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Publisher's Summary

50 States is a debut collection of short stories that captures the human condition and reveals how perception shapes destiny. The audiobook spans several literary genres with each short story set in a different state across America.

An Idaho farmer who aches for absolution after a tragedy is given one more chance at redemption. Two runaways cross paths in a Tennessee bus station with only one ticket between them. A family sees looters racing toward their home as they escape an Oregon wildfire. A young couple takes a reckless turn off a state highway in Utah and find themselves in a nightmarish government biohazard area.

These and 46 more shorts make up an anthology that will surprise listeners with each new thought-provoking story as they skip effortlessly across different genres, moods, and states of mind. Together, they provide a character-driven sampling of the American experience over the last 60 years - the kind and the cruel, the heroic and criminal - in unpredictable and exciting ways.

©2021 Richard R. Becker (P)2022 Richard R. Becker

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Awesome collection of short stories

50 States is a beautiful audiobook comprised of a 50 award-winning and best-selling collection of no less, no more than 50 fiction short stories written with talent by respected journalist and writer Richard R. Becker.

What began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks was later released as a collection and now audiobooks listeners across the world can be thrilled and entertained by them.

Although each story is quite short, I was immediately intrigued by the characters that feel alive and by how the author shares with us each individual tale. The writing is gripping, the characters are regular people from all walks of life forced to survive with the hand that destiny dealt them, the action is fast and entertaining, and the atmosphere is immersive.

Once I started listening, it was almost impossible for me to stop because these short adventures are very addictive. I found myself wanting to see what new situations, scenarios, and characters this excellent author throws at me.

Emmy-winning TV host, producer, and narrator Brian Callanan is the perfect choice for the 50 States audiobook. Brian has a clear talent for storytelling and it was a blast to listen to him switching with ease end seamlessly between characters.

He is very good with voices and I don’t know how, but he managed to make each of these stories sound different. Brian is like a chameleon – but with his voice instead of the colors. Now he is a scared woman, now a little girl, or a boy, or some teenager. It’s absolutely incredible how many different characters he can bring to life and make them feel unique.

The Audio production for 50 States is split into different chapters, one for each story, complete with the name, so it is very easy to move from one to another.

The simple fact that this collection is already best-selling and award-winning should be enough for you to give it a try, but thanks to the superb performance delivered by Brian, the listening experience is enriched and elevated to an entirely new level of immersion.

I hope to see more such collections or even a full novel from Richard R. Becker because I really like his writing style and these morsels of good literature.
I hope that you found this review interesting and will consider leaving a helpful vote below. Thank you! Take care, stay safe, and don't forget, always listen with your heart.

5 people found this helpful

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A Poignant Collection

This is an impressive collection of short stories from the fifty states that focus on how our actions, beliefs, and perception dictate our destiny. Each story explores faith, morals, fear, grief, and more. The first story captured me right off. “Broken People” looks at an Idaho farmer who accidentally killed his son with some farming equipment. The farmer’s struggle and eventual loss of everything that mattered devastated him. Until one night, redemption arrived in the form of a woman seeking help for people injured in an accident involving multiple cars. “The Lake House” where a mother advises her son that a marriage is like old furniture – you spend time working with it, giving it attention and if it becomes damaged you can either take it one step at a time and repair it or you can replace it.

The author, Richard R. Becker, did an amazing job of compiling a collection of stories that are poignant in their own way. Normally I am not a fan of short stories, to me, they don’t go deep enough. However, Becker proved me wrong. Each story ranges from 20 seconds to 18 minutes in length. No matter how short or long, Becker captures some unique piece of emotion or poignant thought that lingers long after the next story arrives. Each story was well-written and thought-provoking.

The narrator, Brian Callanan gives a solid performance. His use of unique voices throughout the story makes the listening pleasure even greater. He spoke smoothly and soothingly. I found his performance added to the uniqueness of this collection. His expertise and performance added to the inspiring stories.

This collection of stories reminded me of the times when I would sit in the living room surrounded by my elderly relatives who shared story after story. While they seemed random, they were in fact connected and were personal. I would listen to them in awe amazed at some of their experiences and actions. As an older adult, I have an even greater appreciation for stories such as these. They are a reminder that we are human, and our actions all have consequences – some good, others bad.

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook. It was clear and crisp.

Disclaimer: This Audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.

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What A Collection

4.25 out of 5 stars

Going into this I wasn’t sure how a collection of short stories was going to feel like a cohesive book. I can honestly say after finishing it – I have no idea how Becker pulled it off. In the beginning, I was like “oh it’s going to just be like this” but I was quickly shocked into understanding the “madness” (It’s the good kind of mad) that Becker used to make this story fly.

I like books on the human condition and ones that show off regions I’m not from or that familiar with. I’ve been diving into more books that are in the bayou area lately because it’s just a place that I’ve never been to and something I want to know more about. This book was a collection of a bunch of stories just like that. Each one was interesting and some of them made me go “wtf!?”.

I LOVE bite-sized stories. Novellas are some of my favorite kinds of stories because to be able to put an entire story into such a short form is a real talent. I couldn’t believe the amount of feeling that Becker was able to get out of me as I was reading through this collection of stories. They were so interesting or intriguing that I would end up reading whole swaths of the book at a time instead of digesting each story bit by bit.

Add in the narration by Brian Callanan, who voices a post-apocalyptic book I really enjoyed (Rebel Blaze) and you’ve got a collection of stories that jump right off of the page. This book had to have been a challenge because there were so many different characters – each one of them unique and had to be voiced a little differently. I was impressed at how it didn’t feel repetitive or boring with Callanan performing it.