A guide to books we're reading and talking about this year.
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2014
In Praise of All Things Audio
Audiobooks can be another great way to enjoy the written word, especially since (as so many audio proponents like Eugene will say), it leaves your hands free to garden, knit, and even drive a car. Just don't get so lost in the story that you miss your exit. Here are a few articles and websites about the spoken word
- Audiobooks and storytelling
Publication of audiobooks continues to grow, as you will learn from this article. 13,255 titles came out as audiobooks, in 2012, compared to a measly 4,602 in 2009.
- Family car rides and best audiobooks
There are many lists available of "the best" audio to keep car passengers (and the driver) entertained on long trips. Try this one!
- Best audio books for young adults
The American Library Association publishes a list of the best for teenage listeners every year.
- Top 10 reasons to listen
Do we really need a reason? According to the article, among other things, "While audiobooks can indeed help you learn a new language, they can also help you absorb a particularly difficult title in your own tongue as well."
- An insomniac's guide to the best audio readers
Whether these help you go to sleep or keep you up wanting more story, check out these most excellent readers.
When do you choose audio over print (or an ebook)? Your vote in the poll counts!
Eugene McAvoy, Dean of Communication & Social Sciences, is our reader for the week of July 21st.
Always a "voracious reader," Eugene is quick to point out that his reading habits took a major turn in 1998. On a drive from Virginia to Oklahoma for his twentieth high school reunion, he listened to a books-on-tape version of Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. As you can see in the photograph, Eugene hugely prefers using a device to the traditional print format. One of his "absolute best memories" is his mother teaching him to read by using a magnetic board and placing her hand on top of his to learn the letters. Most importantly, Eugene shared that "Until I was an adult, books were the only place I could see positive images of people like me." He went on to say that it was "not an exaggeration to say that books saved my life."
Publication Date: 2013-03-05
This relatively new novel that Eugene listed sounds particularly good for readers in our neck of the woods. From Amazon: "Set against the rugged beauty of Washington State at the turn of the twentieth century, Amanda Coplin’s debut novel, The Orchardist, introduces readers to William Talmadge and his lovingly cultivated orchards of apples and apricots. Coplin’s characters are deeply rooted in the mystery of the American West, and she brings them together, like the grafting of Talmadge’s trees, to form a unique family bound not by blood but by the shared experience of tragedy, the land, and ultimately fate"
Publication Date: 1971-08-12
When asked about books that he read as a child, Eugene immediately said "all of Dr. Seuss." Here's one choice from that perennially popular author. From the Amazon review: "When Dr. Seuss gets serious, you know it must be important. Published in 1971, and perhaps inspired by the "save our planet" mindset of the 1960s, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment."
Racism Without Racists
Publication Date: 2013-07-29
Eugene gets many recommendations from faculty and co-workers. This title came to him that way and also reflects his focus on social justice. From Book News: "We expect racists to be closely associated with gun racks in pickups, shirts cut off at the shoulder, and scowls, but in fact many whites in contemporary society have learned to mask their prejudice by responding to racially-charged questions and situations in veiled language. Bonilla-Silva updates this fourth edition with more examples and ... examines what he calls 'the strange enigma of race in contemporary America,' and looks at the reasons why several generations of racists have prospered."
Journal to the Self
Publication Date: 1990-01-01
This one comes highly recommended by Eugene for anyone who journals and is a title that he keeps close at hand on his tablet. From Amazon: "A nationally known therapist provides a powerful tool for better living--a step-by-step method to personal growth, creative expression, and career enhancement through journal writing."
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Publication Date: 2012-06-12
Eugene described this highly acclaimed novel as "the most decent and realistic portrayal of a gay relationship" that he has read. From Booklist: "hilarious and enrapturing, Chabon chronicles the fantastic adventures of two Jewish cousins, one American, one Czech. It's 1939 and Brooklynite Sammy Klayman dreams of making it big in the nascent world of comic books. Joseph Kavalier has never seen a comic book, but he is an accomplished artist versed in the "autoliberation" techniques of his hero, Harry Houdini."
Publication Date: 2006-04-20
This classic young adult novel takes place in Tulsa, where Eugene grew up and he listed it as an important book from his teenage years. From the publisher: "Ponyboy is fourteen, tough and confused, yet sensitive behind his bold front. Since his parents' death, his loyalties have been to his brothers and his gang, the rough, swinging, long-haired boys from the wrong side of the tracks. When his best friend, Johnny, kills a member of a rival gang, a nightmare of violence begins and swiftly envelops Ponyboy in a turbulent chain of events."
Clairvoyance and Occult Powers
Publication Date: 2013-12-01
Talk to Eugene about his varied interests and you may learn more about why he is reading this older title. From the Amazon description: "The two extra physical senses of man. The extra sense of "the presence of other living things." The "telepathic sense." How man may sense the presence of other living things apart from the operation of his ordinary five physical senses."