UPDATE! We’re happy to announce that audiobooks landed on iOS over the weekend. Find the newest version of the app in the app store. (Commence cheering, fist pumping, and high-fiving.)
This week, we’re celebrating the addition of audiobooks to our library with a special edition of #FridayReads – #FridayListens, featuring the audiobooks that our team is most excited about. From Amy Poehler to Agatha Christie to Cormac McCarthy, we’ve got something for every audiophile.
Alex P: I’ve never really been one for celebrity memoirs. Even with celebrities I love, I’ve never felt particularly inclined to peek behind the curtain, preferring to experience their personas from behind the creative screen of their work. Still, curious about all the press around Amy Poehler’s new memoir Yes Please, and intrigued by the thought that she was narrating it herself, I decided to listen to a sample. Thirty seconds was all it took—I was hooked. Poehler is one of those people who seems to have life all figured out, even as she has you laughing aloud over her latest misadventure. Smart, witty, and confident, yet full of compassion and warmth, she brings a humanity to her performances that makes them all the funnier and more relatable. She brings all of those qualities to her memoir, narrating her life with precision comedic timing and cadence. It’s inspiring and engaging, heartfelt and self-deprecating, smart and sarcastic, and—most of all—incredibly fun.
Regina: When I was a kid, I remember my mom checking out cassette tape audiobooks from the library, mostly mysteries for her drive to work. A pile of these tapes on the passenger seat was a regular sight. Exploring Scribd’s new audiobooks library, I found myself gravitating toward familiar territory: my mom’s go-to, the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie. Murder on the Orient Express is one of Christie’s best-known mysteries, and a good place to start for first time audiobook listeners. It’s a great whodunnit, and the audio version really shines. The incredible narrator, David Suchet, nails Poirot’s French-Belgian accent, as well as the mixed bag of voices that make up the twelve passengers. It’s really a performance to behold. This week I not only renewed my admiration for Agatha Christie, I also gained an enormous respect for the art of audiobook narration. Thanks, mom!
Niree: The aptly named Francine Prose is an accomplished professor of literature as well as a novelist, so it’s no wonder that listening to Reading Like a Writer is akin to sitting in her classroom, pen and notebook in hand. With remarkable ease, Prose unveils step by step how to read everything from Shakespeare to Beckett – with an entire chapter dedicated to Chekhov’s mastery. Covering gesture, characterization, narration, and dialogue, she shows you how to get the most out of your reading. and how to apply those lessons to that manuscript in the back of your desk drawer.
Justin: I still can’t quite believe that Cormac McCarthy’s bloody, horrifying masterpiece Blood Meridian actually exists as an audiobook. McCarthy’s prose is famously difficult, alternatingly lyrical and profane, winding and abrupt, chocked full of some of the richest and most terrifying sentences in English. (The description that haunts me, five years after first reading this book, is a field of massacred pilgrims, “their peeled skulls like polyps bluely wet or luminescent melons cooling on some mesa of the moon.”) Despite their incredible aural qualities, these sentences are hard to imagine being read aloud in way that doesn’t become portentous or ridiculous. Robert Slade pulls it off, though, channeling something between a grizzled old prospector and a traveling preacher. This weekend I’ll turn the lights off and settle into an easy chair with a whiskey to listen to the rest.
Ashley: Herman Koch’s The Dinner is the most foreboding one I’ve ever attended, a frightening story about how, even in an age of ubiquitous recording, we can still keep deadly secrets for the sake of appearances, and the tension only increases in the audiobook edition. The story revolves around a dinner between the parents of two teenage cousins who’ve committed a horrific crime as the parents discuss what consequences should be meted out to their boys. The way narrator Clive Mantle inflects the main character’s cynical yet darkly playful observations throughout this fateful dinner captures the tone better than when I simply read it. As you listen, at some unidentifiable point, you start to realize that the boys aren’t the only people with secrets.