Staff Picks: Susan

city of thieves last snow historian shadow of the wind dead until dark

Susan, Manager of the Bethel Branch Library for 2 years, has worked in public, corporate and academic libraries for the past 30 years.  Her latest reading interest? Audio books!  For her, the narrator of an audio book will make or break her listening experience.

Susan is especially drawn to titles that have characters with strong accents or dialects.  Her favorites are East European, but she’s also enjoyed the American Southern drawl. Here are some of the audio books that have left her sitting in her garage or in a parking lot with the car running, totally engrossed in the story.

City of Thieves by David Benioff, read by Ron Perlman.  This story, set during the siege of Leningrad, serves up the horror of the war between the Russians and Germans with chilling details while also telling a humorous, and at times, ludricous tale of how a young man and a military deserter find a way out of a seemingly no win situation.  Susan’s favorite character to listen to in this story is Kolya, the military deserter.

The Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader, read by Richard Ferrone.  Main character, Jack McClure, works as a Special Advisor to his good friend, the U.S. President. When a distinguished senator is found dead on the island of Capri, Jack is asked to quietly investigate.  A mysterious East European lady, the Russian mob, the President’s daughter, and an abundance of harrowing plot twists and turns make this a “must listen to” title.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, read by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael.  This is a richly detailed story, told by a young American girl and her father, an historian, who discover a medieval book and letters that cover centuries  past and lead to travels throughout Eastern Europe, Istanbul, and back again through Western Europe and the United States, all in an attempt to investigate the possible surviving legacy of Vlad the Impaler.  This is much more than just another book about Dracula, and the pronunciation of the name “Dracula” in an East European accent is priceless!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, read by Jonathan Davis.  One of Susan’s favorites, ever!  A young boy coming of age and a novel from a secret and unusual library of rare books are at the center of this touching and mysterious story.  Add in murder, secrets, love affairs and the colorful setting of Barcelona, Spain all brought alive through the conversations of the characters.  Susan’s favorite character voice is Fermín Romero de Torres, the insufferable romantic.

Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris, read by Johanna Parker. Vampires, werewolves, shape benders and mind readers will never be the same after you listen to (or read) any of the books in the Sookie Stackhouse Series.  The main character, Sookie Stackhouse, is a cocktail waitress and mind reader in small-town Louisiana who ends up solving mysteries that involve her friends and acquaintences who also have peculiar characteristics.  Sookie’s southern voice is delightful, fun and wildly entertaining!

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