Here are a few ideas to keep our minds occupied while we are isolating and trying to keep sane and healthy.
Trouble is What I Do
Walter Mosley; read by Dion Graham
Hachette Audio, three hours and 30 minutes, three CDs, $30/www.audible.com, $28.50
Playing out like an old-fashioned detective potboiler, this updates the genre with multilayered characters surprising for their insight, humor and depth of knowledge. Mosley takes every stereotype about the genre and its denizens and flips it over on us. As private investigator Leonid McGill takes on a 94-year-old client from his past, one Philip “Catfish” Worry, he must negotiate both sides of the law. Graham is a complete delight with his wide array of characters and ability to slip between genders. Though too short, this is a fantastic distraction that you can sink into and finish in one sitting. Grade: A-plus
Children of Virtue and Vengeance: Legacy of Orisha, Book Two
Tomi Adeyemi; read by Bahni Turpin; read by the author
Macmillan Audio, 13 hours and 30 minutes, 11 CDs, $39.99/www.audible.com, $27.99
Narrator Turpin does an exceptional job of reprising her many vocal characterizations in this tale of magic and heartbreak. Though American-born, her African accent is stupendous and her various characters are easily differentiated. Magic has returned to Orisha, bringing with it violence and upheaval in this sequel to “Children of Blood and Bone.” This is not a sweet fairy tale, but a brutal fantasy filled with difficult people who are electrifying and intriguing, even if their choices are often flawed. The only real criticism is that too much expository detail is offered a when more character-led narrative would have better suited the story. Grade: A-minus
While we are sheltering at home, take advantage of free audiobooks offered by Audible for your children in an incredibly easy format. Simply click on stories.audible.com/start-listen and choose a title from a hefty selection in many languages.
Penguin Random House is offering free downloads through Thursday, April 30 of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, narrated by Brooke Shields with Paul Rudd; Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, narrated by a full cast; and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, narrated by John Lee. A sampling of all three found them to be well-produced and quite fun.
Free public domain audiobooks are available from librivox.org and Spotify has a large selection of spoken words titles that are free to stream from www.spotify.com. Also, do not forget that one may download free audiobooks for all ages from their libraries at www.overdrive.com.
You may also stream performances and podcasts from L.A. Theatre Works, which records live theater. Your best bet is to go to latw.org/ to make your choice.
Our own local audiobook industry, Alison Larkin, and has made her best selling and delightful novel, “The English American,” free through the month of April. Go to
https://alisonlarkinpresents.com/product/the-english-american/ and click on the “order now” button and add either password: safeathome or staysafe.