Add Audiobooks to Your Life!

A common question we get at Macmillan Audio goes something like, “I love the idea of audiobooks, but…what do you do when you listen to them?” It’s a fair question, especially if you’re the kind of restless cosmopolitan who simply cannot fathom sitting still and staring into space for an extended period of time. So we decided to take a little office poll and see how the “‘professionals” enhance their lives with audio.

Get Cookin’ Good Lookin’

A few of our staffers are avid cooks and bakers. What’s the best way to relax after a long day of work? Crack open a bottle of wine, get your stir-fry sizzling, and put on a lighthearted, audiobook comedy. We suggest I’m Judging You by Luvvie, and I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. For those who are culinarily ‘challenged,’ this works equally well with ramen noodles — just make sure that the volume of your audiobook exceeds the volume of your microwave.

Learn While You Burn

Fitness nuts will testify: self-improvement is a hell of a drug. Our sportier staffers find that physical exercise is best accompanied by mental stimulation. After all, once you get in the habit of working towards goals, your appetite for knowledge can be as insatiable as your thirst for electrolytes. For enlightened post-workout conversation, we suggest The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot, and Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. Couch potatoes (we’re not judging) may opt for Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi.

Fight Grime with Crime

No one looks forward to deep-cleaning, but sometimes, it must be done. Our staffers find that the right thriller audiobook can provide the necessary fuel for tedious scrubbing and scraping. So the next time you find yourself facing an oven catastrophe or a window that should not be opaque, why not boost your spirits with a little mystery and suspense? We suggest Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, and Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker.

Want to hear more? Listen to excerpts to help you choose the audiobook to keep you busy.

Thriller Thursday: Christopher J. Yates’s Black Chalk

One game. Six students. Five survivors.

Black Chalk is an intriguing audiobook about six freshmen students at Oxford University that invent a game to liven up a pretty uneventful week. Yet, this is not just any ordinary game. Yes, there are cards, dice, and a hefty cash prize, but the consequences and the psychological effects are damaging. As the game continues, it morphs into something darker as the stakes get higher. What starts off as friendly competition results in a cringe-worthy, tension-filled story with mind-blowing plot twists that keep listeners guessing while they become deeply engrossed in “the game.” Peter Brooke’s perfect chilling voice lures listeners in, and it’s clear he has a knack for building a world of suspense. Can you handle “the game”? Listen to an audiobook clip of Black Chalk: 

Thankful for Audiobooks: New Releases for November 21

We’re thankful for the food coma and the new audiobooks to listen to this week!

Dawn of the New Everything by Jaron Lanier, narrated by Oliver Wyman

Bridging the gap between tech mania and the experience of being inside the human body, Dawn of the New Everything is a look at what it means to be human at a moment of unprecedented technological possibility. Through a fascinating look back over his life in technology, Jaron Lanier, an interdisciplinary scientist and father of the term virtual reality, exposes VR’s ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species and gives listeners a new perspective on how the brain and body connect to the world. An inventive blend of autobiography, science writing, philosophy, and advice, this audiobook tells the wild story of his personal and professional life as a scientist, from his childhood in the UFO territory of New Mexico to the loss of his mother, the founding of the first start-up, and finally becoming a world-renowned technological guru. While his previous publications offered a more critical view of social media and other manifestations of technology, in this audiobook he argues that virtual reality can actually make our lives richer and fuller.

Poison by Galt Niederhoffer, narrated by Hillary Huber

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat, a yard, and a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the modern family dream. Their family, including Cass’ two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland – a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace. Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Secrecy World by Jake Bernstein, narrated by the author

A hidden circulatory system flows beneath the surface of global finance, carrying trillions of dollars from drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, and other illegal enterprises. This network masks the identities of the individuals who benefit from these activities, aided by bankers, lawyers, and auditors who get paid to look the other way. In Secrecy World, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jake Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it developed, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca – a trove now known as the Panama Papers – as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein shows how shell companies allow the uber wealthy and celebrities to escape taxes and provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe. This audiobook discusses the fragile scaffolding upholding any tax haven, the flexible laws of banking, and the radiating impact of an international financial scandal.

Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

It’s the summer of 1949, and things have run smoothly at Cavendon Hall for years, with very few quarrels, dramas, or upsets between the two families. But since the end of World War II, changes have arrived at Cavendon. A new generation is at the helm and also at the forefront of new scandal and intrigue. With romance, betrayal, heartbreak, and possible murder threatening to tear them apart, the Inghams and Swanns will have to find a way to come together and protect each other in the face of threats they never could have predicted.

Victoria & Albert by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan, narrated by Jessica Ball and Dugald Bruce Lockhart

But what happened after the queen married her handsome prince? Did they live happily ever after, or did their marriage, like so many royal marriages past and present, fizzle into a loveless round of duty? This all-new companion audiobook by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan transports listeners to the private world of Victoria and Albert. Though first cousins, they could not have been more different: Victoria was impulsive, emotional, and capricious, Albert cautious, self-controlled, and logical. But together they forged a bond with each other and with their people that would change the world. Drawing on letters and diaries and fresh insights into royal history, this compelling audiobook charts the constant ebb and flow of power within the couple’s surprisingly ardent and modern marriage. Expertly arranged and full of rich insider detail, Victoria & Albert takes listeners behind the scenes of the magnificent TV drama, including fascinating, in-depth information on the actors, the props, and the costumes – and bringing an extraordinary royal marriage even more fully to life.

Thriller Thursday: Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray’s American Drifter

When you mix a New York Times best-selling author with an irresistible celebrity icon—you’ve got a superstar tag team. Best-selling author, Heather Graham, teamed up with actor Chad Michael Murray, to write an action-packed, romance thriller. Murray, who not only co-wrote the book but narrates it as well, was inspired by a vivid dream he had. US Army veteran, River Roulet, chose to eschew his home and the memories of his horrid past, for a fresh new start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. River becomes intoxicated with the ambiance and energy of Rio—but that’s not the only thing he falls for. He meets the free-spirited Natal, who is the perfect embodiment of the joys and pleasures of living in Rio. But there’s always a catch… Natal lives with one of the most notorious gangsters in Rio, Tito Amato. As the couple travels deeper into Brazil, they are chased by both Tito and the Brazilan government. Murray has a way of hypnotizing the listener, keeping them hanging on to every bit of excitement and drama. His narration brings the imagery and beauty of Rio to life, making me want to book a flight to Brazil today. Hear it for yourself by listening to an audiobook excerpt:

Can’t get enough? Check out Chad Michael Murray when he was Inside the Studio! 

Audiobook New Releases for November 14

Audiobooks that you can finally get today!

 

After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard, narrated by Ari Fliakos

The Unfolded World is a bitter and unfriendly place for Daniel Carter and Emily Lovecraft. In this world the Cold War never happened because the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1941. In this world the Nazi Großdeutschland is the premier superpower and is not merely tolerated but indulged because, in this world, the Holocaust happened behind the ruins of the Iron Curtain and consumed only Bolsheviks, Communists, and others the West was glad to see gone. In this world there are monsters, and not all of them are human. Carter finds himself working for the German secret security service to uncover the truth behind a major scientific joint project that is going suspiciously well. The trail takes Lovecraft and him to a distant, abandoned island and a conspiracy that threatens everything. To fight it, Lovecraft must walk a perilously narrow path between forbidden knowledge and soul-destroying insanity.

American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray, narrated by Chad Michael Murray

A young veteran of the US Army, River Roulet is struggling to shake the horrors of his past. War is behind him, but the memories remain. Desperate to distract himself from the images haunting him daily, River abandons the world he knows and flees to the country he’s always dreamed of visiting: Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is everything he hoped for and more. In the lead-up to Carnaval, the city is alight with music, energy, and life. With a few friends at his side, River seems to be pulling his life together at last. Then he meets the enchanting Natal – who lives with the gangster that rules much of Rio. As their romance blossoms, River and Natal flee together into the interior of Brazil, where they are pursued by the sadistic drug lord, Tio Amato, and his men. When River is forced to kill one of those men, the chase becomes even deadlier. Not only is the powerful drug boss after them, the Brazilian government is on their trail as well. Will the two lovers escape – and will River ever be free of the bloody memories that haunt him?

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost. The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified. Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together – and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past – even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown, narrated by the author

The Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her 20s who arrives in New York City with a dream. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Condé Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue, and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant skepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine. Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions – the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. Within the diary’s cinematic minutes, the drama, the comedy, and the struggle of running an “it” magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country, and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son, and their daughter.

Thriller Thursday: Galt Niederhoffer’s Poison

From the outside, Cass and Ryan Connors present the image of a picture-perfect family. The Connors built the perfect relationship, the perfect home, the perfect careers, and the perfect life… or so it seems. When Ryan is accused of having affair, cracks begin to form in their perfect lives. Galt Niederhoffer does a fantastic job of challenging the comfort and stability that couples expect from marital life in her audiobook, Poison. As the characters lose trust in each other, the listener begins to lose trust in which character’s narrative to believe. Narrator Hillary Huber breathes life into Cass and allows the listener to connect with her on a deeper level. Huber’s greatest skill, however, lies in how she adds layers of drama and complexity to the story with the intensity of her narration. Check it out for yourself by listening to an audiobook excerpt of Poison

Audiobook New Releases for November 7

So many amazing new audiobooks to listen to!

Alone by Brett Archibald, narrated by Byron Mandahl 

In April 2013, 50-year-old Brett Archibald was onboard a surf-charter boat, making a nighttime crossing of the remote Mentawai Strait off Sumatra, Indonesia. In the middle of a storm, ill with severe food poisoning, he blacked out. When he came to, he found himself in the raging sea, 60 miles from shore. As Brett saw the lights of his boat disappearing into the darkness, it became clear that no one had seen him fall and that no one would hear his shouts for help. He was alone in the ocean. Alone is the remarkable tale of his miraculous survival and rescue. It is also the story of what it takes to defy extraordinary odds and the incredible power of the human spirit.

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting, narrated by Jacob Morgan and Muffy Newtown

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him. They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

The Mayflower by Rebecca Fraser, narrated by Kate Reading

The voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly equipped group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They were ill prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers. Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America. The Mayflower is an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the 17th century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan women, and the contradictions between generations as fathers and sons made the painful decisions that determined their future in America.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies – humans with extraordinary abilities – who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice – and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Valiant Dust by Richard Baker, narrated by Steve West

Valiant Dust combines the intrigues of interstellar colonial diplomacy with explosive military action. Sikander Singh North has always had it easy – until he joined the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and only Kashmiri, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he has to use his fists. When the Hector is called to help with a planetary uprising, he’ll have to earn his unit’s respect, find who’s arming the rebels, and deal with the headstrong daughter of the colonial ruler – all while dodging bullets. Sikander’s military career is off to an explosive start – but only if he and CSS Hector can survive his first mission. This fast-paced audiobook will transport listeners to distant galaxies and fully immerse them in interstellar warfare.

Thriller Thursday: Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks fans, get ready to nerd-out! In Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, author and co-creator of the series Mark Frost, takes the listener through the 27 years between the 1990 original series and its remake in 2017. So if you’ve spent hours watching the original series on Netflix, or planning on starting the new series on Showtime—or is simply curious about all the hype, the listen is surreal, creepy, and highly addicting. This is the perfect accompaniment to one of the most binge-watchable shows of all time, and no Twin Peaks fan collection would be complete without it. Just as any television junkie knows that 3:30 am “Just one more episode” feeling, this audiobook will keep you listening long after bedtime. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!