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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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A Promised Land

By Barack Obama
Narrated by: Barack Obama
Length: 29 hours 9 minutes

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • NPR •...
Read more »

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

“Reading Memorial is like sitting down with a dear friend, asking ‘What’s going on with you?’ and settling in for much-needed catch-up on life, love, heartache, and family. Washington’s writing is so intimate and direct that you feel the exhilaration, frustration, and uncertainty that Benson and Mike feel about their relationships, both with one another and with their families, which inspires a heart-felt connection to these characters that is hard to find in the world during socially distant times.”

Colleen Ellis image Colleen Ellis, Lark & Owl
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

If you enjoyed Transcendent Kingdom, then you’ll love The Death of Vivek Oji.

“This is a deeply emotional book. It's the story of Vivek’s life and death. Vivek was a person who shifted identities, whose relationship to the world was at once heavy and heartbreakingly delicate. Emezi brings her mastery of characters and language to this book, and you will not want to put it down. The Death Of Vivek Oji is a work of art, it will make you feel.”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
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 »

Audiobook details

When you shop at your local bookstore, you are directly supporting and enriching your own community with your purchases—and your tax dollars.

Join the movement and #ShopLocalBookstores.

Learn more

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 »

Audiobook details

Notes on a Silencing

A Memoir

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

“Erudite and devastating… Crawford's writing is astonishing… Notes on a Silencing is a purposefully named, brutal and brilliant retort to the asinine question of 'Why now?'… The story is crafted with the precision of a thriller, with revelations that sent me reeling…” —Jessica Knoll, New York Times

A Best Book of 2020: Time, NPR, People, Real... Read more »

Audiobook details

Mexican Gothic

A Novel

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

Mexican Gothic

“Although Mexican Gothic begins in an unassuming Gothic way, with a psychotic cousin and a haunted house, the book slowly turns until you are completely snatched from reality and cannot put the book down. Until the end, I couldn’t figure out which of the creepy characters were trustworthy or even which scenes were reality. The atmosphere and setting of this book were remarkably vibrant; I could picture High Place and each of its residents in full disgusting detail. While the book may begin slowly, and some readers may be tempted to put it down after the first 50 pages, this one was worth sticking it out for me and many others.

This is definitely a horror novel, and some readers may need content warnings for sexual assault, suicide, domestic abuse, incest, hallucinations, murder and gore, cannibalism, eugenics, death of a parent and other family members, miscarriages, and racism. It is difficult to provide a full review of this book without delving into spoilers, but it is certainly more than just a haunted house. Readers of fast-paced action-filled horror and readers of beautiful yet devastating prose will find something to enjoy in this story. Despite the plethora of content warnings, I would recommend this book to young adults as well as adults that enjoy horror.”

Beausoleil Books image Endya, Beausoleil Books
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... Read more »

Audiobook details

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

“ Take a natural disaster + an isolated community + the Bigfoot legend and you are rewarded with a suspenseful spooky tale that may or may not be a good idea to read if in an isolated location in the woods. You will be kept on the edge of your seat as you devour this survival/adventure story mashed up with a mystery that unfolds through a journalistic inquiry combining research excerpts, interviews, and a found diary. It also provides a not so subtle cautionary tale about our reliance on technology and convenience. A multiple narrator cast made for an enjoyable audiobook listen.”

Bright Side Bookshop image Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
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

“A Burning tells the all-too-believable story of Javin, a teen-age girl in India who has left school, despite being an excellent student, to get a job and help her struggling family. After a comment against the government on facebook, she is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, largely because she is a Muslim. Her story is the central of three comprising the novel. PT Sir is Javin’s physical education teacher who, largely through chance, becomes involved with the leading nationalist political party. And Lovely is a trans woman aspiring to be a film star whom Jivan is tutoring in English. As Jivan’s arrest and trial unfold, the stories of all three characters develop in alternating chapters told from each of their points of view. This novel is not only a compelling tale of each of the characters’ lives and the impact of PT Sir’s and Lovely’s actions on Jivan’s fate, but it is a critical examination of nationalism in India today – and thus a cautionary tale about nationalist extremism anywhere in the world.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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 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

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... Read more »

Audiobook details

Lakewood

A Novel

By Megan Giddings
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
Length: 8 hours 33 minutes

Lakewood

“Lena just lost her grandmother, her mother has health problems and to top of off they are having financial problems. Lena takes a mysterious job in hopes help her mother and to pay off bills. Lakewood takes you into a dark world of medical testing where human rights are disregarded. This whole story felt more than real and makes you question how far you would go for to help your family.”

Birdy's Bookstore image Alexandra, Birdy's Bookstore
Audiobook details

The Freedom Artist

By Ben Okri
Narrated by: Ben Okri
Length: 6 hours 51 minutes

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner? When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization that to find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her... Read more »

Audiobook details

Nothing to See Here

By Kevin Wilson
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 6 hours 40 minutes

Nothing to See Here

“This book was meant to be heard! Wilson creates a narrative in a world so sarcastic and colorful that I would taste cherry cool-aid long after I stopped reading. Flash to me doubled over in my car laughing or sobbing or both at the same time. I actually started to look forward to my hour-long commute every morning just so I could spend time with these characters... I also might have adopted a sassy southern accent for a good twenty minutes post-listening. I adore this book with all my heart.”

BookBar image Conner, BookBar
Audiobook details