Audio Book

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Summary: 
I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Beresford Bennett. A portion of _We were Eight Years in Power_ examines the manner in which President Barack Obama handled race issues. Coates also examines racism during the 2016 elections. I found the two best chapters of the book to be reprints of his Atlantic essays “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Coates also chronicles changes in his life during the Obama Presidency, rising from unemployment to a respected commentator/writer. A highly recommended read for all aged 16 and above.

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Summary: 
Former Saturday Night Live writer turned U.S. Senator, Al Franken describes what motivated his 2008 run for Senate and his take on U.S. politics today. It's a progressive democrat's look at Washington with his very specific brand of humor. His humor aside, Franken comes across as a man of integrity and honesty. He narrates the audio version of the book. Highly recommended.

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Red Platoon : a true story of American valor

Summary: 
The author participated in fighting off a 2009 Taliban attack on Command Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. This work provides his account of the battle. I listened to the audio book version narrated by Will Damron who does a great job narrating this story. The story itself does a great job of explaining the situation Romesha and his colleagues encountered. I strongly recommend this work.

A Death in Vienna

Summary: 
The third and final novel dealing with unfinished business related to the Holocaust finds art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon in Vienna to discover the truth behind a bombing that killed an old friend. While there he encounters something that turns his world upside down. It is a face—a face that feels hauntingly familiar. Allon will uncover evil stretching across sixty years and hundreds of thousands of lives, but which also touches his own family history. This is an absorbing novel and worth reading, but tough in places due to the nature of the subject matter. I'm glad I persevered. I look forward to a return to his more cliff-hanging tales in subsequent books in his Allon Series.

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I Let You Go

Summary: 
Two British readers balance the characters’ narratives and the police procedural as the case involving a hit-and-run accident unwinds. The plot is compelling, but the characterizations are superb. The inner workings of a CID team and the personal lives of the detectives, as well as the psychology of the suspect and others all ring true.

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Ross Poldark

Summary: 
I read the book long ago and watched the 1970s PBS version of Poldark. I am enjoying listening to the book that became Masterpiece: Poldark, Season One. Ever curious, I wanted to know how closely the miniseries presentation compares to the story line. So far, so good!

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Between the World and Me

Summary: 
One hardly needs me to recommend a National Book Award winner, but I can't get this book out of my head. The economical (176 pages) work of non-fiction is a letter from Coates to his teenage son about what it means to be black in America today. Covering American history, current events, and the author's personal narrative, the word in my head is "important." This is such an important book at this time, in this country. It can be shocking and demoralizing, but also hopeful. Consider listening to the audiobook. Coates performs his own narration and his voice lends even more to the powerfulness and beauty of the text.

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My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life

Summary: 
When Gourmet magazine folded in 2009, editor in chief, Ruth Reichl was left unemployed and without a plan for the first time in her adult life. While others from the magazine found new work quickly, at 61, Reichl wasn't sure what came next. My Kitchen Year tells the story of the time immediately following Gourmet's demise. It's part memoir and part cookbook. I often read cookbooks for pleasure, but had never listened to one. Reichl is an excellent narrator. Her story is interesting and hearing her read the recipes is supremely enjoyable!

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The Martian

Summary: 
The Martian was recommended to me and it sounded okay, but the story of an astronaut left behind on Mars and having to fend for himself is really "not my thing." Finally, so many people suggested I read it that I decided to give the audiobook a shot on a long car trip and found it completely absorbing. Now I can't stop recommending it to everyone who asks me for a good book. The narrator inhabits the main character Mark Watney with all the fear, boredom, desperation, humor and ingenuity one might expect from a man abandoned on a distant planet. The book came out in 2011, but has recently regained popularity with a movie starring Matt Damon due in theaters soon.

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Summary: 
This well-read version of the companion book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry gives voice to its inspiration, the dying woman, who has a tale to tell, forgiveness to seek, and a quiet life. Her memories, her fellow hospice patients, and the hidden connections with passersby reveal life thrumming in the depths of stillness. For a "hospice novel" this is surprisingly upbeat.

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