Ready, Steady, Listen Up–Again!: More New CD Audiobooks at APL

So, we’ve established that some of us are a bit old-school and still love to pop the odd CD into the player rather than queuing up listens on phones, iPods, or various car streaming systems. (Don’t remember? Have a look at this post). And that’s OK. Fortunately, the Abbot Library caters to both techies and Luddites alike. If you’re one of the former, you can revel in the exceptional content on offer on hoopla and Overdrive/Libby. But if you’d like to check out the latest audiobooks in physical format, look no further than this collection in the library catalog, place a hold, and grab your choice using our popular curbside pickup service!

If you’re a fan of all things British, we’ve got historical fiction, literary fiction, and an autobiography on tap for you. Hilary Mantel’s last volume in her Tudor trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, brings her fictional exploration of Thomas Cromwell’s turbulent life to a close after nearly a  decade. You’ll not want to miss it, and if you haven’t yet read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (or need a refresher), they’re ready for you, too. If you’re an Austenite, you’ll be delighted by Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society, in which a group of unlikely fans unite forces to save a vital piece of literary history (and in the process save each other–click here for a review). Or you can do one better than tea with the Queen: have a listen to the fascinating memoir Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

Another historical novel by Lisa Wingate (author of Before We Were Yours) will take you to the post-bellum South alongside three women of vastly different experiences and positions in pre-Civil War society–an heiress to a plantation, her unacknowledged half sister, and a slave. Check out The Book of Lost Friends to find out more. 

And if you want a thriller by a tried-and-true master of the genre, you’ll not go wrong with Harlan Coben’s The Boy from the Woods, in which a lone forest dweller assists with an investigation into a girl’s disappearance, or John Sandford’s Masked Prey, which weaves an absorbing tale from incidents of cyberstalking among Washington’s elite.

Firm favorites Emily Giffin and Diane Chamberlain each make an appearance as well, so be sure to have a look!

And for you techies, all but one of these offerings is available in audio format on Overdrive/Libby (The Boy from the Woods can be borrowed as an ebook).

Happy listening!

Mental Health Awareness Month: Acknowledging Personal Struggle During Global Crisis

The month of May, designated Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949, gives us the opportunity to remember that well-being means mental as well as physical health. Most of us are feeling a bit more stressed and anxious than usual: what about those whose struggles are chronic or even life-long? Perhaps now is a good time to try to understand and empathize with the challenges faced by those suffering from long-stigmatized mental illnesses.

Our e-collections can support this quest! Two specially-curated collections in hoopla offer audio-visual perspective on some specific mental health issues, from bipolar disorder to eating disorders to manic depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder to schizophrenia and even postpartum depression. 2020 APL Mental Health Awareness Month: Audio offers a sample reading list from medical professionals, biographers, memoirists, and historians.

For a compelling autobiography written by a medical expert who, in the throes of fighting brain cancer, experienced symptoms similar to those suffered by dementia and schizophrenia patients, you might try the well-regarded book The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K. Lipska. Talk about learning empathy from the inside out!

The companion film collection in hoopla (2020 APL Mental Health Awareness Month: Film) features a number of documentary approaches to mental illness. By observing and acknowledging others’ struggles with mental health, we can individually and collectively remove the age-old stigma and fear of “madness” and strive to make the world a kinder place for sufferers.

Some of the bravest and most affecting writing about mental illness comes from those who have been there themselves. Amazingly, some of these writers have been able to wring humor and hope from otherwise harrowing experiences. For searingly honest but strangely uplifting–and yes, even funny–listens, try Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and the newly-released The Hilarious World of Depression by radio announcer and podcaster John Moe. Both audio titles are available in Overdrive/Libby.

And remember that your awareness and concern support those who might otherwise be suffering almost invisibly during these difficult times.

Minds Behind the Magic: Favorite Children’s Authors in Audio and Film

Chances are, you’ve been spending a good bit more time with the kids recently. Are you struggling just to remember how it feels to be a child, let alone figuring out how it feels to be one in the middle of a global crisis? If so, you might turn to some old friends for inspiration–writers who, Peter Pan-like, never seemed to lose their passports to the realm of childhood, and who have made the lives of their readers all the richer for their magic.

If you’d like to get to know these remarkable personalities better, why not have a listen to the biographies curated in a brand-new hoopla audiobook collection: 2020 APL Minds Behind the Magic Audio? Here, you’ll find portraits of imaginations born out of the crisis of World War I in books like A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and the Great War by Joseph Loconte or Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle Earth by John Garth. (To enjoy a glimpse of Tolkien’s own parenting approach, you might also take a look at his playful Letters from Father Christmas, a richly-illustrated ebook available on hoopla.)

In a similar vein, Louisa May Alcott’s life and writing were undoubtedly shaped by crisis: childhood privation and the Civil War loom large in her biographies. For a well-rounded study, try Susan Cheever’s Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography; to observe the strong mother-daughter bond that shaped Alcott, listen to Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother by Eva LaPlant. 

In the memoirs of Christopher Robin Milne, we have a different sort of perspective: the complicated influence of famous children’s author A. A. Milne and his works on his own son. While the two-part autobiography (The Enchanted Places and The Path through the Trees) is not all sunshine, it offers some fascinating windows onto Winnie-the-Pooh’s world and its creator. Even more compelling is The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest That Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, a biography-cum-ramble through rural England.

For further insight into the minds behind the magical worlds of classic children’s literature, have a look at a companion film collection in hoopla, available here.

Rediscovering Biographies

Rediscover the biography genre, one of the oldest, most significant and popular genres in literature.

Read about famous and eminent people, learn more about them, and sometimes be surprised. The subjects of other biographies in the display are people whose names you may never have heard of. There are individual biographies and collective biographies, such as family biographies.

Books presented in this display are the newest biographies in our digital collection, highly recommended in the press.

The following are a few titles that stand out, even among the other critically acclaimed books.

The subjects of the new biography from Adam Hochschild are political activist Rose Stokes and her idealistic upper-class reformer husband Graham Stokes, their magical love story, and marriage.

 At the start of the 20th century the couple was among the Rich & Famous, often the subject of newspaper headlines, and their circle included the most notable and interesting people of their time. 

Adam Hochschild is a journalist and nonfiction writer, known for his books on the social justice movement, such as King Leopold’s Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts.

This biography is a delight for baseball buffs, with the legendary baseball player Yogi Berra as its subject.

The sportswriter Jon Pessah gives a wide-ranging account of Berra’s career and his evolution into one of the  greatest players, as well as his post-player careers as a team manager and a coach. 

It is also a story of a human being, with all his triumphs and heartbreaks, overcoming obstacles. 

The book is peppered with fun anecdotes of the golden era.

Fun fact: he coined some aphorisms, and eight of those Yogi-isms are in the famous book of Bartlett’s Quotations.

If you’ve seen the TV series The Crown, you will definitely recognize the main character of this book, Lady Glenconner, the maid of honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and the lady-in-waiting for Princess Margaret.

Sharing stories with the visiting actors preparing for their roles in The Crown inspired the book. You will read about the private lives of the royal family and society elite through the eyes of Lady Glenconner. You will learn about her private life and her family. Her sense of humor, which shines through her writing, gained much praise.

The book was selected as the Times (UK) Memoir of the Year.

This Oprah’s Book Club Pick is a biography of a family with 12 children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the role the family played in helping scientists understand the illness.

It is also an authoritative look at the disease itself, and a record of evolution of thoughts on its biology and nature.

The book is based on very thorough research and multiple interviews with family members and close family friends.

Read more biographies on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla.