The Shoemaker’s Wife
By Adriana Trigiani, read by Annabella Sciorra, Harper, 17.5 hours on 15 CDs, unabridged, $49.99
Star-crossed lovers Enza and Ciro meet as teenagers in the Italian Alps at the turn of the 19th century, but are separated by circumstances that force them to begin new lives in America. They meet again in New York’s Little Italy, but Ciro has volunteered to fight in the First World War, and Enza becomes a seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera, which leads her to a life in the artistic world of the city.
The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad
By Peter L. Bergen, read by Mark Deakins, Random House, 8.5 hours on 7 CDs, unabridged, $46
Long-time Osama bin Laden-watcher Peter Bergen traces the path of the fleeing terrorist in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, offering new details of the al-Qaeda leader’s world-wide flight and the U.S. search for him, up to the moment when U.S. special forces troops killed him in Abbottabad and buried his body at sea.
By Charles Dickens, read by Nicholas Boulton, Naxos, 36 hours on 28 CDs, unabridged, $165.95
One of the greatest works of literature in the English language, starring one of Dickens’s most-loved characters, who rises from a brutal childhood through tragedy and adventure to happiness as an adult. This is also probably the author’s most autobiographical work.
By Sara Levine, read by Emily Durante, Dreamscape, 4.75 hours on 4 CDs, unabridged, $65.99
An unnamed twentysomething woman is so enthralled by the adventures of young Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver and the other characters of Treasure Island that she resolves to pattern her life on the book, especially Jim Hawkins. So she adopts a mantra that can liberate her from her dead-end job and from her practical, unadventurous boyfriend: boldness, resolution, independence, horn-blowing. She stumbles from one hilarious/sad incident to another, and, of course, nothing turns out the way she expected.
By Toni Morrison, read by the author, Random House, 4.5 hours on 4 CDs, unabridged, $35
Frank Money is an angry, broken veteran of the Korean War who finds himself in charge of his medically abused younger sister. They return to the small Georgia town they grew up in, and Frank must come to grips with racist America and his own
memories and experiences.
My Week With Marilyn
By Colin Clark, read by Simon Prebble, Dreamscape, 10 hours on 8 CDs, unabridged, $65.99
In 1956, Colin Clark was a 23-year-old assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. The production – like Monroe’s life – was chaotic, with constant clashes between the strict and punctilious Olivier and Monroe, who was just married to Arthur Miller, surrounded by hangers-on and heavily medicated. Clark became Monroe’s confidant, and the two eventually spent an idyllic, though innocent, week in the English countryside.
The Origins of the Digital Universe
By George Dyson, read by Arthur Morey, Random House, 16 hours on 13 CDs, unabridged, $52
Historian George Dyson tracks the small group of men and women at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who produced one of the world’s first computers, realizing Alan Turing’s dream of a Universal Machine. He also makes several suggestions about where the digital universe is headed next.
Drop Dead Healthy
One Man’s Humble Quest
for Bodily Perfection
By A.J. Jacobs, read by the author, Simon & Schuster, 11 hours on 9 CDs, unabridged, $47
Jacobs, the author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All, found himself in hospital with a freak case of tropical pneumonia, which (along with his round-bellied, middle-aged body) persuaded him to go on a quest to become the healthiest man in the world. The story of that pursuit – consultations with doctors, dietitians, sex clinicians, sleep consultants and fitness instructors, with diets ranging from raw to extreme chewing – is hilarious, and surprisingly informative.
I’m Feeling Lucky
The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59
By Douglas Edwards, read by the author, Brilliance, 16.25 hours on 14 CDs, unabridged, $40
Many writers have described what the early days of Google accomplished, but no one has explained how it felt to be a part of it until now. Douglas Edwards, employee No. 59, offers the first inside view of what it was like to be a Googler, an unnerving mix of camaraderie and competition as the company’s idiosyncratic young partners create a famously nonhierarchical structure, fight against conventional wisdom and race to implement new features.
By Carsten Stroud, read by Ann Marie Lee, Random House, 14.5 hours on 12 CDs, unabridged, $52
Niceville is a mystery and a ghost story, with a touch of horror. A small boy on his way home from school disappears. A surveillance camera shows that he simply vanishes. Meanwhile, a bank robbery in a nearby town leaves four policemen dead, a local woman disappears, and Niceville suddenly isn’t so nice. Niceville, an idyllic town on the Florida-Georgia border, is full of family secrets, and cop Nick Kavanaugh has to sort them out.
By Christopher Moore, read by Euan Morton, Harper, 11.5 hours on 10 CDs, unabriddged, $43.99
Vincent van Gogh shot himself in July, 1890. Or did he? Painters Lucien Lessard and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec are not so sure, and set out to discover the truth of their friend’s untimely death – as well as the question of the “colour man” van Gogh claimed was stalking him and why the great artist had developed a fear of a particular shade of blue.
By Marcus Samuelsson, read by the author, Random House, 12 hours on 10 CDs, unabridged, $40
Marcus Samuelsson and his sister were Somalian orphans when they were adopted by a middle-class family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that his new grandmother, Helga, gave the four-year-old boy a love for food and cooking, which in turn led him to the kitchens of the most demanding high-end restaurants in France and Switzerland.