Staff Picks
What We’re Listening To: February 2019 Picks

It’s February, the month that comes between January and March! (Guess who got a wall calendar this year?). If you’re like me, you’re living on popcorn and cuddling up to your salt lamp for warmth. If you’re not like me, you probably have a gym membership and are training for something. Either way, we both listen to audiobooks and are looking for the next spoken word fix. So before my salt lamp sheds another layer of itself (it happens), here are a few things I’ve queued up to chase away the February Floops.

cover_9781984828033When it’s cold, slushy, windy, and horrible outside, the only thing I want to do is surrender to some great Cali-to-Mexico Noir featuring a grizzled old soak of a PI, heaps of sunshine, and all the nefariousness the sea can wash in. I was sold on Only to Sleep from the moment I read the sales copy, but what I didn’t anticipate was how much I would enjoy Ray Porter’s narration. He has such a subtle ear for dialogue and accents, and so perfectly nailed a Noir vibe without ever seeming hokey. Pretty stinkin’ great. And since I mentioned it, here’s that copy that first drew me in:

“The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe—now in his seventy-second year—is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it.”

See what I mean? Yeah, I’ll meet you on the beach.

Listen to an excerpt of Only to Sleep: ONLY TO SLEEP


cover_9780525526834I’m a gal of varied tastes, and so as much as I dig my septuagenarian sleuths (Marlow, Marple, Poirot), I also tend to crave big ‘ol fantasy fiction that hurtles my brain into new realms and cackles as I attempt to find which way is up. Enter Black Leopard, Red Wolf. This one is a ride, and good for listening to with your eyes closed (on the subway, lying on your couch in the dark, spelunking).

Shameless bonus content tip: check out our interview with Dion Graham, narrator of Black Leopard, Red Wolf HERE. And yes, this is the first audiobook in a trilogy and there’s a movie version in the works, so if you’re the kind of listener who hates spoilers, you may want to queue this one up sooner than later.

Listen to an excerpt of Black Leopard, Red Wolf: BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThis is a case of don’t-judge-an-audiobook-by-its-funky-cover…and it’s also the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I hadn’t read this in an age, and an in-betweeny month like February feels like the perfect time to return to classics…especially classics about in-betweeny people. There are multiple audio editions of this one to chose from, so follow your bliss. I went with a free download from the library, read by Ian Holm, who has a great way of bringing out the dry and unexpected wit in this ostensibly scary story. Clocking in at a cool and efficient 2.5 hours (at 1.25x speed), I was inspired enough by this listen to think about building a Classics rotation into my regularly scheduled audio programming.


Creedence Clearwater RevivalI’m also listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival this month…because I’m ALWAYS listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival. It’s music that instantly warms you up. Try it! The salt lamp and I both love the song “Long As I Can See the Light” (the salt lamp thinks the “candle in the window” is actually a salt lamp*). And if you don’t like that one, just queue up their greatest hits because they. Are. All. Good.

*If you didn’t get the salt lamp reference, scroll back to top.


cover_9780525633686It’s easy to live under a rock in the winter, and far be it from me to eschew a good rock. But you would have to be living under at least one stratum of the earth not to have heard about Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, which she also narrates. And so I’m more than a little sheepish to admit to being late to this one—mostly because I don’t always listen to/read/watch things at the same time everyone else does (which doesn’t make much sense, but there you go). Well, I’m listening now, and wow. Becoming is extremely good. I’m happy I waited, because now I get to pretend that Mrs. Obama is talking directly to me, instead of approximately a quintrillion other people on earth.

Listen to an excerpt of Becoming: BECOMING


Stay warm out there, and happy listening!