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Every year, the National Book Critics Circle presents awards for the finest books published in English.
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  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ben Fountain
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (310)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (276)

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal" - three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew - has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys....

    Melinda says: "Oh-ooo Say, Can We See?"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2012
  • Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Andrew Solomon
    • Narrated By Andrew Solomon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (366)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (306)

    A brilliant and utterly original thinker, Andrew Solomon's journey began from his experience of being the gay child of straight parents. He wondered how other families accommodate children who have a variety of differences: families of people who are deaf, who are dwarfs, who have Down syndrome, who have autism, who have schizophrenia, who have multiple severe disabilities, who are prodigies, who commit crimes, who are transgender.

    C. Beaton says: "A Gripping Masterpiece"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction, 2012
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (747)
    Performance
    (612)
    Story
    (606)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Biography, 2012
  • The Memory Palace

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mira Bartok
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    When piano prodigy Norma Herr was healthy, she was the most vibrant personality in the room. But as her schizophrenic episodes became more frequent and more dangerous, she withdrew into a world that neither of her daughters could make any sense of. After being violently attacked for demanding that Norma seek help, Mira Bartok and her sister changed their names and cut off all contact in order to keep themselves safe.

    Lady says: "A little less than expected"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 2011
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jennifer Egan
    • Narrated By Roxana Ortega
    Overall
    (1215)
    Performance
    (805)
    Story
    (810)

    Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively listenable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.

    Laurene says: "Excellent, subtle, moving"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2010
  • How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sarah Bakewell
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (56)

    This question obsessed Renaissance writers, none more than Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, perhaps the first recognizably modern individual. A nobleman, public official, and winegrower, he wrote free-roaming explorations of his thought and experience, unlike anything written before. He called them essays, meaning “attempts” or “tries.” He put whatever was in his head into them: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog’s ears twitched when it was dreaming, as well as the religious wars....

    Darwin8u says: "Interesting and in parts Inspired."
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Biography, 2010
  • Half a Life: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Darin Strauss
    • Narrated By Darin Strauss
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (26)

    Acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life. In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad's Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision resulted in her death. With piercing insight and stark prose, Darin Strauss leads us on a deeply personal, immediate, and emotional journey.

    Philippa says: "Penance Finally And Thankfully Meets With Peace"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 2010
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated By Robin Miles, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (869)
    Performance
    (690)
    Story
    (691)

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to previously untapped data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

    Lila says: "Superior non-fiction"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction, 2010
  • Cheever: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Blake Bailey
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (16)

    John Cheever was a soul in conflict, a high-school dropout who published his first story at 18, a dire alcoholic who recovered to write the great novel Falconer, a secret bisexual who struggled with his longings and his fierce homophobia, whose groundbreaking work landed him on the covers of Time and Newsweek, a man who believed in the power of family love and sexual pleasure, a man whose desperate loneliness was never wholly offset by his faith in the joy of creation.

    susan says: "What feast for Cheever enthusiasts!"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Biography, 2009
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1898)
    Performance
    (1174)
    Story
    (1180)

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    S. Marie says: "A unique perspective of history"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2009
  • The Forever War

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Dexter Filkins
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    Through the eyes of Dexter Filkins, we witness the chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continued with the attacks of 9/11, and moved on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Forever War allows us a visceral understanding of today's battlefields and of the experiences of the people on the ground, warriors and innocents alike. It is a brilliant, fearless work, not just about America's wars after 9/11, but ultimately about the nature of war itself.

    Terry says: "A memorable "read""
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction 2008
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Junot Diaz
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2174)
    Performance
    (906)
    Story
    (914)

    Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku: the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

    Kathleen says: "Fabulous listen"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2007
  • Brother, I'm Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Edwidge Danticat
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (48)

    Award-winning, best-selling author Edwidge Danticat taps her exceptional storytelling gifts for this memoir of the two men who raised her. When the author was only four years old, her parents emigrated from Haiti to New York in search of a better life, leaving their daughter in the care of her uncle Joseph. A peaceful pastor in Port-au-Prince, Joseph raised Edwidge with the love and devotion of a father, despite facing many hardships in politically turbulent Haiti.

    Chandra says: "A Superb Reflection"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Autobiography, 2007
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alex Ross
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (82)

    The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.

    Paula says: "Learned so much!"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Criticism, 2007
  • The Inheritance of Loss

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kiran Desai
    • Narrated By Meera Simhan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (348)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (109)

    In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge. He only wants to retire in peace, but then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, who is hop-scotching from one New York restaurant job to another. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.

    Bob says: "Gorgeous prose but grim"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2006
  • Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Simon Schama
    • Narrated By Simon Schama
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    With powerfully vivid storytelling, often in the voices of the slaves themselves and the white abolitionists who became their emancipators and protectors, Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, into inhospitable Nova Scotia, where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed and, in a little-known hegira of the slave epic, sent across the broad, stormy ocean to Sierra Leone.

    A User says: "Outstanding book"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, General Nonfiction 2006
  • The March: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By E.L. Doctorow
    • Narrated By Joe Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (109)

    Almost hypnotic in its narrative drive, The March stunningly renders the countless lives swept up in the violence of a country at war with itself. The great march in E.L. Doctorow's hands becomes something more, a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with awesome relevance to our own times.

    Jim E says: "Uncivil War"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2005
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (854)
    Performance
    (467)
    Story
    (476)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Biography, 2005
  • Gilead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Tim Jerome
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (611)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (141)

    In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

    Jim says: "The wonder of retrospect"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2004
  • The Known World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Edward P. Jones
    • Narrated By Kevin Free
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (88)

    Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

    Rachel says: "wonderful and highly recommended"
    National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Fiction, 2003
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