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In the Stacks: New nonfiction audiobooks

Posted: May 15, 2014 - 12:02am

New nonfiction audiobooks for readers who like to listen while they work with their hands, take a walk, or who simply don’t get along with the written word. In addition to the titles below, you’ll find bestsellers like “Cooked,” by Michael Pollan, and classics like “Mythology,” by Edith Hamilton in the audiobook collections at all public libraries.

“Smart Talk,” written and read by Lisa B. Marshall.

Marshall, a specialist in communications, has written a how-to-talk book with something for everyone from the too-shy to the overly verbose and those who somehow manage to put their foot in their mouths whenever they open them. Though she’s mostly focusing on work situations, there’s plenty of overlap into personal relationships. Her delivery when reading her work is cheerful and confident (something she hopes listeners take away), and she balances her explanations with clear examples in a way guaranteed to strike home. Marshall’s goal is to teach us all how to let our natural charisma shine through in whatever situations we find ourselves.

“Anna and the King of Siam,” by Margaret Landon, read by Anne Flosnik.

You’ve seen the movie, but you won’t know the whole story until you’ve read the book. Now you can listen to the delightful tale of Anna Leonowens, a widow with young children, who takes a position as teacher to the wives and children of King Monkut in the 1860s. Few Westerners had spent much time in Siam before Anna arrived, and hers was one of the only inside looks that readers had into the culture of Siam (now Thailand) as it was undergoing change under King Monkut. This allowed room for fictionalization when Leonowen wrote her original memoir upon which this book is based (fascinatingly, the movie “The King and I” isn’t allowed to be shown in Thailand because it skews Thai history). Taken with a grain of historical salt, this is a charming story with a historical basis, read fluently by Flosnik.

“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk,” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, read by Susan Bennett.

This classic (1980) book on relating to children in a way that will get the results that adults are looking for is finally available as an unabridged audiobook. The authors are believers in responding to kids with empathy and trying to see situations from the child’s point of view, while holding firm to the stated rules. Consistency is the name of this game, and the results speak for themselves. Bennett’s reading is just right — calm and serious when outlining techniques, with appropriate tension and emotion when reading parent-child dialogues. Bonus: while the techniques are meant for kids, they emphasize ways for both parties to maintain their dignity, feel understood, and stay calm, making the ideas here useful when dealing with adults, too.

“Pete Seeger: the Storm King,” by Pete Seeger, presented by Jeff Haynes.

Before Seeger passed away in January 2014, he recorded many hours of family history, stories behind his songs, and his favorite tales (Abiyoyo, for instance) alongside percussionist Haynes. Each piece is set to or introduced by music from a variety of genres including jazz, bluegrass, and folk, which Haynes has chosen with care and often plays himself. Don’t listen to this to hear Seeger sing, because though his songs do appear, they’re sung by other as tributes, but do pick this up for Seeger’s stories and poetry in his own voice, and to learn more about the man and the principles that guided his life.

“The Favored Daughter,” by Fawzia Koofi with Nadene Ghouri, read by Emily Durante.

When Koofi was born, her mother, bereft at having given birth to yet another daughter, nearly left her out in the sun to die. Rescued, she grew to adulthood under the auspices of a changing world, first encouraged to go to school and dream of a career, then, when the Taliban took over, resigned to a life at home with a husband and children and no outside interests. But Koofi wasn’t like other girls. The daughter of an Afghani member of parliament, she had family backing to go into government herself and was the first woman to become a member of Parliament. Her story is a look into a harsh but privileged world.

•••

Look for familiar library faces at Community Day this Saturday on the UAS campus from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come for storytellers, dancers, live music and lots more.

Story and Toddler Times are in recess until Thursday, May 29. Keep an eye on our calendar – the Summer Reading Program starts on Friday, May 30.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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