The only book I know of that Rory Kinnear has narrated (so far) is THE WORD IS MURDER by Anthony Horowitz. The Word is Murder is the first book in a planned series, however, so I have great hope that Kinnear will keep narrating. Kinnear’s narration of this book was so good that I frequently stopped whatever else I was doing and just sat there, marveling at his skill. Kinnear not only gave different, nuanced voices to every character in The Word is Murder, you could also hear personality traits and feel whatever it was the character was feeling.
January LaVoy has narrated a lot of books from popular authors like James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham. I personally loved her reading of Paula McLain’s LOVE AND RUIN. This tale of Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn, who was a talented author and journalist in her own right, was fascinating to me, and I couldn’t stop listening.
Let me start by gushing about Jane Harper, a mystery author who is so good at writing about the Australian Outback as a character that even if you read her work on a cold December day, your mouth will suddenly be parched, and you’ll start checking your skin for sun damage. Add Steve Shanahan’s excellent narration of Harper’s books to the equation, and you’ll be absolutely transported into the story. Start with Harper’s first book, THE DRY, or with her most recent stand-alone, THE LOST MAN.
Bahni Turpin has been getting a lot of praise for her amazing reading of the breakaway YA title of 2018, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE. However, Turpin is also a great narrator to keep your eye on if you’re interested in YA books with a social justice theme. Turpin also narrated the breakout hits THE HATE U GIVE and the young readers edition of HIDDEN FIGURES.
Julia Whelan has narrated not one, but two of my favorite books that have come out recently. Her excellent reading of Tara Westover’s memoir, EDUCATED, about a young woman growing up in a survivalist family in Idaho, is gripping storytelling made even more amazing by the fact that it really happened. Whelan also narrates FAR FROM THE TREE an award-winning YA novel about three siblings separated by adoption who find each other as teenagers, which I found very touching. Listen to Far from the Tree with tissues handy.
My dear patron, are you looking for your next love affair? Well, I am back to give you some more dating options.
This dating segment will work differently than the ones in the past (see round 1 and round 2. So far I was acted as intermediary between book and reader. Today I thought I would allow the book to speak for itself.
After all, each book, just like any suitor, has its own pick-up lines. That first sentence or two crafted to entice you from the very start.
Below are four first line(s) of four mystery books. If one of them flirts with your interest, I implore you to pick it up and take it out for the evening.
First lines: “When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse, and check his pupil’s to see if he’s ingested anything nasty, or you can believe him.”
First line: “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”
First lines: “Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero. That's just how it is.”
First line: “The moon blew up with no warning and with no apparent reason.”
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the challenge of locating a book when you first walk into a library? I know that I have. Each library seems to organize its books differently and I always struggle with figuring out which system is being used. To try and help make life easier I want to share some of the tips I’ve picked up about two of the ways that libraries organize their books.
The library of congress method was developed specifically for the Library of Congress to organize their books. Everything in the library is divided into 21 subject categories that are identified by letters of the alphabet.
Ex. Science is identified by the letter Q.
Within those categories there are limitless options for subclasses that are identified by a second letter attached to the first.
Ex. Astronomy is identified by the letters QB. Following the letters, a series of numbers indicates the specific topic of the book.
Ex. The planet Mars is identified by the number 641.
After the subject has been identified, the author’s last name is indicated on the call number by a period, the first letter of the author’s last name and a series of numbers. This is then followed by the year of publication.
Thus a completed call number looks something like: QB 641 .C54 2012.
Broken down: QB (subject) 641 (specific topic) .C54 (author last name) 2012 (year)
Because there are no limits to how many subcategories can be put into one of these call numbers this organizational system works well for very large libraries, such as government or university libraries.
The Dewey Decimal system was developed by Melvil Dewey as a way of arranging all knowledge. In this system, books are organized by fields of study. There are 10 fields which each contain 10 specific sections. In contrast to the Library of Congress method, everything in the Dewey Decimal system is organized by numbers. A broad number indicates one of the 10 fields of study and smaller numbers represent more specific sections.
Ex. Books about science are identified by the number 500. Within that, books about space fall under the number 520 and books specifically about Mars are listed as 523.43.
Following these numbers, the author is indicated on the call number by the first three letters of their last name. This is then followed by the year of publication.
Thus a completed Dewey Decimal call number looks something like: 523.43 LOM 2014.
Broken down: 523 (general subject) .43 (specific subject) LOM (author last name) 2014 (year)
Unfortunately, there is a limit to the combination of numbers that can be used in the Dewey Decimal system and so this method tends to work better for smaller libraries, such as school or public libraries.
The odds are that one of these methods makes more sense to you than the other and that’s okay. Most people are partial to one organizational method and that is why both are used commonly in different libraries. Hopefully this helps you to understand a little bit about why each method is used and how to better navigate it the next time you visit a library.
A few years ago, I took a survey of my fellow librarians, asking them who their favorite audiobook narrators are. We got some great suggestions! Since then, I’ve increased the amount of audiobooks I consume exponentially. I read while I do household chores with the use of apps like Libby by OverDrive and RBdigital, and I usually have a book on CD in my non-bluetooth-enabled car. I’ve heard a lot of amazing audiobooks, and a few duds. I thought I’d create a list of some of my personal favorite audiobook narrators who I’ve discovered since that last blog post.
I first learned of Elizabeth Acevedo when she narrated PRIDE, which is an updated version of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Brooklyn. Acevedo’s reading of that book was impressive, but if you really want to see what she can do, listen to her narrating her own work, the award-winning THE POET X, which tells the story of teenage Xiomara Batista’s struggles growing up in the Bronx, with the story told through poetry. Acevedo’s skill as a slam poet is on full display here.
Yes, I’m one of those people who first fell in love with Richard Armitage by watching British period dramas. However, Armitage is making a name for himself not just on screen (in, for example, The Hobbit movies and Ocean’s 8), but in the audiobook world as well. His reading of the TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ was so good, I frequently found myself idling in my car in front of my house, unable to turn the stereo off.
Mark Bramhall blew me away with his portrayal of Kent Haruf’s main character, Louis Waters, in the audio narration of OUR SOULS AT NIGHT. For me, Bramhall was Louis Waters. I will now gladly read anything he narrates, which is great news for me, since Bramhall has some great books in his repertoire.
I first ran into Alan Corduner when I listened to ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN, a beautifully written, magical book about a mysterious man who saves a young Jewish girl during World War II, and they spend the next few years on the run. I have since enjoyed other books narrated by Corduner, and was especially glad to see that Corduner is one of the narrators in the cast recording of Julie Berry’s LOVELY WAR. Corduner’s narration of Lovely War is especially exciting for me since Berry is one of my favorite YA authors.
Fiona Hardingham seems to have narrated mostly YA fantasy novels recently, but I love her for narrating a humorous take on Jane Eyre: MY PLAIN JANE. In the historical fiction vein, her reading of THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR was also enchanting.
And that's not all! Be on the lookout for another upcoming post with a few more of my favorite audiobook narrators.