Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

National Book Awards 2013 – Nonfiction

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The National Book Awards winner this year for Nonfiction is:

George Packer, for The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (Find this book in our catalog).  This is what it says in our catalog:  “A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.

American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.

The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet’s significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era’s leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents.

The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer’s novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.” (McMillan Palgrave)

Check our catalog for an author biography and for more notes and reviews.


Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields

Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief


Finalists for Audie Awards

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Sometimes it’s nice to listen to a book rather than read it.  HCPL has books in many formats.  These are audiobooks on cd nominated for the Audie Awards’ Audiobook of the Year, sponsored by Audio Publishers Association.

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen and Garden by Michelle Obama, narrated by Michelle Obama, Jim Adams, Charlie Brandts, Christeta Comerford, Sam Kass, Bill Yosses and a full cast.



Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini




Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly, narrated by Bill O’Reilly





Monday, June 11th, 2012

  The Audio Publishers Association announced this year’s Audie Award winners Tuesday, June 5.   Tina Fey’s memoir Bossypants was a double winner, earning Audio Book of the Year honors as well as a win in the biography/memoir category. Check out the complete list of Audie winners here.

Find this audiobook in our catalog.

Summary: “Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.  She has seen both these dreams come true.  At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told.  From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty onSaturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.  Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)”

We also have this audiobook as a Playaway.


Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album

Monday, February 27th, 2012

  In the Grammy category of Best Spoken Word Album the winner Sunday, February 12 was If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White (Find this audiobook in our catalog).

Summary in our catalog: “A personal account by the popular actress shares stories from her decades in Hollywood while offering her lighthearted perspectives on topics ranging from sex and aging to animal welfare and television.”

Review from our catalog: “White’s most recent effort is a series of essays reflecting upon her past 15 years in show business. Her frankness gives what might at first seem saccharine musings a bit of punch. She sounds like the sweet old lady next door but will surprise you. White’s ability to shock can be experienced in her acceptance speech at an awards ceremony, when thanking everyone for being there and mentions how she has even “had some of you.” Her love of animals comes through in many recollections of dogs, a gorilla, and even whales she has visited…”



The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

  Very often when a bestseller comes out, we at Harford County Public Library are able to order the audiobook for simutaneous release with the book.  The Buddha in the Attic (Find the audiobook in our catalog) is just such a case in point.

The audiobook is read by Samantha Quan and Carrington MacDuffie.  This is the summary from our catalog: “In six unforgettable, incantatory sections, the novel traces their new lives as “picture brides”: the arduous voyage by boat, where the girls trade photos of their husbands and imagine uncertain futures in an unknown land … their arrival in San Francisco and the tremulous first nights with their new husbands, backbreaking toil as migrant workers in the fields and in the homes of white women … the struggle to learn a new language and culture, giving birth and raising children who come to reject their heritage, and, finally, the arrival of war, and the agonizing prospect of their internment.”

Click here to listen to Julie Otsuka reading from The Buddha in the Attic.



Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

  With her new book, Death Comes to Pemberley, P. D. James takes a bit of a departure from her usual mystery novels.  (Find this book in our catalog)

Click here to read an excerpt from her new book provided by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

Summary of Death Comes to Pemberley in our cataog:  “A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem. It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball. Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery. Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.” From the Hardcover edition

We also have this title on order as an audiobook on CDs , in Playaway format and in large print


Download Books Page Redesigned – Includes OneClickDigital

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Audiobooks “readers” will be interested in this increase in options for downloadle audiobooks.  We redesigned the Download Books page on our website, to make it more streamlined and to re-launch the Recorded Books product  OneClickDigital – a new platform to download e-audiobooks from Recorded Books (you may remember that this used to be Netlibrary). “We also are including a section that provides links to recommended websites that provide free downloadable eBooks,” stated the Materials Management Administrator of Harford County Public Library.

Please note that patrons who previously had an account with Recorded Books/Netlibrary will need to create a NEW account in OneClickDigital and also re-download the OneClickDigital Media Manager.

Notes to this effect and lots of other tutorials are available on the simplified web page.  You will click on the icon for the different products (Maryland’s Digital eLibrary Consortium-Overdrive) and it will take you to a second page where all the tutorials are; for instance,  when you click on OneClickDigital, you will find a link that takes you to a tutorial page, walking you through the product, account set up, etc.

I hope you enjoy our increased options for your book listening!


More Audiobook Reviews From Tracy

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The Corduroy Mansion Series by Alexander McCall Smith       

Alexander McCall Smith writes several series.  I have found, though, that some of his books I really enjoy, while others leave me a little cold.  For example, I tried, but didn’t really appreciate his Isabel Dalhousie mystery series.  I have not read his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, so I can’t really comment on them.  But I have listened to, and really enjoyed, the first two books in his Corduroy Mansions series.

The first book is titled Corduroy Mansions (Find the audiobook in our catalog)

Corduroy Mansions is an apartment block in London. It is inhabited by a number of memorable characters. Those characters include William French, a wine merchant, and his son Eddie, a ne’er-do-well who is overstaying his welcome in William’s apartment. There is also Dee, a vitamin saleswoman with a disturbing penchant for discussing colonic irrigation, and her roommate Jenny, who works for the horrible Oedipus Snark.  Their mild adventures and misadventures combine for charming stories that brought a smile to my face as I listened. The book is well read by a narrator with a soothing voice and a slight accent.

The second is The Dog Who Came in From the Cold (Find the audiobook in our catalog).

Both titles are available in other audio formats.

If you enjoy the Corduroy Mansion series, make sure to check out McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series as well.

Posted by Tracy

Audiobook Review From Tracy – Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I heard about this book on the radio and was immediately intrigued. Tayari Jones tells the story of a bigamist and his families. Not the type of bigamist that we’ve been hearing about on the news recently. This story is about a man, living a seemingly ordinary life but with a big secret.  The story is actually told from the perspective of the man’s daughters. Dana, his daughter from his secret relationship, knows about his father’s other, public family. Chaurisse, his other daughter, is blissfully unaware that she is not her father’s only child.

The story is told from first Dana’s perspective, and then Chaurisse’s. The girls, through Dana’s scheming, meet and become friends. The story follows them as this relationship develops towards its inevitable conclusion.

There are two narrators of the story, both of which do a good job of portraying their characters. The story is stronger in the beginning, I think, than after the two girls meet.  I thought all of the characters were compelling, and I enjoyed the insight the author gives into their motivations, even when I was frustrated with the characters’ choices. I found the ending to be more than a little unsatisfying, but I appreciate books that wrap things up neatly at the end. This book certainly did not do that, which ultimately makes it even more real.

Find this audiobook in our catalog.  We also have a Playaway version.

Posted by Tracy

More on Audiobooks from Tracy

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

My Favorite Narrator: Davina Porter

As someone who listens to audiobooks all the time, I can confidently say that the reader can absolutely make or break a story. I have definitely identified narrators that I can listen to over and over. One of these favorite readers is Davina Porter. I think I could listen to her narrate the phone book and be content; but, fortunately, she has narrated a number of audiobooks where I enjoyed the story as well as her voice.

 Ms. Porter is the narrator for the Outlander series of novels, by Diana Gabaldon. This series is a combination romance/historical fiction with some science fiction in the form of time travel thrown in too. If you are intrigued by that description, the first book in the series is Outlander (Find this audiobook on CD in our catalog). We also have this as a Playaway. If you decide to listen, be warned that it may take some time to get into the story.  If you are hooked after the first third of the book, though, you have hours and hours of listening pleasure ahead of you. There are 7 books in the series, each running to several hundred pages in traditional book form: 


Dragonfly in Amber


Drums of Autumn

The Fiery Cross

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

An Echo in the Bone 

Another of Ms. Porter’s performances I enjoyed was Innocent Traitor: A Novel of  Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir. This audiobook is actually narrated by several women in turn. It tells the story of Lady Jane as a political pawn in Tudor England. The story is told from a number of different perspectives.

 Ms. Porter has narrated a number of author series of books available at the library, including the Isabel Dalhousie novels by Alexander McCall Smith and the Hamish MacBeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton.  A keyword search of the library catalog for “Davina Porter” returns 123 possibilities for listening:

Posted by Tracy