Astray by Emma Donoghue and narrated by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, and Dion Graham
Astray is more about the characters and their struggles than about plot development, and even though most of the stories are set quite a bit in the past, there’s a timeless quality to the conflicts presented in the book that really struck me.
I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran and narrated by Lina Patel and Neil Shah
You can really feel the emotions of the characters through the stories, even when they’re doing things that you wish they wouldn’t. I found myself, in a few stories, wanting to reach through my headphones and tell them, “no! don’t do that!” or “do this!”, which isn’t often how I feel when I’m reading a book. Usually, I’m happy to be a passive reader, but something about these stories made me feel as though I was emotionally invested in what happened.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion and narrated by Diane Keaton
I was thoroughly unimpressed with the narration of this book, and I’m not sure how it managed to be nominated for an Audie award. It was painfully clear throughout the seven hours of this audiobook that Keaton hadn’t rehearsed much, if at all.
Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands by editors Holly Black and Ellen Kushner and narrated by Cassandra Campbell, MacLeod Andrews, Holly Black, Ellen Kushner
I really loved that there were all kinds of different narrators and other characters, that there was quite a bit of diversity apparent from the outset. I’ve read so many books, particularly fantasy works, that are supposed to stretch our minds but that are really all the same: stories about mostly white, mostly middle- or upper-class, average characters. Instead, Welcome to Bordertown included characters from different nationalities and sexualities, and from varying life experiences.
When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories written and narrated by Molly Ringwald
I loved – and hated – the nuanced characters and the ways in which they interacted with each other. She found a way to interlink the characters through the different narratives, while at the same time, giving each of the primary characters a distinctive voice of their own. The fluidity with which Ringwald shifted between perspectives and the way in which she managed not to trivialize any of their issues pulled me into their stories and made me want, desperately, for everything to work out in the end.