4 great audiobook selections for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month we chose four African American authors worth hearing any time of the year.  

1. 'Half a Yellow Sun,' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

(Read by Zainab Jah; Random House Audio; 18 hours and 9 minutes)

First released in print a dozen years ago and rereleased on audio last autumn, this novel delivers a spellbinding account of the formation of Biafra, a small territory in southeastern Nigeria that proclaimed nationhood in the late 1960s. Told through five well-imagined characters, the story leaves the listener devastated by the effects of war while being drawn into the everyday dramas of both those escalating the war and those impacted by it. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie depicts the deprivation, annoyances, and disruptions of war on levels both personal and universal in a style that is never graphic. Zainab Jah is, simply put, an amazing narrator, easily slipping into various accents, dialects, and variations for gender that each sound realistic.
  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.”

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