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Staff Picks Wall

Staff Picks Wall

Listen to Commonplace Reader's Staff Picks; our best guess at your best listening experience.

Playlist Tags: Commonplace Reader genre: Fiction & Literature adult fiction season

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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
Audiobook details

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

By Lisa Wingate
Narrated by: Emily Rankin & Catherine Taber
Length: 14 hours 27 minutes

Before We Were Yours

“Based loosely on a very real institution, I was quickly drawn into the story. The narrative went back and forth in time and I could hardly wait to reach the connection between the past and present.”

Fenton's Open Book image Constance, Fenton's Open Book
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Conversations with Friends

A Novel

By Sally Rooney
Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 8 hours 20 minutes

A sharply intelligent novel about friendship, lust, jealousy, and the unexpected complications of adulthood in the 21st century

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a... Read more »

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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

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

The Vanishing Half

“The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett definitely lives up to the glowing reviews it has been receiving. The story reveals an interesting perspective on this history of race in the United States, while also telling a universal story of difficult decisions that change the course of life forever. Bennett doesn't offer pretty bows to tie up her narrative, but a realistic portrait of what we will sacrifice on behalf of our futures.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
Audiobook details

All the Light We Cannot See

A Novel

By Anthony Doerr
Narrated by: Zach Appelman
Length: 16 hours 2 minutes

Winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction

*Winner of the Pulitzer Prize* A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book* A National Book Award Finalist*

From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a... Read more »

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Saint X

A Novel

By Alexis Schaitkin
Narrated by: Alex Hyde-White, Bailey Carr, Dana Dae, Dave Fennoy, Dean Gallagher, Denise Nelson, Ella Turenne, Josh Petersdorf, Kate Orsini, Melinda Wade, Prentice Onayemi, Ron Butler, Ryan Vincent Anderson & Tristan Wright
Length: 12 hours 25 minutes

Saint X

““....some truths will never be enough...” Unbelievable debut author. The twists and turns lead you to a place you never would have guessed.”

HearthFire Books and Treats image Mollie, HearthFire Books and Treats
Audiobook details

The Dutch House

A Novel

By Ann Patchett
Narrated by: Tom Hanks
Length: 9 hours 52 minutes

The Dutch House

“Any novel by Ann Patchett is going to include little sparks of description that catch in the imagination, moments of dialogue so good that you forget later you weren't there, and stories that capture your heart as well as a zeitgeist. In The Dutch House, Patchett creates a narrator standing at the intersection of poverty, dream, privilege, and family, confused by the gap between his sister's memory of hardship and his own experience of wealth - and loss. Tom Hanks narrates this audiobook fully in character, his pacing capturing the main character's moments of realization: the cook had a husband? The strangely designed, luxurious Dutch House had shaped his relationship with his sister far more after they couldn't go back! His mother and his sister shared taste in books? How? His children are curious about things he'd never thought important! ...It's a novel beautifully suited to our cultural moment - a time of economic loss and uncertainty about basically everything except the bonds of love we want to protect - and an audio performance perfect for the novel. Five stars and two thumbs up!”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
Audiobook details

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 22 hours 40 minutes

The Warmth of Other Suns

“I'm sorry I hadn't gotten to this sooner. Wilkerson pulls together so much of what I already knew about the US but not necessarily why... a great audiobook, too.”

Flyleaf Books image Jamie, Flyleaf Books
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The Witch Elm

A Novel

By Tana French
Narrated by: Paul Nugent
Length: 22 hours 6 minutes

The Witch Elm

“A burglary gone awry, a near-perfect life destroyed, a mind torn. Toby is caring for his dying uncle and finding himself again. When a skull is found in the wych elm, it seems that a decades-old murder may tear apart a family and Toby himself, as he tries to piece together what happened—and what he might have done. A haunting novel portrayed by a narrator unreliable to himself.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz image Jocelyn, Bookshop Santa Cruz
Audiobook details

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club)

A Novel

By Jeanine Cummins
Narrated by: Yareli Arizmendi
Length: 16 hours 55 minutes

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club)

“American Dirt can only be described as riveting. I could not stop listening to this compulsive, spine-tingling story. I positively loved this book. There is not a dull moment in it. I highly recommend listening to this book when you have some time on your hands because you won't want to turn it off. The narrator of this book is one of the best that I have listened to. She has a pleasing voice, a lovely accent, and gives just enough drama to the words.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

A Novel

By Laura Imai Messina
Narrated by: Traci Kato-Kiriyama
Length: 5 hours 19 minutes

The international bestselling novel sold in 21 countries, about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected “wind” phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami

When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from... Read more »

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Things I Learned from Falling

A Memoir

By Claire Nelson
Narrated by: Claire Nelson
Length: 7 hours 24 minutes

The gripping first-person account of one woman's survival in Joshua Tree National Park against the odds.

"A vibrantly physical book"—The Guardian  •  "Uplifting and brave"—Stylist  •   "A riveting account of loneliness, anxiety and survival"—Cosmopolitan

In 2018, writer Claire Nelson made international headlines when she fell over 25 feet after...

Read more »

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Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 12 hours 11 minutes

Where the Crawdads Sing

“Everyone that Kya has ever known has abandoned her. From the time that she was a young child she is left behind. After the student truancy officers track her down and get her to school the children laugh at her so she retreats to the only place that she feels normal - the marshland of North Carolina. She perseveres when she has every strike against her. She fends for herself and studies the natural surroundings of the marsh carefully. She paints and catalogs her collections, studies animal biology carefully, and becomes more in tune with nature than with the townspeople who call her "The Marsh Girl." Then one day the town's "golden boy" Chase Andrews ends up dead and Kya is the one that is suspected of killing him. The story that unfolds will draw you in - I was consumed with the story to the point where I could think about little else during the day because I had to know what happened next in the book. I laughed, I cried, I did fist pumps when things go well for Kya... this book infected me and I'm still having a tough time with the idea that the book is over. I'll carry these characters and this story with me for a long time.”

The Bookstore at Fitger's image Jennifer, The Bookstore at Fitger's
Audiobook details

The Book of Lost Friends

A Novel

By Lisa Wingate
Narrated by: Sophie Amoss, Lisa Flanagan, Dominic Hoffman, Sullivan Jones, Robin Miles, Bahni Turpin & Lisa Wingate
Length: 15 hours 6 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a dramatic historical novel of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

“An absorbing historical . . ....
Read more »

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Monogamy

A Novel

By Sue Miller
Narrated by: Sue Miller
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes

If you enjoyed Hieroglyphics, then you’ll love Monogamy.

“I could hardly wait to get in my car and start the audio of Sue Miller reading her novel Monogamy, a welcome relief from radio news! The story of Annie and her marriage -- before, during, and as a widow -- it is also a perspective on other loyalties, besides the one to a spouse: friendships, "steps and exes," children, neighbors, even Annie's husband's loyalty to the bookshop he owns. The author's gentle reading invites thoughtful reflection on Annie's tale.”

Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza image Cheryl, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza
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The Exiles

A Novel

By Christina Baker Kline
Narrated by: Caroline Lee
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

The Exiles

“This is an amazing book filled with unforgettable characters and an in-depth exploration of a time from history that I have never seen covered before. But listening to it just makes the experience of the story so much richer! The accents, character names, and places, when read by the talented voice actors, make experience so much more vibrant!”

Anderson's Bookshop image Kerry, Anderson's Bookshop
Audiobook details

Migrations

A Novel

By Charlotte McConaghy
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

Migrations

“Migrations is an unusual and amazing story – a bit of a modern Moby Dick. Franny is broken and adrift after years of searching for a sense of her troubled life and hope for our planet. Animals are extinct, except possibly a few Arctic Terns who Franny is determined to follow. The crew on the Saghani adds great depth to the story. Lovely prose especially of nature and expertly placed flashbacks of Franny’s past troubles adds just the right amount of suspense and insight to Franny’s determination. Don’t peak, but…the ending is perfect.”

Bookworm of Edwards image Karin, Bookworm of Edwards
Audiobook details

The Overstory

By Richard Powers
Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
Length: 22 hours 58 minutes

The Overstory

“Do you love trees? Probably not as much as Richard Powers does! This books weaves together the converging stories of nine characters, but they really function as a means to probe the perspective of the trees themselves. With lyrical prose and amazing stories of naturalist history, this is an epic of environmental literature.”

Avid Bookshop image David, Avid Bookshop
Audiobook details

Ready Player Two

A Novel

By Ernest Cline
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 13 hours 46 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST • “The game is on again. . . . A great mix of exciting fantasy and threatening... Read more »

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) (Unabridged edition)

Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 16 hours 16 minutes

Ambition will fuel him.Competition will drive him.But power has its price.

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on... Read more »

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