4 classic audiobooks

Four recent audiobooks bring new life to titles that should not be forgotten.

1. 'Norse Mythology,' by Neil Gaiman

(Read by the author; Harper Audio; 6 CDs; 6.5 hours; $29.99/www.audible.com download; $23.95)

It is not a surprise that the author of "American Gods" would be interested in Norse mythology, but this lively and witty retelling surpasses expectations. The language is modern and the stories are clear and concise, which is not how this listener remembers Norse mythology from college. Gaiman begins with an explanation of the players and then sets the stage with "before the beginning there was nothing." He reads with a style almost ariose, reminding us that we are, after all, listening to tales handed down through oral tradition. Gaiman is a graceful narrator, easily slipping between humor and tragedy, capturing the heightened drama of the gods without overdoing his performance.  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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