Personal stories and puppy meet-cutes top our summer audio selections.
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking, written and narrated by journalist Bill Buford, is a foodie’s fantasy. Wanting to immerse himself in French cooking, Buford moves his family from New York to France, where he finds a job at a boulangerie that makes the best bread he’s ever tasted (the secret is the fresh flour) before enrolling in a traditional cooking school, then working in a fine dining restaurant. All the while, his young sons are losing their taste for delivery pizza. Buford is the perfect narrator for his book, as he brings joy and curiosity to all he uncovers. He treats French cooking as a mystery to unravel, tracing its roots back hundreds of years and digging for clues in the margins of secondhand cookbooks. His true passion for food makes his descriptions a pleasure to hear, even when it’s a dish I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot fork.
The Hilarious World of Depression
John Moe brings hope, humanity and candor to the taboo topic of depression in The Hilarious World of Depression. On his podcast of the same name, he has conducted hours of interviews with actors, comedians and writers with this mental illness, including John Green, Aimee Mann and Andy Richter, and he mines these conversations to share what he has learned about depression. Moe also relates deeply personal stories of how depression has touched his own life. Having honed his skills over years in public radio and podcasting, Moe is a great narrator, finding humor in the topic but never making light of it. Add this one to the list of audiobooks that are even better than the books.
The Happy Ever After Playlist
As a new puppy parent, I was immediately hooked by the doggy meet-cute in Abby Jimenez’s The Happy Ever After Playlist. Sloan, a grieving artist and food blogger, and Jason, a rising rock star, are brought together when she finds his lost dog while he’s overseas. They bond over their love for the dog, and a flirty phone relationship blossoms into something more when he returns to Los Angeles. It takes Sloan a while to realize he’s the man behind the music, and the book has a lot of fun playing with the concept of celebrity. Their story is told from both perspectives, and narrators Erin Mallon and Zachary Webber do a good job capturing their voices. The interplay between the two narrators keeps things dynamic and brings readers closer to Sloan and Jason’s love story.