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Jess' Top Picks of 2012

An impressive debut, swoon-worthy Colin Firth, and top notch nonfiction

My fondness for celebrity memoirs is no secret around the office, but Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef surpassed all my expectations (which, may I note, were quite high to begin with) and completely knocked my socks – or rather earbuds – off. Within the first twenty minutes I had chills down my arms and tears in my eyes, and I knew this was one special book. What surprised me though – and what made this my #1 listen of 2012 – is that all of the nearly twelve hours held my attention as closely as those first twenty minutes, and I was completely emotionally invested the whole way through. This book and the four others listed below - Colin Firth narrating Graham Greene's classic The End of the Affair, Adam McOmber's subtly dark and otherworldly debut The White Forest, THE definitive book on 'The Boss' by biographer Peter Carlin, and a father's story of his non-verbal daughter finding her voice - all have the same thread in common, whether fiction or nonfiction: they all deeply enriched my life, and are what I consider the best of the best listens of 2012. --Jess, Audible Editor

Back to Best of 2012

  • Yes, Chef: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Narrated By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.

    loix says: "A fun and inspiring civics lesson"
  • The End of the Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Colin Firth

    Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth ( The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.

    Doug - Audible says: "Late to the Party..."
  • The White Forest

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Adam McOmber
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret - an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects - and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite.

    MissSusie66 says: "Forgettable book great narration"
  • Bruce

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Peter A. Carlin
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen features in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends, and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans haven’t before seen him - the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.

    Patrick King says: "For the most part, this is what I was hoping for"
  • Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Arthur Fleischmann, Carly Fleischmann
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at age 10, Carly had a breakthrough....

    Yolanda says: "A peek inside..."