New nonfiction audiobooks include 'The Hoax,' 'A Long Way Gone'

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007

Here are a few of the new nonfiction audiobooks on CD available at the Juneau Public Libraries.

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"The New Rules of Marriage," by Terrence Real, read by Marc Cashman. As women's roles in the world have changed, so have their relationships within marriage, but the common sense of society hasn't quite caught up. Real offers tools for relationship repair and maintenance for women who want to stay friends and lovers with their partners for the long term. With exercises in listening, limit-setting, and appreciating what you've already got, as well as helping listeners identify and articulate their needs and goals, this is the stuff of dreams for many women (and probably some men).

"In Time of War," by Pierce O'Donnell, read by Raymond Todd. With an eye to the way history builds on itself, O'Donnell tells the story of eight Germans who were delivered by submarine to the East Coast in 1942. Their orders were to blow up buildings and rail hubs, but one of the eight betrayed them all. Circumventing contemporary law, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered a special trial held, and despite their attorney's best efforts to defend their constitutional rights, six of the eight were executed. O'Donnell, a noted trial lawyer, draws parallels between those acts and the current administration's dealings with suspected enemy combatants today in this fascinating true-thriller.

"The Hoax, by Clifford Irving, read by Joe Barrett. In 1977, Clifford Irving published a blockbuster in Great Britain: "The Autobiography of Howard Hughes." The public, hungry for news about Hughes (who hadn't been heard from in years), snapped it up, but there was a problem - it was a fake, bought by the publisher for an exorbitant sum on the basis of forged documents. When Hughes himself emerged from seclusion to denounce the book, the literary world finally rallied and Irving served jail time. Listeners of this intrigue-filled but somewhat self-congratulatory how-I-did-it may wonder, though, whether he really understands the toll his crimes took.

"A Long Way Gone," by Ishmael Beah, read by Dominic Hoffman. When Ishmael was 12, he was a good student who loved dancing to American hip-hop. By the time he was 13, he'd been driven from his village by rebels, lost most of his family to death, and, with the help of food, security and cocaine, been turned into a good soldier by his government. UNICEF came to his rescue when he was 16, giving him the tools he needed to put his years of brutality and addiction behind him. So harrowing a story is hard to listen to, but this remarkable memoir showing how one boy overcame his childhood as a soldier in Sierra Leone is written so well that it's hard to turn off.

"The Spoken Arts Treasury." Even though this two-volume series covers 70 of the best modern American poets, there is inevitably, a favorite name left out. Quibbles aside, this is an amazing collection of poets reading their work, remastered from the original 1969 vinyl production. In addition to a smoother sound, this collection now sports short introductions providing literary and cultural context, and a booklet for each volume that serves as an index. Volume 1 offers listeners the voices and poems of Dorothy Parker, Archibald MacLeish, Ezra Pound, and e.e. cummings, among many others. Volume 2 contains poems by Langston Hughes, Ruth Stone, Elizabeth Bishop and more. Dip in and listen to old favorites or try out some new names.

"Every Mother is a Daughter," by Perri Klass and Sheila Solomon Klass, read by Ann Fields and Carrington MacDuffie. This is the story of three generations of mothers and daughters, told by two of the generations, Sheila and her daughter Perri. In alternating entries, the two recount stories and examine how their own upbringings influence their views on raising children and being adults. That the two have a great relationship is happily plain: This memoir is full of gentle remonstrations and comedic banter. Delightful listening for daughters and mothers alike.


November is American Indian Heritage Month. Start it off in style by attending the First Friday literary event at 7 tonight at the downtown library. The event will feature readings by local Native writers Andrew Hope III, Ernestine Hayes, and Nora and Richard Dauenhauer.

Then another World of Film series will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the downtown library. This month's movie is "Shut Up and Sing," about the Dixie Chicks. The potluck theme is good ol' Texan.

For more information about any of our programs or to place a hold on any of our material, visit or call us at 586-5249.

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