4 audiobooks with heart

Two memoirs, a short story collection, and a novel set during the Civil War all speak to the emotions.

3. 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday,' by Susan Rivers

(Read by Julie McKay and James Patrick Cronin; HighBridge Audio; six CDs; seven hours; $29.99/ www.audible.com download; $20.99)

Based on a true story and brought to life with vibrant narration, this piece of period fiction unspools so quickly you'll be left wishing for more. Major Hockaday is called back to the Civil War after only two days of marriage to his much younger bride, Placidia. Left alone to run a plantation amid the deprivations of war, she faces hardships and terrors. When Hockaday returns two years later, he charges Placidia with murder and adultery.  Letters and diary entries, written by multiple characters, help to unwind the mystery of her crimes in a manner that will leave readers guessing until the end. Kudos to both narrators for their regional accents and timing. 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.

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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.

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