Every Last One by Anna Quindlen was released in 2010 by Simon and Schuster Audio
In this breathtaking and beautiful novel, the #1 New York Times” bestselling author Anna Quindlen creates an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seem like inconsequential actions.
Mary Beth Latham has built her life around her family, around caring for her three teenage children and preserving the rituals of their daily life. When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth focuses on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman’s love and determination, and to the invisible lines of hope and healing that connect one human being with another. Ultimately, as rendered in Anna Quindlen’s mesmerizing prose, Every Last One” is a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, and about living a life we never dreamed we’d have to live, but find ourselves brave enough to try.
This book has been in my audible library for a more than a couple of years, and for some reason I just never chose to listen to it. There is no rhyme or reason. As I listened I could feel what was about to happen, I don’t think I’d read the synopsis in years and yet the foreshadowing was there and I was most afraid of happened and I honestly wept. Mary Beth’s character is one I could certainly relate to, wife, mother, busy with juggling family life. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, I remembered why I love Anna Quindlen so very much. Keep the tissues handy if you read or listen.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was released in October 2016 by Random House Audio
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.
Wow is almost all I could say when I finished listening to this audio book, with a remarkable cast reading this book and the amazing words of Jodi Picoult it’s no wonder this book is being made into a movie starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts. In a year and time when some would like to think there is no race problem in America, we must admit that even beyond the white supremacists we have much work to do. The audio brought this book to life for me, grab it soon.
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham was released in November 2016 from Random House Audio
In her first work of nonfiction, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls – the first and second times – and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood. This collection of essays is written in the intimate, hilarious, and down-to-earth voice that made her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, a New York Times best seller.
“This book contains some stories from my life: the awkward growing up years, the confusing dating years, the fulfilling working years, and what it was like to be asked to play one of my favorite characters again. You probably think I’m talking about my incredible achievement as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! as a Langley High School junior, a performance my dad called ‘you’re so much taller than the other kids.’ But no! I’m talking about Lorelai Gilmore, who, back in 2008, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see again. Also included: tales of living on a houseboat, meeting guys at awards shows, and that time I was asked to be a butt model. A hint: all three made me seasick.”
Simply put, if you area fan of Gilmore Girls an miss Lorelai Gilmore you have to listen to this book. Read by the author, which is so good, Lauren Graham tells her listeners how she loved the seven years she was able to inhabit Stars Hollow, how the reboot filming made her feel and much more. It’s short, it’s funny, there are parts that made me cry, but it’s very worth your time.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett was released in September 2016 by Harper Audio
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.
When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.
Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.
I write this and admit this is the first book I’ve read/listened to by Ann Patchett. When I worked in a book store her books always seems too literary for me, maybe deeper themes than I’d enjoy, but with much urging and a visit to Parnassus Books in Nashville this summer (Patchett owns) I purchased several of her books and completely enjoyed the diverse story line of Commonwealth. The story focused on the children of two broken marriages, how did the families blend or not and how did the adults manage as life moved on. The revelation of the book written about her family Franny is in the middle of a controversy the impacts them all uniquely. Read this one or pick up the audio…and let me know your favorite Patchett book, I’m curious.
*all audio books purchased by me from Audible