Audiobooks

Audiobook Reviews March 2016 by Jonathan Lowe

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OSCARS BOOKS: Among the Oscar winners in Feb. that are based on books (also in audio format) are ROOM by Emma Donoghue, read by a full cast. THE REVENANT by Michael Punke, read by Holter Graham. BRIDGE OF SPIES by Giles Whittell is nonfiction read by the author. THE BIG SHORT by Michael Lewis is read by Jesse Boggs. SPOTLIGHT is titled BETRAYAL by The Boston Globe, and is read by Paul Boehmer: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service; movie now BEST PICTURE. The story behind this groundbreaking book—one of the most significant works of investigative journalism since Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting on Watergate—has been brought brilliantly to life on the screen in the major new movie Spotlight. Here are the devastating revelations that triggered a crisis within the Catholic Church. Here is the truth about the scores of abusive priests who preyed upon innocent children and the cabal of senior Church officials who covered up their crimes. Here is the trail of “hush money” that the Catholic Church secretly paid to buy victims’ silence—deeds that left millions of the faithful in the US and around the world shocked, angry, and confused. Here as well is a vivid account of the ongoing struggle, as Catholics confront their Church and call for sweeping change.The authors of Betrayal, and the reporters principally responsible for the Boston Globe’s coverage of the scandal, are Matt Carroll, Kevin Cullen, Thomas Farragher, Stephen Kurkjian, Michael Paulson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Michael Rezendes, and Spotlight team editor Walter V. Robinson. The coverage and the book were overseen by deputy managing editor for projects Ben Bradlee Jr. And finally, David Ebershoff is the author of THE DANISH GIRL, a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Lambda Literary Award. His collection of stories, The Rose City, was named one of the best books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times. His books have been published in more than a dozen countries to critical acclaim. Since 1998, he has been the publishing director of the Modern Library. He has taught at New York University and Princeton, where he is now a visiting lecturer. Originally from Pasadena, he is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Chicago, and he currently lives in New York City. Narrator Jeff Woodman originated the title role in Tennessee Williams’ The Notebook of Trigorin and won the S.F. Critics’ Circle Award for his performance in An Ideal Husband. In addition to numerous theater credits on and off Broadway, his television work includes Sex and the City and Law & Order.

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COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands is a comprehensive exploration of many fields of science, from cosmology to geology to biology to chemistry to physics and astronomy to philosophy and religion. (Plus the nature of consciousness, the determinism of genetics, and the role of culture.) The many theories for the origins of life are examined with lucid prose expertly delivered by voice actor Gildart Jackson. The history of each theory is given, with reference to the beliefs of the day (what the public was thinking), and how new ideas and findings are opposed by those whose livelihoods are threatened. Scientists themselves fought bitterly sometimes with interpretations, and Hands is careful to put everything in context, showing what current consensus believes, why, and where it may be leading. He offers his own ideas too, explaining what humans can discover and what may never be accessible to discovery proof. (Multi-universes, string theory, etc.) Listeners are clear as to who believes what, and why. Was Einstein and Darwin right about everything? Apparently not. Darwin’s idea that individuals fighting for supremacy within species was somehow as important as fighting one’s environment for survival was overstated. The competition within species (which is supported today by our culture of combat), and even the competition between species, is not nearly as vital in “survival of the species” as is adaptation to change in the environment. Cooperation is more the rule than combat, and that cooperation can be inter-species as well. This is an epic book at an incredible download rental price less than the latest pop album. A no-brainer pick. John Hands has devoted more than ten years to evaluating scientific theories about the origins of the cosmos, life, and humanity. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of London, was a founding director of Britain’s Cooperative Housing Agency, and tutored in both physics and management studies for the Open University. His fiction and writing have been published in eight countries. Narrator Gildart Jackson’s acting credits span the stage and screen. He is most often recognized for his roles as Gideon on Charmed and Simon Prentiss on General Hospital. He has also starred in numerous television shows, including CSI and Vegas, and recently played the lead in the highly acclaimed independent feature film You, directed by his wife, Melora Hardin.

SUPREME COURTSHIP by Christopher Buckley: United States president Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees appointed to the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill a Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won’t have the guts to reject her—Judge Pepper Cartwright, the star of the nation’s most popular reality show, Courtroom Six. (Sound familiar?) Will Pepper, a straight-talking Texan, survive a confirmation battle in the Senate? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? And even if she can make it to the Supreme Court, how will she get along with her eight highly skeptical colleagues, including a floundering Chief Justice who, after legalizing gay marriage, learns that his wife has left him for another woman? Soon Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. “Supreme Courtship” is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule. Narrated by actress Anne Heche.

(Former postal CFS clerk and window clerk Jonathan Lowe is the award winning author of “Postmarked for Death,” which was endorsed by Clive Cussler as “a class performance, mystery at its best.” It is now a suspense ebook, as is “TrumpWorld” and “The World’s First Trillionaire,” a satire that incorporates three of his other novels. He is a judge in the annual Audie Awards, which are the Oscars for the medium.)

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