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October 17, 2013 Edition

The Bartender’s Tale

Written by Ivan Doig

1960 is Rusty’s 12th summer, and there’s been no other like it before or since. Though he’s been living with his father, Tom, owner of a famous Montana bar, for six years, Rusty’s still uncertain of his place in Tom’s world. As he’s trying to make sense of the adult world he’s growing up in, his father’s reluctance to talk about Rusty’s mother is beginning to rankle. Is his mother Proxy, who appears one day, adult daughter in tow? Does Rusty have a sister? He’s not sure, but he and his best friend, Zoe, eavesdrop on barroom chatter, hoping to hear the truth. Those who’ve read Doig’s Bucking the Sun will find consequences from actions in that novel playing out here. Doig is a master of conversations and uses them to help set his stories in place and time, and Baker reads beautifully, evoking the American West in a time of change. Read by David Aaron Baker

Lunatics

Written by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel

Improbable, irreverent, and just flat out goofy, here are two comedians one-upping each other and create a story at the same time. Philip Horman and Jeffrey Peckerman have met for the first time, and it’s not pretty. Eventually, they’re going to be on the run from everyone, including bears, Cuban soldiers, and Chuck E. Cheese, but first, they’ve got to get past tensions caused by their daughters’ rivaling soccer teams. Not for the tender-eared or those readers who want their stories to make sense, but absolutely for fans of potty jokes, ridiculous plotlines, and absurd caricatures. The readers have great comedic timing, making this a laugh-out-loud listen for the right audience. Read by the authors and Mark Thompson, Sean Kenin, and Orlagh Cassidy.

Return of the Thin Man

Written by Dashiell Hammett

These two novellas were originally written as screenplays for Hammett’s After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man and have only recently been published. If you’re already a fan of Nick and Nora on screen, this audio book version may strike you as “wrong” – the cast readers are not the actors from the films (but with a foreword that gives background to the movie series (and Hammett’s eventual reluctance to continue work on it) and introductions to each story, there is reason for fans of the movies to pick this up). Readers who are new to the series or who have only read the books will find the husband and wife detective team brought vibrantly to life here. As the original wittily-bantering, romantically-involved detecting couple, the Charles’ don’t disappoint, as, together with their dog Asta, they track down murderers in their cool and urbane style, with cocktails for all at the end. Read by a cast.

Planet of the Apes

Written by Pierre Boulle

You’ve probably seen at least one of the movies, but many of the details in the book (written in 1963) were too much for the moviemakers (in 1968) and were changed, condensed, or dropped entirely, making this novel very different in scope and conclusion from the films. When a couple in a spaceship come across a “message in a bottle” floating in space, reel it in, and unfold the manuscript, they’re cast into the past. The manuscript describes the misadventures of Ulysse Merou, a journalist on an interstellar flight whose ship finds the planet they name Soror (for its Earth-like characteristics). They are astounded to find that the population of Soror mirrors that of Earth, though with the position of human-like and ape-like beings reversed, and soon run afoul of the inhabitants’ prejudices. Pointedly ironic and very clever, this is science fiction at its best: questioning, fantasizing, and fearless. Read by Greg Wise.

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