Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Eloise

Kay Thompson, read by Bernadette Peters. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 2 CDs, 1.5 hrs., $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-9174-1

Eeeew! Peters is a pitch-perfect six-year-old Eloise. Thompson chose her herself, and a good choice it was, for few adult actors can make such young characters sound both silly and believable. With delicious humor, Peters recreates the sophisticated, childish, beguiling, and snooty miscreant who lives on the top floor of the Plaza with her dog, her turtle, and her very, very, very British nanny, who frequently utters adjectives and adverbs in threes. Eloise “ab-so-lute-ly luuvves” the Plaza and its staff, whom she runs ragged, making demands of the doormen and management, crawling among patrons and endlessly ordering (mostly caviar) from room service. The first three tales—“Eloise,” “Eloise at Christmas Time,” and “Eloise in Paris”—are delightful. The fourth, “Eloise in Moscow,” is out of kilter with the rest. Without Hilary Knight’s familiar drawings, the audio edition seems like social satire directed at Soviet propaganda, since Thompson makes fun of the endless chatter of Eloise’s Russian translator (comically rendered here by Peters), but this dialogue is repetitive, tiresome, and not well-suited for the intended audience. Ages 7–up. A Simon & Schuster picture book. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
These Shallow Graves

Jennifer Donnelly, read by Kim Bubbs. Listening Library, , unabridged, 11 CDs, 13.5 hrs., $60 ISBN 978-1-101-91624-7

This captivating historical thriller, set in turn-of-the-century N.Y.C., follows the peril-filled progress of beautiful socialite Josephine “Jo” Montfort as she risks her life to prove that her wealthy ship-owner father’s death was not an accident. She stumbles wide-eyed through dark and dangerous sections of the city she never knew existed, accompanied by a street-smart young reporter named Eddie Gallagher, an assistant coroner named Oscar, and a pretty pickpocket named Amy. Donnelly fills her generous-sized novel with monstrous villains, suspenseful situations, hair-breadth escapes and shocking discoveries. It’s highly dramatic material and actress Bubbs doesn’t as much read it as perform it. She catches Oscar’s buoyant optimism, the sternness of Jo’s uncle Philip, and the fragility hidden under Amy’s bravado. And, most important, she brings to life moments of elation and despair that Jo and Eddie experience in the course of their rocky romance. It’s a highly entertaining presentation adults—young and otherwise—will enjoy. Ages 12–up. A Delacorte hardcover. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx

Sonia Manzano, read by the author. Scholastic Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-0-545-88081-7

Actress Manzano, known for her role as Maria on Sesame Street, chronicles her formative years in a troubled household in 1950s and ’60s New York City with a voice that conveys a slow-burning audacity and the internal glimmer of lightness of a true dreamer. She narrates her life, rough spots and all, with unflinching honesty in words and tone. She growls when recalling anger, lightens up with laughter when narrating happier times. She gives distinct voices to different people in her life. Her parents’ speak with thick Puerto Rican accents and she performs with a breathy Marilyn Monroe voice for a glamorous friend, while her aunts sound blustery and brassy. The audio edition of her memoir will grab listeners from the get-go Ages 12–up. A Scholastic Press hardcover. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Carry On

Rainbow Rowell, read by Euan Morton. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 13.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-6202-8

Rowell’s novel (an offshoot of 2013’s Fangirl), tells the story of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter–esque “Chosen One” trying to learn to use his magic at a wizarding school, and Baz, Simon’s roommate and sworn enemy, who is secretly in love with Simon. Rowell’s many fangirls and fanboys are sure to swoon over Morton’s masterful and character-perfect narration: his voice for Baz is initially cool, sneering, and jaded, then raw and tortured when Baz finally breaks down, whereas Simon’s voice is higher-pitched and endearingly awkward. The emotionally intense scenes between the two are especially impressive, as Morton switches effortlessly back and forth between these contrasting characters as they bicker and flirt. Ages 13–up. A St. Martin’s Griffin hardcover. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, read by Fred Sanders and Kathleen McInerney. Listening Library, , unabridged, 1 CD, 1 hr., $9.99 ISBN 978-0-451-48463-5

The adventurous and ever-energetic Roger Rabbit is taken on a slumbering adventure by his mom to get him to fall asleep. Ehrlin tells a fun, short tale that can be used to help guide children to sleep. This production has two recorded versions of the story—one read by a man (Sanders) and one by a woman (McInerney). Both narrators succeed in delivering the tale in slow and calm voices that invite heavy eyelids and a relaxed disposition. The narration is accompanied by soft tonal music that only further induces a somnolent mood for listeners. Ehrlin uses repetition of sleep-related terms (tired, asleep, drowsy) to further nudge a child toward sleep and both narrators grab hold of such words and add soft emphases when possible, such as drawing out the word or even yawning through them. Though presented for children, this production could be quite useful in helping adults fall asleep. Ages 3–6. A Crown picture book (Nov.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

Andrea Wulf, read by David Drummond. HighBridge Audio, 14 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-62231-980-0

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) has been a major influence and inspiration in the world of science for centuries, though many are unfamiliar with his work today. Wulf composed this rich account to rekindle interest in the Prussian scientist and explorer. Throughout, she shows that Humboldt is responsible for how we think of the natural world today. In the audio edition, voice actor Drummond’s deep and slightly raspy voice make Humboldt’s adventures and interactions all the more exciting, and he masterfully captures flow of the prose. Drummond reads the scientific language with confidence and fluidity, which makes it easier for the listener to follow. A Scribner hardcover. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Sarah Vowell, read by the author and multiple narrators. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-9108-6

Vowell’s jocular and cheerfully irreverent account of Marquis de Lafayette, the teenage French general who became an unlikely hero in the United States during the Revolutionary War, proves both insightful and amusing. Her combination of well-researched, obscure details; personal anecdotes; and references to recent events adds plenty of sparkle to an old tale. Vowell enlists the aid of an impressive array of comedians and television stars to add color and variety to the audio edition. Mad Men actor John Slattery, for example, gives voice to Lafayette, while comedians Nick Offerman and Patton Oswalt play the roles of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. Unfortunately, because these historical characters speak only through quotes in the text and not full dialogue, the listening experience can be a bit disjointed. A Riverhead hardcover. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Witches of America

Alex Mar, read by Amanda Dolan. Tantor Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8.5 hrs., $37.99 ISBN 978-1-4945-1645-1

Mar takes a look at the modern witchcraft movement by digging into the history of the witchcraft and exploring places where magic is practiced and the people who practice it. Rather than reaching back centuries, though, she looks mainly at the 20th century and how it has shaped the many varieties of witchcraft practiced across the world today. Dolan maintains a warm and welcoming voice, guiding the reader through Mar’s prose and the worlds that she introduces to the readers. She captures the changing tone of the book, as Mar shifts from skepticism to intrigue and from bemused to amused. She provides strong voices for the people Mar interviews and avoids using clichéd voice tricks. She, like Mar, treats the exploration respectfully and thereby keeps listeners’ attention throughout the production. An FSG/Crichton hardcover. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Sherry Turkle, read by Kirsten Potter. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 11 CDs, 13 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-14-7526-19-9

Turkle argues that digital technology reduces people’s ability to have deep and meaningful face-to-face conversations, which are essential for the many connections in life, business, and love. She explores different problems and strategies through anecdotes and research that can help people navigate the demands of technology and real-world interactions. Potter presents Turkle’s words with a natural and wholehearted delivery. She teases out subtleties in the text, and casts quotes from outside sources and short bouts of dialogue in relief. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir

Carrie Brownstein, read by the author. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 7 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-3995-6538-0

In performing the audio edition of her new memoir, Brownstein, creator and star of TV comedy series Portlandia and a member of the band Sleater-Kinney, maintains an engaging presence with her conversational style. Despite both the emotionally charged nature of Sleater-Kinney’s feminist-punk music and the coming-of-age/relationship themes in the story line, Brownstein opts for an understated emotional tone, preferring to leave the screaming on stage. The recording does include clips of original music by Brownstein, in addition to an interview in which she discusses the process of penning her book. One of the most intriguing questions she tackles is the almost total absence of references to Portlandia from her autobiographical narrative. Even listeners not steeped in indie music can at least appreciate the display of artistic devotion. A Riverhead hardcover. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.