Just as I pulled into work today, my audio book ended. My first thought? I have to order another Daniel Silva (see below). My second thought--what will I listen to on the way home!? That will be an early preview of Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys (July 16).
I'm the audio evangelist around here, and out there, too. I'm sure my friends and family are beyond sick of me telling them how much I love listening to books. At home, I've always got one playing while I get ready for work, and in the evening I put on my headphones, start dinner, and alert the fam that I'm listening to my book. My headphones are like a do-not-disturb sign. I listen to an average of two books a month I'd say, depending on how much I'm driving alone and how much housework I'm doing (audio books + boring chores = enjoying a story while wielding a toilet brush.).
Below are a half-dozen of my favorites so far this year. Mystery, science-fiction, nonfiction--I've listened to them all. The result is the discovery of some remarkable books and narrators, including a series that may take up the rest of my summer after I download more of them...
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva is an incredibly popular author of spy thrillers. Multiple people in our office, and in my personal life, are fans of his novels so when I saw The Kill Artist, on a recent Audible sale, I decided to give it a try. The narrator George Guidall is amazing. He handles the different accents and characters' voices beautifully. The Kill Artist is the first time readers/listeners meet Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy and art restorer, and the plot is everything you want in a thriller--layered, surprising, suspenseful. I'm queuing up the next one, and have 18 more Gabriel Allon novels to look forward to including The New Girl (same narrator), releasing July 16.
City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert
City of Girls is our editors' pick for the best book of 2019 so far, and the audio is narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Blair Brown. Brown's flair for theater is a perfect fit for Elizabeth Gilbert's novel. City of Girls is the story of Vivian Morris, a young woman who moves to Manhattan to live with her aunt, the owner of an off-Broadway theater. There she discovers a passion for life, for love, for the freedom to be whomever she chooses. The audio pulled me out of present day Seattle and carried me off to New York in the 1940s. This would be the perfect book to listen to on the beach, at the pool, or weeding the backyard--just relax and let Elizabeth Gilbert and Blair Brown take you back in time...
Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch
I wasn't sure how this book would fare on audio since I've found that plot lines with multiple time jumps can sometimes be confusing to listen to. Not a problem with Recursion. Blake Crouch writes mind-bending sci-fi novels that depict an alternate reality so vividly that you start thinking, that could really happen... In Recursion the premise is memory as reality, and the creation of false memories that make people to think they've lived an entirely different life. Which then begs the question of which life is real. It's a definite brain scorcher in the very best way. Recursion would be a great audio for cars and airplanes alike--even better if you listen to it with someone else because this is a book that inspires conversation.
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
I'd already read half of this book when I got hold of the audio, and decided to finish it out via my headphones and the car. Turned out to be an inspired choice--though I did linger a little longer than usual in various parking lots, waiting to get to a good stopping point. Four Dead Queens is a debut young adult novel that blends fantasy, mystery, and romance. Author Astrid Scholte does an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing and the story felt like Scholte really committed to all three genres. The murders are grim, the romance is strong, and the world Scholte built is what you expect in a good fantasy novel. Good summer book candy and perfect for road trips with teens.
The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. by Evan Ratliff
I love listening to nonfiction. Oddly enough, I find that I will sometimes choose titles that are interesting to me, but which I doubt would pass the "reading in bed at night" test. In this case, I was already completely fascinated by Evan Ratliff's The Mastermind, and then discovered he reads the audio. Now, you might think that's a no-brainer, that an author reading their own work will always be great. Not so, my friends. But Evan Ratliff? Yes. And the crazy story he imparts, about an unlikely internet drug lord, sounds like fiction. The best part is, it's all true.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I had the good fortune to meet Taylor Jenkins Reid a couple of months ago when she came to Seattle for her new book, Daisy Jones and the Six. Truth be told, I was a little embarrassed that I hadn't read her previous book (which was a favorite around here) so I immediately ordered up the Audible edition of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This is a multi-voice recording, one so good it was a 2018 Audie award finalist. I loved it--the story, the narration, the whole thing. I really felt like I was sitting there, along with the character of Monique, listening to this aged actress (who reminded me of Liz Taylor) recount the highs and lows of her Hollywood life. I would listen to this one again, and that's saying something.
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