In the past few month I feel lucky to have recorded several non-fiction titles that have given me new insights into today’s troubled times. Two of these books, The Middle of Nowhere by Mary Pipher and Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk, were actually published years ago but have received increased interest due to what’s happening in our country right now and are thus getting published in audiobook form for the first time (both from Tantor Audio). Both are usefully, but somewhat sadly, even more relevant now than when they were first written. If you, like me, want to have a deeper understanding of the cultural currents in our society, I highly recommend them both. Over the past decade, Mary Pipher has been a great source of wisdom, helping us to better understand our family members. Now she connects us with the newest members of the American family—refugees. In cities all over the country, refugees arrive daily. Lost Boys from Sudan, survivors from Kosovo, families fleeing Afghanistan and Vietnam: they come with nothing but the desire to experience the American dream. Their endurance in the face of tragedy and their ability to hold on to the virtues of family, love, and joy are a lesson for Americans. Their stories will make you laugh and weep—and give you a deeper understanding of the wider world in which we live. The Middle of Everywhere moves beyond the headlines into the homes of refugees from around the world. Working as a cultural broker, teacher, and therapist, Mary Pipher has once again opened our eyes—and our hearts—to those with whom we share the future. Witnessing Whiteness invites listeners to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The author illustrates how racial discomfort leads white people toward poor relationships with people of color. Questioning the implications our history has for personal lives and social institutions, the book considers political, economic, socio-cultural, and legal histories that shaped the meanings associated with whiteness. Drawing on dialogue with well-known figures within education, race, and multicultural work, the book offers intimate, personal stories of cross-race friendships that address both how a deep understanding of whiteness supports cross-race collaboration and the long-term nature of the work of excising racism from the deep psyche. Concluding chapters offer practical information on building knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices, a hopeful look at our collective future, and a discussion of how to create a culture of witnesses who support allies for social and racial justice.
Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting. For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated . . .” From the review at Reading Between the Lines Book Club: “Karen White is one of my favorite narrators. I’m ecstatic that she’s narrating this series. Not surprisingly, she aces every aspect of The Thing About Love! She nails the personality of both main characters with authentic, consistent and realistic-sounding male and female voices. Her pacing couldn’t be better. The end product is polished and professional. I literally could not put this audio down and I’m sure those around me on a pedestrian bridge that I frequently walk wondered what was going on as I burst out laughing at the hilarious banter throughout. I further confess to listening to some of this audio in my hot garage because I didn’t want to hit stop. Karen’s performance, without a doubt, added to my enjoyment of this read. If you are an audiophile, I would highly recommend that you elect to listen to The Thing About Love. Julie and Karen are a pairing made in heaven!” From the review at AudioGals: “Of course, I can always count on Karen White to deliver – her natural pacing, where it’s like she’s sitting next to you, just spinning a good yarn, makes listening to this a pleasure. She gives the Jacksonville mayor a good-old-boy Southern sound, without turning him into a cartoon, while both John and Jessica, as well as their parents, siblings, and friends, have no noticeable regional accents. She still manages to differentiate well without accents, so that it’s clear who is speaking when John and his buddies are talking together, and she has a believable contrast between the male and female characters. . . .
The Murder of Miranda and The Cannibal Heart, available now at Audible.com From the Publisher: When Miranda Shaw, rich and recently widowed, and Grady Keaton, the head lifeguard at the Penguin Beach Club, drop out of sight at the same time, rumors begin to circulate among the other members and employees of the club. And when Miranda’s jewels are spotted in an estate auction, the rumors turn ugly, and Tom Aragon is called in to search for the missing couple. Tom Aragon. The engaging young Chicano lawyer who solved the bizarre mystery in Ask for Me Tomorrow has to take an even stranger case with the highly dubious assistance of a nine-year-old monster named Frederic Quinn, who claims he has Mafia connections at his exclusive private school. Award-winning novelist Margaret Millar is at her daffiest and deadliest in The Murder of Miranda. A New York family rents a house in California hoping for tranquil summer. Mark Banner is a young, successful publisher, and his wife Evelyn is afraid of losing him. When the owner of the house returns, Evelyn recognizes the enemy at first sight.