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February/March 2018

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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FASTING AND FEASTING: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray Adam Federman Read by Naomi Frederick Narrator Naomi Frederick's soft British accent and thoughtful timing will entrance listeners from the first minutes of this well-balanced biography of Patience Gray, one of the most important but often over- looked food writers of the late twentieth century. Listeners who are unfamiliar with Gray's groundbreaking cookbook, Honey From a Weed, will be fascinated by her fierce independence and her insistence on sticking to her principles, including liv- ing off the land with her partner, sculptor Norman Mommens, in a remote and elec- tricity-free corner of southern Italy well into old age. Frederick's varied cadences and believable European accents enhance the vivid prose, and her understated char- acterizations allow listeners to envision Gray and her contemporaries without hindrance. Gray certainly had her flaws, but Frederick's performance is near per- fection. C.B.L. Chelsea Green Publishing Company 13.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD $24.95 PRAIRIE FIRES: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Caroline Fraser Read by Christina Moore Narrator Christina Moore's straightfor- ward delivery nicely suits this in-depth exploration of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, family, and famous Little House books. Avoiding theatricals, Moore injects her performance with energy and enthusi- asm appropriate for Wilder's fans who are eager to learn more about the beloved author. The audiobook is divided into parts, starting with a factual account of Wilder's childhood; the following sec- tions detail her roles as wife, mother, and author, ending with her legacy. Moore skillfully handles the two principal chal- lenges of this audiobook: She keeps listeners engaged as the author places Wilder's works into the wider context of American history and, more important, remains neutral when the audiobook exposes the less likable characteristics of Wilder's relatives, including her father, Charles Ingalls, and, especially, her daughter, Rose. C.B.L. Recorded Books 21.5 hrs. Unabridged Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781501969607 $123.75 (also MP3, DD) THE INTERNATIONALISTS Oona A. Hathaway, Scott J. Shapiro Read by Amanda Carlin Often the greater challenge for an audio- book narrator isn't the delivery but the comprehension of a text. Would you accept the argument that a 1928 inter- national agreement against waging war—an agreement you've probably never heard of, and one violated almost immediately by the Japanese in Korea— substantially improved the chances of maintaining peace thereafter? Very likely not, and even the authors seem to recog- nize they're overreaching. What narrator Amanda Carlin grasps so well, possibly better than the authors themselves, is the work's rightful center: the effort to set rules for waging war, dating from the 1600s—a fascinating story in its own right. Carlin's delivery is excellent, but far more important is her understanding of the narrative thread and central interest of the audiobook. D.A.W. Simon & Schuster Audio 20 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781508241188 $29.99 THE GOURMANDS' WAY Justin Spring Read by Bronson Pinchot Narrator Bronson Pinchot's excellent French accent sets the mood for this well-researched, somewhat gossipy account of six classic American food writers and their lifelong love of France and its food and wine. During the postwar years, A.J. Liebling, Alice B. Toklas, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alexis Lichine, and Richard Olney lived, ate, and drank all things French, crossing paths through their shared passions and mutual acquaintances. Their cookbooks, guides, and articles forever changed America's expectations of both restau- rant and home dining. Pinchot's soft, nonjudgmental delivery allows listeners to come to their own conclusions as they peek behind the facade of whitewashed fame and good PR. Pinchot deftly signals the numerous extracts and footnotes and wisely refrains from using distinct voices for the famous gourmands. C.B.L. Blackstone Audio 15.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781538429556 $39.95 (also DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781538429549 $118.00 (also MP3, DD) DARE NOT LINGER: The Presidential Years Nelson Mandela, Mandla Langa, Graça Machel [Prologue] Read by Adrian Lester This important audiobook is the second volume of Mandela's memoirs, which were left unfinished when he died in 2013. It's more a collection of speeches than a finished narrative, but it gives us a fuller picture of this extraordinary man. Narrator Adrian Lester takes immediate control of the work, lending it a serious, con- sequential, worldly air. His Jamaican-tinged British accent envelopes the text and guides listeners through Mandela's amazing journey. Lester also has the ability to transform his voice into Mandela's in the middle of a sentence and then go back to his impeccably precise reading. His pacing keeps the story fresh, and he uses his vocal elasticity to convey complex emotions. The result is a wonderful audio experience. R.I.G. Macmillan Audio 13.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781427292353 $39.99 (also DD) History & Biography A wonderful audio experience. 20 n AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com

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