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When we are choosing audiobooks we want stories that carry us away. Whether we're exploring a magical world or caught up in a romantic intrigue, we want to enjoy rich writing and brilliant performances. The titles we have chosen for this list are great reads and terrific listening experiences. These are the kind of books that make us sit in the car at the end of a long drive just so we can finish the chapter!

Playlist Tags: Rakestraw Books

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Wolf Hall

A Novel
Wolf Hall Trilogy: Book #1

By Hilary Mantel
Narrated by: Simon Slater
Length: 22 hours 59 minutes

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political power

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years,... Read more »

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Across the Nightingale Floor

Tales of the Otori Book One
The Tales of the Otori: Book #1

By Lian Hearn
Narrated by: Kevin Gray & Aiko Nakasone
Length: 8 hours 25 minutes

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated "Tales of the Otori" trilogy.

Sixteen-year-old Takeo's village has been massacred by an evil warlord, and he is about to be slain by the men who murdered his parents and neighbors. At the last moment, his... Read more »

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White Teeth

A Novel

By Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Lenny Henry, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ray Panthaki & Arya Sagar
Length: 18 hours 37 minutes

Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie... Read more »

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Summerland

A Novel

By Michael Chabon
Narrated by: Michael Chabon
Length: 15 hours 28 minutes

From the Pulitzer Prize winning Michael Chabon comes this bestselling novel for readers of all ages that blends fantasy and folklore with that most American coming-of-age ritual: baseball—now in a new edition, with an original introduction by the author.

Ethan Feld is having a terrible summer: his father has moved them to Clam Island, Washington,... Read more »

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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
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Rules for Visiting

A Novel

By Jessica Francis Kane
Narrated by: Emily Rankin
Length: 6 hours 33 minutes

Rules for Visiting

“A skillful writer can show how things that seem unrelated are actually intertwined. In this way, Kane quietly reminds us that friendships and plants may be deeply rooted but need tending to bloom completely, that words matter, that going back to their roots may change how we think about what we say, and that a quiet life can be a full one. This gentle book grows on you (the puns just keep coming), but it is a refreshing change from the stresses of our digital age or the angst of so many recent books about contemporary life. Entertaining and erudite, I highly recommend this book.”

Ann Carlson image Ann Carlson, Waterfront Books
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The Authenticity Project

A Novel

By Clare Pooley
Narrated by: Anna Cordell
Length: 10 hours 24 minutes

The Authenticity Project

“Lovely story with great characters! Light enough, but still moving. I'm a little sad to be finished with it, honestly, and I'm already hoping for a sequel. Are you listening Penguin Random House? Sequel, please!”

A Little Bookish image Miranda, A Little Bookish
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His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1)

His Dark Materials: Book #1

By Philip Pullman
Narrated by: Philip Pullman, Full Cast, Joanna Wyatt, Rupert Degas, Alison Dowling, Douglas Blackwell, Jill Shilling, Stephen Thorne, Sean Barrett, Garrick Hagon, John O'Connor & Susan Sheridan
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes

HIS DARK MATERIALS IS NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SERIES STARRING DAFNE KEEN, RUTH WILSON, ANDREW SCOTT, AND LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA!

The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where...
Read more »

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Exit West

A Novel

By Mohsin Hamid
Narrated by: Mohsin Hamid
Length: 4 hours 41 minutes

Exit West

“Exit West will take your breath away as it magically weaves together a story of falling in love while the world falls apart. Spirited Nadia captures the heart of the thoughtful Saeed, but as their different paths in life converge, ordinary life gives way to the insults of war. Mohsin Hamid conveys the story of these young refugees with tenderness, humanizing the horrors that we too often see as merely headlines. As chaos touches so many lives around the globe, Hamid writes eloquently of the beauty found in our struggle to survive. This is more than a timely story; this is a remarkable work of art.”

Book Passage image Luisa Smith, Book Passage
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The Magicians

A Novel
Magicians Trilogy

By Lev Grossman
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 17 hours 23 minutes

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world, now an original series on SYFY

The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this.”
—George R.R. Martin
 
“Sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern...
Read more »

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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

A Novel

By Susanna Clarke
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 32 hours 25 minutes

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England-until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician... Read more »

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