Listen to an all-star cast take on landmark ACLU cases, an eerie take on a social media dystopia or an author’s self-narrated memoir in essays.
★ Fight of the Century
Fight of the Century, edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, includes essays by 40 writers on different ACLU court cases that helped define and protect our civil liberties over the past century. Anyone with even a passing interest in constitutional law and the Bill of Rights will be enthralled by this audiobook. The writers make history personal and breathe life into what could be a dry subject. For example, Homegoing author Yaa Gyasi takes on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Reflecting on growing up in the Huntsville, Alabama, public school system, she provides new insight and reminds us that our work is not finished. The narration is performed by an all-star voice cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, Zachary Quinto, Patrick Stewart and many others. The changing voices keep things lively, and many actors bring a personal element to the narration, their own backgrounds reflective of those in the cases being discussed.
Megan Angelo’s Followers tells two parallel stories in the 2010s and 2050s about how far people will go to achieve fame—and to escape it. This pop culture sci-fi book’s grim (or maybe just too-real) vision of the not-so-distant future pushes the concepts of social media influencers and reality stars to their extremes. In the future, stars have product sponsorships and live their whole lives on camera. But instead of staring at devices all day, the technology is implanted directly in your body, and it’s very hard to disconnect. Narrator Jayme Mattler has a cold, dissociated style that adds to the story’s eeriness. It’s like The Truman Show for the 21st century.
Here for It
Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America is a collection of funny, touching essays about R. Eric Thomas’ life. As a black kid growing up in urban Baltimore, Thomas imagines the horrors that lurk in the suburbs of his mostly white classmates’ neighborhoods. As a gay Christian, he navigates dating a horror-loving agnostic and dealing with his certainly bedeviled Krampus Christmas decoration. When Thomas falls in love with a preacher, he realizes that his life doesn’t fit into the expectations for a preacher’s spouse. Thomas doesn’t shy away from strong opinions, and his narration provides the perfect tone for sassy asides, making these deeply personal stories even more so.