Category Archives: Reviews

Audio Reviews Spotlight: America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t

Adam Boretz -- February 28th, 2013

9781607889700Turning to the nonfiction side, Audio Reviews Spotlight takes a peek at Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t

The audio edition is narrated by Colbert, Tim Meadows, and Jordin Ruderban, and is available from Hachette Audio.

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t
Stephen Colbert, read by the author, with Tim Meadows and Jordin Ruderban. Hachette Audio, unabridged, three CDs, 3 hrs., $24.98 ISBN 978-1-60788-970-0

The packaging of this audio edition of Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert’s latest title features an icon promoting the recording’s “3-D High-Def Surroundiness.” While this claim clearly follows Colbert’s pattern of tongue-in-cheek buzzwords and taglines, the production quality does contribute to a satisfying listening experience, as voices and sounds—including a stoner commentator’s bubbling bong water—are distinctly rendered in the fashion of live theater. Colbert’s narrative—steeped in his characteristic irony—weaves expository chapters on various hot-button issues with monologues from individual citizens. With the possible exception of the aforementioned stoner, the most memorable of these characters is a silver-tongued energy industry spokeswoman who embodies the very essence of spin in the current media culture. Colbert’s brand of entertainment occupies a unique niche in the marketplace, and regardless of whether the punch lines click for individual listeners, the comedian’s latest offering remains unmistakably faithful to that brand. A Grand Central hardcover. (Oct.)


Audio Reviews Spotlight: Barry Lyndon

Adam Boretz -- February 27th, 2013

9781843797081Today in Audio Reviews Spotlight, we take a look at our Starred Review of the audio edition of William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic Barry Lyndon.

The audiobook is available from Naxos AudioBooks and narrated by Jonathan Keeble.

Barry Lyndon

William Makepeace Thackeray, read by Jonathan Keeble. Naxos AudioBooks, unabridged, 11 CDs, 13 hrs., $67.98 ISBN 978-184-379-708-1

Thackeray’s classic tale of Barry Lyndon, who escapes his life on the Emerald Isle to pursue a more luxurious existence in England, is reimagined in this audio edition, narrated by Jonathan Keeble. Reading in a rich, accented voice and making use of understated narration, Keeble immediately transports listeners back to the 18th century. His tone is firm and commanding, and he digs deep into Thackeray’s prose to precisely capture the very essence of Lyndon. Keeble’s narration is well paced, his timing impeccable. And while this audiobook weighs in at about 13 hours — a lengthy commitment for the casual listener — Keeble manages to keep his audience engaged for the duration. (Jan.)


Audio Review Spotlight: Bruce

Adam Boretz -- January 30th, 2013

Today in Audio Review Spotlight, we take a look at the nonfiction side and Peter Ames Carlin’s Springsteen biography, Bruce.

The audio edition is read by Bobby Cannavale and available from Simon & Schuster Audio.


Peter Ames Carlin, read by Bobby Cannavale. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, digital download 18 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-4423-5749-5
Carlin’s stunning biography charts the course of Bruce Springsteen’s remarkable life, covering everything from his relationships with family and friends to his working-class beginnings in New Jersey and rise to musical stardom, providing an insider’s look at one of the legends of rock ’n’ roll. Narrator Bobby Cannavale delivers a stellar reading, his gritty bass tone drawing in listeners and his driving delivery keeping them enthralled until the very end. This is an absolutely fantastic listening experience about a true American great. An absolute must for fans and music lovers. A Thorndike hardcover. (Oct.)

For all the latest audio reviews from PW, CLICK HERE.

Audio Review Spotlight: The Diviners

Adam Boretz -- January 28th, 2013

PW’s latest batch of audio reviews is online and in print, and today we’re taking a look at the Starred Review of Libba Bray’s The Diviners.

The audio edition is narrated by January LaVoy and available from Listening Library.

The Diviners

Libba Bray, read by January LaVoy. Listening Library, unabridged, 15 CDs, 18 hrs., $60 ISBN 978-0-449-80873-3
After committing a small indiscretion, Evie O’Neill couldn’t be happier when her parents exile her from small-town Ohio to live with her uncle in 1920s New York City. A life of fashion, speakeasies, dancing, and music is exactly what 17-year-old Evie wants. But when her Uncle Will, who manages a museum of occult history and artifacts, is drawn into a police investigation of a bizarre and gruesome series of murders, Evie finds herself involved as well—and this means she may be forced to reveal her supernatural powers. Narrator January LaVoy provides lively, magnetic narration and gives unique voices to the book’s cast of fascinating characters. Listeners both young and old will enjoy this supernatural story and find this audio edition enthralling, irresistible entertainment. Ages 15–up. A Little Brown hardcover. (Sept.)

For all the latest audio reviews from PW, CLICK HERE.

Audio Reviews Spotlight: Silent House

Adam Boretz -- January 4th, 2013

Today in Audio Reviews Spotlight, we take a look at the fiction side and Orhan Pamuk’s Silent House.

The audiobook is narrated by a full cast and available from Random House Audio.

Silent House

Orhan Pamuk, read by a full cast. Random House Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12.75 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-385-36801-8

Nobel Prize–winner Pamuk’s spirited and spellbinding second novel, previously unpublished in English, follows a Turkish family as they come together in a fishing village outside Istanbul prior to a military coup in 1980. Narrated by a talented cast of performers, including Emrhys Cooper, John Lee, Jonathan Cowley, and Juliet Mills, this memorable audio edition proves to be an engaging production that will enchant listeners with its understated performances and superb pacing. Cooper and Lee are the true standouts, delivering stellar turns that resonate long after the final chapter. However, the entire cast is solid, its members boasting spot-on voices, dialects, and characterizations. This early work from Pamuk is brought to life—and fans will not be disappointed. A Knopf hardcover. (Oct.)


Audio Reviews Spotlight: Kicking and Dreaming

Adam Boretz -- January 3rd, 2013

In our first Audio Reviews Spotlight of 2013, we take a look at Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson’s Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll.

The audio edition of this memoir — which chronicles the rise and time of the rock band Heart — is narrated by Ann and Nancy and available from HarperAudio.

Kicking and Dreaming: 
A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll

Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, read by the authors. HarperAudio, unabridged, digital download, 9 hrs., $24.99 ISBN 978-0-06-224370-6
As founding members of the rock band Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson achieved musical stardom with hit songs like “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda.” Now the sisters’ firsthand account of their lives and musical careers takes center stage—with Ann and Nancy narrating this compelling audio edition. Despite hailing from a suburb in Washington State, Ann and Nancy got their start in Canada—a country that would eventually claim them as its own. In fact, the accent of this adoptive nation can be heard in their voices as they reminisce about the past, with stories about Marlon Brando’s eyes, Mick Jagger’s lips, and Def Leppard’s party prowess. Their respective readings reveal an almost gloomy longing for happier days past, but also wisdom that they garnered after enduring the ravages of rock ’n’ roll success. Narrated in gritty, smoky bass tones, this is an enthralling listen that will have fans captivated for hours. An It Books hardcover. (Sept.)


Audio Reviews Spotlight: Wherever I Wind Up

Adam Boretz -- November 30th, 2012

It’s non-fiction day for Audio Reviews Spotlight, and we’re highlighting our Starred Review of R.A. Dickey’s Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.

The audiobook is narrated by Ben Hunter for Mission Audio.

Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball
R.A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey, read by Ben Hunter. Mission Audio, unabridged, eight CDs, 9.5 hrs., $24.98 ISBN 978-1-61045-596-1

Major League All-Star and New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has led a remarkable life—and he’s only 38. While that’s considered elderly for a professional athlete, Dickey remains one of the top pitchers in baseball and indeed the only active pitcher capable of throwing the perfect knuckleball. Narrator Ben Hunter delivers a subdued but pitch-perfect (excuse the pun) performance in the audio edition of this memoir in which Dickey charts the course of his life, covering everything from the ups and downs of his career to the importance of his faith. Throughout, Hunter’s tone is sincere and engaging, his delivery exquisitely paced, and his timing spot-on. Listeners will be transfixed by this compelling and earnest audiobook. A Penguin/Blue Rider hardcover. (Aug.)

For all the latest audio reviews from PW, CLICK HERE.


Audio Reviews Spotlight: This Is How You Lose Her

Adam Boretz -- November 29th, 2012

Today, in Audio Reviews Spotlight, we take a look at our Starred Review of Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her.

The audio edition is narrated by Díaz himself for Penguin Audio.

This Is How You Lose Her
Junot Díaz, read by the author. Penguin Audio, unabridged, five CDs, 5.25 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-110-8

Pulitzer Prize–winner Díaz delivers a collection of linked short stories that focus on love and the challenges it brings Dominican men grappling with their heritage, socioeconomic status, the legacy of machismo, and modern women. As a reader, Díaz delivers a winning performance; his narration is clear, nuanced, and true to the text, his voice as engaging and confident as that of any professional narrator. Díaz’s reading ably captures the emotional states of his characters, his voice conveying all the humor, sorrow, and anger of the prose. Additionally, he lends his characters a host of subtle accents and dialects—each one distinct and appropriate to their background. This is a must listen for fans of the short story. A Riverhead hardcover. (Sept.)

For all the latest audio reviews from PW, CLICK HERE.


Audio Reviews Spotlight: Selected Shorts: Poe!

Adam Boretz -- November 8th, 2012

Casting an eye on the fiction side, Audio Review Spotlight brings you Selected Shorts: Poe! — a collection of some of the best prose and poetry from Edgar Allan Poe.

The audiobook is read by multiple narrators and available from Symphony Space. Check out our Starred Review below and THIS LINK for all the latest audio reviews from PW.

Selected Shorts: Poe!
Edgar Allan Poe, read by multiple narrators. Symphony Space, unabridged, two CDs, 2.5 hrs., $19.85 ISBN 978-1-934033-16-6

An all-star roster brings to life the haunting poetry and prose of Poe in this audio collection celebrating the American master of the macabre. In his reading of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” Stephen Lang’s measured, mellifluous voice transports listeners inside the mind of the tortured narrator. Terrence Mann is equally effective in “The Tell-Tale Heart”—he captures the guilt-ridden murderer’s fear that his crime has come back to haunt him. Four narrators—René Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer, and Harris Yulin—perform “The Raven,” an unconventional choice, but one that works perfectly due to the seamless transitions between the readers. The lyricism of Poe’s writing, which demands clear, measured enunciations and delivery, is well served by this talented cast. (Sept.)


Audio Reviews Spotlight: Fully Alive: Lighten Up and Live—A Journey That Will Change Your Life

Adam Boretz -- November 7th, 2012

Today in Audio Reviews Spotlight, we take a look at the nonfiction side and the audio edition of Ken Davis’s Fully Alive: Lighten Up and Live—A Journey That Will Change Your Life.

The audiobook is narrated by the author and available from Oasis Audio. Our Starred Review is below — and don’t forget to check out all the latest audio reviews from PW RIGHT HERE:

Fully Alive: Lighten Up and Live—A Journey That Will Change Your Life
Ken Davis, read by the author. Oasis Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 7 hrs., $27.99 ISBN 978-1-61375-114-5

How does one continue to function and live fully amid a life often filled with hardship and struggles? Motivational speaker Davis uses anecdotes from his own personal battles—everything from his depression and doubt to his ballooning weight—to show listeners how they can overcome obstacles and hardship. Davis’s view is filtered through Christian spirituality, and he uses his religion as the foundation for his calls to action. Despite the seeming complexity of this journey, Davis’s goal is simple: motivating listeners to take risks, get in shape, and enjoy their lives. Davis is a fun and enthusiastic narrator. Even when reading passages depicting moments of danger—e.g., when his granddaughter goes missing in the woods—his voice is lively and spirited. And listeners will find this vocal quality reassuring, making Davis the perfect narrator for his book. Christian audiences hoping for fast-paced and inspirational listening will particularly enjoy this audio edition. A Thomas Nelson hardcover. (July)