Enchanting Eccentrics Part 1: Listen with hoopla and Overdrive/Libby

Why are we drawn to fictional misfits? Is it because they are more courageous than we are, seemingly unafraid of being themselves? Or is it because they act out our own hidden insecurities and find love and acceptance anyway–giving us hope? Or perhaps we just love rooting for the underdog, the not-so-perfect, the slightly off-kilter. Whatever the reason, if you’d like a bit of quirky charm in your life, you’re in for a treat with digital audiobooks from hoopla and Overdrive/Libby.

You’ll find plenty of idiosyncratic appeal amongst the selections in our newly-curated audio collection on hoopla: 2020 APL Enchanting Eccentrics (Audio). If you were a fan of the 2002-2009 TV series Monk, then you’ll be happy to find that Lee Goldberg–who has recently collaborated with the likes of Janet Evanovich–wrote a series of novels starring the obsessive-compulsive detective. Some of the eight audiobooks available in this collection were adapted into episodes, while others find Mr. Monk facing new adventures on the streets of San Francisco, always with a long-suffering, hand-wipe-toting assistant in tow.

You’ll also find four novels by Phaedra Patrick, a British author who has made something of a name for herself with gently humorous tales starring hapless, lonely men of a certain age who gradually open themselves up to the possibilities of joy, friendship, and love. Benedict Stone, Arthur Pepper, and Mitchell Fisher will capture your empathy and imagination as you join them on their quests. If you’d like a book along the same lines but with an eccentric female protagonist, you’ll not be disappointed by Patrick’s departure from her usual approach in The Library of Lost and Found. You’ll be charmed by seaside librarian Martha Storm, an imaginative, socially awkward introvert with a passion for assisting others while chronically neglecting her own deep-seated needs. Ruth Hogan (another British author of a similar ilk) and Jonas Jonasson (author of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared) are sure to entrance you, as well.

Enchanting eccentrics abound on Overdrive/Libby as well. Similar in tone and characterization to Phaedra Patrick’s books, Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry–read by excellent British character actor Jim Broadbent (who has lent his talent to films as diverse as Iron Lady and the animated Paddington movies)–sends an aging, henpecked husband on an unexpected journey of self-discovery and emotional awakening. And we mustn’t forget Fredrik Backman’s crusty curmudgeons, both male and female; even if you’ve already read and loved A Man Called Ove, don’t despair! Try My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie Was Here for yet more comic tales of delightful loners who find connection and hope on their own terms.

Tune in again for film and TV suggestions in the same vein. In the meantime, here’s to lovable eccentrics everywhere!