turpin to know that she can and will deliver a stellar, emotional performance. I even told you all last week that this book sounded like it was going to slap me in the face and that I’d accept that slap with a smile. Yet there I was last night, washing dishes while tears stung my eyeballs, stunned by how fantastic this book is. Gyasi Turpin 2020!

Gifty is a Ghanian American PhD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford Med where she’s studying depression and addiction by observing the reward-seeking behavior of mice. This work is very personal: she was just a kid when her athlete brother Nana injured his ankle during a high school basketball game and then got hooked on the Oxycontin he was prescribed. After spiraling in his addiction and relapsing almost immediately after a stint in rehab, Nana overdosed on heroine and died. Gifty turns to science to understand Nana’s addiction and the depth of her family’s loss, but she also finds herself drawn by the allure of salvation offered by the faith she thought she’d abandoned.

The narrative shifts primarily between Gifty’s present at Stanford and her past in Alabama, and we know from the very beginning that Nana dies and that Gifty’s adult relationship with the church and God is estranged. Yet watching it all unfold feels both like a slow burn and a crash landing. The devastation of the characters’ grief leaps off the page, as does the downright toxicity of a religious community allegedly built on love actively rooting for a young Black man’s demise. Bahni Turpin’s interpretation is wonderful start to finish, but she knocked me on my ass in her voicing of Gifty’s mother. I had to remind myself several times that I was listening to a piece of fiction and not a memoir read by the author. The pain felt so real, so personal, so deep.

If you’re in the mood for a book that examines mental health, grief, addiction, race, and the struggle to find a balance between science, faith, and organized religion, pick this one up and prepare for feelings.

From the Internets

For all you Audible users, the Fall Harvest Sale is on now. Premium Plus members can shop best-selling titles in multiple genres for just $5, but act fast—the sale ends today 9/17. has rounded up a list of Latinx owned indie bookstores in the US! If you’re new to Libro and need help deciding which store to support with your membership, or a current subscriber in the mood to spread the indie love, consider one of these!

I missed this AudioFile roundup of audiobooks in translation from a couple of weeks ago! From Nordic noir to South Korean crime fiction, there’s something for everyone.

Over at the Riot

6 of the Best Coming-of-Age Novels on Audio – cosign for Erika Sanchez’ I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Running by Natalia Sylvester!

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with with all things audiobook or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the In The Club newsletter and catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.