Audiobook Picks for Spring – Celebrity Narrators, Fiction, Fiction and more Fiction

Following the hints from Andy Weir, the author of The Martian, that he made more from the Audiobook than he did from the Hollywood adaptation, Celebrities have been jumping on the Audiobook bandwagon with out of copyright books. Classics are being resurfaced and reworked thanks to other forms of media. Highlights of the spring include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, narrated by screen siren Scarlett Johanssson, Shylock is My Name, the retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, by Howard Jacobson, Les Liasions Dangereuses as read by the cast of the sold-out theatre production at the Donmar Warehouse in London and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

1.jpgALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll

Release date: 23rd February

Narrator: Scarlett Johansson

Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Girl with a Pearl Earring) brings a palpable sense of joy and exuberance to her performance of Lewis Carroll’s enduring classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts, she imbues each madcap character with a distinct voice and personality that will leave a lasting impression long after the adventure is over.

One hundred and fifty years after its original publication, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains one of the most widely read, deconstructed, referenced, and reinterpreted works of western fiction. It tells the story of the young and imaginative Alice, who grows weary of her storybook, one “without pictures or conversations”, and follows a hasty hare underground – to come face to face with a host of strange and fantastic characters.

 

2.jpgDAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens

Release date: 9th February

Narrator: Richard Armitage

Between his work on the 2014 Audible Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, and his performance of Classic Love Poems, narrator Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal) has quickly become a listener favourite. Now, in this defining performance of David Copperfield, Armitage lends his unique voice and interpretation, truly inhabiting each character and bringing real energy to the life of one of Dickens’ most famous characters.

 This epic, exuberant novel is one of the greatest coming-of-age stories in literature, chronicling David Copperfield’s extraordinary journey through life as he encounters villains, saviors, eccentrics, and grotesques – including the wicked Mr. Murdstone, stouthearted Peggotty, formidable Betsey Trotwood, impecunious Micawber, and the odious Uriah Heep. Dickens’ great novel (based, in part, on his own boyhood, and which he described as a “favorite child”) is a work filled with life, both comic and tragic.

Listen to Richard Armitage bring Dickens’ words to life, and you’ll understand why Virginia Woolf called David Copperfield “the most perfect of all the Dickens novels”.

 

FICTION

 

4.jpgDRAGONFISH by Vu Tran

Release date: 25th February  

Narrator: Adam Simms

Vu Tran has written a thrilling and cinematic work of sophisticated suspense and haunting lyricism set in motion by characters who can neither trust each other nor themselves. This remarkable debut is a noir pause resister resonant with the lasting reverberations of lives lost and lives remade a generation ago.

Robert, an Oakland cop, still can’t let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who is blackmailing Robert into finding her. As he pursues her through the gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny’s sadistic son, ‘Junior’, and assisted by unexpected allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage.

 He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, and his investigation uncovers the existence of a packet of her secret letters to someone she left behind long ago. As Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy’s life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.

 

 

7.jpgTHE NARROW BED by Sophie Hannah

Release date: 11th February  

Narrator: Julia Barrie

Queen of psychological crime Sophie Hannah returns with a chilling new Culver Valley crime novel.

A killer that the police are calling “Billy Dead Mates” is murdering pairs of best friends one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book….

For months detectives have failed to catch Billy or work out what the white books mean. And then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy, and does he want to kill her? Kim has no friends and trusts no one. How – and why – could she possibly be Billy Dead Mates’ next target?

 

9.jpgSIX FOUR by Hideo Yokoyama

Release date: 18th February 

Narrator: Richard Burnip

Six Four. The nightmare no parent could endure. The case no detective could solve. The twist no listener could predict.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the 14 years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as Six Four. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case.

 He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.

 

12.jpgGLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard

Release date: 11th February 

Narrator: Amanda Dolan

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

 

ENTERTAINMENT TIE-INS

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Release date: Out now

Narrator: Katherine Kellgren

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.

As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton – and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers – and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? 

Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

 

TRUMBO by Bruce Cook

Release date: Out now 

Narrator: Luke Daniels

A central figure in the Hollywood Ten and one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, two of Trumbo’s screenplays earned Oscars while he was blacklisted and unable to receive public credit for his work. Trumbo was also the author of Johnny Got His Gun, winner of the National Book Award and one of the most powerful antiwar novels ever published. He epitomized the spirit of American capitalism, yet he went to jail refusing to talk about his membership in the Communist party.

As a result of his relentless fight for political freedom and the right to work for those blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee beginning in 1947, he ended the blacklist era in 1960 by earning proper screen credit for his work on the blockbuster films Exodus and Spartacus. A complex character, he was, as Bruce Cook states, “an exemplar of a certain set of American virtues: toughness, independence and persistence”. Trumbo was the central figure in the Hollywood Ten, the blacklisted and jailed screenwriters. One of several hundred writers, directors, producers and actors who were deprived of the opportunity to work in the film industry from 1947 to 1960, he was the first to see his name on the screen again. When that happened, it was Exodus, one of the year’s biggest movies.

 

 

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