Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Audiobook Roundup: Books for the Commute

Yeah, the new job comes with a little bit of a commute; just long enough to make listening to audiobooks actually feasible. I've listened to a few that have really made the traffic bearable and I'd like to share them with you today.

Nation by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs. With a shiny Printz honor AND a shiny Odyssey honor to its name, Nation definitely deserves a listen. After the wave hits, everything about Mau's life changes. He was in the middle of the task that all boys have to complete to become men, he was heading home when the wave hit. And his entire family was wiped away. The wave changed Daphne's life, too. The ship she was on crash-landed on Mau's island and she was the only survivor. Can Mau and Daphne survive on their own when they don't even speak the same language? Terry Pratchett examines religion, faith, power, family and more in this amusing and touching story. Expert narration by Stephen Briggs really drew me in to the story. Highly recommended. If you haven't yet read this Printz honoree, the audio version is a great way to go.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, narrated by Natalie Moore. Ohhh, Dairy Queen. It's truly one of my favorite books. I wanted to listen to it to refresh my memory because the third DJ Schwenk book, Front and Center, comes out in October (yaaay!). DJ Schwenk lives on a dairy farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin. She's working on the farm this summer because her dad had hip surgery and can't handle the farm work. Her older brothers are off at college and currently not speaking to the family because of The Fight. Her younger brother has Little League championships. And that leaves DJ to do the work. Now, to add insult to injury, Jimmy Ott, coach of Red Bend's rival football team, has sent his quarterback Brian to the Schwenk farm to help out and get a lesson in hard work. It's such a sweet, unusual story with a really honest and refreshing main character. Natalie Moore's narration with a cute Wisconsin accent really brings DJ Schwenk to life. (I'm now rereading The Off Season and I keep reading parts of it out loud to see if I can imitate Ms. Moore's Wisconsin accent!)

The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian, read by Jesse Eisenberg. Josh and his best friend (and secret love interest) Beth are obsessed with a mysterious online prophet who calls himself Larry. Little does Beth know that Josh is the mastermind behind the website. When "Larry" explodes in popularity, Josh will find that making a difference in the world isn't as easy as he'd thought. Ohhh, Nerdfighters, take note! This book is right up your alley! Jesse Eisenberg actually sounds a little like John & Hank Green. Josh would totally be a Nerdfighter if he weren't, y'know, fictional. The audiobook isn't perfect - I found it to be a little over-produced - and the prologue and epilogue are narrated by the author. Ms. Tashjian is a wonderful author, but not a gifted reader. I almost gave up right at the very beginning, but I'm so glad I pushed through to the first chapter. Once Jesse Eisenberg started reading, I fell in love!