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  • Tenth of December

  • Stories
  • By: George Saunders
  • Narrated by: George Saunders
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,228
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,105
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,111

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Be prepared for something different...but good!

  • By Mr. D on 02-21-14

Simply Remarkable.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

George Saunders' short stories are beautiful, yet frightening; hilarious, yet unsettling. And I think that's because, while his plots may involve the bizarre – human lawn ornaments, love-inducing pharmaceuticals, thwarted abductions – his characters and their moral dilemmas seem so real. It's the honesty he gives to their humanity and the possibility of redemption that make the stories seem instructive, sacred. And with Saunders narrating, there's a closeness to the material that resonates when listening. You get the sense that you're hearing the characters as the author heard them in his head, whether it's the voice of a baby deer or a manager giving the worst pep talk via memo. Saunders is a natural storyteller – giving characters distinct voices and believable pacing. But it's his simple telling that makes these stories so special.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Zero K

  • By: Don DeLillo
  • Narrated by: Thomas Sadoski
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 343
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 306
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 305

Jeffrey Lockhart's father, Ross, is a billionaire in his 60s with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to lives of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say "an uncertain farewell" to her as she surrenders her body.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Frightening. Redemptive. Brilliant.

  • By Doug - Audible on 07-05-17

Frightening. Redemptive. Brilliant.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

To say that I am a DeLillo fan would be an understatement. For me, he’s one of the few novelists whose books consistently act as lightning rods for those big, revelatory, a-ha moments where I’m reminded of the myriad intricacies of human life; of what it means to be alive – right here, right now – and that, despite the endless chaos surrounding us, perhaps there’s something redeeming about the human spirit. At the very least, he pulls things out of the periphery – things we don’t want to see or deal with – and brings them to the forefront. And something about that feels redemptive; it makes me feel less alone. This is all to say: upon finishing a DeLillo book, I expect to feel changed. With Zero K, he doesn’t disappoint. This isn’t a book for the faint-hearted or for lovers of plot-driven stories (with DeLillo, this is often the case). Instead, for a relatively short book, DeLillo poses big questions regarding mortality and identity, technology and religion, and the result is rather frightening, though brilliant, all the same. Parts of this book straight up terrified me – the structure, the language, the dialogue becoming dreamlike; a kind of funhouse existentialism. Again, it’s not for everyone. But if you’re looking for a necessary and important book from a necessary and important author, look no further.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Priestdaddy

  • A Memoir
  • By: Patricia Lockwood
  • Narrated by: Patricia Lockwood
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 435
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 398
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 398

Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met - a man who lounges in boxer shorts, who loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates "like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972". His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the church's country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents' rectory, their two worlds collide.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Holy Smutty Metaphors!

  • By Mel on 05-18-17

An Original Voice. An Original Thinker.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

I want to be careful about the way in which I write about this book. Not because the subject matter is scandalous (it's not), but because, like all beautifully complex things, it'd be easy to mislabel or to put Lockwood's memoir in a box; to diminish its magnificence and, ultimately, the spell it cast over me. It deserves more than that. So, I'll say this: great writers are often lauded for having an original voice. Well, Lockwood has that and then some (including an amazing and amazingly absurd sense of humor). More importantly, she's an original thinker whose devotion to language and words and poetry - her primary trade - can be felt in every line, every turn of phrase, and every bit of confounding imagery that seems to reveal some hidden, intangible truth that normally exists just outside of fingertips' reach.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • I Can't Make This Up

  • Life Lessons
  • By: Neil Strauss - contributor, Kevin Hart
  • Narrated by: Kevin Hart
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,570
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30,686
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,527

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Audiobook I Ever Listened To

  • By Sam Clear on 07-13-17

A Truly Authentic Kevin Hart Performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

It's not hard to imagine Kevin Hart standing in front of thousands in a packed arena or stadium, mining his incredible life for stories outrageous, fantastical, and altogether side-splitting. That's his day job. It's a lot harder to imagine being an audience of one to his boundless, larger-than-life personality; of what it would be like to have the world's greatest comedian step offstage and - with the same hilarious intensity and one-of-a-kind observations - tell his story directly to you. But this is precisely the experience one has while listening to I Can’t Make This Up. In audio, Kevin’s singular delivery and comic timing are on full display and fans are treated to ad-libbed content, brilliant asides, and hilarious tangents not on the page. The result is a truly authentic Kevin Hart performance: surprisingly heartfelt, incredibly inspirational, and always funny.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Preparation for the Next Life

  • By: Atticus Lish
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 421
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 376
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 377

Zou Lei, orphan of the desert, migrates to work in America and finds herself slaving in New York's kitchens. She falls in love with a young man whose heart has been broken in another desert. A new life may be possible if together they can survive homelessness, lockup, and the young man's nightmares, which may be more prophecy than madness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and Heartbreaking

  • By C. Farrell on 04-22-15

Vivid. Distinct. Beautiful.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

A finalist for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Atticus Lish's Preparation for the Next Life is not only striking in its tightly crafted, yet incredibly detailed prose, but in its heart-breaking portrayal of people both physically and emotionally displaced. To say I fell for this book, an unlikely love story between an undocumented Chinese Muslim immigrant and a recently returned Iraq War veteran, would be an understatement. This book carried me away like no other book this year. The characters are so vivid; their physicality and voices so distinct, I couldn't help sharing in their lostness. Beautifully narrated with heartfelt sincerity by Robertson Dean, this book demands your attention and deserves it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,950
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,664
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,645

A natural storyteller and raconteur in his own right - just listen to Paddle Your Own Canoe and Gumption - actor, comedian, carpenter, and all-around manly man Nick Offerman ( Parks and Recreation) brings his distinctive baritone and a fine-tuned comic versatility to Twain's writing. In a knockout performance, he doesn't so much as read Twain's words as he does rejoice in them, delighting in the hijinks of Tom - whom he lovingly refers to as a "great scam artist" and "true American hero".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fall in Love All Over Again

  • By Doug - Audible on 07-05-17

Fall in Love All Over Again

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best things I have ever listened to. Nor would it be dishonest to say that this recording made me fall in love with Twain's classic ode to adolescence all over again. But perhaps the strangest thing, as I keep telling all my friends, is that I completely forgot how truly, laugh-out-loud funny this book is. I have the narration to thank for that reminder. Park and Recreation's Nick Offerman is known for playing the quintessential gruff male, but he thoroughly astonishes here, bending his baritone effortlessly to give Twain's characters life. My favorites: the uptight, exhaustive wailing of Aunt Polly; the cracked pleading of drunkard Muff Potter; and, of course, the winking, boyish charm of Tom himself, which Offerman gracefully transforms into tenderness during moments of adolescent melancholy. Which is to say, you can hear Offerman enjoying the reading and loving its characters.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Spill Simmer Falter Wither

  • By: Sara Baume
  • Narrated by: John Keating
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,130
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,031
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,037

A debut novel already praised as "unbearably poignant and beautifully told" (Eimear McBride), this captivating story follows - over the course of four seasons - a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog. It is springtime, and two outcasts - a man ignored, even shunned by his village, and the one-eyed dog he takes into his quiet, tightly shuttered life - find each other, by accident or fate, and forge an unlikely connection. As their friendship grows, their small seaside town suddenly takes note of them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply Beautiful

  • By Sara on 03-14-16

A Stand-Out Debut

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

Full disclosure: I recently adopted a dog, so there were parts in this book that were especially powerful and strangely transcendent, mirroring emotions and deftly putting into words things I now find myself experiencing again and again. But this story, at its surface a bonding between two damaged outcasts - one man, one dog - became much more to me. Sara Baume, in a stand-out debut, injects lyricism and poetry into every sentence, revealing moments of profound sadness as well as the magic of two lost souls finding one another. I won't say it's for everyone. But it's an extraordinary listen for fans of introspective, character studies. It’s a cloudy, Sunday morning, wrap-me-up-in-words kind of story. And for me, it was a beautiful reminder to be kind.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Sellout

  • A Novel
  • By: Paul Beatty
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,783
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,583
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,576

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality: the black Chinese restaurant.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Just OK - a few funny sections

  • By kurdis teed on 10-19-17

A Feat of Satiric Endurance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

I'm kicking myself for waiting as long as I did before listening to this one. Beatty's novel earned him the distinction of being the first US writer to win the Man Booker Prize, drew as many comparisons to Pryor and Chappelle as Vonnegut and Twain in its brazen honesty and laugh-out-loud dissection of contemporary American society, and made plenty "Best of" lists last year. But it was hearing narrator Prentice Onayemi that finally convinced me to start Beatty's comic send-up of race and identity in America. Onayemi captures the manic, unceasing energy of Beatty's writing and performs a feat of satiric endurance, moving between characters with the vocal dexterity of a comedian and impressionist rolled in to one. And just as Beatty plays with social taboos and preconceived notions, you can hear Onayemi playing around similarly with his characterizations and, in turn, playing with the listener's expectations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • At the Existentialist Café

  • Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
  • By: Sarah Bakewell
  • Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
  • Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 604
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 543

Paris, 1933: Three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called phenomenology. "You see," he says, "if you are a phenomenologist, you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!"

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Who knew existentialism could be fun

  • By Jet Jackson on 08-03-16

Easy-to-follow and Intellectually Rewarding

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

My senior year of high school, I chose to take a class in philosophy and spent the better part of the semester regretting it. When I wasn't slamming my head against the desk, I was hiding under it, fearing my scraggly-bearded teacher would ask me what in the hell a piece of text meant. How I wish I had Sarah Bakewell's book back then. A hugely informative and amazingly clear look at the oftentimes dense concepts contained within the existentialist movement, the beauty of At the Existentialist Café is that it never feels like a cold, purely academic, examination of ideas. Instead, Bakewell situates existentialism amidst the biographies of its progenitors (Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger) and their place in history to construct a narrative that's easy-to-follow and intellectually rewarding.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Words on the Move

  • Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)
  • By: John McWhorter
  • Narrated by: John McWhorter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 853

Words on the Move opens our eyes to the surprising backstories to the words and expressions we use every day. Did you know that silly once meant "blessed"? Or that ought was the original past tense of owe? Or that the suffix -ly in adverbs is actually a remnant of the word like? And have you ever wondered why some people from New Orleans sound as if they come from Brooklyn?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Literally A Great Listen

  • By sgonk on 10-02-16

Eye-opening and Necessary

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-17

For me, listening to John McWhorter talk about language produces a sensation similar to the one felt upon learning a magician’s trick: the instantaneous dopamine rush of understanding, followed by an ever-subtle shift in how you perceive that which is around you. Only, with McWhorter, these aren’t mere tricks, but revelatory insights into why we say the things we do; his thoughtful examinations somehow magnifying the magic within our language. McWhorter’s argument – that we should embrace, not condemn, the ever-changing nature of the English language – may be tough for those who wince at every declaration of LOL and misuse of literally, but it is nevertheless eye-opening and necessary. Not to mention hilariously executed. And especially so in audio, where McWhorter can let loose and deliver like the linguistics professor you’ve always wanted; skillfully reciting bits of Beowulf before imitating the forever questioning, up-talk cadence of teens. This one’s meant to be heard.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful