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Ostentatious October Staff Picks

Only the Oddest, most Opulent, and Obliging opuses for our staff’s October Staff Picks.

Playlist Tags: Off the Beaten Path season: fall

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The Book of Two Ways

A Novel

By Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Patti Murin
Length: 15 hours 47 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a “powerful” (The Washington Post) novel about the choices that alter the course of our lives.


Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant... Read more »
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The Death of Vivek Oji

A Novel

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Chukwudi Iwuji & Yetide Badaki
Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

The Death of Vivek Oji

“I am staggered by the immersive, fluid, irresistible prose Emezi has perfected in their third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji. This tale follows the captivating, curious Vivek through the aftermath of his mysterious death, while simultaneously examining the people and relationships closest to him. Vivek, his cousin Osita, and a distant third-person narrator lead the reader through a grounded, lively picture of Nigeria, family and friendship bonds stretched to their breaking points, and the passing of this unique, complex young boy. Through addictive, multifaceted characters and a simply beautiful story, Emezi inspects masculinity, otherness, and love. This is one of the most magical, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking, and important books of our time.”

Loganberry Books image Margy Adams, Loganberry Books
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The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

A Novel

By Elissa R. Sloan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley, Natalie Naudus, Jayme Mattler, Piper Goodeve, Caitlin Kelly, Megan Tusing & Stephen Graybill
Length: 12 hours

“The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is a page-turning peek inside the glamour and brutality of life as a pop star. Sloan takes us on a wild ride through the world of music video shoots, expensive hotels, and arena tours—showing us the darkness that threatens just below the surface.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy...

Read more »
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Find Me

A Novel

By André Aciman
Narrated by: Michael Stuhlbarg
Length: 8 hours 4 minutes

"[Narrator Michael Stuhlbarg's] elegant performance and Aciman's sensitive writing keep things touching without ever being sentimental. Wonderful listening." — AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner

This program is read by Michael Stuhlbarg, the actor who played Professor Samuel Perlman in Luca Guadagnino's critically-acclaimed film, Call...

Read more »
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Transcendent Kingdom

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

Transcendent Kingdom

“This is a flippin’ gorgeous book. The writing is exquisite, the story is moving, and the characters are rendered with the skill of a true artist. Can you tell that I enjoyed this? Transcendent Kingdom is about Gifty, a young neuroscientist studying addiction. We come into her story just as she has taken her depressed mother into her care and is wrapping up an experiment. We see how her relationships with her mother, faith, and science have brought her to this point. If you need a book that is heartfelt and honest, read this one.”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
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Squeeze Me

A novel

By Carl Hiaasen
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 11 hours 9 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A hilarious novel of social and political intrigue, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida’s gold coast, from the author of Skinny Dip and Razor Girl

“If you could use some wild escapism right now, Hiaasen is your guy.” —The New York Times

At the height of Palm Beach’s charity ball season,... Read more »
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The Second Home

A Novel

By Christina Clancy
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 12 hours 22 minutes

The Second Home

“While reading The Second Home, you can taste the saltwater of both the ocean and the tears of familial pain. Christina Clancy has written a beautiful story of family and the bonds that can be broken and somehow repaired again. The characters and location are so well-written, you’ll feel like you’ve vacationed on the Cape for years with the Gordon family. Fans of Jane Hamilton and We Were the Mulvaneys will love The Second Home.”

Arcadia Books image Nancy Baenen, Arcadia Books
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The Night Swim

A Novel

By Megan Goldin
Narrated by: Bailey Carr, January LaVoy & Samantha Desz
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

If you enjoyed The Escape Room, then you’ll love The Night Swim.

“An amazing thriller that's perfect for lovers of podcasts and true crime! Goldin's previous book, "The Escape Room," set my expectations high, and she does not disappoint with The Night Swim. Rachel hosts a popular true crime podcast, which brings her to small town Neapolis to cover a rape case. High school golden boy and Olympic swimmer hopeful stands accused of raping the granddaughter of the former town sheriff. While Rachel is busy covering a town divided by opposing views, she comes across an older case. Hannah is reaching out to the podcaster to get justice for her murdered sister, Jenny, whose death was swept under the town's proverbial rug twenty five years ago. This is pretty much the perfect book for listening to! Narrators Bailey Carr, January LaVoy, and Samantha Desz draw you in, keep you trapped and tense and riveted until the thrilling end. Another Goldin book worthy of the top ten of 2020! ”

Fountain Bookstore image Kate, Fountain Bookstore
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Leave the World Behind

A Novel

By Rumaan Alam
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 7 hours 26 minutes

If you enjoyed A Children's Bible, then you’ll love Leave the World Behind.

“Riveting! I hurried through this apocalyptic novel about two families thrown together during an earth shattering event. Alam builds tension even during a relaxing family day at the beach and expertly paces the reader through idle, dreamy stages and amps up the speed during stressful times. A thought-provoking study of humanity.”

The Well-Read Moose image Melanie, The Well-Read Moose
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The Guest List

A Novel

By Lucy Foley
Narrated by: Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens & Rich Keeble
Length: 10 hours 22 minutes

The Guest List

“The wild Irish setting was perfect for this Christie-esque whodunit that will keep you guessing until the end! This is a great listening experience as the cast of talented voice actors help tell the story from varied perspectives.”

Watermark Books image Janet, Watermark Books
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The Roommate

By Rosie Danan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley & Teddy Hamilton
Length: 10 hours 46 minutes

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When... Read more »
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Boyfriend Material

By Alexis Hall
Narrated by: Joe Jameson
Length: 13 hours 10 minutes

Boyfriend Material

“An utterly delightful romance for those who love Red, White, and Royal Blue. Quirky, funny, and heartfelt, with stunning character development, the audiobook is stellar!”

Porter Square Books image Marika, Porter Square Books
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The Lies That Bind

A Novel

By Emily Giffin
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley, Will Damron & Vikas Adam
Length: 10 hours 44 minutes

The Lies That Bind

“Cecily is heartbroken over a recent break-up with her boyfriend. She decides to go out for a beer to drown her sorrows. As she places a call to her ex, a very handsome gentleman approaches her and tells her to hang up. They begin a conversation, and Grant tells her about his life. He neglects to tell her some very important information about himself. Cicely becomes instantly smitten and they begin a sizzling romance for the next few weeks. Grant tells her that his brother is suffering from ALS and he is going to take him to London for some experimental treatments. Cecily visits them in London and then returns to NYC. Days later 9/11 happens and Grant disappears. There are plenty of twists and turns and the last one I never saw coming. Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors and she did not let me down with this page-turner. The narrator gave a spectacular performance.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Parable of the Sower

Earthseed: Book #1

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Lynne Thigpen
Length: 12 hours 2 minutes

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Octavia E. Butler paints a stunning portrait of an all-too-believable near future. As with Kindred and her other critically-acclaimed novels, Parable of the Sower skillfully combines startling visionary and socially realistic concepts. God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose... Read more »
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A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

A Novel
The Carls: Book #2

By Hank Green
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh, Joe Hempel, Jesse Vilinsky, Nicole Lewis, Kevin R. Free, Hank Green, Robert Petkoff, Angelo Di Loreto, Oliver Wyman, Hillary Huber, P.J. Ochlan & Gabra Zackman
Length: 15 hours 45 minutes


Who has the right to change the world forever? 

How will we live online? 
How do we find comfort in an increasingly isolated world?
The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While the robots were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction with only their presence. Part of their... Read more »
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A Novel

By Natalie Zina Walschots
Narrated by: Alex McKenna
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes


“How can I describe a book so compelling that I couldn't put it down and so engrossing that I screamed out loud? Natalie Zina Walschots has taken many of the tropes of the superhero genre and twisted them to look at the real human cost of those actions. HENCH asks what separates a villian from a hero and how much are we willing to sacrifice in the quest for "justice". Her characters are flawed in exquisite ways, and real enough that even if they are villains the reader still wants to spend time with them. I loved HENCH and cannot wait to see what she does next. Content warnings: assault, gaslighting, violence, body horror.”

Page 158 Books image Faith, Page 158 Books
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Yellow Bird

Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country

By Sierra Crane Murdoch
Narrated by: Sierra Crane Murdoch
Length: 14 hours 56 minutes

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it—an urgent work of literary journalism.

“I don’t know a more complicated, original protagonist in literature than Lissa Yellow Bird, or a more dogged reporter in American journalism than... Read more »
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The Socrates Express

In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers

By Eric Weiner
Narrated by: Eric Weiner
Length: 11 hours 20 minutes

The New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss embarks on a rollicking intellectual journey, following in the footsteps of history’s greatest thinkers and showing us how each—from Epicurus to Gandhi, Thoreau to Beauvoir—offers practical and spiritual lessons for today’s unsettled times.

We turn to philosophy for the same reasons... Read more »
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A Song Below Water

A Novel

By Bethany C. Morrow
Narrated by: Andrea Laing & Jennifer Haralson
Length: 9 hours 23 minutes

A Song Below Water

“I loved this book so much; hands down one of my new favorites! This is an incredibly moving story of sisterhood, female power, and finding your voice and using it for good. As a mixed woman, it felt as though Bethany C. Morrow reached into my heart and mind and was speaking for me - verbalizing emotions I’ve never been able to describe before. Her magical mix of mythos and current events provides an in-depth narrative of the crippling impact of silencing black lives and voices. An incredibly timely story that will empower readers of all ages. A must read!”

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore image Sara, Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore
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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

By Garth Nix
Narrated by: Marisa Calin
Length: 11 hours 15 minutes

A girl's quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime... Read more »
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