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River Bend Staff Favorites

A few of our all time favorite audiobooks.

Playlist Tags: River Bend Bookshop audience: booksellers

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The Groom Will Keep His Name

And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance

By Matt Ortile
Narrated by: Matt Ortile
Length: 9 hours 26 minutes

A riotous collection of "witty and captivating" essays by a gay Filipino immigrant in America who is learning that everything is about sex (Bitch Magazine) -- and sex is about power.
When Matt Ortile moved from Manila to Las Vegas, the locals couldn't pronounce his name. Harassed as a kid for his brown skin, accent, and femininity, he believed... Read more »

Audiobook details

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Ruby Dee
Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love... 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

“This is not your usual mystery - it's a piecing together not of facts but of the soul. How did Vivek Oji die? The answer is complex, told in layered stories from Vivek's life from the ones who loved him the most. This book is about the parts of ourselves we hold secret, and the ones that make us feel the most free. It's honest, compelling, heartbreaking, and hopeful; it's a story you will never forget.”

Avid Bookshop image Christy, Avid Bookshop
Audiobook details

Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“A racial comedy of manners for the digital age, Such a Fun Age is a hilarious and cringe-inducing look at white people trying to do the right thing: badly, and for all the wrong reasons. Nicole Lewis's reading is a dazzling feat: expertly code-switching between the voice Emira uses with her friends, to the voice she uses with her boss, Alix, to the voice her boss's suburban black friend, Tamara, uses with Alix, to the voice Tamara uses with Emira. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book half as much without this effortlessly nuanced narration.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table
Audiobook details

The City We Became

A Novel
The Great Cities Trilogy: Book #1

By N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 16 hours 12 minutes

The City We Became

“What did I just listen to and why did I like it so much? Part of falling in love with this book was the listening experience, to be certain. The narration was stellar. The production was on point. But the story... the story itself is sublime. N.K. Jemisin has written a love letter to New York City - but not the one in bright, bold letters on the silver screen - the real city, and the real people who inhabit it and call it home, even if only temporarily. And it was beyond my wildest dreams (and nightmares). "The City We Became" is so incredibly layered and nuanced - diving into discussions of racism and sexism and the fallacy of good vs evil. I wanted nothing more than to steep in its long chapters, and get to know its boroughs as intimately as Jemisin would allow - not mere stereotypes but fully fleshed and brilliant, blinding avatars. Witty, subversive, imaginative, unbelievable. Get on this wild ride.”

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

Milk Blood Heat

Stories

By Dantiel W. Moniz
Narrated by: Machelle Williams
Length: 5 hours 31 minutes

Milk Blood Heat

Milk Blood Heat grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The prose blisters with a beauty so raw and intense it borders on horrifying. With widely differing characters, voices, and settings, each story makes its own unique contribution to the collection, yet each propels the reader onward in turn. Dantiel W. Moniz is a jaw-dropping new star on the literary stage.”

River Bend Bookshop image Audrey Beatty, River Bend Bookshop
Audiobook details

Good Talk

A Memoir in Conversations

By Mira Jacob & Full Cast
Narrated by: Mira Jacob, Kivlighan de Montebello & Full Cast
Length: 2 hours 46 minutes

A bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.

“By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it’s exactly the book America needs at this moment.”—Celeste Ng

How brown is too brown?

Can Indians be racist?
What does... Read more »

Audiobook details

Class Act

By Jerry Craft
Narrated by: Nile Bullock, Jesus Del Orden, Guy Lockard, Marc Thompson, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, January LaVoy, Phoebe Strole, Jordan Cobb, A.J. Beckles, Robin Miles, Ron Butler, Miles Harvey, Kim Mai Guest, Kyla Garcia & Soneela Nankani
Length: 2 hours 6 minutes

New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft returns with a companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it’s Jordan’s friend Drew who takes center stage in another laugh-out-loud funny, powerful, and important story about being one of the few kids of color in... Read more »

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Social Purpose Annual Report

Social Purpose Annual Report

As we look to the future as a Social Purpose Corporation, we’re committed to serving readers and independent bookstores. Read our 2020 Annual Report to see an overview of the year.

Read the Report

Station Eleven

A novel

By Emily St. John Mandel
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes

2014 National Book Award Finalist

A New York Times Bestseller


An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for... Read more »

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Untamed

By Glennon Doyle
Narrated by: Glennon Doyle
Length: 8 hours 21 minutes

Untamed

“I read this book non-stop for a week, underlining, reading passages to my friends & recommending it to anyone with a pulse. There are many great stories inside, but their charm & power, really, is all Glennon. She is a spiritual seeker & leader who loves reality tv, a formidable activist on the global scale who gets anxiety sweats when the doorbell rings. Equal parts poetic & conversational, memoir & manifesto. Her love story will make you swoon. Her shamelessness & relentless self-interrogation will make you feel deeply exposed. This is not a "you can do it, girl!" book. It's more like a spiritual marathon that invites you to jump the guardrail & take off.”

Apotheosis Comics image Elon, Apotheosis Comics
Audiobook details

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

A Novel

By Juliet Grames
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 16 hours 57 minutes

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

“Stella Fortuna: With a name like this, she should not be subjected to so many near-death accidents. Is she unlucky or cursed? Juliet Grames does a masterful job of parsing out Stella’s story, from growing up in an isolated mountain village to immigrating to America and navigating the perils of a patriarchal society along the way. This story explores familial bonds, discontentment, betrayal, and the damage of keeping secrets. Readers, get comfortable because you will not want to put this book down. I loved Stella.”

The Hickory Stick Bookshop image Patricia Moody, The Hickory Stick Bookshop
Audiobook details

Luster

A Novel

By Raven Leilani
Narrated by: Ariel Blake
Length: 6 hours 39 minutes

Luster

“Edie's story reveals the complicated truths of dating in your 20s, while also discussing being Black, class, and depression. This short book gives all of the feels.”

Old Firehouse Books image Tara, Old Firehouse Books
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

Anxious People

A Novel

By Fredrik Backman
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes

Anxious People

“At its simplest, we could just say this is a story about the human condition. Backman’s wry and deceptively simple storytelling provides us an exquisite and astute study of the little complexities that fills our lives with joy and pain. Through his rich story exploring second chances, missed opportunities, and unintended consequences, he captures the essence of what it means to be human and the complexities of navigating relationships with each other by exploring what we say and do not say to one another. The audio version is absolutely spectacular. The narrator brings each character to life with unique and spot-on personalities that I cannot imagine creating myself in my head. Her delivery of the dialogue and story is spot on and kept me laughing throughout.”

Bright Side Bookshop image Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
Audiobook details

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

A Novel

By Ocean Vuong
Narrated by: Ocean Vuong
Length: 7 hours 18 minutes

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

“My words can't do justice to how beautiful the language is in this book. Listening to the author read it was so raw and engaging. This book was emotionally painful in a lot of parts but just touched me on so many levels. Definitely the best book that I've listened to (and read) so far this year.”

Tattered Cover image Suzie, Tattered Cover
Audiobook details

The Poet X

By Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes

The Poet X

“The Poet X is written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is a novel made up of poems by a teenager, Xiomara Batista, growing up in Harlem. Acevedo's narration is wonderful and brings the story to life. Xiomara's dad is MIA even though he lives at home; her mother is extremely religious and pushes her faith onto her daughter; her twin brother is quiet and also working through his own feelings; she starts her first relationship with a guy; and all the time Xiomara is told what she can and cannot do, gets accosted by men, has to defend herself because no one else will, is questioning God and has no one to open up to. She releases her pent of feelings in a notebook. It isn't until her new English teacher introduces her to spoken poetry that she realizes that is what she is meant to be: a poet. This is a lovely story of a young, misunderstood girl, coming of age and showing the world that she is worth it. Great for adults who enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and extremely relevant literature for the #metoo movement.”

M. Judson Booksellers image Kelly, M. Judson Booksellers
Audiobook details

Other Words for Home

By Jasmine Warga
Narrated by: Vaneh Assadourian
Length: 3 hours 49 minutes

Other Words for Home

“Jasmine Warga's verse beautifully illustrate the struggles and heartache when starting a new life. Through the eyes of a young Syrian girl we learn the hopes and dreams not so unlike any other kid. We learn the conflicts faced when moving to a new country and trying to create a home in America. A great listen!!”

Content image Emma, Content
Audiobook details

The Dutch House

A Novel

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

The Dutch House

“The Dutch House is an engrossing story that spans over 50 years. It is about a house and the memories that it holds. The story revolves around Danny and Maeve, a brother and sister who love each other deeply - more than any other person including Danny's wife. They share a sad childhood in which their Mother disappears with very little explanation. They are brought up by their distant father who loves their home, The Dutch House, more than his children or his second wife. When he dies suddenly in his 50's, the second wife takes everything and throws Danny and Maeve out of the house. The siblings manage and continue to be each other's lifeline. I enjoyed this book tremendously and developed great affection for the siblings, even with their complex, dysfunctional dynamics. An added bonus: Tom Hanks reads the story with plenty of heart and soul.”

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

There There

A novel

By Tommy Orange
Narrated by: Darrell Dennis, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Alma Cuervo & Kyla Garcia
Length: 7 hours 59 minutes

There There

“Heartbreaking and necessary, this book is raw, powerful, and storytelling at its finest. It's a woven tapestry of the urban Indian experience as few outside these communities have seen it. Vignettes follow 12 people through time and space as they make their way to the Big Oakland Powwow. Each person has their own struggles with identity, life, the powwow; with living, loving, addiction, and employment; with heart and soul and happiness and everything else that makes up the complicated human story, but most especially the complex Indian experience in America. This debut novel was longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction. ”

River Dog Book Co. image BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
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