by Sukey HowardDecember, 2003
Listen up it's gift-giving time
Giving the gift of good listening is easier than ever. To jump-start your shopping, we've found audios that will please listeners in almost every category.
For the history buffs on your holiday hit list, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham, read by veteran actor and top-notch audio narrator Len Cariou, is a great choice. Using new sources, Meacham explores the crucial, unique and remarkable friendship shared by the two great leaders of the "Greatest Generation" who guided us and our allies to victory in WWII. The unabridged 15-hour presentation of Caroline Alexander's The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, narrated by Simon Prebble, is another fine choice. It's an intriguing, intricately detailed account of the men, the mood, the mutiny and the Royal Navy's attempt to bring the mutineers to justice.
Anne Garrels, one of only 16 non-embedded journalists, reported firsthand on the "shock and awe" and aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq from the now famous Palestine Hotel. Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR's Correspondent, her very personal, very immediate account, will appeal to anyone who wants the authentic, inside scoop on the war and on life as a foreign correspondent. Garrels and her husband, Vint Lawrence, read. Another voice from the frontlines of war is heard in A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl, Mariane Pearl's moving portrait of her marriage and of the harrowing five weeks after Danny's abduction by terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan, when she initiated and helped direct the intense search for him. She too has a mighty heart, and tells a story that is mightily heartbreaking.
In the guys-will-be-guys gift category, there's an unabridged performance of Clive Cussler's Golden Buddha, the first installment in a new high-seas adventure series starring a new tougher-than-nails, cooler-than-cool high-seas action hero. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, written and read by James (Flags of our Fathers) Bradley, relives the harrowing true story of nine young American airmen who were shot down over the South Pacific island of Chichi Jima during WWII. One (who just happened to be George H.W. Bush) was rescued; the secret of what happened to the others has never before been revealed.
Let's not forget the gals either. Monica Ali's acclaimed debut novel, Brick Lane, looks deep into the heart and immigrant life of a Bangladeshi woman, married off to an older man and moved abruptly to the intimidating, but ultimately liberating world of London. If you'd prefer something on the lighter side, meet the five fine women who belong to The Red Hat Club. One of their husbands has a mistress, and the group is determined to get revenge. Haywood Smith's charming Southern novel might best be thought of as The First Wives Club meets the the Ya-Yas.
Happy holidays and happy listening!