Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kevin Hart and Friends Reading


From the Publisher: “Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller. It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys. The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way). But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the listener on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he's overcome each challenge to become the man he is today. And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion. He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself. ‘Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,’ he says. ‘So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?’” Funny stuff, from a first time writer, audiobook narrator, and movie star. Available in CD format for listening in YOUR car, whether red Ferrari or blue Honda Civic. Order "I CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP: Life Lessons" HERE



Sunday, August 6, 2017

The New Human Rights Movement

Society is broken. We can design our way to a better one. In our interconnected world, self-interest and social-interest are rapidly becoming indistinguishable. If current negative trajectories remain, including growing climate destabilization, biodiversity loss, and economic inequality, an impending future of ecological collapse and societal destabilization will make “personal success” virtually meaningless. Yet our broken social system incentivizes behavior that will only make our problems worse. If true human rights progress is to be achieved today, it is time we dig deeper—rethinking the very foundation of our social system. In this engaging, important work, Peter Joseph, founder of the world’s largest grassroots social movement—the Zeitgeist Movement—draws from economics, history, philosophy, and modern public-health research to present a bold case for rethinking activism in the twenty-first century. Arguing against the long-standing narrative of universal scarcity and other pervasive myths that defend the current state of affairs, The New Human Rights Movement illuminates the structural causes of poverty, social oppression, and the ongoing degradation of public health, and it ultimately presents the case for an updated economic approach. Joseph explores the potential of this grand shift and how we can design our way to a world where the human family has become truly sustainable. The New Human Rights Movement reveals the critical importance of a unified activism working to overcome the inherent injustice of our system. This book warns against what is in store if we continue to ignore the flaws of our socioeconomic approach, while also revealing the bright and expansive future possible if we succeed. Peter Joseph narrates this call for sanity among all the factions that are only causing friction in the workplace and marketplace.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller



In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, you need to find what matters most. Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting. But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father. So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls. Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself. Narrated with animated sensitivity by Kirby Heyborne. 
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Tower Review) Kirby Heyborne is your talented narrator for the audiobook. He narrated a Murakami book recently, plus romance from Karen Kingsbury, and children’s books like “Terrific,” which was terrific. What did you think?
Sophie Chen Keller) Kirby Heyborne is phenomenal. His voice is the epitome of timeless magic, all golden warmth and nuanced emotion. I felt like I was sitting in front of a crackling fire—with a giant hot chocolate, of course—being regaled by a master storyteller. His range is incredible, and that’s another reason I’m so excited he’s narrating the book. As Walter searches for the one lost object that will save The Lavenders, he encounters people who are a familiar and distinctive part of New York City, including food vendors, can collectors and train conductors. These characters are the beating heart of the story, and Kirby imbues each of them with that unique spark as he brings them to life. I am deeply grateful for the love and care that he and the Penguin Random House Audio team put into bringing The Luster of Lost Things to audiobook. 



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Manhunt: UNABOMBER


Sam Worthington of Avatar fame (as FBI profiler Jim Fitzgerald) heads a Discovery TV cast that includes Paul Bettany (as Ted Kaczynski), Jane Lynch, and Katja Herbers. The notorious Unabomber inspired my first novel Postmarked for Death, set in the Tucson post office, where I once worked (and listened to audiobooks while sorting mail.) In the novel I blew up the post office, something many imagine doing in monotonous jobs (LOL.) Postal inspectors grilled me when the hardcover was released, but I’d given the postmaster a copy prior to release for a “heads up” on it, and he loved it. So I simply told the inspectors, “see the boss.” The novel was endorsed by Clive Cussler and John Lutz, and won an award on audio, narrated by the late great Frank Muller. It is now an ebook at iTunes, BN.com, and Smashwords.com (for Kindle, Nook, and iPad, plus PDF format.) I explored an abandoned Titan missile base in the desert to get the ending scene right. There have been a number of postal shootings over the years, as well. My suspense is a “why-dunnit” more than a “who-dunnit,” because you know from page one who the killer is…a postal clerk who kidnaps a female inspector and sets up another co-worker to take the fall. Police are looking for the wrong man, while he continues to work and mail letter bombs, with extreme political views. Calvin taunts Victor Kazy, the inspector looking for him…and whose boss he has taken (as in Taken.) John Lutz (Single White Female) paid me the best compliment, because his next book after endorsing mine featured a bomber in NYC. In real life, one postal killer used a Ninja sword to kill. Given our divided and extreme culture, it is important to understand the twisted thought processes of killers in order to be more effective in preventing violence. 


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

STAY INTERESTING by Jonathan Goldsmith


The life of an actor can be both precarious and interesting. Just ask Jonathan Goldsmith, best known as The Most Interesting Man in the World. His memoir is STAY INTERESTING, about his own interesting life as an often struggling audition seeker in that fantasy factory often described as “Tinsel Town.” Hollywood was arrived at via a Volkswagen from New York, a vehicle which died on arrival in much the same way that so many dreams die for young people seeking fame and fortune there. His subsequent homes included living on the bedbug infested couch of a future Star Trek cast member, on an unheated frog farm with the man later known as “Coach” on Cheers, and on a yacht once caught in a storm. Jobs too there were many, including hauling construction trash, painting, and being a reluctant gigolo between auditions. Westerns became his specialty as an extra, but he was killed by many stars, not just John Wayne, in being shot, drowned, blown up, machine gunned, run over, electrocuted, thrown off roofs, and hung. Memories recounted on movies and TV series include names like Fernando Lamas (a friend and business partner), Joseph Cotton, Leonard Katzman, Don Siegel, and Clint Eastwood. After decades of riding the Hollywood roller coaster, his career break came late in the game on an audition for a Dos Equis advertising campaign in which actors were asked to improvise with the ending line, “And that’s how I arm wrestled Fidel Castro.” And that’s how he later got to improvise for Obama in the Oval Office. Narrating the audiobook of his true story, Goldsmith presents an honest and surprisingly candid rumination on his life, with memories of his father, and reflections on what it all means. Now involved in charity work and advocacy, he lives in a rustic cabin with his wife and dogs, far from the “madding crowd.” As Spock would say, “fascinating.” 


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oprah in A Wrinkle in Time & Jack Black in Minecraft


Oprah is making waves with a new trailer for her upcoming movie A WRINKLE IN TIME. This special edition of A Wrinkle in Time, on which the movie is based, includes a new essay that explores the science behind the fantasy. Rediscover one of the most beloved children's books of all time: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father? Narrated by actress Hope Davis in audiobook format. In other news, Jack Black narrates MINECRAFT: THE ISLAND by Max Brooks, another young adult audiobook must hear. Washed up on a beach, the lone castaway looks around the shore. Where am I? Who am I? And why is everything made of blocks? But there isn’t much time to soak up the sun. It’s getting dark, and there’s a strange new world to explore! The top priority is finding food. The next is not becoming food. Because there are others out there on the island . . . like the horde of zombies that appear after night falls. Crafting a way out of this mess is a challenge like no other. Who could build a home while running from exploding creepers, armed skeletons, and an unstoppable tide of hot lava? Especially with no help except for a few makeshift tools and sage advice from an unlikely friend: a cow. In this world, the rules don’t always make sense, but courage and creativity go a long way. There are forests to explore, hidden underground tunnels to loot, and undead mobs to defeat. Only then will the secrets of the island be revealed. Why Jack Black? Who better. Not only was he in School of Rock, but Gulliver's Travels. Max Brooks is a bigger surprise. He is author of World War Z! Click on titles to hear samples and to order.