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Now hear this: A roundup of new audiobook releases

Image of Steve Jobs from cover of biography by Walter Isaacson

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby By Charles Dickens, read by David Horovitch, Naxos, 29 CDs, 38 hours, unabridged, $183.98

In Charles Dickens's third novel, the young man if the title becomes responsible for his mother and sister when his father dies after losing the family's money in bad investments. They are forced to travel to London to live on the grudging largesse of Nicholas's cold-hearted Uncle Ralph. But Nicholas's good-natured persistence finally wins the day. Naxos is going all-out for the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth, with its just-released audio Hard Times and an abridged, junior version of Oliver Twist, with plenty more to come.

11/22/63 By Stephen King, read by Craig Wasson, Simon & Schuster, 30 CDs, 31 hours, unabridged, $85.99

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Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher, finds a portal into the past and takes on the task of preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. This is a brilliantly told story by the pre-eminent U.S. storyteller.

The Orphan Master's Son By Adam Johnson, read by Tim Kang, Random House, 15 CDs, 19.5 hours, unabridged, $52

Pak Jun Do begins as a boy overseer in a North Korean orphanage-cum-work camp, and rises through the ranks of power to become a professional kidnapper. But his loyalty is tested when he must oppose dictator Kim Jong-il for the woman he loves.

Raylan By Elmore Leonard, read by Brian D'Arcy Jones, Harper, 6 CDs, 6.5 hours, unabridged, $33.99

Raylan Givens, a deputy U.S. marshal and one-time coal miner, is back in Harlan County, Kentucky. He crosses paths with a Glock-toting woman coal-mining executive, and a gang that kidnaps organs from living bodies and then holds them for ransom.

The End of Illness By David B. Agus, read by Holter Graham, Simon & Schuster, 9 CDs, 11 hours, unabridged, $47

David Agus, cancer doctor, researcher and technology innovator challenges long-held standard beliefs about human health, and informs us how to avoid illnesses and take charge of our individual health. Full of practical suggestions, including: Lose weight, exercise, wear sensible shoes, get enough sleep, eat vegetables, stop taking all those vitamins, get a flu shot and ask your doctor whether you really need all those drugs.

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The Litigators By John Grisham, read by Dennis Boutsikaris, Random House, 9 CDs, 11.5 hours, unabridged, $53

The litigators of the title are a "boutique law firm" consisting of two burned-out ambulance chasers, former beat cop Oscar Finley and Wally Figg, a recovering alcoholic with four ex-wives. They and a new recruit, disillusioned Harvard Law grad David Zinc, become embroiled in a case pitting their little-guy client against big pharma.

Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson, read by Dylan Baker, Simon & Schuster, 20 CDs, 24.5 hours, unabridged, $56.99

Walter Isaacson's biography, informed by hundreds of interviews, including 40 with an ailing Jobs himself, traces Jobs's ascent from adopted child to the most successful entrepreneur of our time, taking us from adoption to dropping acid and dropping out of college to the ins and outs of corporate politics at Apple.

She A History of Adventure, by H. Rider Haggard, read by Bill Homewood, Naxos, 4 CDs, 5.2 hours, abridged, $24.99

Haggard's classic adventure tale gets under way when Cambridge academic Horace Holly is recruited for a voyage to track down the lost African tribe ruled by the legendary Queen Ayesha ("She-who-must-be-obeyed"). He and his ward Leo set out, but are shipwrecked and captured, and fall under She's spell.

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Blue Nights By Joan Didion, read by Kimberly Farr, Random House, 4 CDs, 4.5 hours, unabridged, $28.95

Didion's husband, John Gregory Dunne, died in 2003, and their only child, Quintana, died two years later. This memoir deals with loss, but Didion addresses grief by continually circling back to the time before its advent.

Elizabeth the Queen The Life of a Modern Monarch, by Sally Bedell Smith, read by Rosalyn Landor, Random House, 17 CDs, 21.5 hours, unabridged, $52

Bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith takes on one of the world's most fascinating and enigmatic women, taking us behind the glamour and the gossip by drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents. She shows in detail the public and private lives of the Queen, who has led Britain and the Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last 60 years with composure, intelligence and grace.

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