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The 91st Academy Awards will be airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on February 24th, 2019 and in our acting family, it’s as much a highlight for us as the Superbowl might be for NFL fans. We try to catch all of the Oscar nominated performances and films before the awards show and we watch the Academy Awards together as a family, with popcorn in hand. The kids get to stay up extra late and we have them write acceptance speeches as practice for recognitions they will hopefully receive later in life. It’s always an incredibly fun night at our house as we watch the Red Carpet and root for our favorites.

Unfortunately, I always insist on reading the original books that movies are based on before I see the movies. Is that weird? Since it’s Oscars month, I thought I would do a roundup of my favorite nominees in audiobook format. You probably know by now that I sit in traffic or carpool for a total of 2.5 hours per day so I’ve become addicted to “hearing” stories while I’m driving or patiently (ha!) parked. I don’t want to give up devouring books when my schedule gets too crazy, so for me, it’s the perfect solution to “reading” all the books on my list and making the most of my time during the day.

If you’ve never tried audiobooks, it may take some getting used to. I was hesitant at first because I LOVE the way a book feels in my hand, and the new paper smell…oh my. But the truth is, although I always have the best intentions, I never seem to find the time to finish reading the books I start. Two pages in at bedtime and I’m usually out for the count.

I started off with bite sized podcast listening and was hooked. I now use podcasts for business insights and coaching while I’m in the office and fictional audiobooks have become my entertainment and “down time” listening. I listen while driving, at the gym, and as I fold the mountainous piles of laundry that seem to live in my hallway.

It’s easy to find out if audiobooks fit into your lifestyle by making use of 30 day free trials, like the one audiobooks.com offers. Audiobooks.com is one of my favorite resources because I can start a book on my smartphone, pick up where I left off on my laptop and even fall asleep while listening on my tablet – and I’ll never lose my place. They have over 125,000 titles to choose from and here’s the key for me : it’s so EASY. The trial lets you choose any book in your first 30 days for free. I love free.

If you’re like me and want to experience the books before seeing the movies, I’ve put together a list to check out this month:

 

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK-James Baldwin

“In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad.

Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and is imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope.

In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.”

 

THE WIFEMeg Wolitzer

“Meg Wolitzer brings her characteristic wit and intelligence to a provocative story about the evolution of a marriage, the nature of partnership, the question of a male or female sensibility, and the place for an ambitious woman in a man’s world.The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband Joseph is one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.

From this gripping opening, Meg Wolitzer flashes back to Smith College and Greenwich Village in the 1950s and follows the course of the marriage that has brought the couple to this breaking point-one that results in a shocking revelation.With her skillful storytelling and pitch-perfect observations, Wolitzer has crafted a wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make-in marriage, work, and life. An Oprah Pick of Books behind the Summer’s Biggest Movies.”

 

FIRST MAN: THE LIFE OF NEIL A. ARMSTRONGJames R. Hansen

“This is the first—and only—definitive authorized account of Neil Armstrong, the man whose “one small step” changed history.

When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this “magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon.”

 

CHRISTOPHER ROBINElizabeth Rudnick, Disney Press

“Once upon a time, there was a boy named Christopher Robin, who had many friends in the Hundred-Acre Wood. As time passed, the boy grew up, and he lost track of his friends. Then one day, a silly old bear with a love for honey decided to leave the wood and go looking for his friend Christopher Robin.

From the streets of London to the grassy banks of the Hundred-Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin will journey to find each other and remember the magical elements of friendship and play. With Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, and of course, the ever-sullen Eeyore, the story of Christopher Robin’s return to the Hundred-Acre Wood is an amazing adventure for listeners of all ages!”

 

BLACK KLANSMAN-Ron Stallworth

“The extraordinary true story and basis for the major motion picture BlacKkKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee, produced by Jordan Peele, and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver.

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.


A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer, “Would you like to join our cause?” This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows, and major magazine interviews preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory.


Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the ‘white’ Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.
Black Klansman is an amazing true story that unfolds like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.”

 

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS: THE TRUE LIFE OF MARY STUART-John Guy

“In the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history’s most famous women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady-achieving her ends through feminine wiles-and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.

Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Mary Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time.”

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?: MEMOIRS OF A LITERARY FORGER-Lee Israel

“Lee Israel’s hilarious and shocking memoir of the astonishing caper she carried on for almost two years when she forged and sold more than three hundred letters by such literary notables as Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and many others.

Before turning to her life of crime—running a one-woman forgery business out of a phone booth in a Greenwich Village bar and even dodging the FBI—Lee Israel had a legitimate career as an author of biographies. Her first book on Tallulah Bankhead was a New York Times bestseller, and her second, on the late journalist and reporter Dorothy Kilgallen, made a splash in the headlines.

But by 1990, almost broke and desperate to hang onto her Upper West Side studio, Lee made a bold and irreversible career change: inspired by a letter she’d received once from Katharine Hepburn, and armed with her considerable skills as a researcher and celebrity biographer, she began to forge letters in the voices of literary greats. Between 1990 and 1991, she wrote more than three hundred letters in the voices of, among others, Dorothy Parker, Louise Brooks, Edna Ferber, Lillian Hellman, and Noel Coward—and sold the forgeries to memorabilia and autograph dealers.

“Lee Israel is deft, funny, and eminently entertaining…[in her] gentle parable about the modern culture of fame, about those who worship it, those who strive for it, and those who trade in its relics” (The Associated Press). Exquisitely written, with reproductions of her marvelous forgeries, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is “a slender, sordid, and pretty damned fabulous book about her misadventures” (The New York Times Book Review).”

 

MARY POPPINS– P.L. Travers

“The timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world’s favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family

Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

“When Mary Poppins is about, her young charges can never tell where the real world merges into make-believe. Neither can the reader, and that is one of the hallmarks of good fantasy.”—New York Times”

 

Happy listening, everyone!

 

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