Courtesy of Listening Library

Four amazing audiobooks to listen to this April

Investigate the history of American cuisine, indulge in neighborhood drama, and find reconciliation between enemies in our April audiobook picks.

In this month’s audiobook roundup, Mildred D. Taylor (“Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”) returns with the conclusion of the Logan family’s saga, Colum McCann pens a literary exploration of friendship between enemies, Paul Freedman takes us on an entertaining and erudite tour of American cuisines, and Therese Anne Fowler offers a novel on American class disparity.

“All the Days Past, All the Days to Come” by Mildred D. Taylor
Read by Allyson Johnson; Listening Library; 14 hours and 30 minutes

In her tenth book, Mildred D. Taylor continues the story of the Logan family, who many readers will remember from “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” More intense and dramatic than her earlier work, this installment is aimed at grown-ups and mature teens; the material is quite adult. Cassie Logan, now 19, embarks on a life adventure that brings her across America, to law school, civil rights protests, marriage, and eventually back to Mississippi, where the Logan saga began more than 45 years ago. Narrator Allyson Johnson is a delight to hear as she serves up a variety of voices, timbres, genres, and regional accents. An intense and gratifying story. Grade: A

Apeirogon” by Colum McCann
Read by the author; Random House Audio; 15 hours

Courtesy of Random House Audio

Colum McCann, known for his graceful bestseller “Let the Great World Spin,” has again created an extraordinarily eloquent piece – though it does sometimes trip up the narrative flow when you hear that a biker “salmons his way” through traffic. Nevertheless, “Apeirogon” is imaginative and thought-provoking. In this novel, two men build a friendship based on the pain of lost children, even though one is Israeli and the other Palestinian and they have diametrically opposed world views. McCann, who was born in Ireland, is a polished narrator whose empathy and understanding of misery can be continuously felt. Even more intriguing is that the story is based on real people. Grade: A

“American Cuisine: And How It Got This Way” by Paul Freedman
Read by Paul Heitsch; HighBridge Audio; 14 hours

Courtesy of HighBridge Audio

Though this nonfiction book is essentially a culinary tour through American history, it remains ridiculously interesting. Dining guides, community cookbooks, fashionable delicacies, ethnic recipes, and fast food provide excellent narrative fodder – and Paul Freedman even offers the occasional recipe. “American Cuisine” has broad appeal thanks to its humorous tone and intriguing insights, especially when it comes to his investigation of the explosion of ethnic food options in 1980s America. Narrator Paul Heitsch has a pleasant voice, executes the jokes, and keeps the pace snappy. Grade: B+

“A Good Neighborhood” by Therese Anne Fowler
Read by Ella Turenne; Macmillan Audio; 10 hours and 30 minutes

Courtesy of Macmillan Audio

Neighbors clash, revenge is sought, sides are chosen, and participants have their own viewpoint of the unfolding drama in this contemporary novel. Though it’s easy to get caught up in the gossip, one can’t help wincing at clichéd characters. The material is sometimes adult and often serious. It should have been paired with a narrator that could help carry the weight. Unfortunately, Ella Turenne sounds young and callow and is not adept at altering her voice for different characters. This is a difficult listen, but not for the right reasons. Grade: B-

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