Hear/Say Volume 2


Rockin' with Rick Hall

The audiobook world is popping with excitement this fall! New books, new formats, and new audio experiences are launching every week. Here at ListenUp we've had the pleasure of working with Muscle Shoals music legend Rick Hall on his memoir, evoking those intense, creative years of the '60s and '70s in the music scene for those of us who were there, and those who wish they could have been. Click to learn more about The Man from Muscle Shoals, and keep on reading here to find captivating listens for fall.

So Young, so Post-Apocalyptic!

YA visions of the bleak hereafter

YA (Young Adult) is the fastest-growing fiction category of the past couple of years, and it has spread to almost every other genre, bringing its own approach to storytelling—fast-moving, current, and youthful. YA is not just for teens. 
     And since Katniss Everdeen first drew her bow, there’s been an explosion of YA dystopian stories, filled with characters and action—and yes, heroes.
     Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, a print bestseller and star-studded film franchise, consists of the trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) and Four, a collection of prequel stories, and hits those all-important targets. Reviewers called it “easy to get submerged in, effortless to remain engaged in ...” and adventure-packed.
     In The Only Ones, set after a devastating pandemic, young Inez knows she and baby Ani will survive ... but how will they live? Author and well-known rock critic Carola Dibbell creates a “genre-bending work of punk-rock science fiction.”
     California, by Edan Lepucki, (Stephen Colbert urged his viewers to buy it from his website during last year’s struggle with Amazon.com) may not be categorized everywhere as YA, but the young protagonists and day-after-tomorrow scenario gives this story the same street cred. California drew raves from reviewers; one called its setting not so much post-apocalyptic as “an apocalypse-in-progress.”  Brrr.
     Binary Star, similarly, tells the story of “two lost souls in a long dark night.” The time frame might be today, and the unknown future is really just around the corner. Warning: Listen to this one accompanied by a big dose of sunshine and birdsong.

True-Crime Shivers and Shock

The reality punch of real, bad stories

True Crime—as non-fiction, it makes for great storytelling. As storytelling, it satisfies our brain’s daily requirement for horrified fascination. No matter how long ago they happened, or when the tale was told, true-crime stories still deliver their punch.
     Many writers of true crime focus on regions and communities they know well. Jerry Bledsoe, a former journalist in North Carolina, is the author of several titles based in the area, including the New York Times #1 bestseller, Bitter Blood, a hair-raising tale of family conflict. (It doesn’t end well.) Bledsoe’s books are gripping, with a strong sense of place and time, making for a great audiobook experience.  You can find four of them here.
     And if your thirst for crime writing is unslakable, here’s a brief look back at the kings (and queen) of the true-crime literature world:
     In writing, there’s crime (fiction), there’s true crime (non-fiction), and there’s the modern hybrid of the two; the non-fiction novel, pioneered by Truman Capote with In Cold Blood (1966).
     The combination of a horrifying true story with literary polish (not to mention literary license; many critics faulted Capote’s loose regard for the facts) resulted in a bestselling thrill ride for readers and a new way of writing about the unthinkable. (The New Yorker first published excerpts of In Cold Blood, along with many other shorter-form stories, recently collected for online reading.)
      Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song (1979), an exhaustively researched work of the second type (true crime), won a Pulitzer and joined the national debate on  the revival of capital punishment.
     Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter (1974), the terrifying story of the Manson family rampage, was written by the case’s prosecutor. Helter Skelter is today the biggest selling true crime book in history.
     Had enough? We didn’t think so. Two more stories are stand-outs, not only for their supercharged details but also for their longevity: Joe McGinniss’s controversial Fatal Vision (1983, about murderer Jeffrey MacDonald); and The Stranger Beside Me (1986, about Ted Bundy) by Ann Rule, who was the most prolific true-crime writer of her era, with more than 30 titles still in print.
Select Titles 50% Off through 10/31

Find great October deals on audiobooks at ListenUp.










Subscribe to Hear/Say!