To kick off a month of blog posts about recent film adaptations of popular books, I’d like to start with a novel that’s in my Top 5 Favorite Books (ever!)–American Gods.
Shadow Moon is released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies. Unsure of how to proceed with his life, Shadow is hired by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. What follows is a strange journey across America where Shadow encounters divinities who are losing their power because they are no longer believed in (old gods from overseas–like Odin and Anansi–who traveled to the new world with the immigrants who worshiped them) and the dangerous “new gods” of technology, freeways, and television who want the old guard vanquished so they can fully reign. Mythic, poignant, and not to be missed. Read the book before you watch the upcoming series.
This week we’ll be taking a look at three spine-tingling audiobooks. You will find that with these types of books the narrator makes ALL the difference and you can rest assured that the following narrators are excellent.
The Graveyard Book written and performed by Neil Gaiman Nobody Owens (aka ‘Bod’) is a normal boy being raised in a graveyard. In a similar fashion to The Jungle Book, Bod is adopted by the inhabitants of his unique home; separate tales are told about Bod’s interactions with ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.
Heart-Shaped Box written by Joe Hill, performed by Stephen Lang Rock star Judas Coyne is a collector of the bizarre and grotesque, so when he sees a ghost for sale on the internet he buys it. It comes delivered in a black heart-shaped box. Entertaining and very scary, with exceptional narration.
Doctor Sleep written by Stephen King, performed by Will Patton This sequel to The Shining follows middle-aged recovering addict Danny Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from murderous supernatural forces. A very good book that became a great audiobook.
This month I would like to focus on one of my favorite ways to read–audiobooks! Every week I will focus on some crowd-pleasing new-ish (2015-17) audiobooks. This week’s spotlighted subcategory is “Audiobooks Narrated by the Author:”
A View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction written and narrated by Neil Gaiman Let’s begin with my favorite author/narrator: Neil Gaiman. Whether he is reading Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe or one of his own children’s books, his voice is simply wonderful. Don’t believe me? Check out A View from the Cheap Seats–a series of speeches, essays, and book introductions Gaiman has written over the years. I won’t be giving anything away if I confide that my favorite selections deal with the wonder and importance of libraries. With the short length of each piece this is the perfect audiobook to listen to on short trips around town.
Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person written and narrated by Shonda Rhimes Okay, I admit it. I am mildly obsessed with this book. As an introverted librarian in rural CT, I initially questioned what I could possibly have in common with Shonda Rhimes–the hit creator, writer, and producer of mega-hits Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Well, I promise you there will be parts of this eye-opening book that relate directly to your life no matter how far removed you may feel from an iconic television writer like Ms. Rhimes. Give it a listen. You will not be disappointed.
The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy written and narrated by Rainn Wilson Rainn Wilson is an actor–best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on The Office. Wilson is also the founder of Soul Pancake–a media company that believes in the power of art to bring joy and awareness to the world. Wilson is sincere and very funny in his writing and narration of this book. Add to all this an unusual upbringing and a fascinating look into the Baha’i faith and you have an interesting and highly entertaining audiobook.
Shadow has just been released from prison and since the death of his wife he has nowhere to go and no one to turn to, so when the mysterious Mr. Wednesday hires him to accompany him on a dark and twisted road trip, Shadow accepts. A mythic, exhilarating story about humans and gods and the power they derive from each other. American Gods is a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
For more powerhouses of speculative fiction, look for these 3 titles:
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Bone Clocks by David Mitchell