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Staff Picks: Eric's Favorite Audiobooks

Make your commute fly by with these great audiobook titles

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them--along with Callie's failure to develop--leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all. The explanation for this shocking state of affairs takes us out of suburbia--back before the Detroit race riots of 1967, before the rise of the Motor City and Prohibition, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie's grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set in motion the metamorphosis that will turn Callie into a being both mythical and perfectly real: a hermaphrodite

The world according to Fannie Davis : my mother's life in the Detroit numbers by Bridgett M Davis

Set against the dramatic backdrop of 1960s and 70s Detroit, novelist Bridgett M. Davis's stirring memoir tells how her ingenious mother used Detroit's illegal lottery to support her family In 1958, the very same year that an unknown songwriter named Berry Gordy borrowed $800 to found Motown Records, a pretty young mother from Nashville, Tennessee borrowed $100 from her brother to run a Numbers racket out of her tattered apartment on Delaware Street, in one of Detroit's worst sections. That woman was Fannie Davis, Bridgett M. Davis' mother. Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, granddaughter of slaves, Fannie became more than a numbers runner: she was a kind of Ulysses, guiding both her husbands, five children and a grandson through the decimation of a once-proud city using her wit, style, guts, and even gun. She ran her numbers business for 34 years, doing what it took to survive in a legitimate business that just happened to be illegal. She created a loving, joyful home, sent her children to the best schools, bought them the best clothes, mothered them to the highest standard, and when the tragedy of urban life struck, soldiered on with her stated belief: "Dying is easy. Living takes guts." A daughter's moving homage to an extraordinary parent, The World According to Fannie Davis is also the suspenseful, unforgettable story about the lengths to which a mother will go to "make a way out of no way" to provide a prosperous life for her family--and how those sacrifices resonate over time. This original, timely, and deeply relatable portrait of one American family is essential reading

Becoming. by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same

Dear girls : intimate tales, untold secrets, and advice for living your best life by Ali Wong

"In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads. The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she's learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal singles life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong's letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and disgusting) for all"--

Mrs. Queen takes the train : a novel by William M Kuhn

Mrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts. This lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes readers into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britain's Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith

A tribute to the life and enduring reign of Elizabeth II draws on numerous interviews and previously undisclosed documents to juxtapose the queen's public and private lives

Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs

Welcome to the troubled world of Sellevision, America's premier retail broadcasting network. When Max Andrews, the beloved host of Slumber Sunday sundown accidentally exposes himself in front of sixty million kids and their parents during a segment, Sellevision faces its first big scandal. As Max fails to find a job in television, another host, the popular and perky Peggy Jean Smythe, is receiving sinister e-mails from a stalker. Popping pills and drinking heavily, she fails to notice that her husband is spending a lot of time with the very young babysitter who lives next door. Then there's Leigh, whose affair with Sellevision boss Howard Toast is going nowhere until she exposes him on air; and Bebe, Sellevision's star host, who may find Mr. Right online--if only she could stop her shopping addiction from taking over

The art of fielding : a novel by Chad Harbach

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended

Save me the plums : my Gourmet memoir by Ruth Reichl

When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no? This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down. Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be

My life in France by Julia Child

Here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found her "true calling." From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre, en route to Paris, in the fall of 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu. This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Here, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became

The year of living biblically : one man's humble quest to follow the Bible as literally as possible by A Jacobs

This documents the author's quest to live one year in literal compliance with biblical rules, from being fruitful and multiplying to growing a beard and avoiding mixed-fiber clothing

Calypso : essays by David Sedaris

David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book. If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris' cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself. With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny--it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris' powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future. This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris' darkest and warmest book yet-and it just might be his very best

Uganda be kidding me by Chelsea Handler

Whenever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain : she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most hilarious stories ever. On safari in Africa, it's anyone's guess as to what's more dangerous : the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she's fumbling the seduction of a guide or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she's always game for the next misadventure. Wickedly funny and always absurd, Uganda Be Kidding Me has Chelsea taking on the world, one laugh-out-loud incident at a time.--Container

Squeeze me : A novel. by Carl Hiaasen

From the best-selling author of Skinny Dip and Razor Girl , a hilarious new novel of social and political intrigue, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida's gold coast. It's the height of the Palm Beach charity ball season: for every disease or cause, there's a reason for the local luminaries to eat (minimally), drink (maximally), and be seen. But when a prominent high-society dowager suddenly vanishes during a swank gala, and is later found dead in a concrete grave, panic and chaos erupt. Kiki Pew was notable not just for her wealth and her jewels she was an ardent fan of the Winter White House resident just down the road, and a founding member of the POTUSSIES, a group of women dedicated to supporting their President. Never one to miss an opportunity to play to his base, the President immediately declares that Kiki was the victim of rampaging immigrant hordes. This, it turns out, is far from the truth. The truth might just lie in the middle of the highway, where a bizarre discovery brings the First Lady's motorcade to a grinding halt (followed by some grinding between the First Lady and a love-struck Secret Service agent). Enter Angie Armstrong, wildlife wrangler extraordinaire, who arrives at her own conclusions after she is summoned to the posh island to deal with a mysterious and impolite influx of huge, hungry pythons . . . Carl Hiaasen can brighten even the darkest of days and Squeeze Me is pure, unadulterated Hiaasen. Irreverent, ingenious, and highly entertaining, Squeeze Me perfectly captures the absurdity of our times

Tales of the city by Armistead Maupin

All six Tales of the City novels available in one audio edition with a special introduction by the author Armistead Maupin's uproarious and moving Tales of the City novels have earned a unique niche in American literature; not only as matchless entertainment, but as indelible documents of cultural change in the seventies and eighties Among the cast of this groundbreaking saga are the lovelorn residents of 28 Barbary Lane: the bewildered but aspiring Mary Ann Singleton; the libidinous Brian Hawkins; Mona Ramsey, still in a sixties trance; Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, forever in bright-eyed pursuit of Mr. Right; and their marijuana-growing landlady, the indefatigable Mrs. Madrigal. "Maupin, with all his elegance and charm, has found a place among the classics." -The Observer Includes: Tales of the City More Tales of the City Further Tales of the City Babycakes Significant Others Sure of You

Crazy rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry

Less : a novel by Andrew Sean Greer

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town? ANSWER: You accept them all. What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story

What the eyes don't see : a story of crisis, resistance, and hope in an American city by Mona Hanna-Attisha

"From the heroic pediatrician who rallied a community and brought the fight for justice to national attention comes a powerful firsthand account of the Flint water crisis--a dramatic story of failed democracy and inspiring citizen advocacy and action. In the heart of the world's wealthiest nation, one hundred thousand people were poisoned by the water supply for two years--with the knowing complicity of their government. Written by the crusading pediatrician who helped turn the crisis into a transformative movement for change, What the Eyes Don't See is a devastating insider chronicle of the Flint water crisis, the signature environmental disaster of our time, and a riveting narrative of personal advocacy. Here is the dramatic story of how Dr. Mona used science to prove Flint kids were exposed to lead, and how she courageously went public with her research and faced a brutal backlash. With persistence and single-minded sense of mission, she spoke truth to power. The book explores the horrific reality of how misguided austerity policies and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. A medical and scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don't See grapples with our country's history of environmental injustice while telling the inspiring personal story of Dr. Mona--an immigrant, a doctor, and a scientist--whose family roots in social justice activism buoyed her through the fight for justice in Flint. It captures a timely and essential story of how communities can come together to fight for social justice, even in opposition to their own governments"--

Betty Ford : First Lady, women's advocate, survivor, trailblazer by Lisa McCubbin

A deeply personal, empathic portrait of an outspoken First Lady, who was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother. With poignant details and rare insight, McCubbin reveals a fiercely independent woman who had a lively sense of humor, unwavering faith, and an indomitable spirit

The last black unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn't beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she's still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy. Tiffany can't avoid being funny it's just who she is, whether she's plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person's mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others. By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she's ready to inspire others through the power of laughter

The monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

From the bestselling author of The Circle and What Is the What, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war.Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs began to rain down on the country, and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with dueling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea. A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man—a Muslim and a US citizen—following the most American of dreams

Ready player one : a novel by Ernest Cline

Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's creator

Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah gleefully provides America with its nightly dose of serrated satire. In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born illegal -- the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father's servant in the brief moments when the family came together. His brilliantly eccentric mother loomed over his life -- a comically zealous Christian (they went to church six days a week and three times on Sunday), a savvy hustler who kept food on their table during rough times, and an aggressively involved, if often seriously misguided, parent who set Noah on his bumpy path to stardom. The stories Noah tells are sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious

Where'd you go, Bernadette : a novel by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world

Midnight in Chernobyl : the story of the world's greatest nuclear disaster by Adam Higginbotham

The definitive, dramatic untold story of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, based on original reporting and new archival research

The Warehouse : A novel by Rob Hart

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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.