From the publisher: "Rilke's powerfully touching letters to an aspiring young poet, audio read by Dan Stevens. At the start of the 20th century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, sex, suffering, and the nature of advice itself. These profound and lyrical letters have since become hugely influential for generations of writers and artists of all kinds, including Lady Gaga and Patti Smith. With honesty, elegance, and a deep understanding of the loneliness that often comes with being an artist, Rilke's letters are an endless source of inspiration and comfort."
- by Nora Ephron
Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. The creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter. Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. Audie Award Finalist.
Narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda: A story of unlikely friendship between two Mexican-American teenage boys. Ari and Dante are both loners when they meet at a swimming pool and Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim. From there, a tentative friendship begins.
Welcome to an “unhappy tale about three very unlucky children.” The Baudelaire children receive terrible news and it only gets worse from there. This series is much loved by children everywhere. This audiobook, narrated by Tim Curry with a full cast, is fantastic.
Eighteen months after becoming sober, Knapp adopted a puppy from a shelter and thus altered the course of her life. Knapp explores the relationship between humans and animals, specifically the bond we can form with them, making for a rich, emotionally complex read. Audio narration by Hilary Swank.
It was supposed to be the perfect crime. But an avalanche stops the Orient Express in its tracks just before a passenger is found murdered in his berth, foiling the perpetrator's getaway, and trapping 13 potential suspects—each with an airtight alibi—in the train car with Inspector Hercule Poirot. If you've seen the movie, take note: Branagh changes Christie's ending. Hot tip: Dan Stevens's audio narration is fantastic.
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya has gone on to become one of Russia's most acclaimed authors but this is her story of where she started. She grew up in a disadvantaged family, coming of age in Stalinist Russia, sleeping in freight cars and searching for scraps of food. Her unflinching account is a powerful story of survival. Audio narration by Kate Mulgrew.
- by Harper Lee
As a standalone book, this was far from amazing, but serious students of writing or literature will be enthralled by the ties between Watchman and Lee's beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird. The comparisons are rich, and many. I had complicated feelings about reading this one but I'm so glad I did. (Here's how I approached this controversial work.)
In this modern classic, 10-year-old Kenny and his family head south from their home in Flint, Michigan to visit Grandma in Birmingham—right as the church bombings are about to happen. This award-winning middle grade novel has both humor and depth, and LeVar Burton excels at highlighting the funny and the tragic with his excellent narration.
Graham Greene is frequently included in "novels everyone should read" and "best of the century" lists, and I've been meaning to read him for years. But I'd never made it a priority ... until I found out that Colin Firth narrates this version. This short novel might not hold the broader appeal of the other novels on this list, but I found it enjoyable and thought-provoking, and Firth's narration is pitch perfect. If you love Brideshead Revisited, read this immediately.
Audible released a new audio version of Anne of Green Gables narrated by Rachel McAdams, and you can get the ebook plus the audio version for combined as a Whispersync deal. It's important that you get THIS version of the ebook in order to get the Rachel McAdams narration. You don't have to be an Audible member to get this deal. Read more about how Whispersync deals work here.
This is a story about Lincoln, America's 16th president—kind of. The "bardo" of the title is a Tibetan concept: it's a spiritual landscape—a kind of in-between place—where we are sent between physical lives. When Lincoln's son Willie was 11, he died of typhoid, plunging Lincoln into deep grief. Saunders uses this real event as a jumping-off point to explore the near-unbearable grief of an individual, linking it to the disarray of the country he leads, at the height of its Civil War, and imagines how Lincoln's despair changed the outcome of the war. I just finished this book, and whoa, was it strange. Interesting and experimental, but definitely strange. Pro tip: if you want to read it, do so on paper, not on Kindle.
- by Sarah Vowell
Amazon's review says, "The Marquis de Lafayette, a.k.a. one of George Washington's best buds, is the subject of Sarah Vowell's latest offering. Why would a young French aristocrat venture to our shores to join Washington's army and fight in the Revolutionary War? He came for the glory! He came because he believed in American ideals! But, mainly it was for the Enlightenment ideas that were unevenly embraced by many of his fellow comrades—ideas that impacted the war. Anyone familiar with Vowell’s oeuvre knows what a knack she has for making the (seemingly) mundane fascinating. She also draws some oddly comforting parallels between that time and our own (turns out that politicians have been butting heads and acting like idiots, since the birth of our great nation)."