Bookmark and Share

Audio books: A way for families to enjoy literature together

Listening to audio books is a wonderful way for families to enjoy literature together. “Families spend so much time in the car, which is a great place to listen,” says Mary Burkey, a middle school librarian in Columbus, Ohio, in an article in this month’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

When choosing an audio book, Burkey suggests that families consider three things – subject, length and the book’s narrator. “The shortest you’ll find are about four or five hours,” she says. “These are usually nonfiction, so you can pick a subject your kids are interested in.

If your family is more into fiction, there is plenty of that available, too. Here the narrator, who plays multiple roles, is key to your enjoyment.

Kristine MacNeill, our youth services librarian, has put together her favorites for you to consider. We have audio books on both cassette and CDs; however, these titles are CD only:

• Young adult: The “Hunger Games” trilogy, “Bloody Jack” series, “Harry Potter” series, “The Golden Compass,” plus the other two books in the “Dark Materials” trilogy, classics like “Treasure Island” and “Anne of Green Gables,” and an assortment of current YA novels.

• Junior fiction: “Junie B. Jones,” “Alvin Ho,” “Evolution of Calpurnia Tate,” “The True Meaning of Smekday,” “Harriet the Spy” and “Tales of Despereaux.”

There are many other titles available as well. If you want help is choosing what’s best for your family, please ask Kristine. You also can find more recommendations at Burkey’s American Library Association blog – In addition to links to free audio books, the blog will offer two free young adult downloads each week during the summer.


If you are not aware of how to access the free e-book opportunities available for our patrons through your library, please go to, or you can pick up a paper copy at the library. Also, for the past several months we have been buying e-book titles exclusively for our library’s patrons, called OverDriveAdvantage, so you can get new titles faster than just through the regular OverDrive system. Watch for Advantage e-book listings in future columns, and read about past offerings in previous columns by going to our website and clicking on the News & Events box in the left column of the home page.


“Judi Dench” is the memoir of this great, award-winning British actress. “Once Upon a Secret” by Mimi Alford tells of this woman’s affair with President John F. Kennedy when she was a 19-year-old White House intern. “Just Saw a Duck in the Shape of a Cloud” is a collection of tweets from the actor, comedian, writer and musician Steve Martin.

Other nonfiction

“Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired — and Secretive — Company Really Works” by Adam Lashinsky takes you behind the scenes of this highly successful technology company. “Going Solo” by Eric Klinenberg documents the extraordinary rise and surprising appeal of living alone, America’s most significant demographic shift since the baby boom. “The Operators” by Michael Hastings is a behind-the-scenes portrait of our military commanders in Afghanistan by the author of the Rolling Stone magazine article that got Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired. “Da Vinci’s Ghost” by Toby Lester uses the artist’s famous drawing of a man in a circle and a square to explore his genius and obsession. “A Universe from Nothing” by theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss presents the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved – and the implications for how it is going to end.

New novels

“The Healing” by Jonathan Ordell is about a mysterious and charismatic healer in the pre-Civil War South facing cholera in Mississippi. “Sonoma Rose” by Jennifer Chiaverini is the latest in the Elm Creek Quilts series, this one set in California in the days of Prohibition. “The Garden Intrigue” by Lauren Willig is the ninth installment of the Pink Carnation series in the time of Napoleon. “A Perfect Blood” by Kim Harrison is the latest in the Hollows urban fantasy genre.

Mysteries and thrillers

“No Mark upon Her” by Deborah Crombie is a physiological suspense story involving the mysterious drowning of a high-ranking detective in the Thames. “The Shadow Patrol” by Alex Berenson follows a CIA operative who goes undercover in Afghanistan not only among the Taliban but also among fellow Americans.

Large print mysteries and thrillers

“The Fear Index” by Robert Harris is a thriller about a physicist who uses a secret system of computer logarithms to trade on the world’s financial markets. “A Burial at Sea” by Charles Finch is a mystery and spy story set in Victorian England times. “Gone West” by Carola Dunn is a Daisy Dalrymple mystery in the Cozy series set in England between the Great Wars. “The Jaguar” by T. Jefferson Parker is a thriller about a kidnapper who demands that his victim compose a folk ballad about drug dealers and outlaws.

Large print romance

“A Girl Like Janet” by Debbie Macomber follows a gentleman who preferred blondes until he saw the real Janet. “My Wicked Little Lies” by Victoria Alexander is an historical romance and spy novel set in Victorian England. “Thunder Heights” by Phyllis A. Whitney is a romantic suspense story set in a huge Gothic mansion on the Hudson River.

Thanks to our donors

We are grateful for a federal mini-grant for our Summer Reading Program, and to the Community United Methodist Church for funds to purchase board books for youngsters. For books and materials this week, we thank Mel and Darlene Cassio, Bamma Laizure and Lisa Peterson.

Quotable quote

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.” — Helen Keller (1880-1968), American author, political activist and lecturer, and the first deaf-blind person to earn a B.A. degree.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

blog comments powered by Disqus