Now that the school year is over, many people are going on vacation.  If you are going on a roadtrip soon, you might want to consider listening to an audiobook.  The miles can fly by while you enjoy listening to a fantastic book.  And if your family cannot agree on listening to one book, try Playaways.  Playaways are MP3 devices that have books loaded on them.  All you need to do is plug in your headphones and push play!  We even provide the batteries for them.

Need some ideas on an audiobook to check out?  Below are some suggestions or ask one of our friendly librarians for help.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
harry potter stone

Jim Dale narrates all seven of the Harry Potter books and he is THE BEST voice actor!  Somehow, Jim Dale is able to create a different voice for each and every character in the Harry Potter series which makes it so entertaining and easy to listen to in the car (and it is hard to shutoff the car when you reach your destination because the story is so good).  The Harry Potter series is full of fantasy, mystery and life lessons.  It will please everyone in the family.

 

bad beginningThe Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Series) by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket’s series of books about the forever unlucky Baudelaire children is deliciously narrated by Tim Curry, who does the readings for all 13 of the books in this series. The misadventures for the children start in this book when their parents die, and throughout the first novel “the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.” A great elementary school listen.

 

lion, witch, wardrobeThe Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

Originally published in 1955, this classic story has delighted children for decades.  During a game of hide and seek, four children go through a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical realm of Narnia.  Only the Good King Aslan can defeat the dark magic of the White Witch.  An adventure story full of danger and thrills.

 

charlie chocolate factoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

If you are a parent of young children, there is a good chance that you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when you were a child.  Introduce your children to Roald Dahl’s factory that is full of whimsy and full of perils to those children that are naughty.  Remember the Oompa Loompas?  The river of chocolate?  And who could forget the flying glass elevator? People of all ages love this story.

 

lightning thiefThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan

I love the Percy Jackson books and you will understand why they are so popular.  Percy Jackson discovers that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon, which makes him a demigod.  He learns that he is not the only one that has a Greek god or goddess for a parent when he goes to Camp Half-Blood.  But a prophecy foretold that a child of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hades would decide the fate of Olympus.  And now somehow has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt and everyone suspects Percy.  A great series full of adventure that is interesting for the whole family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

audie awardsThe Audie Awards recognizes distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA). 2016 is the 21st year of annual Audies Awards. The awards were announced in May 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

The following audiobooks are available at the Rivershare libraries for checkout.

 

 

Audiobook of the Year: Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Best Male Narrator:  The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Fiction: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Humor: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Inspirational: To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

Literary Fiction & Classics: Little Big Man by Thomas Berger

Multi-Voice Performance: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

Mystery: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Narration by Author: Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

Nonfiction: Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

Original Work: The Starling Project by Jeffrey Deaver

Romance: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne

Thriller/Suspense: The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

 

I love Robert B. Parker’s mysteries. I’m a big fan of both Spencer, his Boston boxer-detective, and Jesse Stone, his laconic small town police chief.

So when Mr. Parker passed away in 2010, I mourned not only one of my favorite authors, but Spencer and Jesse (and Hawk and Sally and Suitcase and Vinnie Morris, and . . .) as well.

And when I learned that Mr. Parker’s family had made to decision to allow other authors to continue these series, I had mixed feelings about it. On one hand: more Spencer and Jesse (and Hawk and Sally and Suitcase and Vinnie Morris, and . . .)! On the other: who could possibly write Robert B Parker’s characters as well as Mr. Parker himself?

Parker Lullaby AtkinsIn my opinion, Ace Atkins can. He picked up Spencer in Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby and ran with him through four more books, all of which have the snappy dialogue, moral quagmires, and occasional brute force that a reader could hope for. The style may not be identical, but it doesn’t have to be—Mr. Atkin’s isn’t ghostwriting for Robert B. Parker, he’s honoring him.

Fool Me Twice BrandmanI wish I could say I liked the Jesse Stone books as much, or at least the first one I’ve tried. Unlike the Spencer series, each of these new mysteries was written by a different author—I don’t know whether that was the publisher’s idea or the authors declined to pick up the series in favor of their own characters, or if the publisher hasn’t found the right fit yet.

Part of my troubles with Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice, by Michael Brandman, might be because I listened to the audiobook first. No matter how talented a voice actor is (and James Naughton is very talented), if the reading doesn’t match how my beloved characters sound in my mind’s ear—and I’ve had years to fix these voices the way I want them—I have trouble getting past how things are said to pay enough attention to what things are being said.

This isn’t a fair assessment of Mr. Brandman’s writing, so I tried it in print . . . and still didn’t care for it.

I know that these books aren’t going to be perfect—every writer will bring a different style to the same story, even Ace Atkins. But while I think the styles of Mr. Atkins and Mr. Parker mesh well, the style that Mr. Brandman brings is too far off what I expect from a Jess Stone novel. The dialogue is excellent, but there’s too much omniscient narration and parts of it—particularly the sections that aren’t from Jesse’s point of view—read more like background notes than a story. The bare bones of the plot are intriguing . . . but that’s what the whole book seems like to me: bare bones.

Or maybe I just miss Mr. Parker too much to enjoy Jesse Stone’s adventures without him.

Will I give a different author’s Jesse book a try? Sure.

But this time, I’ll read it in print first.

Do you think a book series should outlive its author?

Do you enjoy the post-Parker Spencer or Jesse Stone novels?

Can you recommend a post-Parker Jesse Stone novel you really enjoyed?

Did you love Fool Me Twice?  Please let me know why in the comments—I’m willing to be convinced!

juneaudioSo June is National Audiobook Month. What does that mean for you?

Audiobook month is an attempt to increase the amount of book listeners. It is also an attempt to create awareness of audiobooks.  While some people cannot live without their audiobooks, other people have never listened to one.

I admit that I was skeptical of audiobooks.  I enjoy reading so why would I want to listen to someone read a book to me?  But seven years ago, I was going on a long car trip.  The thought of all those hours in the car doing nothing but listening to the same music over and over again was not appealing.  So I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audio.  I had heard that the narrator, Jim Dale, was phenomenal.  And he is.  Jim Dale was won a Grammy award, five Grammy nominations and he has won seven Audie awards.

The hours in the car flew by.  I loved listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I was a little disappointed when I reached my destination because I did not want to stop the book!  I have been hooked by audiobooks ever since.  I listen to audiobooks in the car all the time.  I often sit in my car in the garage listening to my book until I reach a good stopping point.

I admit that not every audiobook is phenomenal.  Some are just okay and others are unbearable.  Don’t be discouraged by a bad narrator!  Just because one narrator was bad does not mean that you should give up on audiobooks.  I recommend that people check out an extra audiobook just in case they do not like their first pick.

Davenport Public Library owns several audiobooks.  Most of your favorite books have been made into audiobooks.  So next time you go on a road trip, stop by the library and pick up a few audiobooks!

If you have not listened to an audiobook before, I strongly encourage you to try it. It is amazing how many books you can listen to during your daily commute.  The Davenport Public Library owns a variety of audiobooks! Whether you like myseries or fantasy or thrillers or any other genre, the library will have something for you.  If you are new to listening to audiobooks, I recommend listening to biographies and memoirs. Most celebrities will read their own memoirs for the audiobook and they are highly entertaining.

The following audiobooks are biographies and memoirs that will be new to the Davenport Public Library in May:

i must sayI Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short-Comedian Martin Short, best known for his roles on Saturday Night Live, Three Amigos and Father of the Bride recounts his often funny and sometimes tragic life.  Short reveals the stories behind some of his most famous SNL characters as well as shares the spotlight with his friends and costars, such as Steve Martin and Tom Hanks. But not all of Martin Short’s life has been funny. He talks about losing his brother and parents before the age of twenty and as well as losing his wife of thirty years to cancer all with his upbeat personality.

hooeyA Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk – You probably know Bob Odenkirk from the television show, Breaking Bad and its spin-off, Better Call Saul.  But before Odenkirk starred in these shows, he was an Emmy award winning comedy writer on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Odenkirk’s debut is a collection of funny short stories, resembling a hilarious sketch show.  If you enjoy laughing and like comedy sketch show, then this audiobook is sure to please.

 

eleanorAutobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt – An insightful look at one of our country’s best known women, Eleanor Roosevelt.  Niece to President Theodore Roosevelt, and wife to Franklin Roosevelt, she witnessed life during the Gilded Age through the Great Depression up to the Cold War.  Eleanor was a champion for those less fortunate and used her influence as First Lady to help those in need. Often called inspiring and controversial, she continued to work for the downtrodden throughout her lifetime. Written in her own words, Eleanor Roosevelt comes alive telling her story of her life, living with her husband, her life as First Lady and years of work abroad.

Special DeluxeSpecial Deluxe: a Memoir of Life and Cars by Neil Young – In this memoir, Neil Young recounts his childhood in Canada and his family. He also discusses his living like a rockstar and his passion for cars. Young talks about his life with his collection of vintage cars. He has also been devoted to clean energy and converting his collection so that it does not have a negative impact on the environment. Witty and candid, this memoir will please fans.

brooke shieldsThere Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields – Brooke Shields began modeling at the tender age of eleven months. Her mother Teri manager her career but in private, Teri was troubled and drank heavily.  Brooke describes her changing relationship with her mother over the years, including how Brooke was a mother to her own children. Teri passed away in 2012 with Brooke by her side.

 

It Was Me Allit was me all along Along: a Memoir by Andie Mitchell – Many people comfort themselves by eating and Andie Mitchell was no exception. But when she weighed herself at the age of twenty, she was shocked to see that she weighed 258 pounds. Knowing that she needed to make some changes, Andie leaves Boston and heads to Rome. She trades pre-packaged pastries for handmade pasta and loses half of her weight. Andie discovers that balance and learns to find beauty and acceptance in herself.

 

closeResilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness by Jessie Close – Sister of actress Glenn Close, Jessie Close recounts her struggles with living with bipolar disorder. After five failed marriages and living on the brink of suicide, she struggled with symptoms for decades until Jessie was finally diagnosed in her fifties.  Included are vignettes from Glenn Close that offer an alternative perspective. Just in time for Mental Health Month, Resilience describes what it is like to live with a mental illness.

TaxiI’ve been driving the Mom Taxi at least twice a day for the past ten years and getting my fares—I mean, kids—into the car on time has been something of a struggle, especially on school mornings.

But one day, I forgot to stop the audiobook I’d been playing on my way to pick them up and we listened to it on the way home. The next morning, both kids were up and ready as quickly as I could have wished, asking if I was going to let them listen to more.

How could I say no?

I did say no to portions of it; I’d checked out Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie, which is fantastically funny and has a manic-depressive beagle in it, but is still an adult romance.  I occasional had to lunge at the fast-forward button in the effort to avoid questions  for which I wanted more preparation time (say, ten to twelve years) to answer.

The kids still enjoyed it—partly because of the lunging, I suspect—and after the book was done, they asked if I could get another audiobook.

This time, tired of fast-forwarding (and rewinding after I’d dropped them off), I headed for the children’s section. All the branches of the Davenport Public library have audiobooks that appeal to my second-grader and others that appeal to my pre-teen.

It was trickier to find ones that would appeal to all of us.

Knights Tales Collection - MorrisEnter The Knights‘ Tales collection, written by Gerald Morris and read by award-winning voice artist Steve West.

The four tales included on the five CDs are about the adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great (“He’s sooooo handsome!”), Sir Givret the Short (and his friend, Sir Eric the Not Too Bright), Sir Gawain the True (and his frenemy, the Green Knight), and Sir Balin the Ill-fated (whose mother just wants him to marry a “nice Nothern girl.”).

The main characters spend a lot of time getting into impossible situations that are unraveled by a piece of astoundingly simple logic. They’re funny and clever and twisty and very well-written.

Mr. Morris doesn’t talk down to his target audience (3rd to 6th grade) and his plots and intelligent, witty style won’t bore adults.   Mr. West uses an assortment of voices and accents that make even the minor characters—like the herald Harold, the argumentative Lady Elaine, and the Old Woman of Some Nonspecific Mountain—come to life.

These stories ensure that my kids are eager to get up and get going for the next installment—even on Mondays—and that our morning commutes are full of intent listening, predictions about what might happen next, and a lot of laughter.

For this Taxi Mom, that almost makes up for the dismal lack of tips.

Almost.

 

deathofceasarBeware the Ides of March.  Do you know what this famous phrase means?

If you are a fan of William Shakespeare you will know that this phrase is from the play, Julius Caesar.  The soothsayer warns Julius Caesar that he will die on March 15.  While the phrase sounds ominous to us, it would not have sounded strange to Julius Caesar.  The Romans had different names for different days of the month.  If Caesar had received this warning, he would have just thought, “March 15h might be a bad day.”

The assassination of Julius Caesar is arguably the most famous assassination in world history.  On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was murdered at the Theatre of Pompey.  The members of the Senate plotted to murder Caesar.  They surrounded him and stabbed Caesar to death.

But there is more to the story.  Author Barry Strauss just released his new book, The Death of Caesar: the Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination.  This new audiobook promises to shed new light on one of the most famous days in history.  Strauss details the key players and events that led to the assassination of Julius Caesar and he reveals a person that few people know about.  Decimus, one of Caesar’s generals and a lifelong friend, was a mole.  His betrayal was worse than the betrayal of Brutus.

The Davenport Public Library has a lot of information on Julius Caesar as well as William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.  If you would like to learn more, talk to one of our reference librarians today.

 

book headphonesDid you make a New Year’s Resolution to read more books? Are you already struggling to find time to read to a book?  If so, you might want to try audiobooks.

Many Davenport library users have made comments about how they can listen to audiobooks while doing other things.  Some people listen to them in the car while others say they listen to audiobooks while cleaning the house.

The Davenport Public Library offers different audiobook options. You can come to the library and check out CD or MP3 audiobooks. The library also offers Playaways. Playaways are devices that have an audiobook already recorded on it. All you have to do is plug in your headphones and listen! They are small enough that you can put them in your pocket.

If you don’t have time to come to the library, you can download audiobooks from home. One Click Digital is an online resource that offers eAudiobooks to download. RiverShare Digital Library offers both eAudiobooks and eBooks to download.

To learn more about downloading audiobooks, visit the e-Books & More section of our website.

 

 

Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s co-authored epistolary novel has a very long title: Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: being the correspondence of two young ladies of quality regarding various magical scandals in London and the country. Please don’t judge it by this wordy title or by its tragically hideous cover. It’s great!

It’s Regency England, magic is real, and cousins Cecelia (Cecy) and Kate correspond over the course of a summer, unraveling alone and together the mystery surrounding the titular enchanted chocolate pot and the “Mysterious Marquis.” The action is very exciting, the letters brisk and forthcoming, the characters sympathetic, the romance delightful, the magic subtle and delectably menacing. It’s a delight – the only complaint I can offer to temper my enthusiasm is that Cecy and Kate are virtually indistinguishable. I cannot recall a single difference between them, whether in temperament, opinion, age, physical appearance, or letter-writing style. The only difference between them is that Kate is in London and Cecy in the country; or did I switch that around? I’ll have to look back at the letters to check.

By sheer good luck, my reading of this novel overlapped with my listening to the also epistolary, also long-titled, also co-authored, and also excellent The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This was an enormous hit with book clubs a couple of years ago, but if you missed out on it then, treat your ears to this audiobook right away! It has become my standard audio fiction recommendation, even surpassing At Home and Twenties Girl. Juliet Ashton corresponds with and befriends the people of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel which was occupied for 5 years by the Germans during World War II. Each character’s letters are read by a different voice actor, and the result is entirely winning. It’s a lovely book read by lovely people, and it’s about resilience and friendship and bravery and the love of books. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

If you adore Harry Potter, do yourself a favor and check out Harry Potter: Page to Screen, the Complete Filmmaking Journey. It’s a big, heavy, hardcover behemoth absolutely stuffed with photographs and text from all 8 Harry Potter films. Interviews with the cast and crew give insider information, and viewpoints from the set designers, costume designers, directors and actors show how meticulously the details of these movies were planned. From the small things – Hermione doesn’t wear red or green, as “those are Ron colors,” the story behind Harry’s blue eyes (a controversial change from the books’ oft-referenced bottle green), and the talon design of Bellatrix’s wand – to the big things: hours of makeup for dozens of actors cast as goblins; the complex design of the set for Snape’s final scene; the massive miniatures built to stand in for Hogwarts castle, and the equally massive undertaking of covering those miniatures with “snow” for the winter scenes (and then meticulously brushing and cleaning that “snow” away before the salt it was made of could corrode the material beneath).

Whether you’re into the boy wizard or just into movie magic, you’ll adore this book. It inspired me to re-read the novels and re-watch the movies, which of course launched a relapse of full-on Potter mania at my house! These are some of the other library items I’ve been checking out: