100 Booklist February 15, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
voice turns heavy with suffering the instant she
feels put-upon. Prunella’s own self-assurance
radiates through her unflappable, matter-of-fact speech. From her most outrageous to
her most mercenary decisions, she speaks as
one wholly convinced of the logic and rightness of her choices. While Zacharias plays the
stoic straight man, his steady voice occasionally
betrays his hidden wit. The formidable Mak
Genggang’s voice strikes a fearsome tone when
angry, which is often. Although many of the
characters could have been reduced to caricature, Sterlin’s light touch ensures that everyone
feels fully three-dimensional. A delightful first
novel for fans of Jane Austen, Susanna Clarke,
and Naomi Novik. —Lizzie Matkowski
This Old Man.
By Roger Angell. Read by Arthur Morey.
2015. 10.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780399565366).
Longtime editor and writer for the New Yorker and a keen observer of baseball, 94-year-old
Angell is a member of both the Baseball Hall of
Fame and the American Academy of Arts and
Letters. This collection of essays, blog entries,
correspondence, obituaries, profiles, poems,
and other pieces is read by accomplished audiobook narrator Morey, whose voice sounds
fittingly wise and mature. When necessary,
Morey sprinkles emotion and pathos into his
tones, and he even switches briefly to a French
accent for one snippet of an observation. He
never overdoes it, however, wisely allowing
the writing to speak for itself as he breezes
through the selections at a comfortable, never
hurried pace. And if you aren’t interested in
hearing Angell’s take on retired slugger Barry
Bonds (calling him the “Lord Voldemort of
baseball”) or learning more about Angell’s stepfather, E. B. White, or late wife, Carol, just
skip along to the next track, where you will
surely find something that piques your interest.
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, v.1:
At the Edge of Empire.
By Daniel Kraus. Read by Kirby Heyborne.
2016. 23hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD, $29.99
(9781442390072). Gr. 9–12.
Heyborne’s ability to decode complex text as
a stream-of-consciousness narrative that combines immediacy and introspection is nothing
short of astonishing, providing nuanced layers
of interpretation to Kraus’ epic tale of an undead
scion of a wealthy Chicago family, murdered at
age 17 in 1869 and doomed to travel America
as a perennial teenager. Heyborne convinces
us that we are hearing the voice of Zebulon
Finch, elucidating his flamboyant language and
preserving the archaic sentence structure’s cadence while highlighting the humorous snark
and historical horror of zombie existence. The
broad sweep of circumstance—ranging from
Zebulon’s time as medicine-show freak, to
WWI, to participant in Hollywood’s 1940s
golden age—provides much opportunity for
The comic elements in these youth and adult titles, re- viewed between February 15, 2015, and February 1, 2016,
range from laugh-out-loud to subtle and heartwarming. What
sets them apart is each narrator’s performance, which spotlights the author’s comedic touch. —Joyce Saricks
The Knockoff. By Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Read by Katherine Kellgren. 2015. 12hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45
In this slick tale of skulduggery at Glossy
magazine, Kellgren’s sparkling performance features
over-the-top emotions and characterizations.
Nuts to You. By Lynne Rae Perkins. Read by Jessica
Almasy. 2014. 2.5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $30.75
(9781490651224). Gr. 3–5.
Almasy’s portrayal of the adventure of three squirrel friends shines as she voices the
witty asides, antics, and inanities of squirrel life.
The Rosie Effect. By Graeme Simsion. Read by Dan O’Grady. 2014. 9hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $29.99 (9781442376007).
Quiet humor suffuses O’Grady’s depiction of a nerdy genetics professor who applies
logic to the challenges of fatherhood, with amusing results.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place. By Julie Berry. Read by Jayne
Entwistle. 2014. 9.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780553396027). Gr. 6–12.
Entwistle positively delights in her diverting reading of this darkly comic romp, creating
spot-on voices for the young students, whose headmistress has died mysteriously.
Secondhand Souls. By Christopher Moore. Read by Fisher Stevens. 2015. 10hr. Harper,
CD, $39.99 (9780062374110).
Death-merchant Charles Asher has fallen behind in collecting souls—with disastrous
results. Stevens’ narration elevates the clever wordplay and careful plotting of this comic
novel, verbalizing Moore’s snarky glee.
The Shepherd’s Crown. By Terry Pratchett. Read by Stephen Briggs. 2015. 8hr. Harper,
$21.99 (9780062430557). Gr. 7–12.
Pratchett’s last novel concludes the story of young witch Tiffany Aching. Briggs narrates
in a delightfully pompous British accent, giving this tale a timeless grandeur and infusing
humor in all the right places.
Skink—No Surrender. By Carl Hiaasen. Read by Kirby Heyborne. 2014. 8hr. Listening
Library, CD, $40 (9780804166904). Gr. 7–10.
Reflecting Hiaasen’s zany, grisly style, Heyborne skillfully conveys the madcap plot and
depicts the kidnappers, poachers, voracious gators, and rabid feral pigs that fill this hilarious ecothriller.
Smek for President! By Adam Rex. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2015. 6hr. Listening Library,
CD, $30 (9780553395686). Gr. 4–7.
Turpin’s wildly inventive performance creates a fabulous listening experience for this deliriously funny, action-packed tale, which mixes creative lowbrow humor with sly social satire.
Us. By David Nicholls. Read by David Haig. 2014. 14hr. Harper, CD, $44.99
Haig’s splendid narration emphasizes the humor and pathos of ordinary lives in melt-down in this tale filled with poignant memories, misadventures, and witty dialogue.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. By Ian Doescher. Read by Daniel Davis and others.
2014. 10.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780553546408).
Star Wars recast in iambic pentameter with Yoda speaking in haikus? Why not? This
imaginative production provides all the dramatic action of the original space opera with a
TOP 10 HUMOROUS FICTION