4 audiobooks that tell personal stories

3. 'On Brassard’s Farm,' by Daniel Hecht

On Brassard’s Farm, by Daniel Hech

Read by Lisa Flanagan; Blackstone Audio; 12 hours and 30 minutes; $39.95; Audible download; $27.97

          Written in the first person and sounding very much like a memoir, this is an intriguing mash-up of a love story and a tale of redemption.  Ann Turner has messed up her life and turns to the solitude and hard work of farming in rural Vermont to rebuild it. This construct mostly works, though author Hecht overwrites to the point of distraction. The characters, however, grab you and the farm is so well described it almost joins the cast, though Ann sometimes sounds like a female character written by a man. Narrator Flanagan has one of those voices you could listen to all day.  She sounds down to earth and you can easily hear despair, longing, and exhaustion in her performance.

Grade: B


3 of 4

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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