The Book Jam Blog
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We asked Danielle Cohen, a professional audiobook narrator recently recognized as one of two “emerging talent” winners at this year’s Audio Publishers Association Conference (disclaimer - also our great friend), to recommend a few audiobooks for summer travels. We hope her list and the accompanying reviews help you find the perfect book for your next "listen". We thank Danielle for her help and believe this post provides a fitting ending for National Audiobook Month, or as some of us call it - June. We hope we can all find time to listen to a good story ASAP.
Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (2013), narrated by Juliet Stevenson - I decided to listen to this audiobook as Juliet Stevenson was the narrator and she didn’t disappoint, and nor did the novel. The story spans the life of Alma Whittaker which covers most of the 19th century. Alma is a curious, intelligent and fascinating woman whose passion for botany and evolution make her ahead of other women of the time. This is audiobook is almost 22 hours long and I mostly listened to it whilst driving. When I was done I had to pull over into a car park as I was crying so much. I felt that sad Alma and Juliet would no longer be accompanying me on my journeys! ~ Danielle Cohen, guest reviewer
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (2017), narrated by Gemma Whelan - Beth Reynolds, Children's Librarian at the Norwich Public Library, recommended this book to me and what a great recommendation it was. This middle school fiction novel, narrated by Gemma Whelan is full of wonderful characters, portrayed by Whelan with admirable skill. Morrigan Crow is a young girl who believes that she is cursed and doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. However, she is saved by the eccentric Jupiter North, who whisks Morrigan away to Nevermoor, where she has to pass various magical tests to become a member of the prestigious Wundrous Society. It did remind me somewhat of Harry Potter, but that’s not a bad thing! I can’t wait to listen to book 2. ~ Danielle Cohen, guest reviewer
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (2017), narrated by Kivlighan de Montebello - This is a delightful audiobook; it’s extremely well produced with a full cast and great sound effects. It’s the story of space-loving Alex Petroski (read superbly by young actor, Kivlighan de Montebello) and his desire to launch his Golden iPod into space. The book is funny, sad, and heartwarming and we experience it all with Alex and the wonderful characters helping him along his journey. This is middle school fiction, but I listened to this with my whole family, including two teenage daughters and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. ~ Danielle Cohen, guest reviewer
The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz (2005), narrated by Alfred Molina - I recently listened to this biography of the Beatles and got completely immersed in it. It felt like I was listening to fiction rather than non fiction. The Beatles had already disbanded by the time I was born, but being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s of course I listened to their music; this biography taught me a lot about their rise to fame. And, it was well read by British actor Alfred Molina. My only issue was that the writer clearly didn’t like Yoko Ono, and I don’t think he was too keen on John Lennon either. That said, it seemed well researched and for me was well worth listening to. ~ Danielle Cohen, guest reviewer
Sourdough: Or Lois and Her Adventures in the Undergournd Market: A Novel by Robin Sloan (2017) narrated by Therese Plummer - This is a quirky novel and I really enjoyed the audio version. Therese Plummer is a great narrator, who totally brings this book to life. Lois Clary is a software engineer at robotics company in San Francisco, who “acquires” a sourdough starter which basically changes her life! There are many mentions of King Arthur Flour, plus a soupcon of magic. I went out and bought a sourdough starter as soon as I’d finished the book. One final thought, if you are from the San Francisco area apparently Plummer mispronounces some street names. I didn’t notice as I’m not familiar with them, but it may annoy you!! ~ Danielle Cohen, guest reviewer