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Audiobooks

Audiobooks 12/3/20

Hola Audiophiles!

Did you miss me last week? I was busy working on a personal goal to eat as much Thanksgiving food as possible, and to take as many baths as I could at the bed & breakfast I booked for myself. The amount of time I spent soaking in a 48-hour stay is kind of ridiculous. I hopped in that clawfoot tub, turned out the lights, lit a candle, and sipped on some spiced punch as I listen to Barry read me A Promised Land. Regrets? I have none.

Anyway! Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of December 1, 2020  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

cover image of Black Futures edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham

Black Futures edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham

“What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?” This collection of essays, memes, recipes, tweets, conversations, poetry, and more paints a layered portrait of the Black experience, “to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today.”

Ready for this narrator list? Read by Kimberly Drew, Kevin R. Free, Dominic Hoffman, Robin Miles, Adenrele Ojo, Bahni Turpin, and Jenna Wortham. Whew!

cover image of Bone Chase by Weston Ochse

Bone Chase by Weston Ochse

When out-of-work math teacher Ethan McCloud is sent a mysterious box, a sequence of Da Vinci Code-esque events ensues. As he and his ex-girlfriend unravel a mystery (and a conspiracy) 10,000 years in the making, they’re chased down by both the Six-Fingered Man and the Council of David (sound like upstanding citizens to me!). Ethan must find a way to evade his pursuers if he’s going to find the truth.

Yeah… I really did pick this one because of the Da Vinci Code comp. I like what l like, don’t at me!

Read by Kevin R. Free (All Systems Red by Martha Wells, The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle) making his second appearance in this newsletter today!

cover image of How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole is back with a brand new book and a brand new series. If you loved her Reluctant Royals books, get ready for Runaway Royals! In this first installment, Shanti Mohapi weds King Sanyu of Njaza in an arranged marriage. She’s shrewd, savvy, and seems to have the answers to the country’s problems, but her new subjects see her as an outsider. By day, the two lead separate lives; by night, Shanti wears the crown and Sanyu defers to her both in politics and passion (insert body roll here). When turmoil erupts and Shan’t goes on the run, “Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.”

Read by Karen Chilton (The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, A Princess in Theory and the rest of the books in the Reluctant Royals series)

Your Favorite Listens

Alas, all that time I spent becoming a whole prune in a tub was not nearly enough time to finish Obama’s memoir. I’m going to be listening to this thing till 2022! So instead of giving you the review that you don’t even really need from me anyway, today I’m putting a call out to all my faithful audiophiles. Since the year is winding down and we only have a few newsletters left, tell me: what were your favorite audiobooks of 2020? You have until Tuesday, December 8th to send me your picks, then I’ll compile a list to share with the group.

From the Internets

Audible’s latest playlist: Premier Audiobooks Now Playing for Theater Fans

Audiofile shares their Best Audiobooks of 2020

Libro.fm shares their Thanks For Giving recap: over $170,000 were spent at local bookstores!

Over at the Riot

6 of the Best Audiobooks Set in the American South

Do you use audiobooks to help catch those zzzs? Here’s how to find audiobooks for sleep.

Let’s nerd out real quick with the neuroscience of audiobooks

7 Audiobooks for Indigenous Heritage Month


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 11/19/20

Hola Audiophiles! I heard a little something through the grapevine today: apparently some guy named Barry released a memoir that sold close to 890,000 copies on its first day. Something about a promised land, I think? Well, good for him.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of November 17  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

The Orchard by David Hopen

In ultra-orthodox Brooklyn, lonely teen Ari Eden’s entire life is consumed by intense study and religious rituals. Then his family announces that they’re packing up and moving to a glitzy Miami suburb, and Ari sees an opportunity for reinvention. He enrolls at an opulent Jewish academy, a place ruled by dizzying wealth, ruthless ambition, and hedonism. When the school’s golden boy takes Ari under his wing, Ari gets pulled into the school’s most exclusive and wayward clique as they begin testing their religion in… interesting ways. This is Liberty Hardy’s favorite book of the year!

Read by Micky Shiloah (Lot Six by David Adjmi)

The Burning God by R. F. Kuang

Everyone I know who’s read the Poppy War series has recommended it enthusiastically with something the tune of, “Ah! Brutal! Gird your loins! SO GOOD!” The Burning God is the conclusion to this award-winning epic fantasy trilogy that combines the history of 20th-century China with a banana-pants world of gods and monsters.

Read by Emily Woo Zeller (a Book Riot favorite who also reads White Ivy by Susie Yang, which I’m SO excited to read!)

Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi

This is the sequel to War Girls, a book I admit I didn’t know much about until recently because I was caught up in all the buzz around Riot Baby (read that too, it’s phenomenal). In War Girls, it’s 2172 and the earth is largely uninhabitable due to climate change and nuclear disasters. In a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria, these conditions have forced many to move to space colonies while those left behind suffer through civil war and radiation poisoning. Sisters Onyii and Ify’s lives have been marked by violence and political unrest, but they dream of peace. They’re willing to fight for that peace, and that’s exactly what they do. In this sequel, “the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.”

Read by Nkeki Obi-Melekwe (Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo)

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

My body is ready for 30 hours of soothing narration from dad. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!

Read by dad




Latest Listens

plain bad heroines by emily a danforth cover

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

This Victorian gothic horror-comedy story-within-a-story revolves around the Brookhants School for Girls, a cursed New England boarding because of course it is. The lives of two sets of girls who lived over a century apart are entwined in mysterious ways; in 1902, Clara and Flo died under suspicious circumstances on school grounds, and Harper and Audrey are playing Flo and Clara in a modern horror film about their gruesome deaths. As past and present melt into one another with each distortion of reality and revelation of long-buried truths, a low (and literal) hum of dread sets in and makes itself at home. It’s full of Hollywood satire, sapphic romance, and some deliciously dark humor. If you like your horror spooky but not scary, creepy as shit but not bloody or violent, this wonderful book strikes that perfect balance of atmospheric and unsettling that’s just made for fall reading.

Now: how to describe Xe Sands’ narration style? She sort of sounds like I imagine a specter come from the beyond to send me on a dangerous quest would sound, or like I do when I’ve had too much wine and I’m trying to persuade someone to go get me some french fries: it’s a little slow, a little raspy, and you just get the sense that she’s withholding vital information. This sounds like shade, but I promise it’s not! She’s won all of the awards and her work is beloved by many, but I’ve spent enough time interacting with the most critical parts of the internet to know that she’s probs not everyone’s cup of tea. I personally think that languid, almost hoarse, bordering-on-vocal-fry thing is an entire mood, one perfectly suited to this haunted tale.

In conclusion: I loooooved this book!

Backlist bump: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

From the Internets

at Audible: an interview with Rebecca Roanhorse and celebration of Indigenous fantasy

at Audiofile: audiobook mysteries set during WWII and a round of 5 Questions with narrator Dion Graham

Make the choice to #ShopLocalBookstores! When you spend at least $15 at your local indie between Wednesday, November 25th through Monday, November 30th, you’ll get to choose a bestselling audiobook from Libro.fm for free. The audiobooks will remain a mystery until 11/25, so stay tuned for the announcement. Details at shoplocalbookstores.com.

Over at the Riot

9 of the Best Audiobooks Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Does Chirp Change the Audiobook Game?

Libro.fm Announces the Top 10 Audiobooks of 2020 at Bookstores—this list is HOT FIRE!


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 11/12/20

Hola Audiophiles! Is it just me, or are the hills alive with the sound of music? Wow. Just wow. My shoulders untensed, I sobbed, I cheered, I drank copious amount of tea and then champagne. The work continues, let’s be clear. But right now? Right now, I feel… what is that.. I think? Yep. It’s hope.

This, by the way, is me telling you that this newsletter is full of all sorts of silliness because I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it (coming in hot!). Sorry not sorry!

Ok for real now: let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of November 10  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

audiobook cover image of Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Here’s how I know 2020 did a number on me: I didn’t know that Anthony Horowitz was releasing a follow-up to Magpie Murders! Susan Ryeland has retired from the publishing game and is living that Mamma Mia life running a boutique hotel in Crete—but all that rest and relaxation is starting to bore her. Then the Trehernes come to the hotel and ask Susan for help them solve a murder case and find their daughter Cecily. During Cecily’s disastrous wedding weekend, a guest was murdered at her parents’ Suffolk hotel. The handyman was swiftly convicted, and Cecily went missing days after telling her parents she thought he was innocent. So where does Susan come in? It so happens that late author Alan Conway knew the murder victim, and he based the third book in his Atticus Pund detective series on this very crime. This is another book within a book situation (gimme!) where Susan will have to read between the lines (heyyoooo!) to solve the case.

Read by Lesley Manville (The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman), Allan Corduner (Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak)

The Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Latina + tea + England!?! You already know I’m obsessed. Lila Reyes has a three-step post-graduation plan: 1) take over for her abuela as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her bestie, and 3) live happily ever after with her boo. Then it all falls apart! Concerned for her mental health, her parents send her to England for the summer to stay with friends. Dreary England is a far cry from sun-drenched Miami though, and Lila isn’t sure it’s her cup of tea (you were warned!). Then she meets Orion, a teashop clerk who appoints himself her personal tour guide and shows her all that she’s been missing. Tap this book right into my veins!

Read by Frankie Corzo (Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova—like I keep saying: Frankie Corzo is out here working!!)

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper

1969 was a year for the whole world and Harvard specifically: it was the height of counterculture; campuses everywhere were trying to “curb the unruly spectacle of student protest;” Harvard began the very un-smooth process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and it was the year that 23-year-old graduate student Jane Britton, daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, was found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge apartment.

Then 40 years later, curious grad student Becky Cooper first heard whispers of this story. It’s one she would ultimately follow for 10 years, uncovering “a tale of gender inequality in academia, a ‘cowboy culture’ among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.” I think I may be ready to dive back into books like this again, the story sounds so compelling!

Read by the author.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

This book isn’t a new release, but the audiobook version specifically is… and it’s read by the one and only Blue Ivy Carter! Given how much the internet bullies of the world have had to say about this little girl’s hair all her life, this makes me really happy. Use your voice, little Blue!

Latest Listens: Smallville, Sex Cults, and Scientology

audiobook cover image of Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

For reasons, I did almost zero reading last week. What I did instead was watch a bunch of TV, including the documentary The Vow on HBO. Have you all seen this?! After episode one, I thought NXIVM sounded a little like that episode of The Golden Girls where Rose joins that positive thinking group—a little corny, a little cheesy, but harmless, and maybe even kind of nice if it helped folks find a sense of purpose and community. Pero ay, dios mio! It got WILD from there. Am I the only one who didn’t know the blonde from Smallville was in a sex cult that branded women’s pelvic regions with her and her “master’s” initials and that she’s been sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking??

It was hard not to draw comparisons between some the structures and schemes of this cult to good ol’ Scientology. That reminded me how much I enjoyed the audiobook of Troublemaker by Leah Remini, which she narrates herself. If you’re in the mood for a juicy read, have ever wondered that the deal is with Scientology and Tom Cruise, or enjoy pretending that Stacy Carosi (who gets that reference??) is spilling tea to you personally, this audiobook delivers.

From the Internets

Audiofile suggests these sports romance audiobooks. I always forget that romance writer author Evelyn Lozada is theeee Evelyn Lozada, the one who used to be on Basketball Wives and was formerly married to Chad Ochocinco (in case I’m speaking Greek here, Chad played in the NFL). From what I know, it was a complicated relationship, so kudos to her for writing her own sports romance happily ever afters.

For a limited time holiday promo, Libro.fm is giving bookstores $90 for every 12-month audiobook membership purchased! The $180 membership is yours to gift (or keep) and you’ll be showing some love to Indies in a time when many are struggling. Audiobooks (and all books) always make great gifts, but digital gifts will come in clutch this holiday season when shopping in-store and traveling aren’t as feasible as they once were. (P.S. you can also gift one-month and three-month subscriptions, the special promo just doesn’t apply).

Over at the Riot

Do Nonfiction November the audiobook way!

What was the first audiobook?


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 11/5/20

Hola Audiophiles! Well, I’m here, and you’re here. It’s Wednesday, November 4th as I piece this newsletter together and I confess it’s been a struggle. I spent all of yesterday feeling silly for trying to talk about books when every bone in my body was vibrating with a mixture of hope and anxiety. But we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our readers and podcast listeners thanking us for the bookish content, and that helped reign in my focus. If you’re over it, skip this week’s newsletter. You have my blessing (not that you need it). If you’re down to talk books, whether for fun or because you need an audio fix for some long, escapist walks, I’m here for you.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of November 3rd  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

cover image of The Best of Me by David Sedaris

The Best of Me by David Sedaris (nonfiction, essays)

I love me some David Sedaris, and goodness knows I could use a laugh. This is a collection of the best stories and essays from his remarkable 25-year career, all selected by Sedaris himself. While I’m a little bummed that “Santaland Diaries” didn’t make the cut, I am overjoyed to see that ‘You Can’t Kill the Rooster” did along with several other favorites.

Read by the author, because who else could do David Sedaris better than David Sedaris??

The Harpy by Megan Hunter (fiction)

Lucy and Jake are happily married, and Lucy has set her career aside to devote her life to their kids and a finely tuned domestic routine. Then one afternoon, she gets a call that will forever alter the course of their lives: the caller claims his wife has been having an affair with Lucy’s husband. Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but on one condition – Lucy gets to hurt Jake three times. I’m scared. Are you scared? I feel like we should be scared.

Read by Clare Corbett (The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley)

cover image of White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy by Susie Yang (fiction)

Raised outside of Boston, Ivy was taught by her grandmother to use her mild appearance for cover in her thievery of yard sales and secondhand shops. But the jig is up when Ivy’s mother finds out about these schemes and Ivy is swiftly sent packing to China.

Years later, now back in Boston, Ivy runs into the sister of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy from a wealthy political family that was once the object of Ivy’s obsession. It feels like fate, and before she knows it, she’s reeling Gideon in at lavish parties and island getaways. “But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.”

Read by the prolific Emily Woo Zeller (The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, The Poppy War series by R. F. Kuang)

Latest Listens

cover image of Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Thompson

Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Simpson

For our most recent episode of the Read Harder podcast, Tirzah and I talked about plays written by an author of color and/or a queer author. I found one of my picks on audio, so I’m sharing that with you today.

In 1846, Dr. George Barry has recently come to Alabama. Philomena is his wife’s 19-year-old servant and also an assistant to Dr. Barry in his quest to cure vaginal fistulas. As such, she tends to his patients, other enslaved Black pregnant women. Philomena is herself is pregnant with Dr. Barry’s child; when she becomes the patient, her disastrous childbirth changes her life and the doctor’s life forever.

Now for some background: this is a historical drama inspired by the life and experiments of Dr. J Marion Sims and the lives of three of the many enslaved black women he worked on (Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey are the only names we know of today). Who is Dr. J Marion Sims, you ask? He’s the dude credited as the “father of modern gynecology,” a 19th-century physician and plantation owner who invented the vaginal speculum (“yay”). He pioneered the surgical technique to repair vaginal fistula, a very common 19th-century childbirth complication. Sounds great, right? Well, to quote the folks who host the Queens Podcast (unrelated, but interesting, funny, and super sweary): “history is a bag of d*cks.”

The research behind Dr. Sims’ pioneering technique was done on enslaved women, both ones that he personally owned and others he “ordered” from other plantations. If you aren’t already throwing up in your mouth, brace yourself: he conducted all of his experiments on these women—some of whom had up to 30 procedures performed on them—WITHOUT ANESTHESIA. While contemporary physicians, historians, ethicists, etc condemn Sims’ methods, there are those who continue to defend him; he was “simply a man of his time,” don’tcha know! Those enslaved women with fistulas probably wanted the treatment rull bad and would have consented to the treatment! The problem is that back then, their consent wouldn’t have been any kind of a factor; all that was needed was consent from their owners, who were of course invested in these women’s recovery for purely selfish when-can-she-get-back-to-work reasons.

Behind the Sheet is a fictional exploration of the untold stories of these women, a slim but impactful play that reminded me so much of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Like Henrietta Lacks, the women “treated” by Dr. Sims were violated and robbed of their agency in the name of science. As with Colson Whitehead, Charly Evon Simpson manages to write with impossible restraint about a sequence of horrifying events, conveying their brutality with sparse language that still manages to bowl you over.

While this isn’t exactly the kind of audiobook I’d pick up this week when I’m all in my feels, it is worth spending time with whenever you have the brain space to do so. It was my first time listening to a play on audio, and I’ll admit it took some getting used to: with no narrator to guide you along the way, you really have to concentrate on each character. Don’t let that dissuade you though, it’s not a bad thing! It’s ultimately so immersive, a different way to take in the format of a play.

Read by an ensemble cast: Monica McSwain, Matthew Floyd Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Larry Powell, Devon Sorvari, Josh Stamberg, Jasmine St. Clair, Danielle Truitt, Inger Tudor, Karen Malina White.

From the Internets

Audible talked to Matthew McConaughey about his memoir Greenlights. I’ve heard nothing but delightful things about this audiobooks! Also, this.

Who’s your favorite mystery narrator? Audiofile has a spotlight on four female favorites and I cosign them all!

Libro.fm highlights Indigenous-owned bookstores here in the US and in Canada.

Over at the Riot

This tickles me: “Users of Looterature stalls enter portable toilets where motion activated speakers read an audiobook to the “’iterally captive audience,’ bringing books into bathrooms.”

Listen to the National Book Award 5 Under 35 Honorees on Audio

October may be over, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up the scares.


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 10/29

Hola Audiophiles! I’m taking a page from the Patricia playbook (Book Riot Contributing Editor and fellow All the Books cohost) and reminding everyone to drink some water, unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders. If you’re in the US like me, this week is… not an easy one on the ol’ stress levels. I hope you find ways to manage any anxiety, to find and feel some hope, and to take care of your minds and bodies.

If you haven’t already, vote! Make sure you drop off your ballots in person since it’s officially too late for mail-ins. If you need any help breaking down positions and policies of candidates, details of proposed legislation, or even how to get a ballot and where to drop it off, I found the “Know Your State” section at Vote Save America so helpful. There are a lot of options out there—don’t be afraid to seek them out or ask a friend!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of October 27  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

If you thought I wasn’t going to sneak in at least one more witch book, HA! This one is about Emilia and Victoria, twin sisters who are also both strega! That’s right: outwardly, they’re living a normal life, working in their family’s Sicilian restaurant; secretly, they’re witches. When Victoria misses dinner service one night, Emilia goes looking for her and finds her badly desecrated body. Emilia will stop at nothing to avenge her beloved twin, even if that means using that old forbidden magic.

Read by Marisa Calin (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix, Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle)

Sea Trial: Sailing After My Father by Brian Harvey

John Harvey was a neurosurgeon a decade into retirement when a sheriff showed up at his door with a summons. It was a malpractice suit, it did not go well, and Dr. Harvey never got over it. In this memoir, his son Brian Harvey shares the story of a boating adventure he took with his wife, his dog, and a box of documents that surfaced after his father’s death. That box turns out to contain every nurse’s record, doctor’s report, trial transcript, and testimony related to the malpractice case. Only Brian’s father had read it all – until now. Brian finally finds out what happened in the OR on that crucial night and why Dr. Harvey fought the excruciating accusations.

Read by Jason Gray

cover image of House of Correction by Nicci French

House of Correction by Nicci French

Tabitha has just returned to her hometown in England when a body is found and she’s blamed for the murder. She attempts to solve her own case from prison as her entire life and past are picked apart. As she attempts to unravel the truth, she realizes her memory of the day in question is a blur. She can’t be guilty. She knows she’s not guilty! She.. thinks she’s not guilty?

Read by Michelle Ford (The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton)

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Mike and Benson are a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and a Black day care teacher living together in Houston. While the years they’ve been together have been good ones—good food, good sex, and, ya know, love—they’re not quite sure why it is they’re still together. When Mike finds out his estranged dad is dying in Osaka, he picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. There he undergoes an extraordinary transformation as he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Pick this up if you’re in the mood for a “funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.”

Read by Akie Kotabe (Inheritors by Asako Serizawa) and Bryan Washington ( Lot: Stories)

Latest Listens

Everything's Trash But It's Okay

Everything’s Trash but It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson

I did not do much non-work reading last week, in part because I took a week off to relax and celebrate my 36th turn around the sun, and mainly because November 3rd is just around the corner and I have apparently just now reached peak Can’t Deal. My focus is non-existent.

So for what I’m sure are obvious reasons, I’m going to go with a throwback hit and reminding everyone about Everything’s Trash, but It’s Okay. I recommended this book waaaaaaay back when I first took over the Audiobooks newsletter! Phoebe Robinson is a hilarious comedian, actress, writer, and one half of the Two Dope Queens podcast and HBO special (I wish both were still going!) Her first book, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain had me hollering in public and this second effort did not disappoint. No one does excessive hashtags, silliness, and Bono thirst (and I do mean thirst, so much thirst) with an injection of thoughtful social commentary quite like Phoebe does. Phoebe’s narration of personal anecdotes had me cry-laughing and cringing at the same time. Really though, it’s her cultural criticism and musings on feminism, politics, body image, workplace parity, and dating that really set it off. This book is the essence of Phoebe: smart, funny, and a little (a lotta) extra.

If you, like me, are hyper aware that everything’s trash and aren’t feeling all that okay, pick up this audiobook. Permit yourself some laughter and hope.

From the Internets

at Audible: From Page to Scream: Spine-Chilling Listens that Inspired Horror Movies

at Audiofile: 5 Chilling Romance Audiobooks – I read that post title and thought, “Romance? Chilling?” Then I saw the titles. I def did not think to classify When No One Is Watching as a romance because *shudders*… well, stuff! But I see what they’re going for.

at Libro.fm: So you know how first volume of Barack Obama’s memoir is coming out next month (muppet arms x 100000)? Well check this out: if you pre-order A Promised Land in print from an independent bookstore, Libro.fm will give you a free audiobook!

Over at the Riot

8 of the Best Audiobooks to Escape Into – As you may recall from am awkward incident involving a steamy sex scene and a stoplight, that Talia Hibbert romance is perfect, steamy, escapist fun!

9 Audiobooks by Debut Authors – I forgot that Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line was a debut! Gotta get to that soon.


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 10/21

Hola Audiophiles! By the time you read this newsletter, I will be several days into a full week off of work that ends with a celebration of my 36 years on this earth. First I’ll be relaxing on a farmstay with lots of wine, woods, and witchery with my PDX quaranteam, and then heading south to spend time with my family. I’m feeling very thankful for the bright spots in this otherwise ridiculous timeline, and I hope you are also finding ways to keep your spirits high.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of October 20  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

plain bad heroines by emily a danforth cover

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

You may recognize Emily M. Danforth as the author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post! Plain Bad Heroines is her adult debut, a Victorian gothic horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls (you know I love me a boarding school book!). It’s a story within a story told in multiple timelines full of queer romance and Hollywood satire, and includes black-and-white period-inspired illustrations in the print version. Xe Sands was a phenomenal choice for narration: she lends that slow, haunted quality to her performances that’s so well suited for this kind of story.

Read by Xe Sands (Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey, Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro)

Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West

You know Lindy, I know Lindy. We all know and love Lindy! In her latest, West goes back to her movie critic roots to reexamine—and this part I’ve got to quote—”beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is Twilight the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in The Lion King trust Mufasa – who is a lion – to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after The Fugitive achieved perfection? And, my god, why don’t any of the women in Love, Actually ever f–king talk?” I can’t wait to read this one—I’m in the mood for Lindy West’s brand of funny.

Read by the author.

cover image of Snapped by Alexa Martin

Snapped by Alexa Martin

What if Colin Kaepernick had been assigned a hottie to manage him right when he took that knee, and then he fell for her and she fell for him and both love and activism prevailed? Alexa Martin allows us to imagine this very scenario with the fourth book in The Playbook series. Elliot Reed had landed her dream job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs, and things are going well— that is until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. uses his platform to make a statement and takes a knee during the national anthem. Their initial meeting doesn’t quite go smoothly, but as they spend more time together…. ya know.

Read by Soneela Nankani (The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev) and Cary Hite (Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by Marvel Press)

Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos

Journalist and activist Paola Ramos takes us on a cross-country road trip as she explores the communities defining the controversial term Latinx. “She introduces us to the indigenous Oaxacans who rebuilt the main street in a post-industrial town in upstate New York, the ‘Las Poderosas’ who fight for reproductive rights in Texas, the musicians in Milwaukee whose beats reassure others of their belonging, as well as drag queens, environmental activists, farmworkers, and the migrants detained at our border.” I have seen so much discussion around the term Latinx, a word that’s meant to be more inclusive that has somehow caused a lot of debate within the community it’s supposed to describe. I can’t wait to dive into this exploration.

Read by the author.

Latest Listens

cover image of This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident by Adam Kay

I didn’t do much new audiobooking this weekend on account of my little vacation, but I thought of this awesome book as I was rewatching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy while packing for said trip. Reading this was basically Grey’s Anatomy in book form if the show took place in England instead. In the US edition of his international bestseller, comedian and former medical resident Adam Kay recounts his experience as a first year doctor, and why he eventually left the profession altogether.

Some of the anecdotes he shares from his time as an OB-GYN doctor really do sound like they were dreamt up by Shonda Rhimes: working 97-hour work weeks, being exhausted out of his mind, rushing to answer a series of urgent pages and treat all kinds of cases. One moment you’re laughing hysterically at the outright hilarity of some of those patient interactions, and then ten minutes later your eyes are fogging up when you’re hit with a heartbreaking loss. It’s a very honest account of one man’s time in a profession that, while ultimately noble, comes with its fair share of devastation, one that wraps up with a call to acknowledge the work that the NHS does. If you’re in the mood for a lot of laughs plus a call to action with a lot of heart woven into the wry humor, pick this one up.

Read by the author.

From the Internets

at Audible: 4 Imaginative First-Contact Tales That Will Make You Wonder if We’re Alone in the Universe

Audiofile’s list of October Audiobook Mysteries: Ghosts, Vampires, and Viruses reminds me: I really need to pick up The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

at Libro.fm: the audiobooks booksellers are loving this month.

Over at the Riot

10 Free Audiobooks You Probably Didn’t Know Were in the Public Domain


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 10/15

Hola Audiophiles! How’s life? Are you drowning in fall book releases like I am? It’s a great problem to have, of course, especially now that I appear to have shaken my reading slump. Let me get right to business so we can all get back to reading.

Ready? Let’s audio!


New Releases – Week of 10/13  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

In a magical world reminiscent of Regency England, Beatrice Claybourn wants nothing more than to be practice magic as a profession. But in this society, women are fitted with a collar that will cut off their powers as soon as they’re wed—and wed thus must. When Beatrice locates a rare grimoire that will help grant her wish to do magic, another sorceress swoops in and take the book right out from under her. Beatrice strikes a bargain with a spirit to get the grimoire back, one that ends with her kissing the stealing sorceress’ very attractive brother. Beatrice is faced with an impossible choice: does she give into love, wed this lovely man, and in doing so safe her family from penury at the cost of her hopes and dreams? Or does she follow her heart and turn her back on everyone she loves?

Read by Moira Quirk (The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir)

The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow

I had to sneak in at least *once* witchy read, and this one comes to us from the author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January (go read that one too!). It’s 1893 in New Salem and witchcraft is a thing of the past. But when the Eastwood sisters join a group of local suffragists, they find themselves tapping into the old ways to change the course of history.

Read by Gabra Zackman (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, Sadie by Courtney Summers, Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage)

Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

This dark fantasy historical novella puts a supernatural twist on the Ku Klux Klan, as if it weren’t already scary enough! The regular ol’ awful human racists are known as “Klans,” and hiding among them are literal, actual demons known as “Ku Kluxes” who ride across the nation spewing fear and violence. Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters are on a mission to hunt those that hunt them armed with blade, bullet, and bomb. Then Maryse senses something awful brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to reach a whole new level of terror.

Read by Channie Waites (The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older)

Latest Listens

notes from a young black chef

Notes From A Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

Some know Kwame Onwuachi as a contestant on Top Chef, but there is so much more to his fascinating story. By age 27, he’d both opened and closed Shaw Bijou, one of the buzziest fine-dining establishments in America. This restaurant was the embodiment of his culinary vision. From the flavors on his menu to the lighting fixtures and the diversity of his kitchen staff, Onwuachi poured his very soul into executing every element of that vision to perfection. And just like that, it was gone.

To get to that moment in Onwuachi’s journey, he takes us back to his childhood in the Bronx where he learned to cook in his mother’s kitchen. We follow him when he’s sent to Nigeria to “earn respect,” and when he returns to the US and succumbs to the allure of the streets. Even in his lowest moments—blaming himself for his parents’ separation, enduring his father’s violent temper, dealing and spiraling in his drug use—food remains a constant. It is eventually the thing that pulls him out of his haze and redirects the course of his life as a truly talented and intuitive chef.

His food is a mouth-watering mix of familiar and inventive (do not read this while hungry), from his mother’s étouffée to his gourmet riff on steak and eggs (several recipes are included much to my delight). But it’s Onwuachi’s resilience in the face of so much adversity, some of his own creation and a lot of it systemic, that leaps off the page. He is honest with himself and us as readers about his mistakes and shortcomings while also confronting the racism pervasive in the restaurant space. You might go into the book expecting to grieve the loss of his restaurant, and you will for a moment. But you’ll also recognize that Onwuachi is the definition of hustle, that the closing of one door was indeed the opening of another.

This very candid memoir wasn’t just a breath of fresh air and an explosion of flavor, it was a state of the union of sorts regarding the culinary world’s treatment of people of color and a call for the industry to change. It’s read by Onwuachi, which you already know I’m here for; his narration was so natural, and filled with the care you just know he puts into his food.

TW: child abuse

From the Internets

Parade shares their top audiobook pics for 2020. You know I stay audio booking, and I’ve only read two of these!

BuzzFeed’s picks for horror audiobooks that will haunt you for weeks. There are a lot of these lists right now, but this one really is hot fire! I added 85% of them to my TBR.

Over at the Riot

Appalachian Audiobooks That Taught Me How to Say Goodbye


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks 10/08

Hola Audiophiles! Como están? I’m still over here living my best fall life with autumnal foodstuffs and witchy reads. I’ll be sharing my latest witchy book with you today as well as some really exciting new releases. Let’s get right to it, I’ve got baked apples in the oven!

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of October 6, 2020  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman (fiction)

If you’ve been rocking with me for a minute, you know that I only just read Practical Magic last year. I was immediately obsessed and saved Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic for this year’s October witch reading, inhaled that, and am now elbow deep in this prequel to both of those reads. Here we go way way back and learn the story of the OG Owens witch Maria, and find out what the deal really is with the Owens curse.

Read by Sutton Foster (Older: A Younger Novel by Pamela Redmond, and she’s also also the star of the Younger TV adaptation!)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (fantasy)

This book, yo! What a feat. In 1714 France, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to avoid the arranged marriage and small-town life that await her. That bargain is seemingly the answer to her prayers: she’ll live forever and on her terms—but will henceforth be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Read by Julia Whelan (Educated by Tara Westover, Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (mystery/thriller)

In a total departure from Alam’s previous work, this chilling 2020 National Book Award finalist book follows a middle-class white family on vacation in a remote part of Long Island. Their plan to relax and escape both the city and their problems is disrupted when the owners of the rental, an older Black couple, come knocking in the middle of the night after a massive blackout has left the city in the lurch. There’s no cell phone service, no updates, and the two families are forced to navigate the crisis together. But can they trust each other?

Read by Marin Ireland (Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, Anxious People by Fredrik Backman and my latest listen, too!)

Murder on Cold Street cover image

Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas (historical mystery/thriller)

Lady Sherlock is my favorite Sherlock! In this fifth book in the Lady Sherlock series, Charlotte Holmes investigates a murder case that implicates Scotland Yard inspector Robert Treadles. I inhaled this book in two days: I’ll take any excuse to read a mystery set in Victorian England, especially when the protagonist is an empowered woman living on her terms and who never, ever turns down a slice of delicious cake.

Read by Kate Reading (A Study in Scarlet Women and the rest of the book in the Lady Sherlock series, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice)

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (romance)

Can I get an amen for fat positive romance?? This is a rom-com set in the world of TV fanfic. April Whittier is a a scientist who writes fan fiction of her favorite show and cosplays in her free time. When she goes on an unexpected date with Marcus, the show’s star and her celebrity crush, she has no idea that he secretly posts fanfiction of his own. 

Read by Isabelle Ruther (Vampire Valentine by Lynsay Sands, Another by Fiona Cole)

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad (nonfiction, essays)

This feels like an excellent companion read for Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism in its examination of the ways in which modern feminism movements have excluded women of color. “Discussing subjects as varied as The Hunger Games, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the viral BBQ Becky video, and 19th-century lynchings of Mexicans in the American Southwest, Ruby Hamad undertakes a new investigation of gender and race. She shows how the division between innocent White women and racialized, sexualized women of color was created and why this division is crucial to confront.” Time to do some examination.

Read by Mozhan Marnò (The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali)

Latest Listens

the rules of magic

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

I went from never having read Alice Hoffman to fangirling her unapologetically in the course of a year. This book was added to my TBR the very day I finished Practical Magic, but something made me wait to read it until this year and it was such perfect timing.

The Rules of Magic is sandwiched between Magic Lessons and Practical Magic with a setting at the cusp of the 60s in New York. Susanna Owens has three children and it’s clear from the very beginning that they’re very, very unique. There’s headstrong and difficult Franny; shy, beautiful, romantic Jet; and Vincent, a charismatic trouble seeker. Susanna has set down rules for her children from the get-go: “No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And, most importantly, never, ever fall in love.” But when the siblings visit their aunt Isabelle for the summer in in the small Massachusetts town where she lives, they finally begin to understand the truth of who they are and the stock them come from.

I went into the book expecting fall and witchy vibes, and I got all of that in droves. I also got an enchanting, heartbreaking, and inspiring story full of fierce and complicated women, the unshakeable bonds of sisterhood (and siblinghood in general), plus that deep, deep kind of love that follows you even when you try to deny it, and of course: magic. I am diving right into Magic Lessons right away, I just must have more of this story.

As I teased earlier, this one is read by Marin Ireland. She does a phenomenal job at voicing each of the characters. She gave me chills in the quiet moments of sadness and grief, then gave me courage when she embodied the bravery and resilience of the Owens women.

From the Internets

at Audible: baseball listens to get you pumped for the World Series (Go Dodgers!)

at Audiofile: favorite male narrators reading mysteries and more (the female edition will follow), plus audiobooks set in other worlds

Libro.fm has shared a database of crowdfunding for independent bookstores. For the billionth time, this pandemic really @%#! sucks.

Over at the Riot

6 Audiobooks to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

Vanessa

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks – 10/01

Hola Audiophiles!

Welcome to October! It’s the spookiest month, the scariest month, and not just because it’s when yours truly was born. I don’t know about you, but I’m officially starting to read and watch all of the witch things. Mwahahaha! I love this time of year.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of September 29  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, read by Anisha Dadia (YA fantasy) – In the first book of Novik’s brand new Scholomance series, El is a student at said Scholomance, a very unique magic school that’s always trying to kill its students in one way or another. There are no teachers, no holidays, and all friendships are strategic. El has one goal: to make it out of the school alive, a goal that’s complicated by all the monsters and cursed artifacts, plus the fact that everyone in the school thinks she’s an evil witch. They don’t even know about that pesky prophecy, the one that says she possesses a dark power that can level mountains and kill millions.

Narrator Note: I just finished this book and loved Anisha Dadia’s narration! She really leaned into the unlikable, bristly but ultimately well-meaning thing and nailed what I imagined El would sound like.

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez, read by Sol Madariaga (contemporary YA) – Camila is living a double life in Rosario, Argentina. At home, she’s a model daughter and sister living under the weight of her family’s expectations, abuse, and double standards. On the field though? She’s La Furia, a powerhouse soccer player with mad skills. When her team makes it to a nationwide tournament, she gets the chance to really show off her talent. Her dream is to get a scholarship to play for a North American university, but a lot stands in her way. the boy she once loved is back in town and oh yeah, minor detail: her parents not only don’t know she plays fútbol, but would strictly forbid it if they did.

Narrator Note: Sol Madariaga also reads Romina Garber’s Lobizona, another buzzy 2020 YA release set partially in Argentina. Love to see it!

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell, read by Allyson Ryan (fiction) – Welp, this sure doesn’t help my insomnia-related anxiety! Karen Russell has dreamt up (ha) a world plagued by lethal insomnia. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dora was one of the plague’s first victims, is a top recruiter for the Slumber Corps where she convinces people to donate their sleep to an insomniac in crisis (ummm, call me?). Slumber Corps is supposed to be at the forefront of the fight against this disease, but are they really? “When Trish is confronted by ‘Baby A,’ the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious ‘Donor Y,’ whose horrific infectious nightmares are threatening to sweep through the precious sleep supply,” Trish’s faith in the organization is put to the test. The book even comes with a Nightmare Appendix!

Narrator Note: You know Allyson Ryan: her most recent work includes Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Long Bright River by Liz Moore.

Latest Listens

I am dead, gone, and shooketh by my latest listen. That listen is Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching and lemme tell you: believe the hype.

The thing is: it’s best enjoyed if you go in knowing as little as possible. I know I teased the plot in this very newsletter last month when it released, but picture me in a black suit donning some shades and pretend I’ve just done a Men in Black on you. Poof! Your memory is gone. Now go forth, listen, and be wowed.

What I will do is discuss the narration by Susan Dalian and Jay Aaseng. I absolutely loved both of their performances! Susan Dalian is so natural; I believed the fear and paranoia in her narration so much that I wanted to reach out and be like, “Hey friend, you okay?” She gave her characters warmth, charm, and “try me again” energy as appropriate and then turned around with the biiiiiig Karen vibes when needed, too. Jay Aeseng’s voice is rull, rull nice, and thank you sweet baby cheeses because he did not once speak in “Black voice.” Their combined performances, though they never once interacted with one another (each chapter is told from one of two character’s perspectives) somehow still conveyed such chemistry. Best of all: the tension. Oooh the tension! It takes skill to make tense moments feel real in audiobook narration and they both nailed it.

Go forth, and yell “howdy doody” at folks who are doing the most (you’ll see!).

From the Internets

Over at Get Literary: What’s That Audiobook?: Watch Your Favorite Authors Play the Audiobook Guessing Game – I love Ruth Ware sharing her deductive reasoning and Tembi Locke’s many facial expressions (relatable). That reminds me: I need to read From Scratch!

What audiobook should you read next for Hispanic Heritage Month? Libro.fm has a quiz to help you decide.

Audible rounded up audiobooks featuring unlikely heroines.

Audiofile suggests some cozy romances for fall and how glad am I that my hold on You Had Me at Hola just came in?! ALSO it must be said: 1) That yellow book you may have scrolled right past is the follow-up to Book Riot faveThe Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, and 2) pretty please and por favor: look past that… questionable cover.

Over at the Riot

You need to keep learning, I need to keep learning. Let’s all keep learning with these nonfiction audiobooks to teach us some things. I recently talked about Amanda Leduc’s Disfigured, I want to hand that book out to people on the street!


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.

—Vanessa, Queen of the Pumpkin Domain

Categories
Audiobooks

Audiobooks – 09/24

Hola Audiophiles! Portland finally got that rain we were promised and it’s been glorious to breathe clean air again. Fall is my absolute favorite and I’m digging the atmospheric weather! I am relishing the soothing sounds of rain coming in through my window.

Before we dive into new releases and such, I have to take a moment to honor Breonna Taylor. The news of that terrible decision should not have surprised me, but I really did hope this time might be different. If you’re looking for ways to help, here’s a link to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.

Ready? Let’s audio.


New Releases – Week of September 22  (publisher descriptions in quotes)

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall, read by Je Nie Fleming (mystery/thriller) – “Isabel Lincoln is gone. But is she missing? It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.” I’ve waited far too long to read Rachel Howzell Hall, going to have to remedy that very soon!

Narrator Note: Didn’t I *just* say that Je Nie Fleming is a narrator I want to get to know more after reading and loving The Boyfriend Project? The universe is listening. That sample sounds so good!

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix, read by Marisa Calin (YA mystery/thriller) – I only just read my first Garth nix this year (Sabriel, it was so good!) and immediately placed this new book on my TBR when I was done. In an alternate 1983 London, Susan Arkshaw is searching for father, a man she’s never met. She thinks a local crime boss might have the answers she needs, but before she can get any info out of him, she’s turned to dust by a young left-handed bookseller named Merlin. That’s right, the booksellers of London don’t just sell books: they’re also magical beings who protect the Old World magic ways! Booksellers Merlin and Vivien happen to be looking for the person responsible for their mother’s murder, and it turns out their search overlaps with Susan’s.

Narrator Note: Marisa Calin’s audiobooks include Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller, The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, and the Shadow Chronicles series by Paula Brackston.

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia, read by Kyla Garcia, Almarie Guerra (YA science fiction/fantasy) – Lita Perez wants to enter the Miss Meteor beauty pageant and her ex-best friend Chicky Quintanilla wants to help her, and not just because there’s never been a winner who looks like either of them in the pageant’s history. “So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough – they are everything.”

Narrator Note: Kyla Garcia and Almarie Guerra sound like the perfect combo for this book. Kyla is no stranger to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s work as she read both of the books in the We Set the Dark on Fire series, and we love Almarie Guerra from books like Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost.

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi, read by Laurie Catherine Winkel and P.J. Ochlan (YA fantasy) – Yesss the band is getting back together! The follow-up to The Gilded Wolves is here to take us right back into Chokshi’s dark and glamorous imagining of 19th century Europe. Séverin and his motley crew might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but that win came with a terrible price. “Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long-lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God. Their hunt lures them far from Paris and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.” I want it, I want it now.

Narrator Note: Laurie Catherine Winkel and P.J. Ochlan are back reprise their roles! I know I poked fun at some of the accent work in The Gilded Wolves, but you know what, it’s 2020. Bring on the silly. I love the silly. I’ll take aaaall the silly.

Latest Listens

No new listens this week, mostly because all the books I’ve listened to lately don’t come out for at least another month! So instead I’ll do a backlist bump and recommend a favorite from a couple of years ago: Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood.

When Patricia Lockwood was 30 years old, a crushing amount of medical debt forced her and her husband to move back in with her parents. Living with your parents as a married couple might be interesting enough for the average person, but Lockwood’s case is unique: her dad is a Catholic priest, a role he took on after getting married and having kids thanks to a super obscure loophole. I don’t know quite how to describe this man to you: he’s quirky and loud and kind of a scene-stealer, a man whose convictions are at once comically admirable and maddening in their rigidity.

All this talk of religion might put some of you off, but I encourage you to keep going. Lockwood reflects on her complicated relationship with her family, reflections on father and early life in the church, and her decision to leave the community with thoughtful reflection and care. Then on the next page, she’s poking fun at the whole experience with some of the most hilarious writing I’ve read in years. She narrates the book herself and thank sweet baby cheeses for that: I can’t imagine anyone else reading the parts of her parents just so. I hear her take on her Southern mom’s voice in my head every time I talk about this memoir and it is gold.

Warning: there is discussion of Lockwood’s sexual assault in the book (her poem “Rape Joke” went viral in 2013 and is many people’s introduction to her writing). Her experience isn’t documented in graphic detail, but the discussion she has with her parents about the assault is heartbreaking and cracked me wide open.

From the Internets

at Audiofile: Turning to Historical Mystery Audiobooks to Help Us Keep Perspective in These Historic Times

at Audiobooks.com: 5 Fall Activities to Pair with Audiobooks (Is 2020 the year I finally learn how to knit?!?)

Over at the Riot

Six Audiobooks Written and Read by Latinx Authors


Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at vanessa@riotnewmedia.com 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.
Vanessa