Kathryn Stockett's 'The Help' and Tina Fey's 'Bossypants' among best audio books

Special to Lowcountry LifeApril 15, 2012 

With our busy schedules, it's getting harder and harder to carve out some quiet reading time. Audio books can more easily fit into an active lifestyle by accompanying you on a walk, a run, the treadmill, a trip, or while doing routine tasks at work or at home.

They come in several handy, user-friendly options:

  • Audio discs that can be played in the car or on a portable disc device

  • Playaway -- pre-loaded MP3 players that are smaller than your cell phone and simply require ear-buds/phones and a AAA battery

  • Downloadable audio books from the library's OneClickdigital subscription. Contact the reference department at any Beaufort County libraries to register for this service.

  • Here is a short list of the best in audio book listening experiences:

    "THE HELP" By Kathryn Stockett (Read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer and Cassandra Campbell)

    True confession: I did not read this blockbuster; I listened to the audio, and believe it to be one of the best audio narrations ever produced. (Please note that narrator and award-winning actress Octavia Spencer also played the unflappable Minnie Jackson in the movie adaptation of the book.) Enjoy the trials, tribulations and ultimate triumph of "the help" in 1960s Jackson, Miss.

    "WHITE TIGER" By Aravind Adiga (Read by John Lee)

    Talk about an original premise for a novel -- an Indian servant-driver writes letters to the premier of China, explaining the Indian entrepreneurial mindset. This satire is a darkly humorous and wickedly insightful satire into the Indian social/cultural dynamic and human nature in general. The narrator very capably captures both Indian and British-English dialects with the many social class distinctions evident through his expert narration.

    "BOSSYPANTS" By Tina Fey (Read by the author)

    This audio is too funny for words; I can't count the times I laughed out loud. Fey is a gifted writer as well as a comedic talent. Many TV viewers are familiar with the series "30 Rock"; Fey is the producer and star of this popular sitcom and offers up hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes. She also shares her witty insights on melding family with an active career. This is the perfect gift for any 40-something mom.

    "STATE OF WONDER" By Ann Patchett (Read by Hope Davis)

    Through vivid narrative description the author spins an unexpected plot so engrossing it's hard to leave the "scene" and return to life. Pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh is sent to the remotest region of the Amazon to track down her former mentor. Her co-worker had already disappeared trying to find the elusive Dr. Annick Swenson. The audio narrator pulls the listener in with a compelling "cast" of voices.

    "INTO THIN AIR" By Jon Krakauer (Read by the author)

    In 1996, author Jon Krakauer was sent by Outdoor magazine to accompany a diverse group of professional and relatively inexperienced climbers on their ascent of Mount Everest. Combined with dangerously unpredictable weather, small mistakes mount up to lead to the tragic deaths of five of these climbers. Krakauer narrates his eyewitness account with the clarity of a seasoned reporter and the emotional voice of one who was part of this ill-fated venture.

    "DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE" By Laini Taylor (Read by Khristine Hvam)

    If you liked the "Twilight" series, you are going to love this dramatic audio presentation read by a single, talented narrator. Soon to be made into a major motion picture, this is an incredibly creative and engrossing angel/demon fantasy thriller. The vividly descriptive narrative and timeless story of forbidden love are reminiscent of other successful teen fantasies: "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins, and "Divergent," by Veronica Roth.

    Francesca Denton is the reference manager at the Beaufort library, 311 Scott St., Beaufort.

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    For more information on the Beaufort County Public Library system, go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org.

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