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Ostentatious October Staff Picks

Only the Oddest, most Opulent, and Obliging opuses for our staff’s October Staff Picks.

Playlist Tags: Off the Beaten Path season: fall

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The Book of Two Ways

A Novel

By Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Patti Murin
Length: 15 hours 47 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a “powerful” (The Washington Post) novel about the choices that alter the course of our lives.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MARIE CLAIRE

Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant... Read more »

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The Death of Vivek Oji

A Novel

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Chukwudi Iwuji & Yetide Badaki
Length: 7 hours 38 minutes

The Death of Vivek Oji

“This is not your usual mystery - it's a piecing together not of facts but of the soul. How did Vivek Oji die? The answer is complex, told in layered stories from Vivek's life from the ones who loved him the most. This book is about the parts of ourselves we hold secret, and the ones that make us feel the most free. It's honest, compelling, heartbreaking, and hopeful; it's a story you will never forget.”

Avid Bookshop image Christy, Avid Bookshop
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The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

A Novel

By Elissa R. Sloan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley, Natalie Naudus, Jayme Mattler, Piper Goodeve, Caitlin Kelly, Megan Tusing & Stephen Graybill
Length: 12 hours

“The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is a page-turning peek inside the glamour and brutality of life as a pop star. Sloan takes us on a wild ride through the world of music video shoots, expensive hotels, and arena tours—showing us the darkness that threatens just below the surface.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy... Read more »

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Find Me

A Novel

By André Aciman
Narrated by: Michael Stuhlbarg
Length: 8 hours 4 minutes

"[Narrator Michael Stuhlbarg's] elegant performance and Aciman's sensitive writing keep things touching without ever being sentimental. Wonderful listening." — AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner

This program is read by Michael Stuhlbarg, the actor who played Professor Samuel Perlman in Luca Guadagnino's critically-acclaimed film, Call... Read more »

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Transcendent Kingdom

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

Transcendent Kingdom

“Gifty immigrated from Ghana, grew up in Alabama, and is working on a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford, where she experiments with mice. She has always felt she wasn’t cool enough or white enough, and tries to prove her value through her brilliance. She tells her raw and powerful story of racism, addiction, mental illness, and especially faith and prayer, all while trying hard to mend a complicated relationship with her mother. This second novel from the author of the award-winning novel Homegoing is compelling and so, so beautifully written.”

Wellesley Books image Sally Weitzen, Wellesley Books
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Squeeze Me

A novel

By Carl Hiaasen
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 11 hours 9 minutes

“If you could use some wild escapism right now, Hiaasen is your guy.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
From the author of Skinny Dip and Razor Girl, a hilarious, New York Times best-selling novel of social and political intrigues, set against the glittering backdrop of Florida’s gold coast.

It's the height of the Palm Beach charity ball season:... Read more »

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The Second Home

A Novel

By Christina Clancy
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 12 hours 22 minutes

The Second Home

“Anne and Poppy are sisters who have taken very different roads in life. Growing up in Wisconsin, they enjoyed their Summers at their run-down cottage on the Cape with their adoring parents. When they were in their teens, their parents adopted a sixteen-year-old named Michael. For some time the family lived in peaceful harmony until a life-changing event occurred. Years later, after their parent's tragic death, the sisters reunite at the cottage. They search the house for a will. The sisters and Michael have been estranged for many years due to a misunderstanding. Michael then reenters the picture. This debut novel is beautifully written and touches on many aspects of love - parental, sibling, and last but not least, undying love. The narrator gives an outstanding performance and reads with heart and soul.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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The Night Swim

A Novel

By Megan Goldin
Narrated by: Bailey Carr, January LaVoy & Samantha Desz
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

The Night Swim

“While Megan Goldin’s new novel The Night Swim is quite different from her first book, I think I liked this one even better. I am getting kind of tired of ‘psychological’ thrillers so was glad to find that Night Swim was actually a crime drama. I loved the way it was presented, a podcast by Rachel Krall about a rape case currently being tried in court and Rachel looking into a possible murder of a 16 yo girl 20 years earlier. Many of the same people that lived in the small NC town 20 years ago still live there. And, because of how small it is everyone knows everyone or at least knows something about everyone. So, it is no surprise that the two cases end up having some of the same people involved but how they end up being involved is a huge surprise. I really liked the character of Rachel Krall and hope that she may appear in a future book with another cold case or a case of guilty or not guilty. Listening to the audio version really made the podcast seem real and current.”

Fiction Addiction image Nancy, Fiction Addiction
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Social Purpose Annual Report

Social Purpose Annual Report

As we look to the future as a Social Purpose Corporation, we’re committed to serving readers and independent bookstores. Read our 2020 Annual Report to see an overview of the year.

Read the Report

Leave the World Behind

A Novel

By Rumaan Alam
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 7 hours 26 minutes

Leave the World Behind

“This fraught and claustrophobic psychological thriller begins innocently enough, with a family leaving New York for a long weekend at a rented house near the beach. They enjoy the luxury and languor of their getaway, until the house's owners, an older Black couple, show up unexpectedly, late at night, fleeing from a wide-spread power outage in the city. The two families settle into a routine of forced camaraderie, unable to get news from the outside world, and relying increasingly on each other. But as the consequences of the unnamed disaster become more apparent, the veneer of civilization slides away as survival becomes less of a given. With only rare glimpses beyond the perspectives of the main characters, Leave the World Behind plunges the listener into the same tense, paranoid state that the characters experience as their fears evolve from mundane concerns to unimaginable horrors. Give yourself time to listen to the whole thing in one go, because you won't be able to stop until you reach the end.”

Inklings Bookshop image Emily, Inklings Bookshop
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The Guest List

A Novel

By Lucy Foley
Narrated by: Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens & Rich Keeble
Length: 10 hours 22 minutes

The Guest List

“Tangled secrets and dark, haunting pasts unravel at the posh wedding of celebrities Will and Jules. As the tension mounted and more was revealed, I couldn’t stop listening until I knew not only “whodunnit”, but to whom it was done. Foley tells her tale from alternating viewpoints, bringing us gradually and suspensefully into the minds and hearts of her characters. A riveting psychological thriller and murder mystery, The Guest List presents a story as dark as the stormy remote island on which it unfolds.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store
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The Roommate

By Rosie Danan
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley & Teddy Hamilton
Length: 10 hours 46 minutes

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online
 
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When... Read more »

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Boyfriend Material

By Alexis Hall
Narrated by: Joe Jameson
Length: 13 hours 10 minutes

If you enjoyed Red, White & Royal Blue, then you’ll love Boyfriend Material.

“Boyfriend Material is funny. It starts out with quite a lot of silliness because fake dating requires some silliness to seem like a good option, but Luc with his bad decisions, terrible job, well-meaning, overwrought friends is charming. Pretentious, kind, insecure Oliver is charming. Boyfriend Material is charming enough to fake date. And then you start to care. OMG, I've fallen in love with this book.”

Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West image Robin, Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West
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The Lies That Bind

A Novel

By Emily Giffin
Narrated by: Brittany Pressley, Will Damron & Vikas Adam
Length: 10 hours 44 minutes

The Lies That Bind

“Cecily is heartbroken over a recent break-up with her boyfriend. She decides to go out for a beer to drown her sorrows. As she places a call to her ex, a very handsome gentleman approaches her and tells her to hang up. They begin a conversation, and Grant tells her about his life. He neglects to tell her some very important information about himself. Cicely becomes instantly smitten and they begin a sizzling romance for the next few weeks. Grant tells her that his brother is suffering from ALS and he is going to take him to London for some experimental treatments. Cecily visits them in London and then returns to NYC. Days later 9/11 happens and Grant disappears. There are plenty of twists and turns and the last one I never saw coming. Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors and she did not let me down with this page-turner. The narrator gave a spectacular performance.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Parable of the Sower

Earthseed: Book #1

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Lynne Thigpen
Length: 12 hours 2 minutes

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Octavia E. Butler paints a stunning portrait of an all-too-believable near future. As with Kindred and her other critically-acclaimed novels, Parable of the Sower skillfully combines startling visionary and socially realistic concepts. God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose... Read more »

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A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor

A Novel
The Carls: Book #2

By Hank Green
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh, Joe Hempel, Jesse Vilinsky, Nicole Lewis, Kevin R. Free, Hank Green, Robert Petkoff, Angelo Di Loreto, Oliver Wyman, Hillary Huber, P.J. Ochlan & Gabra Zackman
Length: 15 hours 45 minutes

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Who has the right to change the world forever? 

How will we live online? 
How do we find comfort in an increasingly isolated world?
 
The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While the robots were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction with only their presence. Part of their... Read more »

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Hench

A Novel

By Natalie Zina Walschots
Narrated by: Alex McKenna
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes

Hench

“This smart, funny, and thought-provoking novel follows Anna, a hench-for-hire. She has the same concerns that we all do: paying the bills, finding love, avoiding getting killed by superheroes. But when she gets caught in the crossfire during a showdown between a supervillain and a hero, she is gravely injured in both body and soul. As she recovers from her wounds, she begins to uncover the true cost of heroism, setting her on a path that will change her life, and the relationship between heroes and villains, forever. Perfect for fans of The Boys and The Incredibles, Hench manages to be delightfully original while drawing heavily on the works that inspired it.”

Inklings Bookshop image Emily, Inklings Bookshop
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Yellow Bird

Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country

By Sierra Crane Murdoch
Narrated by: Sierra Crane Murdoch
Length: 14 hours 56 minutes

The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it—an urgent work of literary journalism.
 
“I don’t know a more complicated, original protagonist in literature than Lissa Yellow Bird, or a more dogged reporter in American journalism than Sierra Crane... Read more »

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The Socrates Express

In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers

By Eric Weiner
Narrated by: Eric Weiner
Length: 11 hours 20 minutes

The New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss embarks on a rollicking intellectual journey, following in the footsteps of history’s greatest thinkers and showing us how each—from Epicurus to Gandhi, Thoreau to Beauvoir—offers practical and spiritual lessons for today’s unsettled times.

We turn to philosophy for the same reasons... Read more »

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A Song Below Water

A Novel

By Bethany C. Morrow
Narrated by: Andrea Laing & Jennifer Haralson
Length: 9 hours 23 minutes

A Song Below Water

“A Song Below Water was a great listen! The narrators were fantastic. I think teen readers will connect to Tavia and Effie's identity journeys. A standout YA fantasy!”

Brain Lair Books image Jessica, Brain Lair Books
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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

By Garth Nix
Narrated by: Marisa Calin
Length: 11 hours 15 minutes

A girl's quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime... Read more »

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