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The Year in Audiobooks 2013

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Author-Readers Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being illustrates At 65, Billy Crystal is a master of comic timing, as he demonstrates during his narration of Still Foolin' 'Em. A fine actor and nine-time Oscar host, Crystal knows exactly how to deliver his artful blend of touching memoir and rueful riffs on the indignities of aging. He charms listeners and proves himself acccomplished, nuanced, and—best of all—very funny. 20 20 The Year in Audiobooks 2013 Photo by Kris Krug the interconnectedness of all things. Despite being stuffed full of topics—from quantum physics to kamikaze pilots, tsunamis, and a billion other things—the novel is suffused with a warmth and immediacy that keep the listener hanging on every word. The story alternates between Ruth, a blocked writer living on an island off British Columbia, and Nao, a suicidal Japanese schoolgirl. Ruth finds Nao's diary in a Hello Kitty lunch box on the beach, along with letters, an older diary, and a watch. For Ruth, Ozeki's tone is slightly worried and obsessive as she reads the diary aloud to her husband. She lends a note of childishness and forced cheerfulness to Nao and her (literally) purple prose. The intoned prayers of gratitude from Nao's great-grandmother, a feminist Buddhist nun, are genius.

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