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Staff Picks for Adults

Staff Picks for Adults

The Wild Rumpus staff's favorite audiobooks for adults, including fiction and non-fiction. (Organized from newest to oldest publication date.)

Playlist Tags: Wild Rumpus Books genre: Fiction

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The City of Good Death

By Priyanka Champaneri
Narrated by: Manish Dongardive
Length: 14 hours 56 minutes

Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Priyanka Champaneri’s transcendent debut novel brings us inside India’s holy city of Banaras, where the manager of a death hostel shepherds the dying who seek the release of a good death, while his own past refuses to let him go.

Banaras, Varanasi, Kashi: India’s holy city on the banks...

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How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Novel

By Cherie Jones
Narrated by: Danielle Vitalis
Length: 8 hours 41 minutes

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

“I could listen to this narrator on Libro.fm read the dictionary and still be mesmerized. This is an emotional story of multi-generational abuse, suffered from class and race differences, and at the hands of loved ones. It paints an intimate portrayal of all the people on Baxter's Beach, tourists and residents alike. ”

Bright Side Bookshop image Amy, Bright Side Bookshop
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Kill the Mall

By Pasha Malla
Narrated by: Anand Rajaram
Length: 6 hours 51 minutes

Kill the Mall

“Lovers of the absurd, this is the listen for you. A unique critique of malls and what they represent, Kill the Mall kept me highly entertained and frequently shaking my head in bemusement at the thoughts, fantasies, and actions of the narrator.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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A Promised Land

By Barack Obama
Narrated by: Barack Obama
Length: 29 hours 9 minutes

A Promised Land

“No one really needs my blurb to help sell this book, but I wanted to give it anyway, especially for the audiobook, narrated by Barack Obama himself. If you want to know his incredible knowledge and wisdom that guided him through major decisions, and also hear him drop a few F-bombs, you need to listen to this fantastically written book. ”

Quail Ridge Books image Amber, Quail Ridge Books
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The Best of Me

By David Sedaris
Narrated by: David Sedaris
Length: 13 hours 8 minutes

The Best of Me

“As if there is anything greater than a new David Sedaris, it's listening to David Sedaris read the new David Sedaris. This self-edited collection of essays from his prolific 25-year career is exactly what we need to boost the morale of 2020 and remind ourselves what a crazy world we've always lived in when viewed through Sedaris's keen observational eye and told with his unique & irreverent voice. The Best of Me is perfect for both long-time fans or those reading Sedaris for the first time and the audio read by the author means no nuance is left behind.”

Literally Speaking image Jessica, Literally Speaking
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Memorial

A Novel

By Bryan Washington
Narrated by: Bryan Washington & Akie Kotabe
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes

Memorial

“This quiet character driven novel truly illustrates the complexities of relationships. From friends, lovers, parents and acquaintances, and how one presents themselves differently in each setting. I listened to this and it was just beautifully narrated by the author and Akie Kotabe and you are instantly transported to Texas and Japan in both Mike and Benson's world. ”

Belmont Books image Audrey, Belmont Books
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Leave the World Behind

A Novel

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

Leave the World Behind

“Eerie and timely, Leave the World Behind will be the next book to talk about. Rumaan Alam is now solidified as a must-read author for me. He lures the reader in with excellent character development as well as family drama when the book takes a sudden turn. Slowly and masterfully, he starts building tension and suspense while teasing the reader with ominous threats in the background. Before you know it, you’ve stayed up half the night racing to the end of the book. It’s a fast read but a powerful book asking important questions.”

BookShop West Portal image Katerina, BookShop West Portal
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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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Tender is the Flesh

By Agustina Bazterrica
Narrated by: Joseph Balderrama
Length: 6 hours 43 minutes

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made... Read more »

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The Death of Vivek Oji

A Novel

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

If you enjoyed Homegoing, then you’ll love The Death of Vivek Oji.

“I am fairly new to audiobooks because I've found myself to be incredibly picky when it comes to narration. That being said, I couldn't have picked a better book to listen to. Not only is this a beautiful and important story, but the narrators are nothing short of brilliant. I still think about this one often and highly recommend!”

The Yankee Bookshop image Nichole, The Yankee Bookshop
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The Hollow Ones

By Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, and an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.
Odessa Hardwicke's life is derailed when she's forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly,... Read more »

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The Ghost in the House

By Sara O'Leary
Narrated by: Athena Karkanis
Length: 4 hours 21 minutes

What if a ghost were haunting your house? What if you were the ghost?
 
Everything in Fay's life is perfect--living in the house she dreamed of as a child, married to a man she loves, and planning her life as an artist. Her life seems full of possibility. Then, late one night, Fay realizes that something has gone wrong.
 
Things have altered in... Read more »

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Notes on a Silencing

A Memoir

By Lacy Crawford
Narrated by: Lacy Crawford
Length: 11 hours 5 minutes

A "powerful and scary and important and true" memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her—at any cost (Sally Mann, author of Hold Still).

Shortlisted for the 2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

When Notes on a Silencing hit... Read more »

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Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes

Mexican Gothic

“A bit spooky with some underlining themes of science and the power of racism. There’s a feel of modern Bronte sisters here which adds to the intrigue of this original gothic tale. I loved Noemi, the well-educated bright young protagonist who has a great sense of justice and can stare down evil all while being sophisticated and alluring. Great listening!”

Bookworm of Edwards image Karin, Bookworm of Edwards
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The Power of Ritual

Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices

By Casper ter Kuile
Narrated by: Casper ter Kuile
Length: 5 hours 54 minutes

Casper ter Kuile, a Harvard Divinity School fellow and cohost of the popular Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices—yoga, reading, walking the dog—into sacred rituals that can heal our crisis of social isolation and struggle to find purpose—a message we need more...

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Saving Ruby King

A Novel

By Catherine Adel West
Narrated by: Kim Staunton, Imani Parks, Ron Butler, Adam Lazarre-White, Lloyd Roberson II & Terra Strong Lyons
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes

Saving Ruby King

“Saving Ruby King is a slow burn—a richly woven three-generation history of two families on the south side of Chicago, bound forever by trauma and religion. A tragic murder in the present unearths secret wrongdoings of the past. Intergenerational trauma is a primary focus, and the given circumstances allow readers to both hate and empathize with nearly all of the main characters. The full cast—including the omniscient church building—narrates the audiobook beautifully. Readers will learn that the bonds of true friendship can withstand anything. Trigger warnings: domestic violence, incest, rape.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Devolution

A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

By Max Brooks
Narrated by: Judy Greer, Max Brooks, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, Mira Furlan, Terry Gross, Kimberly Guerrero, Kate Mulgrew, Kai Ryssdal & Steven Weber
Length: 9 hours 49 minutes

Devolution

“Made the mistake of listening to this book before going to sleep and subsequently spent an hour after turning off my phone staring at the shadows at the corners of my room as they morphed into bigfoot. Hauntingly written and beautifully performed.”

The Cupboard Maker Books image Sam, The Cupboard Maker Books
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A Burning

A novel

By Megha Majumdar
Narrated by: Vikas Adam, Priya Ayyar, Deepti Gupta, Ulka Simone Mohanty, Soneela Nankani & Neil Shah
Length: 7 hours 21 minutes

A Burning

“A Burning tells the all-too-believable story of Javin, a teen-age girl in India who has left school, despite being an excellent student, to get a job and help her struggling family. After a comment against the government on facebook, she is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, largely because she is a Muslim. Her story is the central of three comprising the novel. PT Sir is Javin’s physical education teacher who, largely through chance, becomes involved with the leading nationalist political party. And Lovely is a trans woman aspiring to be a film star whom Jivan is tutoring in English. As Jivan’s arrest and trial unfold, the stories of all three characters develop in alternating chapters told from each of their points of view. This novel is not only a compelling tale of each of the characters’ lives and the impact of PT Sir’s and Lovely’s actions on Jivan’s fate, but it is a critical examination of nationalism in India today – and thus a cautionary tale about nationalist extremism anywhere in the world.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“This is an intriguing story, part family saga, part social commentary, about twin sisters whose lives diverged into two very different directions. Desiree and Stella grew up in Mallard, Louisiana, a place that didn't show up on any map and a community that in the 1960s was racist in a peculiar way: the population was almost exclusively very light-skinned African Americans, many of whom could pass for white. Fourteen years before the story begins, Desiree and Stella suddenly left home together to find work in New Orleans. Shortly afterwards, Stella disappeared without a trace. Desiree married, had a child, and in 1968 decided to return to Mallard to her mother's house to escape an abusive husband. Skipping ahead ten years to 1978, we meet Stella, who has also married and had a child, and now lives in California in an exclusively white upscale neighborhood where not even her husband knows about her African American blood. In a coincidence that the author makes seem believable, the twins' daughters meet, and Stella's secret is in danger of being exposed. Bennett's characters are well-developed and provide a clearly-drawn portrait of race, gender, and the ties that hold families and relationships together.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Alice, Blue Willow Bookshop
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Almond

A Novel

By Won-pyung Sohn
Narrated by: Greg Chun
Length: 4 hours 51 minutes

This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. 

One of the monsters is me.

Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and...

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