Booklist Editors' Choice: Media

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Audio for Adults

2012 Selection(s)


By Stephen King. Read by Craig Wasson. 2011. 31hr. Recorded Books, CD, $123.75 (9781461805830); DD, $89.75 (9781464015540).

In this trip back in time, a high-school teacher is shown a portal to 1958 and given the task of stopping the assassination of JFK. Wasson’s sympathetic voicing of King’s quirky, charming characters draws listeners into this carefully plotted tale filled with twists and turns.


By Dustin Lance Black. Read by George Clooney and others. 2012. 2hr. LA Theatre Works, CD, $29.95 (9781580818896).

Featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, and other well-known actors, this audio presentation of a play based on the closing arguments of a California court case to overturn a same-sex marriage amendment is marked by stirring performances and thought-provoking subject matter.

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens across America

By Michelle Obama. Read by the author and others. 2012. 4hr. Books on Tape, CD, $25 (9780449808580).

In friendly, comfortable tones, Obama reads the bulk of this title, in which she talks about the White House “learning garden” and her motivation for creating the White House kitchen garden. The down-to-earth mood is enhanced with short segments read by the garden beekeeper and others.

The Art of Fielding

By Chad Harbach. Read by Holter Graham. 2012. 16hr. AudioGo, CD, $89.99 (9781611131840); DD, $69.99 (9781611131857).

Employing tones of bemusement leavened with wry detachment, Graham delivers both humor and angst in his reading of this compelling first novel, set at a small Wisconsin college

The Beautiful Mystery

By Louise Penny. Read by Ralph Cosham. 2012. 13hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427226099); DD, $23.99 (9781427226105).

Plainchants and an isolated monastery frame this eighth Inspector Gamache mystery. Penny’s gorgeous prose sings, thanks to Cosham’s masterful, hypnotic reading in accents appropriate to the French Canadian setting.

The Book of Jonas

By Stephen Dau. Read by Simon Vance. 2012. 8hr. Tantor, CD, $71.99 (9781452635972)

Vance masterfully reads this impressive tale of war, loss, and redemption that begins with 15-year-old Jonas coming to the U.S. from an unnamed Muslim country following an attack that wiped out his village.

The Casual Vacancy

By J. K. Rowling. Read by Tom Hollander. 2012. 18hr. AudioGO, CD, $99.99 (9781619695948); DD, $74.99 (9781619695962).

Rowling’s first foray into adult fiction, set in a picturesque British village where Barry Fairbrother’s unexpected death causes a casual vacancy on the village council, is read in various British dialects by Hollander, who does a bang-up job with all of the characters.

Lady of the Rivers

By Philippa Gregory. Read by Bianca Amato. 2011. 13hr. Recorded Books, CD, $123.75 (9781461805823); DD, $64.75 (9781461840589).

Amato’s husky, mesmerizing British-laced reading draws listeners into this heartfelt, richly detailed novel chronicling the life and influence of Jaquetta Woodville, mother and grandmother of English queens.

Miles: The Autobiography.

By Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe. Read by Dion Graham. 2012. 17hr. AudioGO, CD, $99.95 (9780792784814); DD, $69.95 (9780792784821).

In gravelly tones, Graham channels legendary jazz trumpeter Davis, enriching this profane, humorous, and insightful memoir.


By Christopher Hitchens. Read by Simon Prebble. 2012. 2hr. Hachette, CD, $22.98 (9781619691889); DD, $19.98 (9781619691896).

Prebble’s pitch-perfect British-accented reading authentically fits Hitchens’ recollections of his “year of living dyingly” as he watches his body surrender to cancer and shares his hard-won wisdom.