June is National Audiobook Month

Will you be traveling during summer vacation? Do you have a long commute to work? How about listening to something while you clean the house or cook dinner? These are all great times to get a little reading in - by ear, of course! June is National Audiobook Month, and the Ann Arbor District Library has plenty of books on CD to help you celebrate.

For the younger set, Jim Dale brings life to all of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and Tim Curry brings mystery and intrigue to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. You may know James Avery as Will Smith's uncle in the 90's TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but he's also an extremely talented voice actor, and you can hear his work in the audiobook version of Christopher Paul Curtis' Bud Not Buddy.

If you're looking for a few good laughs, check out Stephen Colbert's satire I Am America (And So Can You!) or Tina Fey's biography Bossypants, each read by the author. For a gut-busting funny fiction read, try Lunatics, written and recorded jointly by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel. Barry and Zweibel take turns reading chapters from their respective characters, and I dare you to get through a single chapter without cracking a smile.

For the ultimate audiobook experience, however, you must try something from the inestimable Bill Bryson. Bryson is mostly well known for his travelogues like A Walk in the Woods (in which he walks the Appalachian Trail), but he has also written Shakespeare in Shakespeare : The World as Stage, the history of science in the extremely informative A Short History of Nearly Everything, and the history of private life in At Home. (Note: All the commercially available copies of Bryson's audiobooks are read by Bryson himself. However, several titles in the AADL collection are library edition copies and thus have different readers.]

In the Mood for Magic? Try Magyk!

If you enjoy children's fantasies with ghosts, princesses, evil wizards and plenty of good wizards too, then give Magyk by Angie Sage a listen. It will take you to a magical world where young wizards’ eyes turn green when they learn magic and where magic spells may be written on a piece of breakfast toast!

Excellently narrated by Allan Corduner, this story begins on the day that the wizard Silas Heap discovers a baby girl in the snow and his own newborn son, Septimus Heap, is supposed to have died. But ten years later, the Heaps learn that everything is not as it appeared. Their daughter is really a princess who must now outwit the assassins who killed her mother, the queen, a decade before, and their son…well, you’ll just have to check out the audiobook to learn what happened to him.

The series continues with Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Where is Kabylia?, Chillout Funk, Vivaldi on Cello

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

WORLD
Moh Alileche: Music of the Mountains of Kabylia
With the soul and spirit of Algeria's mountainous region of Kabylia, Moh Alileche has been promoting Amazigh (Berber) culture since the early nineties. This release, "When the Dust Settles", finds him more politically engaged and musically forceful than ever. Track after track, Alileche's silken voice bears the raspy edge of hard experience and hard-earned moral authority as he addresses deep matters of invasion, repression, human love and the tumultuous changes sweeping North Africa. "It started in Tunisia" he sings in one trenchant track.

ROCK / FUNK
Made of Wood: Groove Laden Funk
"Birds of the State Fair" is an eclectic carnival of funky grooves, blending "organic" instrumentation, like piano and upright bass, with electronic samples and beats. The inspirations for the sounds are wide-ranging: from Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack, to the Meters, Parliament Funkadelic, Radiohead and Air. Made of Wood also draws from a classical background and classic film composers, such as Lalo Schifrin.

CLASSICAL
Vito Paternoster: Cellist Extraordinaire
Vito Paternoster performed has performed Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" perhaps 1000 times in 35 years all around the world. He has also recorded it 6 times with the best Italian violinists (three times with the label Philips Classic-Universal, once with Sony jp, twice with Arcadia kr). He now proposes his own version, according to the ancient stylistic of transposition in forma di sonata, which is this recording before you now. "Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons in forma di sonata for cello", a recording not to be missed.

Dan Brown's latest novel, Inferno

Last week, Dan Brown's new novel, Inferno was released and is in hot demand. In this 476 page blockbuster, Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor whose specialty in symbology takes him to Italy to unravel the secrets of Dante's Inferno, races against time to save the world.

Dan Brown came to the public's attention in 2003 when his intriguing, provocative, controversial The Da Vinci Code broke all sorts of publishing records and is, to this day, one of the bestselling novels of all time. Ever since, he has had one #1 bestseller after another. Just two years after The Da Vinci Code was released, Brown was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most influential People in the World.

Are you on the wait list for Inferno? Never fear, we have a list of great titles that share Brown's powerful formula of mixing history, religion, and/or literature and cryptography to tell a compelling story. Try some of these to tide you over until your number comes up.

Umberto Eco's very first novel, published in English 30 years ago, is considered a classic. In The Name of the Rose, Brother William of Baskerville, a 14th century monk, is sent to Italy to investigate seven deeply disturbing murders. Three years later, Sean Connery starred in the award-winning film version.

In The Eight (1988), Katherine Neville, tells the story of Catherine Velis, a computer pro for one of the Big Eight accounting firms. Velis is fascinated by the relationship between chess and mathematics and sets out on a dangerous quest to gather the pieces of an antique chess set, scattered across the globe. If found, the complete set will reveal a world-changing secret, which began in 1790.

Jonathan Rabb, in his popular 2001 The Book of Q, moves back and forth between sixth century Asia Minor and 20th century Croatia. Father Ian Pearse is a researcher at the Vatican Library who cannot forget his passionate affair eight years earlier with Petra. When he comes across the translation of an ancient scroll that reveals a shocking code, he returns to Bosnia (and, oh yes, Petra) to save the world from the secrets buried in the scroll.

Scrolls and diaries that beg to be decoded to reveal earth-shattering religious secrets, are at the center of The 13th Apostle (2007), by Richard and Rachael Heller. This time, the sleuths are Sabbie Karaim, a biblical scholar and ex-Israeli commando and Gil Pearson, an American cybersleuth who discover there are those who are willing to kill for this possible link to one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

If you are too impatient for your hold for the print version of Inferno, why not try Paul Michael's dramatic narrative performance in the audiobook version?

Let’s Listen to a Story, Pardner

If you’ve got a hankering for life on a ranch, then you might enjoy these audiobook tales.

For the youngest cowpokes, there’s Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, a series of short friendship stories about a young cowgirl and her horse. It's a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award nominee. The series continues with Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House, and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies.

Slightly older buckaroos may also enjoy the adventures of Hank the Cowdog, who acts as the Head of Security at his ranch. You can listen to Hank’s hilarious adventures in The Case of the Tender Cheeping Chickies, The Case of the Monkey Burglar, The Case of the Booby-Trapped Pickup, The Case of the Most Ancient Bone, The Case of the Blazing Sky and The Quest for the Great White Quail.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Crunchy Guitars?, Medieval Burgundy, West African Influences

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

ROCK / ELECTRONIC
Chinaski: Dark and Driving Energetic Alternative Rock
On their debut CD, "You Might Like This Better Than Me", indie rockers Chinaski deliver an infectious, signature album with crunchy low end guitars, interwoven bass lines, and highly active sinewy drumming. The album's opener, "I Will", was recently featured on an episode of the TV show "The Gilmore Girls". Another album standout is the neo-psychedelic "C.V.R.", enhanced by spoken word narration "This is your captain speaking, I'll see you on the ground".

CLASSICAL / MEDIEVAL
Asteria: Late-Medieval Vocal and Instrumental Music
Antoine Busnoys (1430-1492) ranks among the most avant-garde and prescient composers of his time; a proto-Renaissance composer who is nonetheless firmly grounded in the courtly love tradition of the troubadours. "For the Love of Jaqueline" tracks the highs and lows of a real medieval romance through Busnoys' sumptuous music and poetry, with new arrangements by Asteria directly from a 15th century song book found in Dijon, France and recorded at the 14th century Burgundian palace of Germolles.

WORLD / NEW AGE / JAZZ
House of Waters: Unique International Band Creates Something Completely Original
House of Waters is a Brooklyn based band with a global sound. Drawing inspiration from Africa, India, South America, and Jazz, the band is hammered dulcimer virtuoso Max ZT (lauded as the "Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer" by NPR); master percussionist Luke Notary; and brilliant bassist Moto Fukushima. This album, "Peace the Coats", is influenced by West African music and guided by western-classical harmony and jazz voicing.

JackJack

Flashback to Radio Free Europe

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of R.E.M.’s first full length album Murmur, which was released in April 1983, following their first EP the previous year. 30 years! While I didn’t fall in love with R.E.M. and all things Michael Stipe until the early 90s, a few of my favorite songs of theirs are on this album: Radio Free Europe and Perfect Circle. The album contains the early R.E.M. trademark sound with vocalist Stipe’s indecipherable mumbling over jangling guitars and strong drum beats. While alternative in nature, the album was well received and Rolling Stone Magazine called it the best album of year, beating out the likes of Michael Jackson and U2. It also showed up on Rolling Stone's top 100 albums of the 80s at #8.

An alternative-rock-turned-college-radio quartet straight outta Athens, Georgia, R.E.M.’s drummer Bill Berry left in 1997. As a trio the band continued to release albums and officially called it quits in 2011.

In the AADL collection is Murmur, as well as a special 2 disc version, which includes Murmur as well as a Live in Toronto 1983 disc- which is a worthy listen. Or you can just bust out the old cassette tape and give it a whirl.

George Jones, Country-Western heartbreak crooner, has died

George Jones, whose beautiful sad country ballads consoled countless broken hearts, died today in Nashville.

Born in Pensacola, TX in 1931, Jones lived his songs. Famous for missing concerts when he was on a drunken tear, he survived drugs, car crashes, several divorces and repeated financial ruin. His third marriage, in 1969, to Tammy Wynette took the meaning of tempestuous into the stratosphere. They wrote and sang of the endless drama and tragedies in their relationship which lasted just six years, but produced some real blockbuster country songs, such as Good Year for the Roses and \We're Gonna Hold On. Their daughter, Georgette, told their story from her point of view in her 2011 memoir, The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George.

One of his most wrenchingly sad songs; He Stopped Loving Her Today, was pure George Jones at his mournful best. The song's subject yearns tragically for years for a lost love and dies with a smile on his face.

Jones won countless awards for his body of work. He was honored by the Country Music Association, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and last year he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jones, who had been hospitalized on April 18th, was 81.

Purple Rose Theatre: 33 Variations

Here's a potential spring outing: The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is presenting 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman through June 1. The director of this production is Guy Sanville. Featured artist is Richard McWilliams, who portrays the role of Ludwig van Beethoven. From the PR website: "In 19th century Austria, Ludwig van Beethoven works obsessively on a commission he cannot complete. In present day, musicologist Katherine Brandt struggles to solve the mystery behind her professional passion: Beethoven’s oft overlooked Diabelli Variations. As she races against time, Katherine not only discovers the true nature of Beethoven’s work, but gains insight into the other mystery in her life: her daughter. Moving between the past and the present, 33 Variations illustrates how the very passions that threaten to overwhelm us can also save us. Contains adult language and content." Tickets are available here.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Slightly Disturbed Electrorock, Jazzy Piano, Bach Cantatas

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

ROCK / ELECTRONIC
Thirty Day Notice: Somewhere Between Pleasantly Hypnotic and Slightly Disturbing
Lana and Joe (sister and brother) write, perform, mix and produce Thirty Day Notice in their solar powered recording studio in Fiji. Both Lana and Joe are interested in ancient civilizations, secret societies, the soul, fringe science, the occult, aliens, mythology, symbolism, sacred geometry, conspiracy, consciousness, etc., which might explain their pleasant, yet unsettling, sound.

JAZZ / POP / BLUES
Peggy Duquesnel: Creative and Captivating Jazz-Pop Piano
"Old Friends" is a unique collection of eight original instrumental jazz compositions by pianist/composer Peggy Duquesnel performed by a stellar jazz quartet featuring John Patitucci/Bass, Bob Harsen/Drums and Albert Wing/Sax. Duquesnel's compositions take you on a musical journey that encompasses styles and memories of colleagues and mentors she has met along the way. "Waltz for Diana" was composed for Diana Krall; Trottin' for Terry Trotter; "Kiwi Friend" for Alan Broadbent; "Carmen" for Carmen Rodgers; "Wingin' It" for Albert Wing; "Old Friends" for a plethora of fine musicians in her life. Other influences on Duquesnel's writing and playing are artists such as Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Joe Sample, Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner.

CLASSICAL
The Sarasa Ensemble: Lively, Bright Baroque
This beautiful recording presents two of Bach's cantatas for solo voice, one—Weichet nur—a celebratory wedding ode and the other his celebrated masterpiece for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin. Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Dominique Labelle and three time Grammy nominee Sanford Sylvan lend their incredible voices to the Sarasa Ensemble in order to depict both the idyllic, pagan landscape of the first work, and the luminous, "lullaby to the soul" of the second. A third work—Liebster Jesu—features a "sacred dialogue" between these two sublime voices, and the entire album makes clear why The Sarasa Ensemble is so often praised for its great clarity of style.

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