Our Monthly Listening Highlights
By Kathryn Alley, Sarunicka Satkuruparan and Nuria Berbel Torres
As we’re slowly transitioning into autumn, settling back into routine and starting to take out those warm clothes from the wardrobe, this is the perfect time to settle down on the sofa and unwind with an audiobook, or maybe you’re looking for a new book to listen to on your commute. You’ve come to the perfect place, as this week we’re bringing a list of audiobooks we’ve recently enjoyed.
Nuria’s Pick: An Unwanted Inheritance by Imogen Clark, narrated by Bronwen Price
Siblings Max, Ellie and Nathan are brought together for the difficult task of emptying out their father’s house after his death, a task which none of them want to contemplate due to their late father’s efforts to turn his house into a museum. It’s Max’s wife, Caroline, who finally steps up to the task. To her surprise, her father-in-law held a secret under his bed…a suitcase full of cash.
When she breaks the news to the rest of her family, the source of the money is a mystery to them all, but they all have strong opinions on what to do with it. Ellie and James enjoy an expensive lifestyle that is hard to maintain; James particularly seems to be in great need of their share of the pile. Nathan can’t be trusted with any money, but he’s desperate to get his hands on some (or all) of the cash. It’s Caroline who decides to guard the money while adamant that they should hand the suitcase in to the police. The three siblings have always been close, but with this new discovery and as their story unravels, will it tear them apart?
This was a fantastic listen; the characters are well-written, and their interactions with each other translate really well into audio. Price does a wonderful job of narrating this, and it’s a quick, low-commitment story that is bound to keep you interested.
Sarunicka’s Pick: Days at the Morisaki Bookshop, written by Satoshi Yagisawa, translated by Eric Ozawa, narrated by Susan Momoko Hingley
Hidden in Jimbocho, Tokyo, in a quiet corner of an old wooden building is the Morisaki bookshop. Filled with hundreds of second-hand books, it is the pride and joy of Takako’s uncle, Satoru. When Takako’s boyfriend reveals he’s marrying someone else, she accepts her uncle’s offer to move into the room above the shop. All her life she has never enjoyed reading, but when she finds herself surrounded by books and people who love reading, she gradually starts to find herself opening up to new experiences, making friends and forming unexpected bonds, all while discovering the joy and hope that reading brings.
The book is divided into two segments, with the second part seeing Satoru’s estranged wife return after five years of absence. He is left with several questions to be answered. Meanwhile, Takako’s growing friendship with her returning aunt has her reflecting on her priorities.
A wholesome, comforting book translated from Japanese, Days at the Morisaki Bookshop is a book about life, love and the power of books. Focusing on the human connection, new beginnings and touching on themes of family, friendship and reading, this is an ideal listen for book lovers and readers seeking a pick me up. Warm, wonderous and whimsical, this is a perfect story for the autumn season. Eric Ozawa’s translation must be appreciated. Likewise, Susan Momoko Hingley does a good job of narrating, keeping the essence of the book alive.
Kathryn’s Pick: Normal People, written by Sally Rooney, narrated by Aoife McMahon
I’m sure that Rooney’s masterpiece Normal People is no stranger to fans of heartwarming, transformative love stories, but I encourage you to take another listen and allow yourself to be swept away in McMahon’s compelling narration. I recently had the pleasure of listening to Normal People, and my worldview on relationships has forever changed.
Connell and Marianne grew up together in a small town. Despite their many differences, they share an intense, soulful connection that changes everything. Rooney’s listen takes us on a beautiful journey through the lives of Connell and Marianne, offering glimpses into a story of mutual fascination, deep friendship and perseverance. From their first conversation as young kids to years beyond at university, the pair remain inexplicably drawn to each other.
No matter how many times they try to stay apart or veer towards self-destruction, they find that they will always save each other. Connell and Marianne display that true soul connections are a rare gift, and this magnetic relationship is something worth living for.
I cannot recommend McMahon’s narration enough as she guides audiences through the emotional tale with sincerity and thoughtfulness. To everyone who has ever experienced the heartwarming connection of someone not simply adoring you but seeing every part of you and loving you desperately for it, this audiobook is for you. I implore you to take some time to rest and enjoy Normal People, a beautiful listen that will resonate with you for years to come.