Chances are, you're still on the hunt for the perfect gift for more than one person on your list this year. Let us help you out! The BookPage 2013 Holiday Catalog is filled with more than 150 books that are sure to delight readers of all ages and interests.
Whether you're looking for the latest blockbuster mysteries, award-winning fiction, the hottest YA novels, colorful picture books, scrumptious cookbooks, awesome audio books or utterly intriguing nonfiction, we've got you covered. The hardest part just may end up being having to narrow down all of the choices!
But we won't delay you any further—go ahead and dive right in!
Fans still have a long wait before the conclusion to Veronica Roth's Divergent series—Allegiant comes out October 22! At last week's San Diego Comic-Con, Roth teased fans by revealing that Allegiant will be told in alternating chapters by both Tris and Four. Both Divergent and Insurgent were told through only Tris' perspective.
HarperAudio has created a contest for Divergent fans to vote on who will be the voice of Four in the Allegiant audiobook! The voice of Tris is already spoken by Emma Galvin, who also narrated Divergent and Insurgent.
Fans vote from a selection of four pre-approved narrators who will remain anonymous until the contest is over. Everyone who votes can enter for a chance to win “the ultimate Divergent series audiobook prize pack” which includes: a Kindle Fire HD loaded with copies of the Divergent and Insurgent audiobooks, a pair of Skullcandy Crusher headphones, 12 Audible credits and a signed copy of Allegiant.
The contest began last Thursday and will continue until noon EST on August 2. Vote here!
Everyone's got Oscar fever this week, but we're also really excited about another awards ceremony coming up—the 2013 Audies, which recognize distinction in audiobooks.
Finalists were announced by the Audio Publishers Association today, and the winners will be awarded at the Audies Gala on May 30 in New York City. Our own Associate Publisher Julia Steele and Contributing Editor Sukey Howard (who writes our monthly audio column) are serving as judges in the competition.
Here are some highlights from the list of finalists:
• Sex and God at Yale by Nathan Harden (narrated by Scott Aiello), Audible Inc.
• Love Is the Cure by Elton John (narrated by Elton John), Hachette Audio
• Breasts by Florence Williams (narrated by Kate Reading), Tantor Media
• Cemetery John by Robert Zorn (narrated by Sean Runnette), Tantor Media
• The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart (narrated by Lloyd James), Tantor Media
• A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson), Audible Inc.
• The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (narrated by Claire Daines), Audible Inc.
• Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini), Audible Inc.
• Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini), Harper Audio
• The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig (narrated by David Aaron Baker), Recorded Books
• America Again by Stephen Colbert (narrated by Stephen Colbert), Hachette Audio
• I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern (narrated by Sean Schemmel), Harper Audio
• The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days by Ian Frazier (narrated by Cynthia Nixon), Macmillan Audio
• Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (narrated by Jenny Lawson), Penguin Audio
• Me the People by Kevin Bleyer (narrated by Kevin Bleyer), Random House Audio/Books on Tape
• Don't Cry for Me by Sharon Sala (narrated by Kathe Mazur), Audible Inc.
• The Witness by Nora Roberts (narrated by Julia Whelan), Brilliance
• Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt (narrated by Ashford MacNab), Hachette Audio
• The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (narrated by Angela Dawe), Tantor Media
• Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks (narrated by Kristen Potter), Tantor Media
• Hush Money by Chuck Greaves (narrated by Dan Butler), AudioGo
• The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas by Chris Ewan (narrated by Simon Vance), AudioGo
• And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman (narrated by Linda Emond), Macmillan Audio
• The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (narrated by Ralph Cosham), Macmillan Audio
• The Nightmare by Lars Kepler (narrated by Mark Bramhall), Macmillan Audio
See the full list here (PDF link). What do you think of the finalists? Which audio books of the last year were your favorites, and are there any that you feel were snubbed? What books are you listening to right now?
Moby Dick—the great American novel, right? But here's my secret: I've never read it! And apparently, neither have many Americans. With 135 chapters and a word count of 211,735, it's not exactly a lazy afternoon read. But if you, like me, have always meant to pick up Herman Melville's masterpiece, the Moby-Dick Big Read is a wonderful (and free) way to experience the novel.
Here's what the website says:
Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.
What do you think about the Moby-Dick Big Read? Do you think it's a good way to introduce new audiences to Melville's great novel, or would you rather read on your own?
In M.L. Stedman's debut novel The Light Between Oceans, a husband and wife are faced with a choice: to keep an abandoned baby as their own or to go to the local authorities to find the truth, ruining their chance at parenthood. Intriguingly, the author does not lobby for a right or wrong answer and instead explores the consequences of their life-altering decision.
In a Q&A with BookPage, Stedman explains:
I don’t think there are any “bad guys” in the book, just some poor choices made on the basis of imperfect information or perspective (i.e. the lot of the standard-issue human)... I didn’t want there to be any “safe place” in the book where the reader could relax and say, “I’m completely sure of what the right thing to do is here.”
The book trailer, narrated by Stedman, speaks further about the questions of right and wrong the author is asking:
Will you check out The Light Between Oceans? What would you do in the couple's situation?
One of our picks in audio this month is The Nightmare by Lars Kepler, the pseudonym of a Swedish writing couple. This sequel to Hypnotist will not disappoint and the audio version only adds to the suspense (no skimming ahead or skipping to the end). Our reviewer writes:
Linna... is faced with two odd deaths: the drowning of peace activist Penelope Fernandez’s sister, found in dry clothes on an abandoned pleasure boat, and the suicide or murder of the overseer of Swedish weapons exports. As Linna begins to connect the deaths, he and his team burrow into a brutal world of political cover-ups and covert arms shipments directed by a merciless Italian weapons dealer who revels in the havoc, mental and physical, that he wreaks.
Will you check out The Nightmare? What other novels are keeping you up at night?
A Century of Wisdom tells the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, a woman who is inspiring both for what she has survived, and how she continues to live. Reviewer Sukey Howard writes:
Alice Herz-Sommer is 108 years old, the oldest Holocaust survivor and the oldest living concert pianist. She still plays the piano every day, she still laughs and still believes that life is a gift.
Does Alice Herz-Sommer inspire you?
Last year, I had the privilege of hearing Etgar Keret read from his latest collection Suddenly, a Knock on the Door at Vanderbilt’s visiting writers series event. This year, we can all have the pleasure of hearing celebrities, actors and literary greats—Josh Radnor, Willem Defoe, Aimee Bender, George Saunders and many others—make these stories come to life in the new audiobook.
Etgar Keret, an Israeli author/filmmaker, is known internationally as a writer of short, fantastical, and extremely funny stories that are sure to have you laughing and thinking at the same time. In the collection’s title track, the narrator (Keret) attempts to tell a story to appease the demands of three male gunmen. The tale satirically pokes fun at the often anxiety-filled experience of writing, and as a writer myself I can definitely relate.
Here’s the title track, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, read by Ira Glass:
Will this audiobook make it onto your MP3 player?
Audiobooks.com, the first unlimited cloud-based streaming service for audiobooks, launched this week. For $24.95/month, subscribers have access to thousands of best-selling titles via iPhones, iPads, Android devices and other internet-enabled mobile devices. You can even bookmark your audiobook (cool!) and resume from any Android/Apple device or computer without using a browser plug-in or special application.
Unlimited audiobooks and the ability to bookmark -- will these cool features make you an Audiobooks.com user?
Web Editor Trisha Ping ran into Mindy Kaling as she was signing books. Trisha took pictures and reports that Kaling was really nice. Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) comes out on November 1, and we've been excited about it since April.
I learned from Associate Publisher Julia Steele and Contributing Editor Sukey Howard that last night's Audies were a big success. The Audies recognize the best in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment and are sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. Both Julia and Sukey were judges of this year's competition. They're especially well-suited for this task; Sukey writes BookPage's audio column, and Julia listens to audiobooks for fun more than anyone on our staff.
Julia's category was "solo narration by a male." The winner is Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston (Penguin Audio), a Dr. Seuss-like story for big kids. Julia says the recording is delightful—no surprise since it's read by Alan Cumming!—and she smiled the whole time she was listening.
The audio of the year is Life by Keith Richards, read by Richards, Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley (Hachette Audio). Listen to a preview of Life here on the blog, were we posted an excerpt of Richards reading the intro and Depp reading the opening scene.
Reader favorite Adriana Trigiani (of Big Stone Gap fame) emceed the ceremony, and Julia told me she was "hilarious, irreverent and made the event really fun." Lucky for us, Trigiani recently tweeted that the event will be re-aired on Sirius/XM radio.
Did any readers make it to the Audies? What is your favorite audiobook of the year? Of all time?
You can find the complete list of winners on TheAudies.com.
Psst: Make sure you come back to The Book Case the week of June 13. We've scheduled a fantastic contest in honor of audio month, and you will not want to miss it.