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Staff Picks for Adults

The Wild Rumpus staff's favorite audiobooks for adults, including fiction and non-fiction. (Organized from newest to oldest publication date.)

Playlist Tags: Wild Rumpus Books genre: Fiction & Literature

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The City of Good Death

By Priyanka Champaneri
Narrated by: Manish Dongardive
Length: 14 hours 56 minutes

Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Priyanka Champaneri’s transcendent debut novel brings us inside India’s holy city of Banaras, where the manager of a death hostel shepherds the dying who seek the release of a good death, while his own past refuses to let him go.

Banaras, Varanasi, Kashi: India’s holy city on the banks...

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Audiobook details

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Novel

By Cherie Jones
Narrated by: Danielle Vitalis
Length: 8 hours 41 minutes

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

“I could listen to this narrator on Libro.fm read the dictionary and still be mesmerized. This is an emotional story of multi-generational abuse, suffered from class and race differences, and at the hands of loved ones. It paints an intimate portrayal of all the people on Baxter's Beach, tourists and residents alike. ”

Bright Side Bookshop image Amy, Bright Side Bookshop
Audiobook details

Kill the Mall

By Pasha Malla
Narrated by: Anand Rajaram
Length: 6 hours 51 minutes

Kill the Mall

“Lovers of the absurd, this is the listen for you. Our narrator protagonist, a nameless and mostly ineffectual hero, accepts the offer of a residency in the mall. A mysterious ring, horrific hair, and many strange encounters and unsettling events which the narrator over-thinks lead to the ultimate fantastical resolution of the story. A unique critique of malls and what they represent, Kill the Mall kept me highly entertained and frequently shaking my head in bemusement at the thoughts, fantasies, and actions of the narrator.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
Audiobook details

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

The Best of Me

By David Sedaris
Narrated by: David Sedaris
Length: 13 hours 8 minutes

The Best of Me

“As if there is anything greater than a new David Sedaris, it's listening to David Sedaris read the new David Sedaris. This self-edited collection of essays from his prolific 25-year career is exactly what we need to boost the morale of 2020 and remind ourselves what a crazy world we've always lived in when viewed through Sedaris's keen observational eye and told with his unique & irreverent voice. The Best of Me is perfect for both long-time fans or those reading Sedaris for the first time and the audio read by the author means no nuance is left behind.”

Literally Speaking image Jessica, Literally Speaking
Audiobook details

Memorial

A Novel

By Bryan Washington
Narrated by: Bryan Washington & Akie Kotabe
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes

Memorial

“Don’t let the simplicity of Washington’s story and prose deceive you. This quiet story of two young gay men at the end of their relationship dives deep into the emotional truths we learn when we allow ourselves to try to fully understand those who surround us.”

Tattered Cover image Jeremy, Tattered Cover
Audiobook details

Leave the World Behind

A Novel

By Rumaan Alam
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 7 hours 26 minutes

If you enjoyed A Children's Bible, then you’ll love Leave the World Behind.

“Riveting! I hurried through this apocalyptic novel about two families thrown together during an earth shattering event. Alam builds tension even during a relaxing family day at the beach and expertly paces the reader through idle, dreamy stages and amps up the speed during stressful times. A thought-provoking study of humanity.”

The Well-Read Moose image Melanie, The Well-Read Moose
Audiobook details

Transcendent Kingdom

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

Transcendent Kingdom

“Gifty immigrated from Ghana, grew up in Alabama, and is working on a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford, where she experiments with mice. She has always felt she wasn’t cool enough or white enough, and tries to prove her value through her brilliance. She tells her raw and powerful story of racism, addiction, mental illness, and especially faith and prayer, all while trying hard to mend a complicated relationship with her mother. This second novel from the author of the award-winning novel Homegoing is compelling and so, so beautifully written.”

Wellesley Books image Sally Weitzen, Wellesley Books
Audiobook details

Tender is the Flesh

By Agustina Bazterrica
Narrated by: Joseph Balderrama
Length: 6 hours 43 minutes

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made... 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

“I am staggered by the immersive, fluid, irresistible prose Emezi has perfected in their third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji. This tale follows the captivating, curious Vivek through the aftermath of his mysterious death, while simultaneously examining the people and relationships closest to him. Vivek, his cousin Osita, and a distant third-person narrator lead the reader through a grounded, lively picture of Nigeria, family and friendship bonds stretched to their breaking points, and the passing of this unique, complex young boy. Through addictive, multifaceted characters and a simply beautiful story, Emezi inspects masculinity, otherness, and love. This is one of the most magical, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking, and important books of our time.”

Loganberry Books image Margy Adams, Loganberry Books
Audiobook details

The Hollow Ones

By Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
Length: 9 hours 15 minutes

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, and an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.
Odessa Hardwicke's life is derailed when she's forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly,... Read more »

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The Ghost in the House

By Sara O'Leary
Narrated by: Athena Karkanis
Length: 4 hours 21 minutes

What if a ghost were haunting your house? What if you were the ghost?
 
Everything in Fay's life is perfect--living in the house she dreamed of as a child, married to a man she loves, and planning her life as an artist. Her life seems full of possibility. Then, late one night, Fay realizes that something has gone wrong.
 
Things have altered in... Read more »

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Notes on a Silencing

A Memoir

By Lacy Crawford
Narrated by: Lacy Crawford
Length: 11 hours 5 minutes

A "powerful and scary and important and true" memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her—at any cost (Sally Mann, author of Hold Still).

When Notes on a Silencing hit bookstores in the summer of 2020, even amidst a global pandemic, it sent... Read more »

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Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes

Mexican Gothic

“Best book I have read this year. An amazing, gripping tale of a young woman in a strange old house. It's an epic ghost story mixed with some element for "Girl with all the Gifts." Compelling characters and a twist ending that will have you in the edge of your seat until the very end. 10/10 would recommend. ”

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

The Power of Ritual

Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices

By Casper ter Kuile
Narrated by: Casper ter Kuile
Length: 5 hours 54 minutes

Casper ter Kuile, a Harvard Divinity School fellow and cohost of the popular Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices—yoga, reading, walking the dog—into sacred rituals that can heal our crisis of social isolation and struggle to find purpose—a message we need more...

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Saving Ruby King

A Novel

By Catherine Adel West
Narrated by: Kim Staunton, Imani Parks, Ron Butler, Adam Lazarre-White, Lloyd Roberson II & Terra Strong Lyons
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes

Saving Ruby King

“Saving Ruby King is a slow burn—a richly woven three-generation history of two families on the south side of Chicago, bound forever by trauma and religion. A tragic murder in the present unearths secret wrongdoings of the past. Intergenerational trauma is a primary focus, and the given circumstances allow readers to both hate and empathize with nearly all of the main characters. The full cast—including the omniscient church building—narrates the audiobook beautifully. Readers will learn that the bonds of true friendship can withstand anything. Trigger warnings: domestic violence, incest, rape.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
Audiobook details

Devolution

A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

By Max Brooks
Narrated by: Judy Greer, Kai Ryssdal, Max Brooks, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, Mira Furlan, Terry Gross, Kimberly Guerrero, Kate Mulgrew & Steven Weber
Length: 9 hours 49 minutes

Devolution

“Incredible. Every Max Brook book is everything you could ever want it to be and then some and Devolution is no exception. His most traditionally structured work yet, Devolution is an epistolary account of the town of Greenloop, a small, isolated, high- tech community situated in the middle of the Cascades and what befalls it after the fictional eruption of the entirely real Mt. Rainier that ravages the North-Eastern coast. It's a fabulous horror novel that tricks you into gaining some survival skills along the way. And through all the spatter, the gore, guts, and splintered skulls, it's outlandish premiss is ground (maybe by a 40+ shoe- sized foot?) into harsh reality through hard science and facts that exposes mankind's current and far too numerous weaknesses. What's evolution and what is devolution? I'm still not sure long after I flipped the final page. Definitely worth the listen on Libro.fm. They get Terry Gross from Fresh Air to actually play Terry Gross from Fresh Air and it doesn't get better than that.”

BookBar image Conner, BookBar
Audiobook details

A Burning

A novel

By Megha Majumdar
Narrated by: Ulka Simone Mohanty, Vikas Adam, Priya Ayyar, Deepti Gupta, Soneela Nankani & Neil Shah
Length: 7 hours 21 minutes

A Burning

“Majumdar’s suspenseful narrative holds a mirror up to society at large, reflecting the lies people tell themselves to rationalize sacrificing morality for personal gain. Unintended consequences from an impulsive social media post explode against a backdrop of deep economic insecurities and centuries-old prejudices. A searing debut, this novel is timely and timeless. It packs a punch way above its weight. Brilliant.”

Penguin Bookshop image Lisa Johnson, Penguin Bookshop
Audiobook details

The Vanishing Half

A Novel

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

The Vanishing Half

“The Vanishing Half may go down as one of my favorite books of all time. Brit Bennett's narrative style is engrossing, the constant shift in timeline beyond compelling. But more than that, this is a book that deals with so much - racism, colorism & passing, sexism & domestic abuse, trans rights, family dynamics... the list goes on - with unbelievable nuance and empathy. A timely, complex, mysterious (and romantic) epic, The Vanishing Half is a force to be reckoned with. A must read for all - but especially worth consideration for book clubs and classroom reading lists.”

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

Almond

A Novel

By Won-pyung Sohn
Narrated by: Greg Chun
Length: 4 hours 51 minutes

This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. 

One of the monsters is me.

Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and...

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