Best new audiobooks for summer
Chosen by Katherine Powers for The Washington Post
- •THEFT BY FINDING: DIARIES (1977-2002) By David SedarisHere, in these as-it-happened accounts and jottings, is a rich chunk of the mother lode from which David Sedaris has mined his personal essays and performances. The extracts in “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002),” cover what may be called the disconsolate IHOP years, when he was a college dropout, rootless casual worker and aspiring artist, and those during which he became a celebrity.
- •ON POWER By Robert A. CaroIn the audio-only reminiscence “On Power,” Robert A. Caro describes the development of his understanding of power in his gruff voice and unreconstructed New York accent. His delivery brings immediacy to the shock and anger he felt as a young man when he witnessed police arresting black poll watchers and saw, for the first time, utter political impotence. It was a turning point in his life.
- •THE LUCKY ONES By Julianne PachicoSet in Colombia from 1993 to 2013, Julianne Pachico’s debut collection of stories amounts to a novel — with some assembly required. Versatile actors Marisol Ramirez and Ramon de Ocampo trade off reading the stories, which move back and forth in time through the lives of recurring characters. Among them are a handful of well-heeled schoolgirls, the maids and chauffeurs who serve them, bands of guerrillas encamped in the jungle, teachers, vagrants, and a drug lord.
- •KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER By Sigrid UndsetThis all-absorbing masterpiece by Nobel Laureate Sigrid Undset has finally entered the audiobook universe in a truly superb, sensitive performance by Erin Bennett. Published in Norwegian in the early 1920s as a trilogy, the book is set in 14th-century Norway and covers the life of Kristin Lavransdatter and her journey from childhood to death through “the perilous and beautiful world.”
- •BAD DREAMS AND OTHER STORIES By Tessa HadleyEmma Gregory reads Tessa Hadley’s spare, slightly chilly stories, capturing the listener in 10 seconds flat. Hadley’s genius and Gregory’s splendid performance have given us an audiobook that can be listened to over and over again.
- •THE SWITCH By Joseph FinderJoseph Finder is the true master of the thriller in which your ordinary guy, going about his ordinary business, takes one wrong step and suddenly finds himself on the dark side. In this case, it’s nice Michael Tanner, coffee entrepreneur with a lot on his mind. Rushing to catch a plane, he picks up the wrong laptop after going through airport security. It belongs to a U.S. senator and contains top-secret files on a scheme for government mass-surveillance.