An audiobook gift guide |


An audiobook gift guide

''Den of Thieves'' and ''The Book of J'' are some of the titles available as audio books

Den of Thieves
By James B. Stewart; read by John Hockenberry
Stewart’s meticulously reported chronicle of the junk bond and insider-trading scandals has a page- turning pace worthy of any thriller. Pared down for tape, the story simply flies. The delivery of National Public Radio’s John Hockenberry reminds us that as fantastic as it sounds, this tale is all too true. A

Me: Stories of My Life
By Katharine Hepburn; read by the author
Pure delight. A better actress than autobiographer, Hepburn writes prose that makes sense only when delivered in her singular vocal style. At once self-effacing and larger than life, Hepburn here is everything you want her to be. A

By A.S. Byatt; read by Alan Howard
In this surprise best-seller, two modern-day scholars discover a torrid 19th-century affair between two poets whose works contain the clues to their passion. Fans of the book will notice that almost all of the novel’s poetry has been cut. Listeners who don’t know any better will be dazzled by what remains. A

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens; read by Patrick Stewart
A low-tech audio Christmas card: no sound effects, no gimmicks, just one of the great voices of the contemporary classical stage creating as vivid a cast of characters as Dickens imagined. The Royal Shakespeare Company veteran (and Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation) doesn’t so much read the story as inhabit it with infectious delight. A

Amazing Grace: A Personal Recollection and Rendition of the Hymn
Performed by Judy Collins
The woman who turned ”Amazing Grace” into a hit single now turns it into a topic of discussion for 30-odd minutes, capped off by a lovely a cappella performance. Part pop history, part pep talk, Collins’ discussion of the hymn covers lots of ground without quite standing on its own. Still, a promising innovation in format. B+

The Book of J
Translated by David Rosenberg and interpreted by Harold Bloom; read by Claire Bloom
The controversial best-seller is offered on tape in equal parts scripture and interpretation: One tape contains the newly translated text on which the oldest sections of the Bible are based, the second offers critic Harold Bloom’s proposal that the author was a woman — a suggestion that gains credence with the earnest, animated performance of Claire Bloom (no kin). A

A Year In Provenceand Toujours Provence
By Peter Mayle; read by the author and Patrick Macnee, respectively
America’s favorite British expatriate in France has recorded the first of his best-selling bucolics, entrusting volume two to an actor. Sadly, Provence just isn’t the same without him. Mayle is a droll reader who knows how to turn up the warmth and broaden the comedy. Year: A Toujours: B