Category Archives: Audiobooks

The Swerve

[Cover]

Title: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Author: Stephen Greenblatt (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini)

Publisher: WW Norton, 2012

Summary/Review: Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and is a historian.  His most recent book ,winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for general Non Fiction, revolves around a Roman poem  by Lucretius entitled On the Nature of Things. The poem, startling even for its time, asserts that there are only atoms that make up this universe, and the matter and the recombining of matter is all accidental – there is no god who guides and plans our lives; no god that cares about our existence. This is a startling assertion: a very disturbing and very modern idea is postulated about 50 years BCE!

Greek papyrus, Roman papyrus and codex suffer:  the ideas of the ancients deteriorate during the middle ages due to book worms, deterioration of ink and paper, persecution by church officials who deem them heretical, and the general ravages of time.  Enter Poggio Bracciolini, a 15th-century papal emissary, scribe and book hunter, who found a neglected copy of On the Nature of Things in a German monastery, copying it and distributing it to his humanist friends, and thus reintroducing important ideas to the Renaissance and beyond, ideas that are even found in our own Declaration of Independence.  There is so much more to this book that I can tell you here – and not all historians agree with Dr. Greenblatt.  But this was a fantastic “listen” – the narrator is excellent.

Who will like this book?:  History buffs and philosophical thinkers.  Someone looking for a non-fiction read that will illuminate the history of thinking.

If you like this, try this:  If you enjoyed Greenblatt’s writing, he has a number of other books – many focused on Shakespeare.  If you’d like to go back to the basics, “On the Nature of Things” is readily available, as are multiple interpretations and writings about the poem.

Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference Librarian

If this looks like something you would be interested, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if the book or audiobook are available!

My Mother Was Nuts

my mother was nuts

Title: My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir

Author: Penny Marshall

Publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2012

Summary/Review: Penny Marshall reminisces about growing up in the Bronx, where she spent most of her time in her mother’s dance studio. She talks about her accidental introduction into acting and her later transition into directing. Her brother Garry may have initially opened the door for her, but Penny’s dedication and talent secured her place in Hollywood. Best known for her role on Laverne & Shirley and as director of Big and A League of Their Own, Penny gets up close and personal on her first marriage and entrance into motherhood, her second marriage to Rob Reiner, and relationship with Art Garfunkel (who knew?!). Surrounded by famous friends (Carrie Fisher and John Belushi–to name a few), Penny offers up many private and often humorous moments.

I loved that the audio book was performed by Penny Marshall, however, I wish she did less “reading her book” and more “telling her story”.

Who will like this book: : In addition to Laverne & Shirley fans, anyone with an interest in Hollywood stars or the seventies/eighties would enjoy this book.

If you like this, try this: My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall or Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

To see if this book is available, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog.  We have it available in both audio and print!

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Title:  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Author:  Bill Bryson

Summary:  This book is ideal for any baby boomer who remembers their childhood fondly.  No heart-wrenching drama here.  The reader needs to have a good sense of humor and delight in the seriously silly adventures of children. I have not laughed out loud this much while reading a book in a long time.  Don’t you remember how seriously you took the “play” time you relished as a child? Don’t you want to feel so astonished by adult behavior again? Don’t you want to jump right into some great nostalgic read where all is fun, good and safe?

Bill Bryson, accomplished author of the favorite A Walk in the Woods(among others), shares his childhood and family life of the 1950′s and 1960′s growing up in Des Moines, Illinois.  He even likes his parents and appreciates their quirks! His storytelling is hilarious and warm. He laments about the wonderful things about this era in American history and what we may have lost. His impressive writing talent allows the reader to a take a nostalgic trip down memory lane in a feel-good and informative way.

I listened to the audio with someone who is not a baby boomer but sadly, was born, a tad too early, and he laughed out loud with me. The stories about childhood and the American way of life are universal. Please pick up a copy of the audio book while going on a long trip this summer and laugh with your family and friends.

Recommended by:  Karen, Deputy Town Librarian