4 audio books to savor this fall

Looking for an intriguing audio book as the weather turns chilly? Here we have all manner of whodunits: one that unfolds in a world at risk; another set against a cold, harsh landscape; a Boston-based story that is almost hard-boiled; and a fourth full of flawed but intriguing characters;  All titles are also available from www.audible.com.

1. 'Countdown City: The Last Policeman, Book II,' by Ben H. Winters

Read by Peter Berkrot

Brilliance Audio; 8 hours and 23 minutes

Winters came up with a truly original idea in “The Last Policeman,” his first book in this trilogy. Both the first two books in this series are set in Concord, N.H. and revolve around Detective Hank Palace, who is trying to keep calm and carry on amidst imminent world destruction as an asteroid is hurtling toward earth, promising another Ice Age upon its arrival.

Society has quite unraveled by the time this installment starts, so not only is Palace trying to solve a missing persons case, but he is also chronicling an end of times that is less sturm und drang than a slow-moving societal psychosis. At first Berkrot sounds more like a character actor than a leading man, as his voice is a little high and less-than-authoritative. However, as the audiobooks unfold, listeners will come to enjoy his everyman personae, which quite suits the story.  Grade: A

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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