August2017 Booklist 83 www.booklistonline.com
The Big 5: Five Simple Things You Can
Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.
By Sanjiv Chopra and David Fisher. Read
by Dana Hickox.
2017. 6hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781520072050).
Chopra, brother to Deepak Chopra and a
medical expert in his own right, sifts through
studies and trials to pluck five key, almost-free
practices he guarantees will ensure optimal
health. The practices—drinking coffee, exercising regularly, adding nuts, taking vitamin D,
and meditating regularly—aren’t new ideas,
but Chopra presents convincing arguments for
making them part of a daily routine. Hickox is a
nice choice to narrate the informative program.
He speaks clearly and adds just the right touch
of warmth to Chopra’s writings, making this
feel like a pleasant conversation with a knowledgeable friend. Statistics are supplied but
aren’t over whelming; case studies are interesting
without being drawn out. Chopra admits that
overdoing anything (except maybe meditation)
can be detrimental, but he assures listeners that
the side effects of his plan are minimal. The
concise format and Hickox’s pleasant tones
make this a good choice for learning on the go.
Café Neandertal: Excavating Our Past in
One of Europe’s Most Ancient Places.
By Beebe Bahrami. Read by Kirsten
2017. 11.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $34.99 (9781681685595).
Armchair archaeology meets foodie memoir meets travelogue in this fascinating look
at Neanderthals and those who study them.
Cultural anthropologist and avid traveler
Bahrami particularly gravitates toward the
Dordogne region of southwestern France,
hoping to discover more about the lives of
the Neanderthals and how they influence
and inform our own. Especially fascinating is
her observation of the people of Carsac, the
nearby town whose citizens have embraced
the Neanderthals as their own. Clearly, she
loves and respects her subjects—both ancient
and contemporary—and this livens her story.
The conversational tone that Potter brings to
the work suits the first-person narrative and
many interviews nicely, and she handles the
French accents and locales of the story with
ease. Though some listeners might wish that
the pacing was occasionally a bit more brisk,
Potter does an admirable job telling the ever-evolving story of our origins. —Liz Kirchhoff
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.
By Jennifer Ryan. Read by Gabrielle
Glaister and others.
2017. 12.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9781524721367).
When all the men in a small British village go
off to war, the vicar disbands the church choir.
But the ladies regroup to form an all-women’s
choir, because singing will keep up their spirits
in the frightening year of 1940, with a Nazi
invasion imminent. Four female narrators pro-
vide spot-on portrayals of the major characters:
a widowed nurse, a young and impressionable
teenager, an amoral midwife, and an older teen
girl on the brink of womanhood. Letters read
by two male voices provide background. This
epistolary novel unfolds with tales of local gos-
sip, heroic war efforts, refugees, the British class
system, and spies. Occasional choruses of an
actual women’s choir singing the pieces that are
mentioned in the book add to the ambience,
while elements of mystery and suspense in
several plot threads propel the listener through
this evocative narrative. Fans of the Masterpiece
series Home Fires will find this especially com-
pelling. —Connie Rockman
By G. M. Malliet. Read by Michael Page.
2017. 8.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $59.99 (9781520067919).
Former MI5 agent and now Anglican
Church cleric Max Tudor is asked to help with
a case involving the body of the aging movie-star Margot Browne that washed ashore near
Monkslip-super-Mare. Browne, along with
other actors, writers, and hanger-on aristocracy,
has been the guest of Romero Farnior aboard his
luxurious yacht. Narrator Page’s rich, resonant
tones seem especially appropriate for this group
of celebrities, as he carefully cajoles them into
revealing their varied backgrounds. Haughty,
clipped speech immediately identifies the baron
and baroness, classic moochers who hide behind their titles, while playboy director Farnior
speaks quickly and somewhat abrasively, which
contrasts with kind, soft-spoken Maurice Brandon, the stylist who has been Margot’s friend
for close to 50 years. Each character has a secret, some more grievous than others, but Max
slowly untangles all the relationships and finally
reveals Margot’s murderer in this sixth in the
cozy series. —Pam Spencer Holley
The Fifth Trimester.
By Lauren Smith Brody. Read by Allyson
2017. 11hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9781524750619).
For many working women, the hazy first
few weeks of motherhood are full of anxiety, guilt, and panic as maternity leave winds
down and the prospect of returning to the office looms large. Smith Brody calls this fraught
period the fifth trimester, and she’s crafted an
engaging handbook on how to cope. Ryan’s
reassuring yet lively reading complements the
no-nonsense advice, which covers everything
from recognizing postpartum depression and
navigating child-care options to finding the
best office-appropriate clothes for pumping
and asking your boss for flextime. Although
harried moms might wish that the 11-hour
running time be a tad shorter, Ryan’s brisk
pace helps chapters fly by. Brimming with
useful tips and inspiring stories from dozens
of working parents, this recording makes
listeners feel like they’re chatting with a supportive friend who’s determined to help them
flourish, both at work and at home with the
baby. —Annabelle Mortensen
Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost
By Paul Watson. Read by Malcolm
2017. 12.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95 (9781470810115).
The Franklin Expedition left England in
The Dead Zone.
By Stephen King. Read by James Franco.
2017. 17hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99 (9781508218647).
In this classic King title from 1979, John Smith lies coma-
tose for almost five years in a hospital in Maine after barely
surviving a car crash. When he awakes, he discovers he has
gained the ability to see the future when he touches a person or object. When Johnny sees
an up-and-coming politician’s frightening intentions, he needs to find a way to stop dan-
gerous events from occurring. Actor Franco narrates with great skill
and a relaxed pace, balancing King’s event-filled plotting against
the serene New England setting. His characterizations will entrance
listeners. He distinguishes well among all of the characters, from
larger-than-life politician Greg Stillson to mildly accented Polish
doctor Sam Weizak. Without sounding saccharine, Franco uses a
lilting, gentle tone for Johnny’s greatest love, Sarah. Johnny sees
some truly horrific things, but Franco is able to portray him as
mostly even-keeled; the character sees his ability as both a gift and
a curse, and the narration clearly shows the turmoil he lives with on a daily basis. In the
current political climate, listeners seeking books with a mercurial politician will not be
disappointed. Franco’s perceptive narration intensifies the power of King’s words and
ideas and gives the story a timeless feel. —Suzanne Temple
Classics Corner Classics Corner highlights new recordings of classic titles.
Continued on p. 86