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November, 2015

9 AM (Mon-Fri)

by Kate Summerscale

Read by Katrina Shoemaker. (9 epidsodes, 10/26/15 – 11/05/15)

Book jacket illustration."I think people marry far too much; it is such a lottery, and for a poor woman—bodily and morally the husband’s slave—a very doubtful happiness." —Queen Victoria to her recently married daughter Vicky

Headstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age 31 in 1844. Her first husband had died suddenly, leaving his estate to a son from a previous marriage, so she inherited nothing. A successful civil engineer, Henry moved them, by then with two sons, to Edinburgh’s elegant society in 1850. But Henry traveled often and was cold and remote when home, leaving Isabella to her fantasies.

No doubt thousands of Victorian women faced the same circumstances, but Isabella chose to record her innermost thoughts—and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane—in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted—passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and, broaching its privacy, read Isabella's intimate entries. Aghast at his wife’s perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Until that year, divorce had been illegal in England, the marital bond being a cornerstone of English life. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the specter of "a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal." Her diary, read in court, was as explosive as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, just published in France but considered too scandalous to be translated into English until the 1880s.

As she accomplished in her award-winning and bestselling The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale brilliantly recreates the Victorian world, chronicling in exquisite and compelling detail the life of Isabella Robinson, wherein the longings of a frustrated wife collided with a society clinging to rigid ideas about sanity, the boundaries of privacy, the institution of marriage, and female sexuality.


by Jimmy Carter

Read by Susan Sweeney. (11 episodes, 11/06/15 – 11/20/15)

Book jacket illustration.While there’s no gainsaying Carter’s active and selfless post–White House life, this uneven volume is largely a superficial treatment of events and personalities covered elsewhere in more depth, including by the former president himself. Readers unfamiliar with his almost 30 other books may find something new, but even they are likely to be frustrated by passing references to major life events. How did a young Carter feel when his close friend in the Navy killed himself after a hazing? What led him to fall in love instantly with his future wife, Rosalynn? Why was a weekend with a dying Hubert Humphrey among the most “interesting” of his life? Carter doesn’t say. He also seems to credit the successful passage of the 1978 Camp David Accords, perhaps his most significant presidential achievement, to his fortuitous decision to make a thoughtful gesture to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s grandchildren. Carter’s rise from poverty to the most powerful office in the world is inspiring, but this book, complete with average-at-best poetry and artwork, reads more like a vanity project than a lasting source of inspiration and information.

by Jeffrey Archer

Read by Tom Jowers. (13 epidsodes, 11/23/15 – 12/09/15

Book jacket illustration.International bestselling author Jeffrey Archer’s mesmerizing saga of the Clifton and Barrington families continues.

London, 1945. Who shall inherit the Barrington family fortune? The vote in the House of Lords has ended in a tie. The Lord Chancellor’s deciding vote will cast a long shadow on the lives of Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington. Harry returns to America to promote his latest novel while Emma goes in search of the little girl who was found abandoned in her father’s office on the night he was killed. When the general election is called, Giles Barrington has to defend his seat in the House of Commons and is horrified to discover who the Conservatives select to stand against him. But it is Sebastian Clifton, Harry and Emma’s son, who ultimately influences his uncle’s fate.




10 AM (Mon-Fri)


by Jennifer Weiner

Read by Matt Robbins. (12 episodes, 10/26/15 – 11/10/15)

Book jacket illustration.From a #1 New York Times bestselling author comes her “best book yet” (Philadelphia Inquirer), a “compulsively readable” novel that shows “there’s no doubt Weiner knows how to deliver a certain kind of story, and well” (The New York Times Book Review).

Allison Weiss got her happy ending—a handsome husband, an adorable daughter, a job she loves, and the big house in the suburbs. But while waiting in the pediatrician’s office, she opens a magazine to a quiz about addiction and starts to wonder…Is a Percocet at the end of the day really different from a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump & Pump class…or if your husband ignores you? She tells herself that the pills help her make it through her days…but what if her increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all?

Hailed as “a witty, realistic criticism on the modern age” (Boston Herald), this remarkable story of a woman’s fall into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again is Jennifer Weiner’s most masterful, moving, and celebrated work yet.


by Stacy A. Cordery

Read by Renee Ford-Clark. (18 episodes, 11/11/15 – 12/04/15)

Book jacket illustration.An entertaining and eye-opening biography of America's most memorable first daughter

From the moment Teddy Roosevelt's outrageous and charming teenage daughter strode into the White House-carrying a snake and dangling a cigarette-the outspoken Alice began to put her imprint on the whole of the twentieth-century political scene. Her barbed tongue was as infamous as her scandalous personal life, but whenever she talked, powerful people listened, and she reigned for eight decades as the social doyenne in a town where socializing was state business. Historian Stacy Cordery's unprecedented access to personal papers and family archives enlivens and informs this richly entertaining portrait of America's most memorable first daughter and one of the most influential women in twentieth-century American society and politics.



10 PM (Mon-Fri)


by Amy Tan

Read by Lauren May. (23 episodes, 10/07/15 – 11/02/15)

Book jacket illustration.Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village.

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign “Shanghailanders” living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

A deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.


by Elin Hilderbrand

Read by Anne Teddlie. (12 episode, 11/03/15 – 11/16/15)

Book jacket illustration.Madeline King and Grace Pancik are best friends and the envy of Nantucket for their perfect marriages, their beautiful kids, their Sunday night double dates with their devoted husbands. But this summer, something's changed, and if there's anything Nantucket likes better than cocktails on the beach at sunset, it's a good rumor.

And rumor has it...

...that Madeline, a novelist, is battling writer's block, with a deadline looming, bills piling up, and blank pages driving her to desperation--and a desperately bad decision;

...that Grace, hard at work to transform her backyard into a garden paradise, has been collaborating a bit more closely that necessary with her ruggedly handsome landscape architect;

...that Grace's husband, successful island real estate developer "Fast Eddie" Pancik, has embarked on quite an unusual side project;

...that the storybook romance between Madeline's son, Brick, and Grace's daughter Allegra is on the rocks, heading for disaster.

As the gossip escalates, and they face the possible loss of the happy lives they've worked so hard to create, Grace and Madeline try mightily to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it.


by Will Harlan

Read by Matt Robbins. (12 episodes,11/17/15 – 11/30/15)

Book jacket illustration.Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She wrestles alligators, eats roadkill, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built by hand in an island wilderness. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia.

Cumberland, the country’s largest and most biologically diverse barrier island, is celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie once owned much of the island, and in recent years, Carnegie heirs and the National Park Service have clashed with Carol over the island’s future. What happens when a dirt-poor naturalist with only a high school diploma becomes an outspoken advocate on a celebrated but divisive island? Untamed is the story of an American original standing her ground and fighting for what she believes in, no matter the cost.

11 PM (Mon-Sat)

by David Brooks

Read by J. D. Hickey. (13 episodes, 10/27/15 – 11/10/15)

Book jacket illustration.In his most eye-opening and deeply personal book yet, David Brooks—New York Times bestselling author of The Social Animal—tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed, and how we can all strive to build rich inner lives, marked by humility and moral depth. In a society that emphasizes success and external achievement, The Road to Character is a book about inner worth.






by Nelson De Mille

Read by Dana Letson. (11 episodes, 11/11/15 – 11/23/15)

Book jacket illustration.DeMille (The Panther, 2012, etc.) follows former NYPD detective John Corey, the bane of Middle Eastern terrorists, after he's contracted to the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey's sardonic voice drives this adventure, as he and his team surveil Russian U.N. delegate and SVR Col. Vasily Petrov. There's reason to pay attention: SVR equals Russian CIA. After Corey's bounced around alphabet-soup counterterror groups—and followed too few rules—Corey's bosses think the tamer DSG will keep him out of trouble, but the assignment's causing marital friction. His wife, FBI Agent Kate Mayfield, remains with the Anti-Terrorism Task Force, and her boss has the hots for her. Tailing a "dip" or not, Corey's got cop instincts. He knows something bad is afoot when Petrov and his SVR companions motor to a Russian oligarch's Long Island mansion and then sneak away on a pleasure boat. Corey doesn't trust Russians, noting that "when I compared them to the Islamist I had spent years following and investigating, I had no doubt who was the most dangerous." Good instincts: Petrov's supposed to "destroy Lower Manhattan and destroy all evidence of who had perpetrated the attack." The Russian is a desperate dude with daddy issues: his SMERSH-veteran father, a recipient of the Order of Lenin, messaged, "Come home in glory. Or do not come home." Complications arise when Buckminster Harris, a double-secret CIA-type, shows up. Harris left Corey to die in Yemen. And Corey's supposed trainee partner, Tess Faraday? She's a Harris-controlled undercover State Department Intelligence agent. In a plot as high-speed as the SAFE-boat Corey uses to chase Petrov, DeMille offers a less-verbose version of Clancy's Sum of All Fears, all while rendering Long Island familiarly and adding sparks between Corey and Tess. Perfect summer beach reading, with or without margaritas, full of Glock-and-boat action.

Summer starts off with a bang! Nelson DeMille's 7th John Corey novel is an explosive new thriller that has our hero tackling an enemy we never should have forgotten about. Fans of DeMille's books may be awestruck at the novel's thin frame; at only 310 pages this is the shortest of his books, but readers should not be fooled or upset that it isn't 600 pages. This one is a page-turner like no other, as the action takes place all in 24 hours! Corey's unique voice populates the book, but this time around there isn't time for all the build-up and tension - that all starts on page 1. This is a bullet-fast, slim, tightly plotted, humorous and surprising addition to DeMille's canon.


by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg

Read by Tom Jowers. (8 episodes, 11/24/15 – 12/02/15)

Book jacket illustration.A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.



12 AM (Tues-Sun)

by David Mitchell

Read by Bob Brier. (26 episodes, 10/07/15 – 11/05/15)

Book jacket illustration.Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting on the war in Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer The Washington Post calls “the novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction.”

An elegant conjurer of interconnected tales, a genre-bending daredevil, and a master prose stylist, David Mitchell has become one of the leading literary voices of his generation. His hypnotic new novel, The Bone Clocks, crackles with invention and wit and sheer storytelling pleasure—it is fiction at its most spellbinding.


by Susan Lindsley

Read by Jacquee Minor. (13 episodes, 11/06/15 – 11/20/15)

Book jacket illustration.Seeking a future, the Carter families move from their bootlegging home in the mountains to middle Georgia. By 1946,they expand their enterprises to include murder, bootlegging, cattle rustling, election fraud, and interracial affairs.

Revenge for attempted rape is best served up by two women:
"-they'll git in his hay. Atter they git paid, you and me, we'll git him back. We'll light a Lucifer to his hay barn. That'll learn him."

Filled with loneliness and hunger for love, Penny, at fourteen, uses her sexuality to satiate the hungers and generates problems for herself and her family. The men reach for the top rail, unmindful of what or whom they step on-neighbors, benefactors or strangers.

THE BOTTOM RAIL's characters are as decadent as Faulkner's Snopes family and as driven as Flannery O'Connor's.


by J.M. Coetzee

Read by Jim Montgomery. (8 episodes, 11/21/15 – 11/29/15)

Book jacket illustration.For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts arrive, however, he witnesses the Empire's cruel and unjust treatment of prisoners of war. Jolted into sympathy for their victims, he commits a quixotic act of rebellion that brands him an enemy of the state.

J. M. Coetzee's prize-winning novel is a startling allegory of the war between opressor and opressed. The Magistrate is not simply a man living through a crisis of conscience in an obscure place in remote times; his situation is that of all men living in unbearable complicity with regimes that ignore justice and decency.





2AM (Tues-Sun)

by Bill O’Reilly

Read by Jim Beattie. (8 episodes, 11/01/15 – 11/10/15)

Book jacket illustration.Conservative commentator O'Reilly, working with frequent collaborator Dugard (Killing Kennedy, 2012, etc.), settles on yet another liberal victim of politically motivated killing. Though O'Reilly has protested that Jesus Christ is above politics when the question turns uncomfortably to giving away everything to the poor, he's quite happy to suggest that Jesus was killed because, among other things fiscal, "he interrupted the flow of funds from the Temple to Rome when he flipped over the money changer's tables." It probably didn't help that he proclaimed himself to be the son of God, but, write the authors, it's more that the lineage of Jesus and Annas the bad priest had been bound up for generations, the one hardworking and steadfast, the other a debauched class of bureaucrats who took a cut of the temple action in the form of "taxes extorted from the people of Judea," sending a hefty cut back to the bosses in Rome. Jesus was the original tea party protestor, and never mind all that rendering unto Caesar business (or, for that matter, the Sermon on the Mount). O'Reilly has said that the Holy Spirit directed him to write this book, and we must suppose that that particular tine of the Trinity has it in for the Pharisees, whom religious historians are inclined these days to treat more sympathetically than do the authors. A virtue of the book is that O'Reilly and Dugard employ a broad range of ancient sources; a detriment is that they seem to regard these sources overly credulously and follow them into long asides (including enough of a recap of events to break this book into two: Killing Jesus and Killing Julius Caesar). Otherwise, the book has some novelistic, noirish touches, as if the New Testament had been mashed up with some lost pages of Erle Stanley Gardner. A pleasing read if you're inclined toward the authors' selective views. Otherwise, the four Gospels will do just fine.


by Pete Van Weiren and Jack Wilkinson

Read by Eric Singer. (10 episodes, 11/11/15 – 11/21/15)

Book jacket illustration.The extraordinary life of an Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame broadcaster is shared in this firsthand account of the highs and lows of Major League Baseball. Pete Van Wieren’s legacy began in 1976, when he and a young Skip Caray were hired to call Atlanta Braves games. During the next three decades, "the Professor" and Caray became the voices of a team known nationwide as America's Team courtesy of Ted Turner's SuperStation TBS. In this heartfelt autobiography, Van Wieren shares his memories of thrilling moments in Braves history, such as the 1995 season when the Braves won the world championship; the pitching mastery of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz; the heartbreak of the 1996 World Series loss to the Yankees; and Atlanta's unprecedented run of 14 consecutive division titles.




by Carson McCullers

Read by Janina Edwards. (13 episodes, 11/22/15 – 12/06/15)

Book jacket illustration.With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the NEW YORK TIMES. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.



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