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Jocular January Staff Picks

Join us and our jabbering as we jump into January’s jocular staff picks!

Playlist Tags: Off the Beaten Path genre: Non-Classifiable season: winter

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Cobble Hill

A Novel

By Cecily von Ziegesar
Narrated by: Pete Simonelli
Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

“Best Novels of Fall 2020” —Vogu­e
“Most Anticipated List for Fall 2020” —Parade
“Best of Fall 2020” —PopSugar
“Best Books of 2020” —Marie Claire

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Gossip Girl series, a deliciously irresistible novel chronicling a year in the life of four families in an upscale Brooklyn neighborhood as they... Read more »
Audiobook details

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

By V. E. Schwab
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 17 hours 9 minutes

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

“Schwab has a masterpiece on her hands with this title. I loved it from the beginning, and that love grew until the very end. Addie needed to find a way to escape the life she is supposed to live as a woman in France, 1714. “No matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” As the sun sets, she is praying to any god that will listen to help her be free, someone eventually hears her... and they answer. 300 years later Addie walks into a bookstore to find a young man at the counter. Upon her return she realizes he remembers her...”

Paragraphs Bookstore image Maxwell, Paragraphs Bookstore
Audiobook details

Interior Chinatown

A Novel

By Charles Yu
Narrated by: Joel de la Fuente
Length: 4 hours 20 minutes

Interior Chinatown

“We all make choices throughout our lives, choosing different paths to follow, different roles to play. But who selects the options we choose from? Interior Chinatown is like a rapier taken to stereotypes that inhabit society's attitudes towards Asian Americans. The main character, Willis Wu, is a minor actor in an ongoing cop drama who wants to be more than a generic Asian male in the background, maybe even someday becoming "Kung Fu Guy". The novel bounces back and forth between the script Wu is inhabiting and an interior monologue . And one of the strengths of this book, for the reader, is how thin the line sometimes feels between these stereotypical roles that Willis is acting, and the ridiculousness of the particular situation. Interior Chinatown is a brilliant novel, one that challenged this reader in the best possible ways”

Green Apple Books image Martin, Green Apple Books
Audiobook details

The Children's Blizzard

A Novel

By Melanie Benjamin
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 11 hours 25 minutes

The Children's Blizzard

“Melanie Benjamin is at her best in this historical fiction account of the terrifying blizzard of 1888. It seemingly came out of nowhere and caught the residents of the Midwest by surprise, especially the children and teachers who were preparing to go home for the day. Benjamin looks at the lives of two sisters — both teachers at different schools — and how their decisions that day meant life or death for their students. I spent several late nights on this one!”

Fiction Addiction image Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction
Audiobook details

A Rogue of One's Own

A League of Extraordinary Women: Book #2

By Evie Dunmore
Narrated by: Elizabeth Jasicki
Length: 16 hours 2 minutes

A Rogue of One's Own

“Being excited about a follow-up to a debut novel can be fraught — will the second book live up to my expectations? A Rogue of One’s Own absolutely did! Evie Dunmore’s series (the first entry was Bringing Down the Duke) features a quartet of lively suffragettes and the men they fall in love with and bring over to The Cause. The characters are compelling and likable, the relationships solidly built. There are also some interesting tidbits for history buffs, like excerpts of actual letters written by women of the time.”

The Galaxy Bookshop image Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop
Audiobook details

Take a Hint, Dani Brown

A Novel
The Brown Sisters

By Talia Hibbert
Narrated by: Ione Butler
Length: 10 hours

Take a Hint, Dani Brown

“Le swoon. I feel so healed. This book is pure and wonderful and and hilarious and utterly charming. Talia Hibbert has made a fake-dating trope convert out of me - her execution was just that perfect. Dani Brown is the career-focused nerd so many women have been told not to be and I felt so seen in her struggles to balance her needs in a relationship. Zafir Ansari is one of the kindest souls and his mental health and grief struggles were all too relatable. Add a dash of smash the patriarchy, all the sarcasm, and a hint of steam and I do believe you have a perfect concoction to escape the 2020 madness.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
Audiobook details


An unputdownable and absolutely gripping psychological thriller

By Natalie Barelli
Narrated by: Emily Rankin
Length: 9 hours 43 minutes


“I am a big fan of Natalie Barelli's. Her books just keep getting better. Unfaithful is a gripping domestic thriller that captivated my attention from the first page and held it until the last page. Nobody writes an unreliable character/heroine than Natalie Barelli. The story begins with a bang. The shady heroine witnesses one of her favorite students taking his life. She then leaves quickly so as not to be seen. She then drops in on her husband at his studio and finds two wine glasses - one bearing a lipstick stain. I could spill the rest of the story, but then I'd have to kill you. No pun intended. If you are looking for a pageturner to take your mind off this nightmare of a Pandemic, this book is for you. The narration was topnotch.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

Space Unicorn Blues

Space Unicorn: Book #1

By T.J. Berry
Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
Length: 11 hours 56 minutes

A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut. Having magical powers makes you less than human, a resource to be exploited. Half-unicorn Gary Cobalt is sick of slavery, captivity, and his horn being ground down to power faster-than-light travel. When he's finally free, al Read more »l...
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If I Knew Then

Finding wisdom in failure and power in aging

By Jann Arden
Narrated by: Jann Arden
Length: 3 hours 9 minutes

If I Knew Then

“ There comes a time in all our lives when we say, “If I knew then, ...” In this memoir, Jann Arden takes us there with humor, warmth, and honesty. Her words resonated deeply with me, a woman “of a certain age”. She reflects on growing up and growing older, on the ways her body has changed, on her father’s alcoholism, on her parents’ dementia and Altzheimer’s disease and deaths, and on the wisdom she has gained along the way. Some of us can relate very intimately with her story; others can relate to the humanity of it - to the conflicting emotions, to the loss, love, change, and growth. And above all, to the humor and hope. This is an entertaining and thought- and emotion-provoking quick listen.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
Audiobook details

Ordinary Insanity

Fear and the Silent Crisis of Motherhood in America

By Sarah Menkedick
Narrated by: Sarah Menkedick
Length: 14 hours 53 minutes

A groundbreaking exposé and diagnosis of the silent epidemic of fear afflicting new mothers, and a candid, feminist deep dive into the culture, science, history, and psychology of contemporary motherhood
Anxiety among mothers is a growing but largely unrecognized crisis. In the transition to mother­hood and the years that follow, countles Read more »s...
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Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

By Robert Kolker
Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 13 hours 8 minutes

Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York TimesThe Washington Post, NPR, TIME, SlateSmithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon 

The heartrending story... Read more »
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No Barriers

A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon

By Erik Weihenmayer & Buddy Levy
Narrated by: Holter Graham
Length: 19 hours 34 minutes

Erik Weihenmayer is the first and only blind person to summit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Descending carefully, he and his team picked their way across deep crevasses and through the deadly Khumbu Icefall; when the mountain was finally behind him, Erik knew he was going to live. His expedition leader slapped him on the back and... Read more »

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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
Audiobook details

Amari and the Night Brothers

Supernatural Investigations: Book #1

By B. B. Alston
Narrated by: Imani Parks
Length: 11 hours 11 minutes

If you enjoyed The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle, then you’ll love Amari and the Night Brothers.

“This book was fun! As a reference point, I would say it's a Spy Kids/Men in Black/Percy Jackson/Harry Potter hybrid but honestly, it's in a class all of it's own. Amari was a wonderful main character. She is super smart and caring and despite the absolute terribleness of her peers, prevails by learning to trust herself and use her talents to stand out. There was lots of blatant and unpunished racism, classism, and and brutal meanness coming from the majority of Amari's classmates, both in the non-supernatural world and in the Bureau. On their first day, all trainees have to touch a magical orb and one of their already present abilities gets magnified and becomes a special ability (ie general luckiness becomes unnatural/always happens luckiness). When Amari is bestowed with an illegal ability, she becomes the target of both racism and a form of intense otherism in the supernatural world. I also loved her friendship with Elsie, who was the last of weredragons (like werewolves but for dragons!) and suffered her own share of bullies and otherism for being a bit dorky and for not having shifted to her dragon form yet. The audiobook edition of this novel was well done. Imani Parks gives a perfect voice to Amari and the other young main characters. This is a great read for juvenile readers (anywhere from advanced an advance 8/9 years to teens) and is fun and exciting for adults as well so would also be a great read-aloud book for guardians with younger readers. I would recommend for avid Percy Jackson and Harry Potter fans, those that enjoy spy or adventure books, and even those who enjoy fairy tale epics.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

Early Departures

By Justin A. Reynolds
Narrated by: A.J. Beckles & Preston Butler III
Length: 7 hours 44 minutes

Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, returns with another charming and powerful YA contemporary novel with a speculative twist, perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, Becky Albertalli, and Adam Silvera.

What if you could bring your best friend back to life—but only for a short time?

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and... Read more »

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Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone: Book #1

By Laini Taylor
Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
Length: 12 hours 32 minutes

In a nation on the brink of war, a young art student's star-crossed love begins to bloom in the first book of the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy trilogy by award-winning author Laini Taylor.
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dar Read more »k...
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Teen Killers Club

By Lily Sparks
Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky
Length: 10 hours 40 minutes

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she's convicted of her best friend Rose's brutal murder, she's designated a Class A—the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile.To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for eighteen-and-under Class As and is... Read more »

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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. Crim Read more »e...
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Concrete Rose

By Angie Thomas
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 8 hours 17 minutes

International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood.

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that... Read more »

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