4 engaging audiobooks for busy readers

A love story disguised as a courtroom drama. A mystery in which World War II is a major character. An ingenious send-up of Manhattan's elite literary society. And a thought-provoking road trip. All four are strong stories and all make for engaging audio books. Happy listening!

1. 'Sandrine’s Case,' by Thomas H. Cook

 Read by Brian Holsopple

8 CDs, 10 hours

Bravo to Cook for giving us a story that slowly grows with intensity and depth as we discover what Sandrine did to and for her husband Samuel, a self-involved professor. We begin with a trial, where it is clear that Sandrine died of an overdose of Demerol and booze. The prosecutor is making a decent case against her husband, claiming he murdered her and set up the crime scene. You won’t be able to stop yourself from smiling, or gasping, when it becomes clear how her death actually came to pass in this insightful, cleverly nonlinear novel. Holsopple has a deep, slightly gravelly voice, delivers believable changes for minor characters, and uses just enough emotion to underscore but never overpower the story.

Grade: A

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“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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