Audible Book Recommendations - Post yours here


Khoji

New member
There are a few repeats here but that just increases the number of votes for those ones... :D Note that iLounge's demented filter considers the names of one of the greatest English novelists to be obscene and replaces it with ####. You should be able to guess who he is...

  • Anything by Haruki Murakami. At the moment two of his books are visible to me on Audible, Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood. Of the two Kafka is better but Norwegian Wood is also streets ahead of the tripe produced by most "modern" novelists. Murakami is one of those writers who could make a description of paint drying riveting. And he draws you into his bizarre and always astounding plots so logically and in such small steps that you never even have to consider suspending belief. As an added bonus he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of history and classical music. Kafka is also a brilliant audio production with outstanding readers, once you have gotten used to the replacement of Japanese with British accents.
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman. A truly stupendous work of speculative fiction, cannot be compared with anything else, made even better by a perfect narration George Guidall. Riveting from the first page to the last, with credible, three-dimensional characters and a totally unpredictable story. Wonderful prose combined with superlative world-building. (No longer available in Audible's international list.)
  • Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. If you liked A Bend in the River you'll love this. I lived in India for several years and Mistry captures it more brilliantly than any author I have ever read. This is Nobel prize material, quite simply a consummate work of fiction. Pure simplicity, and yet you know and care so much about the characters that it is almost physically painful. And the narration is nothing short of perfect. (No longer available in Audible's international list.)
  • The Memory of Running by and narrated by Ron McLarty. Another brilliant work, perhaps not good if you're in a depressed mood, but still truly outstanding. It was released first as an audio book and then published (McLarty was a professional narrator before becoming an author) and Steven King called it "The best book you won't read this year." I have mixed feelings about Steven King -- I feel he is wasting a great talent -- but he is absolutely right here.
  • A Tale of Two Cities by ####ens, narrated by Frank Muller. The book is a masterpiece and the narration is wonderful. It is always a pleasure to hear ####ens' prose and remember what the English language can be when used properly.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Run, don't walk, to get this book. At 800 pages and 32 hours it is still far, far too short. And that was my only criticism of it -- I simply did not want to leave its world and it was awful that it was over. It is an alternative reality book set at the beginning of the 1800s and based on a very simple premise: There has always been a tradition of magic in Britain. Everything else is the same. As a first novel simply incredible, with character building and a quality of prose rivalling ####ens and the Bronte sisters, but also with a very special quality all of its own. Riveting from start to finish. The narration by Simon Prebble is also a masterpiece in its own right.
  • The Piano Tuner by Danial Mason. Again, another novel for people who enjoy things like Bend in the River or Family Matters. Set in the 19th century, it is the story of a piano tuner called into the Burmese jungle to tune the piano of a maverick officer living at the outer reaches of the empire among warring Burmese tribes. Highly recommended.
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Wonderful serial murder mystery set in the 19th century, with a 19th century profiler and detective as the protagonist.
  • Blonde by Joyce Carole Oates. Surprisingly good fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe, very well read.
  • Transmission, by Hari Kunzru. Enjoyable romp about an Indian programmer who relocates to Silcon Valley. Shallow but observant and fun.
  • Accidental Playboy, by Leif Ueland. True story of a writer hired by Playboy to ride the Millennium Playmate Search bus across America and write a blog (before they were invented) about the experience. Funny, insightful, entertaining.
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. Indomitable British lady archaeologist turned detective in Egypt. Great fun with a stellar narration by Barbara Rosenblat. As deep as the sheet of onionskin paper but wonderfully entertaining.
  • Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. Great comedy, also well read.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. One of the definitive scifi books and a great audio production. Falls apart towards the end -- Heinlein's vision doesn't age so well as he develops it -- but the first two thirds are still worth the ride.
  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. Non-fiction -- hilarious travel report on Australia by the world's most entertaining travel writer. Narrated by Bryson himself. An absolute must.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
3+* Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright

Available audible (2*) and NetLibrary. 4* Amazon.com - 12 reviews. 11:49U. Another of the current deluge of civil war centered books. Supposedly given authenticity with the high-flown, overblown vocabulary of the time, it provides unlikely and tendentious speech to ordinary and extraordinary people alike.
Publishers Weekly said:
"This book, rich in an appropriately fatuous, overblown period style, is the morbidly comic counterpoint to Doctorow's The March."
By the end of the book it was unrealistic enough to be boring even to the dedicated reader of enhanced fiction or lover of large and expansive words. The presence of an casket (filled with whiskey) in the midst of waging war was unlikely enough, but for it to have supposedly been made of aluminum at that time makes it ludicrous.

Interesting enough story line, but the unrealistic speech and a grating, southern-accent narration voice for some of the characters wore thin even on me, a native of the deep south. The normal tone of the main narration was lacking in timbre and quality one would expect from a professional narrator. This is not an author narrated book.

This book was strongly recommended to me by an award-winning writer whose book judgment I very much respect, and twelve amazon reviewers give it an average 4*, so I must have missed a lot along the way. She and I swap book lists often and this is the first difference of opinion. Therefore, you should listen to the sample and read the reviews carefully to make up your own mind.

The unlikely title derives from a southern cartoon ridiculing blacks and whites dancing a polka.
 
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spitfire1

New member
5/5 - The Weathermakers
One of the clearest and most detailed explanations of climate change I have every read. It's a long book, but if you can get through the more technical bits at the front, the way he ties it all together will keep you up at night.

2/5 - The Joy of Work
A book about innovative management techniques at energy giant AES. Interesting premise however the story feels really drawn out and preachy. By the 3/4 mark I was still bored and just let it go.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
5*Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Delighted to have taken Khoji's recommendation (see it a couple of posts back) on this audible.com audiobook. Beautifully written and narrated. Complex, deep, and intellectually gripping. The dual- or, depending on how you look at it, triple-track plot comes together cleverly and very gradually in unpredictable ways. Misticism, philosophy, music, and wonderful characters abound. Deep and thought provoking without clear definition and resolution at the end. True literature with fantasy spicing the flavor toward the latter half of the book. I found it difficult to put down.

49 Amazon.com ratings average 4*, 4 audible ratings average 3+*

Absolutely the best narration I have listened to at faster speed. No perceptible distortion whatsoever.
EDIT:
Fascinating author interview about Kafka on the Shore
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
5*Beloved by Toni Morrison, narrated by the author. Audible.com. Recently selected by NYT's set of writers as the best in last 25 years. Winner of Pulitzer Prize. Fictional deep and provocative insight into slavery and its impact. Sometimes difficult to determine which character is speaking and I thought that I had missed some. However, after reading through this study guide summary, I found only a couple of minor clarifications. Short, but with incredible depth. I wouldn't recommend reading its chapter summaries before finishing the book, but I found them very useful to tie up loose ends. I missed far less than I thought. I also found the study guide character analysis of Beloved herself to be very helpful. There are two late chapters, 21 and 22, I think, that are stream of consciousness. That is where I got the most lost, but found that I had captured most of it. I wasn't expecting surreal in this particular book, but it definitely has its place there.

3* American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Audible.com. Stephen King genre. Entertaining but lacking in depth.

edit: have to put Underline inside the Url descripton.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
If you are looking for some summer listening and prefer quality fiction leaning toward the light side for the most part try Oprah's Book Club past books. Judging from the books I have read or listened to, this should be a reliable source. The site will link you to a review of each book and there is a link to print out the list. Oprah deserves a lot of credit for getting people to read.

Unfortunately, once you find a book you like you, will then have to find them in audiobook format on audible.com, NetLibrary, OverDrive, library CD, etc.
 

arsolot

New member
Previously, I had commenced a thread (http://forums.ilounge.com/showthread.php?t=173023) on the topic of Audible's response to my inquiry whether it would include the then soon-to-be-published new book, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, as a selection.

The Road is not an Audible selection.

I acquired it as an audiobook on CDs from Barnes & Noble.

It is well worth the acquisition as it is among the best books I've read in some time.

I give it my highest recommendation.

The audiobook's narrator, Tom Stechschulte, is excellent. He also did a great job on McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, which is available from Audible.

While The Road centers on a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocolyptic world, and has many gruesome parts, don't be fooled by that description. It is much broader than that and is really one of the most thought-provoking books that I have had the pleasure of running across, ever. For me, the relationship of father to son is most striking and highly interesting.

The Road and No Country for Old Men are both available from NetLibrary, (http://netlibrary.com/) but the free downloads from NetLibrary cannot be easily transferred to one's iPod.

The book is the subject of lengthy discussions of its many-faceted themes on a Web site devoted to Cormac McCarthy. That Web site, (http://cormacmccarthy.com/) is also worth reading, but do so AFTER you've read the book.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
5+* "Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori," by Lian Hearn

Now available at Audible.com: Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori (Unabridged)
Author: Lian Hearn
Narrator: Julia Fletcher, Henri Lubatti
Release Date: 09-19-2006

5+* This fourth book of the Otori series is every bit as good as the first three. Difficult to put down. Highly recommend you listen to them in order. Harsh Cry of the Heron is a bit idealistic in the beginning, but maybe necessary to set the stage for how greed, intolerance, and human failings conspire to destroy peace, happiness, and prosperity. She knows how to spin a tale, that is for sure. Lots of twists and turns and overlapping story lines to make it very compelling.

The audio version is missing a little over two page, but crucial gap, at 1:08:00 of Part 2, which has been called to the attention of audible. Thanks to moriond, the missing text is:

moriond said:
Nothing broke the silence of the night, but he sensed he was not alone. He shrank back into the shadows, his hand on the sword's hilt. Leaves had already fallen from the trees, and he could hear a slight rustling, as if some creature were moving across them He peered toward the sound , and saw leaves scatter gently under the unseen tread. He cupped his hands over his eyes to open the pupils further, and then looked sideways out of the corner of his left eye to detect invisibility. The creature was staring at him, its eyes green in the starlight.

Just a cat, he thought, a trick of the light -- and then realized with a jolt of surprise that its gaze had trapped his; *GAP begins here at 1:08:00, Part 2:* he felt the shock of pure fear. It was something supernatural, some ghostly being that dwelt in this place, sent back recently by the dead to punish him.
He felt he was about to be plunged in the Kikuta sleep, that their assassins had caught up with him and were using this ghostly being to corner him. He himself moved into the almost supernatural state that attack of any sort induced in him. It was second nature to him now to defend himself instantly, to kill before he was killed. Summoning up all his own power, he broke its gaze, fumbling for the throwing knives.
The first came into his hand and he hurled it, saw the starlight catch it as it spun, heard the slight impact and the creature's cry of pain. It lost invisibility at the same moment as it leaped toward him.

Now the sword was in his hand. He saw the tawny throat and bared teeth. It was a cat, but a cat with the size and strength of a wolf. One set of claws raked his face as he dived sideways and turned to come up close enough to stab it in the throat, losing invisibility himself in order to focus on the blow.

But the cat twisted away. It cried in an almost human voice, and through the shock and fear of the fight he heard something he recognized.

"Father," it cried again. "Don't hurt me! It's me, Maya."

The girl stood before him. It took all his strength and will to halt the knife thrust that nearly cut his daughter's throat. He heard his own desperate yell as he forced his hand to turn the blade away. The knife fell from his fingers. He reached out to her and touched her face, felt the wet of blood or tears or both.

"I nearly killed you," he said, and wondered with a sense of horror and pity whether she could be killed, aware of the tears in his own eyes, and when he raised his sleeve to wipe them away, he felt the sting of the scratch, the blood dripping from his face. "What are you doing here?
Why are you out here on your own?" It was almost a relief to express this confusion in anger. He wanted to slap her, as he might have done when she misbehaved as a child, but what had happened to her had put her beyond childhood. And it was his blood that made her what she was.

"I nearly killed you," he said, and wondered with a sense of horror and
pity whether she could be killed, aware of the tears in his own eyes, and
when he raised his sleeve to wipe them away, he felt the sting of the
scratch, the blood dripping from his face. "What are you doing here?
Why are you out here on your own?" It was almost a relief to express this
confusion in anger. He wanted to slap her, as he might have done when she
misbehaved as a child, but what had happened to her had put her beyond
childhood. And it was his blood that made her what she was.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," She was crying like a child, incoherent with
distress. He pulled her into his arms and held her tightly, surprised by
how much she had grown. Her head came up to the center of his breastbone;
her body was lean and hard, more like a boy's than a girl's.

"Don't cry," he said with assumed calmness. "We will go and see
Taku, and he will tell me what has been happening to you."

"I'm sorry because I'm crying," she said in a muffled voice.

"I thought you might be sorry because you tried to kill your own
father," he replied, leading her by the hand though the shrine gate and
into the street.

"I did not know it was you. I could not see you. I thought you
were some Kikuta assassin. As soon as I recognized you, I changed. I can't
always do that immediately, but I'm getting better. I did not need to cry,
though. I _never_ cry. Why did I cry then"

"Perhaps you were happy to see me?"

"I am," she assured him. "But I have never cried for joy. It must
have been the shock. Well, I'll never cry again!"

"There is nothing wrong with crying," Takeo said. "I was also
crying."

"Why? Did I hurt you? It must be nothing compared to the wounds
you have already suffered." She touched her own face. "You hurt me worse."

"And I am deeply sorry. I would rather die than hurt you."

She has changed, he was thinking; even her speech is more abrupt,
more unfeeling. And there was some stronger accusation behind her words,
something more than the physical wound. What other grievance did she hold
against him? Was it resentment at being sent away, or something else?

"You should not be out here alone."

"It's not Taku's fault," Maya said quickly. "You must not
blame him."

"Who else do I blame? I entrusted you to him. And where is
Saeda?
I saw the three of you together earlier today. Why is she not with you?"

"Wasn't it wonderful?" Maya said, evading his questions.
"Shigeko
looked so beautiful. And the horse! Did you like your present, Father? Were
you surprised?"

"Either they are negligent or you are disobedient," Takeo
said,
refusing to be distracted by her sudden childish speech.

"I was disobedient. But it's as if I have to be. Because I
can do things
no one else can do, so there is no one to teach me. I have to find out on my
own."
She shot a glance up at him. "I suppose Father has never done that?"

Again he sensed a deeper challenge. He could not deny it,
but he
decided not to answer, faced now -- for they were approaching the gate of the
Muto residence -- with the problem of how to get inside. [END GAP] His face
was
smarting, and his body ached from the sudden, intense fight. He could not see
Maya's
wound clearly, but could picture its jagged edge -- it must be treated
immediately.
It would scar, almost certainly, leaving her with an identifiable mark.


*END GAP* His face was smarting and his body aching from the intense fight...."
5+*The other books of the Otori series:

Across the Nightingale Floor, Bk 1 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, one of Book magazine's best novels of the year, & one of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for High School Readers. Medieval Japan with magic thrown in. Brilliant! Finely developed characters & plot! The three books flow seamless from one to other, must begin with book one. Medieval Japan warlords fight & intrigue with a young contender. Modicum of magic & fantasy thrown in.
Grass for His Pillow, Bk2
Brilliance of the Moon: Tales of the Otori, Bk3

Book Browse Link to author Lian Hearn pseudonym of noted female Aussie playwright&author of children's books. Click here for a (Fascinating) Conversation With Lian Hearn

Edited and reposted to include more missing text, detail, and to correct bad link to Lian Hearn -- thanks to the ever thoughtful and thorough moriond.
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
Cormac McCarthy

arsolot said:
...
The Road is not an Audible selection. I acquired it as an audiobook on CDs from Barnes & Noble. It is well worth the acquisition as it is among the best books I've read in some time. I give it my highest recommendation.

...

The Road and No Country for Old Men are both available from NetLibrary, (http://netlibrary.com/) but the free downloads from NetLibrary cannot be easily transferred to one's iPod.

....
Arsolot, coming from you, this becomes a must listen for me. I have downloaded No Country for Old Men from NL, but the only other Cormac McCarthy book available from my library's NetLibrary is Cities of the Plain. I think I recall that not all the NetLibrary members subscribe to the complete NetLibrary titles. I am disappointed.

From the Amazon reviews, his Border Trilogy sounds interesting, also:
Amazon.com said:
Best known for his Border Trilogy, hailed in the San Francisco Chronicle as "an American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century," Cormac McCarthy has written ten rich and often brutal novels, including last year's bestselling No Country for Old Men, and this year's The Road. Profoundly dark, told in spare, searing prose, The Road is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, one of the best books we've read this year...
Overdrive does not have any of the books. My library has a CD set of The Road which is out to another patron and 2 requests are ahead of me.

Audible has No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses , both Unabridged.

Thanks for the recommendations, arsolot.
 
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arsolot

New member
robert said:
Arsolot, coming from you, this becomes a must listen for me. I have downloaded No Country for Old Men from NL, but the only other Cormac McCarthy book available from my library's NetLibrary is Cities of the Plain. I think I recall that not all the NetLibrary members subscribe to the complete NetLibrary titles. I am disappointed.

From the Amazon reviews, his Border Trilogy sounds interesting, also:


Overdrive does not have any of the books. My library has a CD set of The Road which is out to another patron and 2 requests are ahead of me.

Audible has No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses , both Unabridged.

Thanks for the recommendations, arsolot.
Robert:

You're welcome. I'll be interested to know your thoughts about The Road if you do get a chance to listen to it. Actually, I went and bought the printed version a couple of days ago, so I could read it. I'm reading it now. It is extremely good and very, very thought-provoking.

I'm interested to learn that not all NetLibrary subscribers have access to the same content. My local library seems to hook up to the Los Angeles County Library for NetLibrary content (I'm not even in California). I just checked to make sure, and The Road is available when I log on to NetLibrary.

And, as I mentioned in my original post on The Road, I do highly recommend reading various discussion threads from the Cormac McCarthy Society's Web page, http://www.cormacmccarthy.com/. But, be warned: the threads almost always have spoilers, so it would be best to read them after you've finished the book. However, as actually is pointed out in that forum, The Road isn't a whodunit in any sense, so knowing about how the book ends shouldn't change your enjoyment of it.

Also, let me know what you think of NCOM after you've finished that one, as well.

Cheers!
 

moriond

New member
Cormac McCarhy's No Country for Old Men is on sale at half price at Audible through till October 31st.
arsolot said:
I'm interested to learn that not all NetLibrary subscribers have access to the same content. My local library seems to hook up to the Los Angeles County Library for NetLibrary content (I'm not even in California). I just checked to make sure, and The Road is available when I log on to NetLibrary.
Both NetLibrary and OverDrive allow participating libraries to select which of the available titles they choose to offer for download, so the fact that a title is offered through either service doesn't guarantee that it will be available at your library. There doesn't seem to be an easily accessible site that lists the available titles. I recall that NetLibrary carried a description of some standard packages and titles that were available. The best way to find whether a title might be carried through either service seems to be by googling the audiobook with "OverDrive" or "NetLibrary", or else by checking the electronic collection listings of the big libraries at L.A., New York City, Boston, etc.
robert said:
Overdrive does not have any of the books. My library has a CD set of The Road which is out to another patron and 2 requests are ahead of me.
The unabridged Cormac McCarthy titles are all from Recorded Books, so you'll only find them through NetLibrary, which is Recorded Books' library download distribution arrangement with OCLC, and the titles won't be carried by OverDrive. OverDrive does have audiobooks from some publishers that aren't carried by Audible -- such as Brilliance Audiobooks. I also used my library's CD set to listen to No Country for Old Men at the beginning of this year.
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
4.3*Water for Elephants UA Sara Gruen. Well told story of the circus set in the era when they were numeous and popular. Through the eyes and memory of a nursing home resident who was there.

4.5* The Devil in the White City UA by Erick Larson. Non-fiction, but reads like a novel The story of building the Chicago World's Fair (The white city) and the psychopathic killer who roamed the city at the time.

4.* Light on Snow UA Anita Shreve. Lives of father and young daughter in remote New Hampshire who are struggling with life after wife/mother's untimely death. They encounter a life changing event. Publisher's Weekly: "Shreve does a skilled job of portraying grief, conflict and anger while leaving room for hope, redemption and renewal. Her characters are sympathetic without being pitiable, and her prose remains deceptively simple and eloquent throughout."

Don Quixote UA Miguel Cervantes. NL edition. Poorly narrated with grating and whiny English country accent for principal characters. A slog.

4.5*In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex UA by Nathaniel Philbrick. The true-life, non fiction, account of a sperm whale demolishing a ship. Well done basis for Melville's Moby D-ick* fiction. Better than Moby D-ick

4*Moby D-ick UA Herman Melville. Epic story, perhaps too epic, but a classic.

4.7*His Excellency: George Washington UA Joseph Ellis. Emminently readable and enjoyable. Amazon.com: "Based on Washington's personal letters and papers, His Excellency is smart and accessible--not to mention relatively brief, in comparison to other encyclopedic presidential tomes. Ellis's short, succinct sentences speak volumes, allowing readers to glimpse the man behind the myth. --Andy Boynton

4.6* Lonesome Dove UA Larry McMurtry. This 1986 Pulitzer fiction award winner does a magnicent job of describing the last days of the cowboy West.

4.5*Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War U Nathaniel Philbrick. Excellent read to dispel the fiction and myth surrounding the Mayflower and early days of the Plymouth Colony. Well written and easy to listen to.

3-*A Spot of Bother U Mark Haddon. Does not live up to Haddon's prior excellent Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It is boring. Don't bother. Some redeeming value.

4.2*White Oleander A (Audible) Janet Fitch. Excellent. Superbly narrated by Oprah Winfrey who is the voice of a 13 year old girl with a very, very complicated mother and life. Did not seem to suffer from being available only abridged.

4.6*No Country for Old Men UA Cormac McCarthy. Sort of a modern cowboy thriller/philosophic tome about life and life in the West. Drugs, money, and regrets. If you have to have a tidy ending this is not for you.

4.4*Path Between The Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 A David McCollough. Makes the building of the canal come alive in his usual delightful presentation. Maybe best that this was abridged.

*filtered
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
5*Thirteen Moons U, Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain). audible.com Excellent. Quite different from Cold Mountain. Set in the Cherokee Nation Mountains of NC, Frazier spins a piece of fiction which is at least partially based on a real life character. Told in first person recollection of "Will Cooper" in his lonely old age.

The first 45 minutes are slow, but don't let that deter you.

Publisher's Weekly at Amazon.com
...Will—modeled very loosely, Frazier acknowledges, on real-life frontiersman William Holland Thomas—...
(Oct. 3)
Panned severely by the Washington Post review -- Cold Mountain thrown in the same pot for good measure -- quoted at Amazon.com listing of Thirteen Moons.

William Holland Thomas in Wikipeida
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
5+* The Road (UA) by Cormac McCarthy - audible.com and NL 2006

McCarthy paints a post-apocalyptic and presumably nuclear winter of gray rainy and snowy skies constantly drizzling ash. Much of the world's comforts, safety, food, plants, and animals are either non-existent or very scarce. The Road is the account of an unnamed man and boy -- father and his son who was born after the apocalypse -- as they struggle for survival -- probably 10 years after the apocalypse. A phenomenal story of courage, inguenuity, luck, skill, love, determination, and loyalty with an incredibly moving ending. A book you will think about long after you finish it. I predict that this will be prize-winning fiction. McCarthy does a remarkable job, with beautiful prose, of painting this unabridged story in only 6:39. What a versatile author!

Thanks to Arsolot for the recommendation
 
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robert

Moderator
Moderator
5+*The Book Thief (U) by Markus Zusak aubible.com 2 Book Credits

A powerful, excellent, and beautifully written must-read. With his outstanding prose, Zusak has created a masterpiece. 5 Star amazon.com rating (112 reviewers). Wonderfully narrated, from both the audio delivery (listens extremely well at faster speed) and the book viewpoint, by a captivating and rather likeable Death. Death tells of years nine to fourteen of the life of a girl beautifully triumphant enduring dark days of WWII in Munich, Germany. In his extraordinary writing, Zusak weaves a remarkable and moving tale. Death reveals many of the multiple endings before they happen, but keeps the reader eager to discover how those endings unfold in complex, lovely, and many times sad ways. Difficult to put down and a book that is missed after finishing.

The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Elizabeth Chang:
Knopf is blitz-marketing (March 2006) this 550-page book set in Nazi Germany as a young-adult novel, though it was published in the author's native Australia for grown-ups. (Zusak, 30, has written several books for kids, including the award-winning I Am the Messenger.) The book's length, subject matter and approach might give early teen readers pause, but those who can get beyond the rather confusing first pages will find an absorbing and searing narrative.

Death meets the book thief, a 9-year-old girl named Liesel Meminger, when he comes to take her little brother, and she becomes an enduring force in his life, despite his efforts to resist her. "I traveled the globe . . . handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity," Death writes. "I warned myself that I should keep a good distance from the burial of Liesel Meminger's brother. I did not heed my advice." ... Liesel is touched first by Death, then by words, as if she knows she'll need their comfort during the hardships ahead.
Audible's 2 book credit price doesn't compare favorably with Amazon.com's $11.53 for the hardback edition or $32.13 for the UA CD set. I now wish I had bought the CD's, "MarkAbled" them, and then given the CD set to my library. My wife and I listened to half the book on a long trip and she will finish in print. We were captivated by the plot and incredible prose. Upon query, she learned our library has 13 copies and all are out on loan. We have bought six copies for Christmas gifts.

As always, take care in reading reviews: Although the narrator Death foretells significant happenings, reviews -- as usual -- give away far too much of the plot.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
P.S. There are two one minute rough and garbled spots in Part I of The Book Thief. It isn't your iPod. One comes at just under three minutes remaining. I don't know where the other spot is.

I downloaded Part I the second time and the rough spots remained.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
5*The History of Love by Nicole Krauss -- exceptional

5*The History of Love (Unabridged) Audible and NetLibrary
Author: Nicole Krauss
Narrator: George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, Andy Paris

An ideal audio book and a great listen.

Nicole Krauss is the spouse of Jonathan Safran Foer -- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated. This book has striking similarities to the also excellent Shadow of the Wind and Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. All literary mysteries -- but not in the mystery/detective/spy story sense.

The only thing wrong with this novel is its disingenuous, in my opinion, title which is taken from a fictitious book published in Spanish. (Because of its title, I passed up this book several times before downloading.) This obscure book serves as the literary and somewhat metaphysical glue that holds together narrations by several characters -- primarily that of a young girl and an old man (George Guidall - one of my favorite narrators). The narrators proceed in multiple non-parallel threads. Krauss provides very subtle connections, clues, and hints and brings most of it together in a lovely, yet far from sharply defined, ending. The reader is left to fill in logical suppositions of the story line and to remember and pick up on clues and hints -- not for everyone. Superbly and cleverly done in beautiful prose. You will not want it to end. Go to the Amazon discussion board after you read the book to validate or discover the clues, logical suppositions, and ties.
Author interview here.

Have a look at the amazon.com and audible.com reviews before using your credit. Not a book for everyone.

BTW, Just so you know that I don't rate all books highly, I have recently listen to or read several boring books.
 

robert

Moderator
Moderator
Has anyone listened to The Historian? It is the BookSense (Independent book sellers) book of the year winner, A BookBrowse 2005 nominee for favorite book, and has 1202 amazon.com mixed reviews with a 3+ stars average rating. It sounds similar to Jonathan Strange and Dr Norell and right down the alley of several regulars of this thread. Based on the reviews, I have an ambivalent reaction to it and am reluctant to invest 26 hours to find out whether I like it.

BTW, The Book Thief is up to 150 reviews and retains a full five star rating. Remarkable. Almost universal agreement that this is an adult and young adult book. Question: Did Liesel marry Max? Unlike the questions and suppositions that arise out of The History of Love, it is not an unexplained mystery core to the story, but a question of how did the author intend it to end.
 

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