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?
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?
This year, there was a little something extra going on at the American Library Association's annual conference. Random House Audio's Listening Library decided to have an open call to let fans read a page of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for a new audio recording—which would be completed before the weekend was over.
By Sunday evening, they'd recruited 301 amateur voice actors, including authors like Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead, Libba Bray, Grace Lin, Jon Scieszka and Ken Burns. The youngest reader? Six-year-old Lillian Imhoff.
And another clip from Christopher Paul Curtis.
The clips will be edited together and released as a digital download. Will you listen?
As the time for Oprah to make her 63rd book club pick draws near (September 18, if you haven't heard), we're digging deeper to try to figure out what the world's most influential reader has chosen.
The audio version of #63 offers some useful clues, if online listings can be trusted. Ingram says it's a 3-CD set. Barnes and Noble goes further, saying the audio is 2 hours and 45 minutes, unabridged. If correct, this short length limits the original Pub Lunch list somewhat—only The Man's Book: The Essential Guide for the Modern Man by Thomas Fink and Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt are anywhere close to short enough to fit on 3 CDs unabridged. We also dug up two other contenders, both published at $23.99 in hardcover by Little, Brown:
Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione
The publisher's synopsis says this guide to achieving inner peace brings an "11th-century Tibetan woman's practice to the West for the first time."
Sway by Zachary Lazar
This loosely plotted novel that chronicles of some of the biggest events in the 1960s (the early days of the Rolling Stones; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers) would certainly be a different sort of pick for Oprah. It's just 272 pages, but audio versions of novels tend to be longer so this might not be a contender after all.
Of these, my money's on The Man Book (which would be a true departure for Oprah, whose previous selections have been as female-oriented as her audience). Think the audio listing can be trusted?
July 18 marks Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday, and in celebration Hachette Audio is releasing a remarkable three-disc audio version of Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales.
The 23 tales from across the African continent, all wonderfully enhanced with traditional African music and music composed for this audio, are read by an amazing array of international performers, including Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, Helen Mirren, Sophie Okonedo, Alan Rickman, Charlize Theron, Blair Underwood, Alfre Woodard and Forest Whitaker, who donated their time and talent.
The elaborate bonus materials include beautiful pieces of artwork to accompany each story, along with a hand-drawn map of Africa. Profits from the audiobook will go to ANSA, Artists for a New South Africa, a nonprofit working in South Africa and the U.S. to combat HIV/AIDS, and The Nelson Mandela Chidren's Fund, so while you and your family listen to these entrancing stories, you'll be contributing to a very good cause. The book's website lets you listen to a free sample.