Finish Summer Reading Program with Short Audiobooks

by on June 29th, 2015

I find I can get a lot more reading done by using audiobooks. I may not have time to sit down and read a book every day, but I can listen to them during my commute and while doing other things. It’s the halfway point in our Summer Reading Program, so here are a few short reads (4 hours or less) to help you finish your list strong.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (2 hours, 46 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Alice is wondering what to do one day, when a talking rabbit steals her attention. She is so intrigued that she follows him into his hole, and tumbles down into Wonderland. Alice soon discovers that reality and logic, as she knows them, do not apply here. In an attempt get out of the hole and into, “the loveliest garden you ever saw”, she eats a cake to grow large enough to reach the key to the garden.

Animal Farm by George Orwell (3 hours, 11 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution has become an intimate part of our contemporary culture, with its treatment of democratic, fascist, and socialist ideals through an animal fable. The animals of Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm are overworked, mistreated, and desperately seeking a reprieve. In their quest to create an idyllic society where justice and equality reign, the animals of Manor Farm revolt against their human rulers, establishing the democratic Animal Farm under the credo, “All Animals Are Created Equal.” Out of their cleverness, the pigs—Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball—emerge as leaders of the new community. In a development of insidious familiarity, the pigs begin to assume ever greater amounts of power, while other animals, especially the faithful horse Boxer, assume more of the work. The climax of the story is the brutal betrayal of Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: “But Some Animals Are More Equal than Others.”

This astonishing allegory, one of the most scathing satires in literary history, remains as fresh and relevant as the day it was published.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (2 hours, 52 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to her at Tiffany’s. Her poignancy, wit, and naivete continue to charm.

The Breathing Method by Stephen King (2 hours, 50 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
The Breathing Method, from Stephen King’s bestselling collection Different Seasons, takes place in an exclusive gentleman’s club in New York, where no one pays any dues. Membership is based upon a telling of tales, and one nightmarish tale about a disgraced woman determined to give birth—no matter the consequences—pays for them all.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (3 hours, 20 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
As an unusual illness plagues Russian public official Ivan Ilyich, his life is forever changed as he deals with doctors who cannot diagnose or treat him, as well as a certain death sentence.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (3 hours, 10 minutes) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes–a colicky baby, bedbugs, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions–the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it, as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (3 hr., 42 min.) (Available on Overdrive or Fiction on Disc)
The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk (2 hours, 27 minutes) (Available on Overdrive)
Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal television shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (“Martin Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever”) to intentionally bad theater (“Hitler Dinner Party: A Play”), from avant-garde fiction (“Obit for the Creator of Madlibs”) to free-verse poetry that’s funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.

Odenkirk’s debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in “The Second Meeting of Jesus and Lazarus,” it is a book “to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.”

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (2 hrs., 45 min.) (Available on Fiction on Disc)
The story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

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