As you may know, I’m a part of Libro.fm‘s influencer program, which means I get to choose from a selection of audiobooks to post about and review every month! Libro.fm is an audiobook service that makes it possible for readers to buy audiobooks and support physical bookstores (you could even choose which store to support if you wanted to), and their service is available worldwide (although their membership is limited to the US).
At the start of every month, I share the audiobooks I chose from the selection and explain what made me pick them up. Maybe you’ll find some audiobooks you’ll enjoy too!
Why I love this program
I don’t tend to read a lot of adult fiction. It’s not because I don’t want to, but mostly because I honestly don’t know where to start finding adult fiction written by marginalized authors and/or with good representation. I’m more comfortable navigating middlegrade and YA releases and I usually know what to pick up, but adult fiction is somehow really daunting and difficult to navigate. This is where Libro.fm has been seriously amazing for me, because their selections for the influencer program allow me to find more diverse adult titles that I wouldn’t otherwise have found out about.
This month, the selections were so good I ended up not choosing 2 or 3 books like I normally do, but a whopping 7 (out of 8). I usually don’t choose this many books because I want to only download the book I’ll actually end up reading, but I honestly couldn’t narrow it down more, these all sounded so good!
Carmen Esposito – Save Yourself
From standup comic Cameron Esposito, a memoir that tackles sexuality, gender and equality–and how her Catholic upbringing prepared her for a career as an outspoken lesbian comedian in ways the Pope never could have imagined.
Cameron Esposito wanted to be a priest and ended up a standup comic. She would like to tell the whole, freaking queer as hell story. Her story. Not the sidebar to a straight person’s rebirth-she doesn’t give a makeover or plan a wedding or get a couple back together. This isn’t a queer tragedy. She doesn’t die at the end of this book, having finally decided to kiss the girl. It’s the sexy, honest, bumpy and triumphant dyke’s tale her younger, theology major self needed to read. Because there was a long time when she thought she wouldn’t make it. Not as a comic, but as a human.
SAVE YOURSELF is full of funny and insightful recollections about everything from coming out (at a Catholic college where being gay can get you expelled) to how joining the circus can help you become a better comic (so much nudity) to accepting yourself for who you are–even if you’re an awkward tween with an eyepatch (which Cameron was). Packed with heart, humor, and cringe-worthy stories anyone who has gone through puberty can relate to, Cameron’s memoir is for that timid, fenced-in kid in all of us–and the fearless standup yearning to break free.
I don’t read a lot of memoirs, and I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of this comedian before. But this book sounds really interesting, so I think it will be a great way for me to broaden my horizons a little bit!
Emily St. John Mandel – The Glass Hotel
From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.
Time for a confession: I *still* haven’t read Station Eleven. I’ve owned it for years, I’ve heard people rave about it, and I still haven’t read it. But of course now everyone is talking about Emily St. John Mandel’s new book, so of course I had to download it! And I really do want to actually read Station Eleven soon as well!
Maisy Card – These Ghosts Are Family
A transporting debut novel that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the house boy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
I saw this compared to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and immediately knew I had to read it. It sounds very intriguing, and I love intergenerational stories, even though I don’t read them very often.
Rebecca Serle – In Five Years
Where do you see yourself in five years?
When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.
But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.
After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.
That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.
Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.
Last year, I discovered a genre outside of my comfort zone that I ended up really enjoying: adult romance. This sounds like such a lovely feelgood book, and I can’t wait to listen to it.
Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi – Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism–and antiracism–in America
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
Something else outside of my comfort zone that I do want to read more of, are nonfiction books. I care a lot about social justice issues, so these feel like a good place to start when picking up nonfiction titles. I have also loved the books by Jason Reynolds that I’ve read, and I saw that this is quite a short audiobook, so it seems like a good choice to branch out a little.
Samantha Mabry – Tigers, Not Daughters
The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.
This book is more proof that Libro.fm makes me venture outside of my comfort zone. I don’t read a lot of ghost stories but they do intrigue me and I’ve recently enjoyed a few of them, so this book sounds very interesting to me!
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai – The Mountains Sing
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.
The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.
This is also a multigenerational story, and it was also compared to Homegoing, so you probably understand my thought process by now. I also tend to love prose written by poets, because it tends to be (surprise, surprise) very poetic.
What audiobooks are you planning to listen to this month?
The links in this post lead to Libro.fm’s website. The general link is a referral link, but the links to the specific books aren’t.