Read by the Author: Current Events May 2019

Take a listen to these six author-narrators as they share stories from their wildly different lives, in their own words. From a farm in central California all the way to Cairo, these audiobooks span the globe.

Drawn by a fascination with Egypt’s rich history and culture, author and narrator Peter Hessler moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011. He wanted to learn Arabic, explore Cairo’s neighborhoods, and visit the legendary archaeological digs of Upper Egypt. But not long before he arrived, the Egyptian Arab Spring had begun, and now the country was in chaos. Through the lives of the Hesslers’ Arabic instructor, translator, and neighborhood trash collector, and through connections between contemporary Egypt and its ancient past, Hessler creates an astonishing portrait of a country and its people.

Anna Deavere Smith’s extraordinary form of documentary theater shines a light on injustices by portraying the real-life people who have experienced them. In Notes from the Field, she renders a host of figures who have lived and fought the system that pushes students of color out of the classroom and into prisons. In the audio production of her one-woman show, Smith uses the words of activists and community leaders culled from interviews and speeches to call us all to action with their accounts of resistance and hope.

Author: Eric Liu
Read By: Eric Liu

What does it mean to be an engaged American in today’s divided political landscape, and how do we restore hope in our country? In a collection of “civic sermons” delivered at gatherings around the nation, popular advocate for active citizenship, author, and narrator Eric Liu takes on these thorny questions and provides inspiration and solace in a time of anger, fear, and dismay over the state of the Union. This audiobook will energize you to get involved, in ways both large and small.

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier’s death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. Here, the incomparable author and narrator Sister Helen confronts both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved. Some two decades after the original publication, Dead Man Walking is more gut-wrenching than ever, stirring deep and life-changing reflection in all who encounter it.

Author: Mark Arax
Read By: Mark Arax

Author and narrator Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, that is straining to keep up with California’s relentless growth. This is a heartfelt, beautiful audiobook about the land and the people who have worked it: gold miners, wheat ranchers, small fruit farmers, and today’s Big Agriculture.