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Biographical

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  1. 10.8 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found … Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection. An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves? Step back through the pages of history to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

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    Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

    Newton and Polly

    10.8 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 8.7 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    From Man Booker–shortlisted, IMPAC Award–winning author Nicola Barker comes an exuberant, multivoiced new novel mapping the extraordinary life and legacy of a nineteenth-century Hindu saint. To the world, he is Sri Ramakrishna—godly avatar, esteemed spiritual master, beloved guru. To Rani Rashmoni, she of low caste and large inheritance, he is the Brahmin fated to defy tradition. But to Hriday, his nephew and longtime caretaker, he is just Uncle—maddening, bewildering Uncle, prone to entering trances at the most inconvenient of times, known to sneak out to the forest at midnight to perform dangerous acts of self-effacement, who must be vigilantly safeguarded not only against jealous enemies and devotees with ulterior motives but also against that most treasured yet insidious of sulfur-rich vegetables: the cauliflower. Rather than puzzling the shards of history and legend together, Barker shatters the mirror again and rearranges the pieces. The result is a biographical novel viewed through a kaleidoscope. Dazzlingly inventive and brilliantly comic, irreverent, and mischievous, The Cauliflower delivers us into the divine playfulness of a twenty-first-century literary master.

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    The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker

    The Cauliflower

    8.7 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.3 hrs • 7/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers. As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. From Indian temples and Parisian theatres to German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who expertly balances fact and fiction brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.

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    Mata Hari's Last Dance

    7.3 hrs • 7/19/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 5.2 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged
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    American Babe

    5.2 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 2.9 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged

    A graphic novel of war and its aftermath. A powerful, compulsively page-turning, vivid, and moving tribute to the experience of war and PTSD, The White Donkey tells the story of Abe, a young Marine recruit who experiences the ugly, pedestrian, and often meaningless side of military service in rural Iraq. He enlists in hopes of finding that missing something in his life but comes to find out that it’s not quite what he expected. Abe gets more than he bargained for when his journey takes him to the Middle East in war-torn Iraq. This is a story about a Marine, written and illustrated by a Marine, and is the first graphic novel about the war in Iraq from a veteran. The White Donkey explores the experience of being a Marine, as well as the challenges that veterans face upon their return home, and its raw power will leave you in awe.

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    The White Donkey

    2.9 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.3 hrs • 6/14/2016 • Unabridged

    A rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville’s emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end—his last three novels have been commercial failures, and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin’s farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic—and his life turns upside down. The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection marked by tensions and estrangements, and feelings both shared and suppressed. Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and Mark Beauregard’s novel fills in the story behind that dedication with historical accuracy and exquisite emotional precision, reflecting his nuanced reading of the real letters and journals of Melville, Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. An exuberant tale of longing and passion, The Whale captures not only a transformative relationship—long the subject of speculation—between two of our most enduring authors but also their exhilarating moment in history, when a community of high-spirited and ambitious writers was creating truly American literature for the first time.

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    The Whale by Mark Beauregard

    The Whale

    8.3 hrs • 6/14/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.0 hrs • 6/14/2016 • Unabridged

    The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio … and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC. London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity. Soon she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable director-general of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air … and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

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    Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

    Radio Girls

    12.0 hrs • 6/14/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 14.5 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family’s proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention. For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa. But one day she returns to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war’s devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved. An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

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    Marlene by C. W. Gortner

    Marlene

    14.5 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 11.6 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    What if Anton Chekhov, undisputed master of the short story, actually wrote a novel—and the manuscript still existed? This tantalizing possibility drives The Summer Guest, a spellbinding narrative that draws together, across two centuries, the lives of three women through the discovery of a diary. During the long, hot summer of 1888, an extraordinary friendship blossoms between Anton Chekhov and Zinaida Lintvaryova, a young doctor. Recently blinded by illness, Zinaida has retreated to her family’s estate in the lush countryside of Eastern Ukraine, where she is keeping a diary to record her memories of her earlier life. But when the Chekhov family arrives to spend the summer at a dacha on the estate, and she meets the middle son Anton Pavlovich, her quiet existence is transformed by the connection they share. What begins as a journal kept simply to pass the time becomes an intimate, introspective narrative of Zinaida’s singular relationship with this doctor and writer of growing fame. More than a century later, in 2014, the unexpected discovery of this diary represents Katya Kendall’s last chance to save her struggling London publishing house. Zinaida’s description of a gifted young man still coming to terms with his talent offers profound insight into a literary legend, but it also raises a tantalizing question: Did Chekhov, known only as a short story writer and playwright, write a novel over the course of their friendship that has since disappeared? The answer could change history, and finding it proves an irresistible challenge for Ana Harding, the translator Katya hires. Increasingly drawn into Zinaida and Chekhov’s world, Ana is consumed by her desire to find the “lost” book. As she delves deeper into the moving account of two lives changed by a meeting on a warm May night, she discovers that the manuscript is not the only mystery contained within the diary’s pages. Inspired by the real friendship between Chekhov and the Lintvaryov family, landowners in the Ukraine, The Summer Guest is a masterful and utterly compelling literary novel that breathes life into a vanished world, while exploring the transformative power of art and the complexity of love and friendship.

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    The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson

    The Summer Guest

    11.6 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 10.7 hrs • 5/17/2016 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling author of Longbourn, a stunning new novel that follows an unnamed writer—Samuel Beckett—whose life and extraordinary literary gift are shaped in the forge of war. When war breaks out in Europe in 1939, a young, unknown writer journeys from his home in neutral Ireland to conflict-ridden Paris and is drawn into the maelstrom. With him we experience the hardships yet stubborn vibrancy at the heart of Europe during the Nazis’ rise to power; his friendships with James Joyce and other luminaries; his quietly passionate devotion to the Frenchwoman who will become his lifelong companion; his secret work for the French Resistance and narrow escapes from the Gestapo; his flight from occupied Paris to the countryside; and the rubble of his life after liberation. Through it all we are witness to the workings of a uniquely brilliant mind struggling to create a language that will express his experience of this shattered world. Here is a remarkable story of survival and determination, and a portrait of the extremes of human experience alchemized into timeless art.

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    A Country Road, a Tree

    10.7 hrs • 5/17/16 • Unabridged
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  11. 12.6 hrs • 5/3/2016 • Unabridged

    The New York Times bestselling author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light returns with a new powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives. In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him. In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to make peace with the past. In Berlin in 1796, amid the city’s glittering salons where aristocrats and commoners, Christians and Jews, mingle freely despite simmering anti-Semitism, Sara Itzig Levy, a renowned musician, conceals the manuscript of an anti-Jewish cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, an unsettling gift to her from Bach’s son, her teacher. This work and its disturbing message will haunt Sara and her family for generations to come. Interweaving the stories of Susanna and Sara, and their families, And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined. Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched, evocative, and compelling narrative resonates with emotion and immediacy. Weaving together the stories of Susanna and Sara, Lauren Belfer creates a majestic narrative that spans lifetimes and continents, encompassing both the best and the worst of the human spirit. The cantata’s troubled, riveting journey reveals that the two women have more in common than the score, and what Susanna learns may be what finally allows her to heal and move on.

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    And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer

    And After the Fire

    12.6 hrs • 5/3/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 6.8 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    Reimagining the Sutton Hoo dig, the greatest Anglo-Saxon archaeological discovery on British soil, John Preston brilliantly dramatizes three months of intense activity on a small estate when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure. In the long hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, a widowed farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As an archaeological dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find, and the discovery leads to a host of jealousies and tensions. Elegantly crafted with great tenderness and a poignant attention to detail, The Dig is more than a novel about archaeology. At its very core, this is a novel about the traces of life we all leave behind.

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    The Dig by John Preston

    The Dig

    6.8 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  13. 8.6 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    A coming-of-age debut audiobook from accomplished actor, director, and writer Sean Patrick Flanery explores that powerful first taste of love that sets the bar for something that we’ll chase, usually unsuccessfully, for the rest of our lives. A young Mickey navigates through the dense Texas humidity of the 70’s and out onto the porch every single time his Granddaddy calls him, where he’s presented with the heirloom recipe for life, love, and manhood. But all the logic and insight in the world cannot prepare him to operate correctly in the presence of a wonderfully beautiful little girl who moves in just behind his rear fence. How will this magical moment divide Mickey’s life into a “before and after” and permanently change his motion and direct it down the unpaved road to which only a lucky few are granted access?

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    Jane Two

    8.6 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  14. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    7.7 hrs • 3/22/2016 • Unabridged

    In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, the provocative and compelling story of one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the twentieth century: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood—an indomitable woman who, more than any other, and at great personal cost, shaped the sexual landscape we inhabit today. The daughter of a hard-drinking, smooth-tongued free thinker and a mother worn down by thirteen children, Margaret Sanger vowed her life would be different. Trained as a nurse, she fought for social justice beside labor organizers, anarchists, socialists, and other progressives, eventually channeling her energy to one singular cause: legalizing contraception. It was a battle that would pit her against puritanical, patriarchal lawmakers, send her to prison again and again, force her to flee to England, and ultimately change the lives of women across the country and around the world. This complex enigmatic revolutionary was at once vain and charismatic, generous and ruthless, sexually impulsive and coolly calculating—a competitive, self-centered woman who championed all women, a conflicted mother who suffered the worst tragedy a parent can experience. From opening the first illegal birth control clinic in America in 1916 through the founding of Planned Parenthood to the arrival of the pill in the 1960s, Margaret Sanger sacrificed two husbands, three children, and scores of lovers in her fight for sexual equality and freedom. With cameos by such legendary figures as Emma Goldman, John Reed, Big Bill Haywood, H. G. Wells, and the love of Margaret’s life, Havelock Ellis, this richly imagined portrait of a larger-than-life woman is at once sympathetic to her suffering and unsparing of her faults. Deeply insightful, Terrible Virtue is Margaret Sanger’s story as she herself might have told it.

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    Terrible Virtue

    7.7 hrs • 3/22/16 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.7 hrs • 3/8/2016 • Unabridged

    The blazingly inventive, fictional autobiography of Mark Leyner, one of America’s “rare, true original voices.” (Gary Shteyngart) Dizzyingly brilliant and raucously funny, Gone with the Mind is the story of Mark Leyner’s life, told as only Mark Leyner can. In this utterly unconventional, autobiographical novel, Mark Leyner gives a reading in the food court of a mall. Besides Mark’s mother, who’s driven him to the mall and introduces him before he begins, and a few employees of fast food chain Panda Express who ask a handful of questions, the reading is completely without audience. The action of Gone with the Mind takes place exclusively at the food court, but the territory covered on these pages has no bounds. Existential, self-aware, and very much concerned with the relationship between a complicated mother and an even more complicated son, Leyner’s story—with its bold, experimental structure—is a moving work of genius.

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    Gone with the Mind

    7.7 hrs • 3/8/16 • Unabridged
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  16. 17.4 hrs • 3/8/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner. Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but also with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Sisi grows restless, feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the striking Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows. Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against the conflicting desires to fight to keep her family together or flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself? Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria’s “Mad King Ludwig” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe’s grandest sites—from Germany’s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England’s lush shires—Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided. Allison Pataki renders her novel in captivating prose and rich period detail, delivering an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner.

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    Sisi

    17.4 hrs • 3/8/16 • Unabridged
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