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Newtonville Books Staff Picks: Audio Version

Here are some exquisite stories to listen to during quarantine!

Playlist Tags: Newtonville Books bookstore-created

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This Will Be My Undoing

Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America

By Morgan Jerkins
Narrated by: Morgan Jerkins
Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

This Will Be My Undoing

“This book ravaged and then healed my weary soul. A micro and macro look at the exhaustion and triumph of black womanhood, Jerkins' essays are poignant enough on their own. When linked together in her book, the pieces become the subtle knife cutting through the membrane of gender and racial disparity that covers our country. Jerkins uses herself not simply as a reference point, but as a dissection, laid on the table and explained.”

WORD Bookstores image Hannah Oliver Depp, WORD Bookstores
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Wandering in Strange Lands

A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots

By Morgan Jerkins
Narrated by: Morgan Jerkins
Length: 8 hours 3 minutes

Wandering in Strange Lands

“In Wandering in Strange Lands, Morgan Jerkins brings us along on her journey to learn about her ancestors and herself. This fascinating ethnography leads Jerkins down paths she anticipated and, perhaps most interestingly, down unexpected ones. As she learns more about where and whom she came from, she confronts her image of herself and grapples with some of the truths she finds. Jerkens’s journey takes us first to the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, home of the Gullah Geechee people, and then to Louisiana and its Creole people. In both places, she learns much about her mother’s and father’s families. From there, we travel to Oklahoma where Jerkins explores connections between Native Americans and African Americans, searching for information about the claims in her family of Native American ancestry. And finally, we land in Los Angeles, where Jerkins’s research culminates in a thoughtful and insightful examination of what it means to be Black in the United States. The history, the people, the insight, and the implications of the information in this book make it not only incredibly interesting, but also a significant contribution to our understanding of cultures and connections in the United States.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
Audiobook details

Separation Anxiety

A Novel

By Laura Zigman
Narrated by: Courtney Patterson
Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Separation Anxiety

“Told with humor, wit, and wisdom, Laura Zigman’s novel explores the unexpected trials of middle age. We follow Judy Vogel, who is rebounding from the recent deaths of her parents, struggling with writer’s block, juggling financial issues, coping with a failing marriage, and raising an adolescent son. When she comes across her son’s old baby sling, she starts to wear the family dog as a unique form of support. This thought-provoking novel is full of heart, hope, and the strength to move forward.”

Lake Forest Book Store image Maxwell Gregory, Lake Forest Book Store
Audiobook details

Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
Length: 11 hours 26 minutes

If you enjoyed We All Love the Beautiful Girls, then you’ll love Little Fires Everywhere.

“Readers who enjoyed the run away hit Little Fires Everywhere will devour this new, slightly edgier fiction release, We All Love the Beautiful Girls.”

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

The Glass Hotel

A novel

By Emily St. John Mandel
Narrated by: Dylan Moore
Length: 10 hours 28 minutes

If you enjoyed The Dutch House, then you’ll love The Glass Hotel.

“This is not a trite story of redemption. It ends with a reunion, perhaps the only meaningful kind of reunion, though it changes nothing. There are dozens of kinds of heartbreak, and none of them are mended in any conventional way. Characters who seemed cruel and characters who seemed incorruptible turn out, in dozens of ways, to be more alike than different, but without cynicism and without sentimentalism. And one perfectly timed revelation at the very end gives two characters precisely the resolution they craved, though the revelation neither draws them together nor has a similar effect on them both. And yet—and yet—this is a book exactly and precisely about redemption, maybe the only kind that ever really makes a positive difference in the world, and it gives hope specifically by showing how multiple lives continue from a crisis into a livable future. Beautifully described, unexpected, and powerful, this is the ghost story we need now.”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
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We Cast a Shadow

A Novel

By Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 9 hours 41 minutes

“An incisive and necessary” (Roxane Gay) debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, about a father’s obsessive quest to protect his son—even if it means turning him white

“Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in... Read more »

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Washington Black

A novel

By Esi Edugyan
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 12 hours 18 minutes

Washington Black

“Epic in scope, ranging from a brutal slave plantation in Barbados to scenes in the Arctic, antebellum America, and London, plus a thoughtful denouement in the Moroccan desert, Edugyan’s novel explores the complex relationship between slave and master, the hubris of good intentions, and the tense life of a runaway in constant flight with a Javert on his tail. What results is a compulsive page-turner blessed with effortless prose. Highly recommended.”

Matthew Lage image Matthew Lage, Iowa Book
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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
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Little Family

A Novel

By Ishmael Beah
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 7 hours 54 minutes

Little Family

“In beautiful prose, Ishmael Beah gives us the story of five children living on their own in an unnamed postcolonial African nation. They have formed a little family with code phrases, special whistles, and other safety measures for their life of petty theft while living in an abandoned airplane. The most compelling storyline in LITTLE FAMILY is that of Khoudiemata, the young teenager who is starting to understand her strength and power. As Khoudi starts to make friends outside of her little family, she begins to see that what has seemed permanent won't last.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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My Name Is Lucy Barton (Dramatic Production)

By Elizabeth Strout & Rona Munro
Narrated by: Laura Linney
Length: 1 hours 25 minutes

My Name Is Lucy Barton (Dramatic Production)

“At just an hour and a half, My Name Is Lucy Barton, performed by Laura Linney delivering her captivating stage performance of Elizabeth Strout’s novel, should be experienced straight through. I dared not pause this captivating audio experience; it would have felt like putting a friend on hold when she was sharing her deepest confidences.”

Market Block Books image Cheryl, Market Block Books
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Me and White Supremacy

Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

By Layla F. Saad
Narrated by: Layla F. Saad
Length: 5 hours 19 minutes

Me and White Supremacy

“Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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The Book of V.

A Novel

By Anna Solomon
Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg, Eva Kaminsky & Gabra Zackman
Length: 9 hours 8 minutes

The Book of V.

“Astounding! In the talented hands of Anna Solomon, the lives of three women in different eras come to life with equal vibrancy. A compelling look at the roles of women through time (ancient Persia, 1970s D.C., and Brooklyn in 2016), as well as what it means to have and use power and to feel safe in a relationship. So much material here for discussion. I cannot wait to put this into the hands of our readers!”

Where the Sidewalk Ends image Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends
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Circe

By Madeline Miller
Narrated by: Perdita Weeks
Length: 12 hours 8 minutes

Circe

“Miller expands on the story Circe, a little-known figure in Greek mythology to create an insightful portrayal of humanity. This is some of the most beautiful writing I've ever experienced. As a society, we are flooded with tales of ordinary to extraordinary, of the special, chosen hero. But what about the power of the ordinary? And of choice? Perhaps a strong will can best even the gods of Olympus.”

Oblong Books image Lafe, Oblong Books
Audiobook details

The Stationery Shop

By Marjan Kamali
Narrated by: Mozhan Marnò
Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

The Stationery Shop

“The Stationary Shop is a beautifully written novel set in two timelines - 1953 and 2013. It is set in Tehran and the later years in the U.S. Roya and Bahman meet in Mr. Fakhris Stationery Shop. They are in their teens and obviously, favorite patrons of the shopkeeper. Young love soon grows into true love and they become engaged. On the eve of their wedding, they plan to meet in the town square. Meanwhile, the coup d'etat occurs and Bahman pulls a no-show. At least that's what Roya thinks. Sixty years later Roya and Bahman connect again. This book should be accompanied by a case of tissues. It will pull at your heartstrings. The characters are colorful as well as well-rounded. You won't be disappointed in the ending. The narration is stellar.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Narrated by: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Length: 16 hours 44 minutes

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our... Read more »

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Convenience Store Woman

By Sayaka Murata & Ginny Tapley Takemori
Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 3 hours 21 minutes

Convenience Store Woman

“Keiko loves rules. Having worked a part-time job in a Japanese convenience store for 18 years, she loves having a corporate script to recite, sales goals to reach, and a list of tasks to complete. What she doesn't love - or even understand - are the more complicated rules of society at large. She doesn't want a husband, or children, or a real job. What she does want is a satisfactory answer to the endless personal questions that will allow her to be left alone. Convenience Store Woman is a quirky and hilarious look at society and its misfits, and what happens when we try to bend ourselves to the needs of others.”

The Book Table image Rachel, The Book Table
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