June is Audiobook Month, the perfect time to celebrate the many ways audiobooks make it possible to combine our love of reading with our favorite summer activities such as gardening, sunbathing, picnicking, hiking in the great outdoors, and driving to vacation destinations. Audiobooks are fun! They bring print books to life with music, sound effects, and character voices; they’re incredibly rich story experiences that allow readers to enjoy reading, no matter what they’re doing or where they might be. Being read to is known to help reduce stress, manage anxiety, and lift our mood – which is so important for everybody’s mental health right now.
Celebrating Audiobook Month is simple! Find your favorite book in an audio format and try listening to it, whether it’s a Tom Clancy thriller, a multi-reader suspense novel from Lucy Foley, a powerful family story from Brit Bennett, or a light romance from Sophie Kinsella. Audiobooks truly offer something for everyone!
Now let’s check out what our librarians are listening to and reading!
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner will make a big splash with readers and listeners alike! The latest from this best-selling author offers a great cast of engaging, likable characters, a surprise sub-plot, and an abundance of rich, expressive dialogue. Daphne Berg, a millennial and social media influencer for plus-size clothing, grew up with loving, supportive parents and has always been a kind and reliable friend. Out of the blue, an estranged school friend, Drue Cavanaugh, shows up to ask Daphne to be a bridesmaid in her lavish Cape Cod wedding. Drue is rich, beautiful, and successful, not to mention manipulative and self-serving. Despite being a past victim of Drue’s mean-girl actions, Daphne says “I do” to being part of Drue’s bridal party. Just as in years past, Daphne is pulled into Drue’s orbit of adventure and excitement as the wedding plans come together. The night before the wedding, though, something quite unexpected happens. The elaborate festivities are suspended, sending Daphne’s old and new friends searching for answers to urgent questions. Throughout the story you will be cheering for Daphne while becoming ever more skeptical of all the hype you read about on people’s social media.
The Book of Dreams by Nina George is a beautifully crafted novel about Henri, a man in his forties, trapped in a coma after a car accident. In the past, Henri was a war correspondent who thrived on the adrenaline of covering wars and other horrors in the world. He now finds that he would change many of the life choices he made, if only he could.
The novel is narrated in alternating voices by three truly realistic characters. Henri tells the story of his life while in his coma: his mistakes, his dream of finally meeting his thirteen-year-old son, Sam, for the first time, his love for Edwina, his former girlfriend whose heart he broke, and his physical and emotional experiences while unconscious. Sam, Henri's son, wants very much to finally meet his father and to help Maddie, a comatose young girl at the hospital where his father is being treated. He is a delightful boy who will charm you with his determination. Henri’s former girlfriend, Edwina (known as Eddy), is drawn back into his life when her name appears in Henri's Living Will. She is presently in a relationship with someone else but she still cares deeply for Henri. Henri's doctor asks if she will help with his care and come daily to his hospital room.
This novel is filled with light moments that will have you smiling as well as darker moments that will make your heart sink. I know I will remember these characters for a long time to come, and think about the choices they all made involving the people they love. I listened to this novel as an audio book and I highly recommend it.
I absolutely loved Graham Moore’s latest novel, The Holdout. The author does the impossible with this page-turning thriller by keeping the reader in constant suspense. He weaves a storyline that raises many thought-provoking questions about our jury system and modern justice.
The twisty plot centers on the strong and captivating female protagonist, Maya Seale, whom you will root for even when the tables are completely turned against her and she finds herself behind bars with her own life on the line. A compelling read and perfect for the summer. I just couldn't put this one down!
Note to Shelf, Teen
Meet Eric Bitte in Check Please! By Ngozi Ukazu. He’s starting his freshman year in college, and making the leap from figure skating to ice hockey in this super fun, heartwarming graphic novel. “Bitty” is not just a great skater (a former junior figure skating champion, to be precise) he’s also a vlogger and an excellent baker. Although it’s a big transition from axels to checking, he’s surrounded by a hilarious cast of hockey playing bros, and learning to find and define himself in college. Plus, there’s an added romance that will make you swoon!
Note to Shelf, Junior
Morris has a lot of favorites when it comes to school: painting, doing puzzles, drinking apple juice. But his very favorite is the swishy, crinkly tangerine dress in his classroom’s dress-up center. Only, everyone else in class makes fun of Morris, saying dresses are for girls.
In Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, author Christine Baldacchino handles the topic with sensitivity and heart. Children who don’t feel comfortable in a specific gender box will find a powerful message of reassurance and acceptance here.
Looking for more titles that address gender identity and expression? Check out our list of Pride Month Picks for children and families.