Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day in the Life of a Children's Librarian

11:20am - Arrive at work, inform staff about coworker who's not going to be in today.

11:30am - Sign timesheets and turn them in. Log everyone's work hours in my ESRs.

12:00pm - Eat sandwich at my desk while I'm finalizing and submitting my latest book order.

12:30pm - Run upstairs to grab some books to booktalk at tonight's Teen Scene Initiative meeting. Get some last minute stuff together for today's outreach visit.

1:00pm - Meet with book vendor to look over some of the new books coming out. Together with staff, I decide on some books to buy.

2:30pm - Meet teen librarian and leave for a teacher meeting we've been invited to.

2:40pm - Arrive at local high school and get set up. They're having a meeting of some teachers in the school district and they've invited local groups to set up tables and promote their services. We are *extremely* happy to be invited as we are always looking for ways to connect with teachers!

3:00pm - Our table's set up and we wait for teachers to arrive...

3:30pm - Teachers begin arriving and we start talking up the library. I offer booktalks or storytime and teacher cards to any teacher who meets my eye. I'm hoping to be invited to some classrooms for booktalks, but we'll see...

4:40pm - Teachers have gone into their meeting and we tear down the table, even though we've been invited to stay until 6. We have to get back for our TSI meeting. We leave the handouts and flyers there, so hopefully teachers came by and picked them up!

4:50pm - Back at the library, we finish getting things set up for TSI.

5:00pm - Kids start arriving!

5:15pm - Teen Scene Initiative meeting. The teens are super excited about our upcoming Zombie Prom and I'm going to have them help me make the decorations. We also discuss other upcoming programs and I promote the Teen Scene Facebook Page. (It worked! I got 4 new "likes" after the meeting!)

6:15pm - We wrap up the meeting and clean up. I go out to relieve my staff person on desk.

6:15-8:30 - On desk.

- Where are Gary Paulsen books?
- How do I print in color?
- Chat with teen about Thursday's Anime Club meeting.
- Running child falls and bumps his head. I get an ice pack. (He was fine.)
- How do you spell "tomorrow"?

8:30pm - Time to go home! We start closing up the library, but we had a fantastic adult program on extreme couponing, so it takes us a little longer than usual to close up.

8:45pm - Okay, NOW we're going home!

(And it's not an omission... I didn't have time to take a break at all today. Some days are like that!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

#CYPD11 Handout!

I'm back from the CYPD Conference and it was fabulous, as expected!! I would like to THANK the CYPD Board for all their hard work.

I also want to thank everyone who showed up for the session I presented with Melissa of Mel's Books and Info! We had a great time and I hope you did, too.

I apologize that we ran out of handouts and that not everyone was able to get one at the conference, but I went ahead and uploaded it for you in a Google Doc.

Click here to access the handout for Staying on Top: Using Blogs for Children's and YA Collection Development! 

It will also be available on the ILF website as a PDF soon.

If anyone has any questions about our presentation or anything else, please feel free to contact Melissa or me. Also, please feel free to add me as a GoodReads friend or follow me on twitter (@abbylibrarian).

On Your Radar: September

One of the tools I have really been using a lot as I place my book orders is PW's On-Sale Calendar. Yes, I get the carts from B&T, but I'm often behind on going through them and there are so many titles in the carts that it sometimes takes more time than I have to go through them all. I like the On-Sale Calendar because it gives me a glimpse of the season's biggest titles and it's short enough to be convenient.

Here are some goodies coming out next month that you'll want to make sure are on your radar:



Cheerleaders of Doom (NERDS Book 3) by Michael Buckley (September 1) - If your kids are as crazy as mine are for the NERDS series, you won't want to miss this one!

Bumble-ardy by Maurice Sendak (September 6) - Sendak's first book since 1981!


Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (September 13) - I loved, loved, loved this one!!

Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein (September 20) - A posthumous collection.


You Have to Stop This by Pseudonymous Bosch (September 20) - Another popular series with my kids.

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (September 27) - You have to be familiar with this one, if one to remember how to spell "Bippolo" when your patrons ask. :)



All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (September 9) 

Modelland by Tyra Banks (September 13) - Love it or hate it, you should at least know about it.


Perfect by Ellen Hopkins (September 13) 

The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer (September 20) - 
A new companion series to Valdimir Tod.


Beautiful Days: A Bright Young Things Novel by Anna Godbersen (September 20)

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (September 27) - Be still my heart! 

Check out the September On Sale Calendar for more September releases. Readers, what September releases are you most looking forward to?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm tweetin' yer CYPD

Sunday and Monday, I'll be at the CYPD Conference, hanging out with amazing Indiana youth services librarians and authors (um, and learning stuff)! I'll be tweeting the conference at #cypd11

Friday, August 26, 2011

What I've Been Doing in August

Photo by Aaron Harmon

For me, August is a catch-up month. It's time to wrap things up, tackle the mounting lists of tasks that we were too busy to do during summer, and plan for the fall. Um, it's gone by way too fast! I took a couple of short vacations and somehow August turned out to be busier than it had any right to be!

Our kids started school on the 15th. Of course, we'll miss seeing some of them until next summer, but having the kids in school and taking a break from programming gives us some much-needed quiet time at the library. And why do we need quiet time?

Here are some of the things we've been doing in my department this August:

- Writing reports about the Summer Reading Club and talking about what we want to do differently or keep the same next year. We do a presentation to the Board and I have to report to the Friends of the Library to tell them where their grant money went this summer. I also send out a letter to the principal of each school with a list of kids who completed the SRC. Some of the schools do something special for the kids who completed their reading.

- Outreach and professional development. I attended:

  • a meeting of a local homeschooler group
  • a Success by 6 meeting
  • an Afterschool Alliance meeting
  • a district children's roundtable
  • a meeting of local teachers
  • and the CYPD Conference is coming up next week (and I'm presenting at the conference, so I've been working on that presentation as well)

- Weeding! I finished weeding the children's videos and placing big DVD orders to replace as much of our beloved, well-circing movies as I could.

- Recataloging our Folk & Fairy Tale section. The call numbers we had previously made sense at the time, but they were too long and cumbersome to be user-friendly. So, we're in the process of recataloging that entire section.

- Working on the library's new strategic plan.

- Ordering books. I was able to place some orders over the summer, but now we're starting to get close to the end of our ordering time. Our fiscal year ends December 31 and in order to get all the POs closed before the end of the year, we generally start slowing down our ordering in October and stop ordering altogether around mid-November. I aim to have the bulk of my budget spent or planned out by mid-October, which means paying special attention to award potentials!

- Planning programs for the fall. I like to have my Mother Goose on the Loose sessions all planned out (and I'm hoping that attendance for this picks up in the fall, as it kinda slumped off during the summer). I've got teen programs to plan and we're thinking about preschool storytime, which will start in October.

- And in my spare time, I'm reading books for the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee. I have to have my books read by our September 10 meeting, so I'm frantically reading at home.

So, although it may seem to patrons that the library goes quiet in August, we librarians know that August is anything BUT a quiet time. Pretty soon, we'll be back in the swing of things with storytimes and outreach programs, so I'm savoring this last little bit of August while I can!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Audiobook Review: Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, read by Mandy Siegfried. Grades 9+ Listening Library, 2000. 5 hours, 2 minutes. Audiobook provided by my local library.

It's Melinda's freshman year and it's not going well. She's flunking all her classes except art. Everyone hates her because she called the cops at that party. But they don't know the truth about what happened that night. Melinda has a secret. One she can't ever tell anyone.

Last year, Speak was challenged and KidLit folks and bloggers responded with the #SpeakLoudly campaign, speaking out in support of books that tackle difficult issues for teens.

This is such an important book. I can't even tell you.

It breaks my heart to think about how many teens are going through something just like Melinda. Something terrible's happened to them and they feel like they have nowhere to go. They feel like no one will listen to them or believe them, and so they stay silent. And no one has any idea. I have no doubt in my mind that there's a need for Speak and books like it on library shelves.

I don't feel like I can review this book, even. It's a modern classic and winner of a Printz honor. If you haven't read it and you like YA lit or you like teenagers or you want to consider yourself well-read, I must insist that you read it.

What I can tell you is that the audio recording is fabulous. I read the book when I was in college for a YA Lit class and, as I am wont to do, I "reread" via the audio recording. It was an impulse library checkout, actually, but I'm so happy I randomly picked it up!

Mandy Siegfried is a perfect fit for Melinda. Her voice sounds believably young, but not annoying in that way that adults trying to sound like kids can sound. She has nice pacing, not too fast or too slow, and she reads clearly. The narration's not voiced, but it's not the kind of story that calls for voices. A straight reading makes it seem like it's actually Melinda telling you the story. First-person narration lends itself to the audio format anyway, but Ms. Siegfried simply becomes Melinda, making the story all the more heartbreaking.

Highly recommended.

Speak is on shelves now!

Hey, I'm an Audible affiliate, so if you purchase stuff after clicking the links on my site, I get a small commission. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Grades 8+ Dutton, September 2011. 338 pages. Reviewed from ARC snagged at ALA.

Things are going pretty well for Lola Nolan. She's got a loving family, good friends, a hot, rocker boyfriend, and big plans to create a splash at the winter formal with a Marie Antoinette-inspired gown she's making herself. And then her next-door neighbors the Bells move back in. Lola kinda had a thing for Cricket Bell, but it all blew up and then he moved away. But now that Lola's actually happy with her life, Cricket's back and suddenly everything is very complicated indeed. Lola thought she had moved on, but has she really?

I enjoyed Stephanie Perkins's debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, and my expectations were high for this companion novel. I liked Lola and the Boy Next Door. I liked it, but I didn't love it... The love triangle romantic tension* was not entirely successful and I spent a lot of the book being frustrated by Lola. That's about as much as I can say without spoilers, I think.

HOWEVER. (And this is a huge however.) The last quarter of the book made up for almost every frustration I had with the first bit. And there was a lot that I loved about this book. Stephanie Perkins creates swoon-worthy characters and sensual scenes that aren't sexually explicit. She perfectly captures how the touch of a finger on a wrist can be so electrifying.

I also loved the details about the characters that brought them to life and made them into real people. I love Lola's costume stuff, I love that Cricket is into science, I love that Andy bakes pies. I also loved the glimpses of San Francisco and Berkeley that Ms. Perkins weaves into the story. And she gets definite bonus points for giving Lola gay parents.

Of course, fans of Anna and the French Kiss are going to be rabid for this one, so make sure it's on your radar. Anna and Etienne have a small part in this book! And I will definitely be following Stephanie Perkins and picking up whatever she writes (a third companion book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, is slated for Fall 2012 release).

Lola and the Boy Next Door will be on shelves September 29!

* Awkward, awkward phrasing, but Stephanie Perkins is pretty adamant that her book's not about a love triangle. I guess I don't know what else to call it, though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mr. Sam

Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Walmart and Became America's Richest Man by Karen Blumenthal. Grades 4-8. Viking Juvenile, July 2011. 160 pages. Review copy provided by my local library.

Sam Walton wasn't always rich. He started out as just a regular kid in a small town in Missouri. So how did he create a vast fortune and build a company with stores all over the country? By pinching his pennies, concentrating on serving customers, and always, always striving to beat the competition.

I'm always on the lookout for interesting biographies and nonfiction off the beaten path. Maybe because I was the kid who didn't want to do what everyone else was doing. The shelves are full of biographies on Thomas Jefferson, Rosa Parks, and Amelia Earhart. If a kid wants to do a biography report on someone like that, they're all set. But what about the kids who crave individuality? Mr. Sam might just fit the bill.

This book isn't a history of Walmart (although there are plenty of fun facts about Walmart and American spending culture along the way). This is a biography of Walmart's founder, Sam Walton, who started with one general store in a small town and worked his way up to owning hundreds of stores worth billions of dollars. Not only is this a book that will fulfill the annual biography assignments, for a certain kind of kid, this is exactly the inspiration they need.

Ever since my library began partnering with a local bank to offer a financial literacy program, I've become hyper aware of kids' books that promote money knowledge. This is a great book to add to this list. Sidebars to the story of Sam Walton's life are peppered with information about retail markup, dividing stocks, and profit margins. Blumenthal also throws in information about the culture of the times, mentioning the Civil Rights movement and other things that were going on while Walmart was being built.

Of course, Walmart has been controversial for a number of issues and Blumenthal doesn't hide that. She addresses the issues people have had with Walmart - Sam Walton's reluctance to promote women or minorities into upper management, Sam Walton's not paying staff enough, Walmart importing goods while running a campaign about Buying American, and the struggle of small businesses against the Walmart superpower. Blumenthal manages a balanced presentation of these issues, always coming back to the fact that to Sam Walton, customers were king.

Black and white photos accompany the text and Blumenthal includes an author's note, source notes, a bibliography, and an index.

Mr. Sam is on shelves now!

Happy Nonfiction Monday! Head on over to Ana's Nonfiction Blog for this week's roundup!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bloggity Vacation

Photo by Horia Varlan*
I'm headed to Iowa to visit one of my besties this week, and so it is time to take a little blog vacation. I'll be back to the blog in two weeks or so. (And if the site graphics aren't showing up, bear with me - we're having some technical difficulties! I promise to get it fixed soon!)

Indiana librarians, don't forget that the CYPD Conference is coming up! I'll be presenting along with the lovely Melissa of Mel's Books and Info and there are tons of great sessions you won't want to miss!

See you in a bit!

* Obviously, this is not Iowa. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Tale Dark and Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. (Grades 4-8.) Dutton, 2010. 256 pages. Review copy provided by publisher for Young Hoosier Book Award. (This review reflects only my own opinion, not the opinion of the commitee!)

You think fairy tales are kind of lame? Well, obviously that's because you haven't read the true versions. Fairy tales are awesome. And Adam Gidwitz proves it in A Tale Dark and Grimm, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel with all the good, gory bits left in. This fairy tale is NOT for little kids. In fact, if there are any little kids hanging around while you're reading this book, you should probably get a babysitter for them or at least make them hide under the bed.

Even the trailer's awesome:

Okay, besides the gruesome bits (which are awesome if you like that kind of thing), here's what I loved about A Tale Dark and Grimm:

1. The humor. Yes, even in a tale very dark and grim there is a good deal of humor. A narrator appears throughout the story, adding commentary and warning readers whenever particularly gory parts are coming up. I love this technique because it adds humor and it also tempers the violence a little. It's not quite as disturbing if you've been warned that it's coming up and you'd better get small children out of the room. Even though the story's definitely a dark one, the narrative voice lightens the tone.

2. The rich language. Oh, the wealth of wonderful words contained within this book... Succulent, perfunctory, modicum, magnanimous... Yes, it's because I'm reading this book for the YHBA Committee that I'm noticing particular words. It's obvious that Adam Gidwitz is an author who believes that kids can rise to understand challenging words while still enjoying a story.

3. Showing, not telling. The language used in the story is beautiful and rich, but the book is not over-written. Mr. Gidwitz manages to employ the perfect amount of description to let your imagination bring forth a picture in your mind. I flagged this particular passage describing a village:

... ringed by trees that... had just slipped into their golden robes of autumn. Laughter was in the air, as was the smell of wood burning in fireplaces and apple cider frothing with cinnamon." (Page 86)

This book is a masterful combination of literary merit and kid appeal and I sorely hope this year's Cybils committee will stand up and take notice!

Now, it's not going to be for every kid. There is quite a bit of blood and guts. People die. Children kill people. Children are killed. Hansel even goes to Hell. For some kids, this is going to be a field day of fun, but for some kids this is going to be too much. Know your audience with this one, is what I'm saying.

I'd try it on any kids interested in the original, bloody Grimm stories (Betsy recommends Grimm's Grimmest) or fans of The Boneshaker by Kate Milford or possibly even Lemony Snickett (although A Tale Dark and Grimm is more graphic than A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Check out more reviews at Biblio File, Book Nut, Eva's Book Addiction, A Fuse #8 ProductionGreenBean TeenQueen, The LibrariYAn, and A Patchwork of Books.

A Tale Dark and Grimm is on shelves now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Debriefing Summer Reading

I'm over at the ALSC Blog with reflections on Summer Reading today! Head on over there for my thoughts on the theme, some of the things I'll change next year, and a collection of Summer Reading links from around the blogosphere! (Did I miss your Summer Reading post(s)? Leave me a link in comments and I'll update!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anime Club Strikes Again

Last week we had the second meeting of our library's new Anime Club! You guys, it went like gangbusters again. I'm so happy we're doing this! We had 27 teens, about half of whom came last month and half of whom were new. Some of the kids who came last month came back and brought friends with them (huzzah!). We're going to continue to meet every month and I'm interested to see what the turnout will be next month after school's started back up...

We ran Anime Club much the same this time as we did last time. I brought a selection of anime movies/shows and we voted on what to show on the big screen. Since we watched something so girly last time, I promised the guys they would have first choice this time. This time, I also brought down a couple of laptops so that kids could put in something different and watch it if they wanted to. That really worked and both laptops were in use the entire time.

We brought down some games, but the kids weren't too interested in the ones we had. We did have a group playing Magic (or something similar), which they had brought from home. We're looking into some different/cooler games to buy for the teen area (suggestions welcome! The coolest thing we have is Apples to Apples, which the teens love, but that's pretty much the only game we have that they love...).

One fun thing I did this time around was to start the paper pictured above, which the teens added to all evening long. They also flipped it over and started their own (Best Yaoi Pairings, and yes I had to look up what that was).

The teens did not seem particularly interested in watching the anime we were playing on the big screen, but they had a blast hanging out with their friends (and hopefully making some new friends). Again, this was super easy to run, cheap, and very well-attended. I'm already looking forward to next month!

Monday, August 1, 2011

AudioSynced July Roundup!


It's time for another AudioSynced Roundup! It's my pleasure to present you with audiobook reviews posted around the blogosphere during the month of July! If you've got a review or post that I missed, please leave a link in the comments or drop me a line at and I'll update the post! 

Audiobook News & Posts

Audiobooks are just the thing to spice up your next road trip and Amanda at The Hub posts about great audiobooks for road trips

And Sarah at The Hub posts about her trip to the production studio to sit in on a recording session with Nicola Barber reading Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star. (Color me jealous!)

If you're not quite sure about audiobooks yet, be sure to check out Random House Audio, where you can download audiobook samples to try them out. 

The Audio Publishers Association announced the winners of their Get Caught Listening video contest. Check out the top three videos at Listen Up

Remember, you can find tons of  reviews at Audiobook Jukebox

At Devourer of Books, Jen's doing a weekly roundup of audiobook reviews on Fridays. Check out Sound Bytes and make sure to add your links to the roundup!

Children's/Middle Grade Books

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine, read by Kirby Heybourne, reviewed by Brenda at proseandkahn. Brenda says, "Kirby Heyborne's performance is pitch perfect... He completely and comfortably inhabits Dit."

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, read by Jim Dale, reviewed by Mary at Sprout's Bookshelf. Mary says, "The plot drags a bit toward the end, an instance in which listening to the audio was a huge benefit, as Dale's masterful narration keeps it interesting."

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, read by Michael York, reviewed by Melissa at Book Nut. Melissa says, " be thoroughly honest, it didn't stick with me. Sure, I enjoyed it while I was listening to is... But, two weeks later... all I can remember about the story was that it was nice."

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko, read by Becca Battoe, Jesse Bernstein, and Tara Sands, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "Each of [the narrators] is very good, creating consistent and vocally interesting characters that seem true to the author's intent."

One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams, read by Sisi Aisha Johnson, reviewed by Mary at Sprout's Bookshelf. Mary says, "Johnson becomes each of the girls in turn, bringing out layers of their personalities that I might otherwise have missed."

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier, read by Bahni Turpin, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "Turpin's voice is appropriately youthful and giggly for Minni and Keira (as well as the other pageant ... er, program contestants), but she also does a great job with Grandmother Johnson. She gives her a slow, no-nonsense delivery perfect for an old Southern lady who is hanging on to her dignity, but boy is she tired. I could hear that woman's colorful history in her voice."

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker, reviewed by Amanda at A Patchwork of Books. Amanda says, "Totally charming and fantastic for reading aloud as a family this summer."

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette... also reviewed by Allie at Reading Everywhere. Allie says, "Listening to this audiobook is like having a dear aunt read you a bedtime story. I wished it would go on forever."

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs, reviewed by Melissa at Book Nut. Melissa says, "...listening to the audiobook made this books so much more loveable and enjoyable than it already was."

A Wrinkle in Time written and read by Madeleine L'Engle, reviewed by Lisa at Shelf-Employed. Lisa says, "There is something special about hearing an author read her own book. There is less room for personal interpretation, but the listener can be sure that she is understanding every nuance that the author wishes to convey."

Young Adult Books

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, read by Kevin T. Collins, reviewed by Melissa at Mel's Books and Info. Melissa says, "Collins does an outstanding job of narrating this novel. His southern accent was not over the top, but added just the right amount of character to the novel."

Blink & Caution by Timm Wynne-Jones, read by Macleod Andrews, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "The characters matter enough to you and their situation is so convincingly perilous that you've got to know NOW what happened."

Body Work by Sara Paretsky, read by Susan Ericksen, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "Now, Ericksen is clearly a skilled narrator who can create individual characters (which she does here) and can keep a lengthy novel moving along, but -- in spite of her nicely subtle Chicago accent -- she just doesn't feel right in this part."

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, read by Allan Corduner, reviewed by Laura Ashlee at EARphoria. Laura Ashlee says, "All I know is that from the very first paragraph, I was hooked."

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane, read by Dan Weyman, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "[Dan Weyman] sets a cracking pace, but reads Sherlock with a quietness that aptly describes the shy, introspective boy he is."

Die for Me by Amy Plum, read by Julia Whelan, reviewed by Beth at A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust. Beth says, "Julia Whelan was the narrator and she was amazing. Her French accent sounded authentic and her voices for the different characters were varied and believable."

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl, reviewed by Brenda at proseandkahn. Brenda says, "[Nick Podehl's] performance was amazing. Perfect timing, perfect accent, I was completely drawn in and lost in a totally alien world."

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Dan Bittner, Pierce Cravens, Emma Galvin, and Jenna Lamia, reviewed by Beth at A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust. Beth says, "The audiobook of Linger was a wonderful presentation..."

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Jenna Lamia and David LeDoux, reviewed by Mollie at Mollie's Yattitude Problem. Mollie says, "Jenna Lamia, who voices Grace's parts, is an excellent reader who was perfect for the role. David LeDoux (Sam), is equally as good at reading, but I don't think that his voice fit the role."

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter, read by Angela Dawe, reviewed by Laura Ashlee at EARphoria. Laura Ashlee says about the narrator, "Though I still think she sounds a little old to be Kat, I like her voice."

Adult Books

The Alice Behind Wonderland written and read by Simon Winchester, reviewed by Jen at Devourer of Books. Jen says, "I simply adore Simon Winchester narrating his own work... Winchester comes across as a charismatic scholar whose passion for his own research is infectious."

Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, and Dreamfever  by Karen Marie Moning, read by Joyce Bean (Dreamfever is read by Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante), reviewed by Laura Ashlee at EARphoria. Laura Ashlee says, "If you’ve read the Highlander series or just like paranormal mystery (like Sookie Stackhouse), you’ll enjoy this one."

The Help by Karen Stockett, read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell, reviewed by Laura Ashlee at EARphoria. Laura Ashlee says, "This is the best book I've read all year. Definitely the best audio book I've listened to."

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, read by Stephen Fry, reviewed by Laura Ashlee from EARphoria. Laura Ashlee says, "'s a relatively funny and short listen, and Stephen Fry does a good job with the narration."

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell, read by Jonathan Aris and Paula Wilcox, reviewed by Lee at Reading with my Ears. Lee says, "David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet clocks in at 19 hours... and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, read by Sarah Vowell (with a bunch of guests), reviewed by Carin at Caroline Bookbinder. Carin says, "I know some people find Ms. Vowell's voice abrasive or grating, but I find it very endearing."