The Best in Audiobooks


Audiobooks are much more than just an easy way to read a book.  The right narrator can bring the text alive, adding depth to the experience.  Here are a few of Library Journal’s picks for best audiobooks of 2011.

In Started Early, Took My Dog, Kate Atkinson presents a witty literary mystery about two retired detectives and children lost &and found.
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry ties the past to the present with a thriller including pirates, assassination, and the U.S. Constitution.
The Kingdom by Clive Cussler takes us on an adventure with Sam and Remi Fargo to supposedly find an oil baron’s father, but the search soon leads to ancient relics and evolutionary questions.

Tina Fey demonstrates her infamous comedic talents in Bossypants, the story of her life as well as her opinion on everything from politics to motherhood.  Read by the author.
In The Greater Journey Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough tells the story of Americans who traveled to Paris in the 19th century and how the two cultures intersected to nurture some of the greatest minds of the period.
Candice Millard’s The Destiny of the Republic shares a powerful tale of the assassination of president James A. Garfield and the many forces that worked together to bring about his death.

I’ve linked to MPL’s books on CD here, but if you’re more interested in downloadables, check out our Sunflower Elibrary or OneClick Digital, provided by the state of Kansas.

What’s New in Downloadable Content?


Sunflower E-Library: A New Downloading Experienceby John Pecoraro, Assistant Director and Marcia Allen, Technical Services & Collection Manager
ManhattanPublic Library
Why is the downloading option ending at Manhattan PublicLibrary on Monday, December 5th?
Because ofchanges and increased rates for the state-wide consortium, the  currentdownloading option is ending. Unfortunately, any requests that you may have inplace will disappear along with the old platform.  Currently, the state is in theprocess of building the  OneClickDigitalservice for audiobooks, as well as the 3MCloud Library service for ebooks.  Oncethese services are in place, borrowerswill be able to follow links from the library website to browse and checkouttitles.
Are there other options offered through the library?
Beginning on Monday, November 28th,those who prefer reading devices can download ebooks from thelibrary.  MPL is now a part of theSunflower eLibrary Consortium, a cooperative effortamong several Kansaslibraries that enables participantsto share the same platform as well as purchased titles.
What about all the different devices that readers might use?
Most of thetitles are available in epub format.  Thatwill allow users to manage a varietyof different devices with the same process. In addition, most titles will download onKindle devices with the same quick results.
How can I register for the Sunflower eLibrary service?
You musthave a Manhattan Public Library card and pin number to use this collection.  Then you can begin borrowing items andplacing holds on the contentsthat you desire.
What kinds of limits are there?
 Readers canborrow five titles at a time and place as many as seven requests onitems that are unavailable.  There arealso checkout period limitations. Borrowerscan determine at the time of checkout whether they wish to borrow for seven or fourteen days.  Readers can also opt to return items early sothat others may usethem.  Our goal is to make titlesavailable to readers as quickly as possible.
Is this just available for adults?
At thistime, we have several young adult and children’s titles available.  As the collectioncontinues to grow, we will add more content.
What about audiobooks? I prefer them to ebooks.
Again, thestate has contracted with Recorded Books to provide audiobooks for readers whoprefer to listen.  That collection willalso have a wide range of titlesthat can be downloaded on a portable device. Readers will go to OneClickDigitalto register and begin the borrowing process.
Can I use my Manhattanlibrary card to gain access to the state’s audiobooks?
Readersmust have a Kansas Library Card (available at MPL) to register. 
For those contemplating thepurchase of an ebook reader or listening device, there are plenty of resourcesfor nice, new titles at the library.  Andwe will continue to refresh the collection, adding new materials as we areable.  List of upcoming titles will allowus to keep informed of new possibilities.
            As the holidays near, it might be agreat time to expand your electronic holdings and venture into newformats.  Not sure which device topurchase?  It’s up to you and your needs.  Most of what we have selected is compatiblewith Nooks, Kindles and ipads, as well as other selected devices.  There are many website that review portabledevices.  Take a look at e-Book Reader 2011 at,for example, or 2011 Tablets ProductComparisons at   For a more comprehensive review source,check out the
Ultimate Tablet ReviewComparison Guide,  You might also take a look at the article ontablets, e-book readers, and smart phones in the December issue of Consumer Reports, available at thelibrary.
            Look forthese new services on the library’s web page beginningMonday, November 28th.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy


Audiobooks are not usually my favorite medium. It takes longer to get through the book, and I don’t always like the voice of the person performing the reading. By happy accident, I picked up Skulduggery Pleasant on audiobook for a long car ride, and I’m very happy I did. The book is performed by Rupert Degas (and he does all the voices). I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have liked the book as well as I did if I hadn’t listened to it.

Twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley’s uncle dies suddenly and leaves her most of his possessions in his will. His death also means she meets one of his old friends, Skulduggery Pleasant, at the funeral and the reading of the will. Skulduggery is rather an odd character. He wears a tailored suit, a long trench coat, a hat, wig, scarf and sunglasses. Turns out he’s a skeleton. He also doesn’t think Stephanie’s Uncle Gordon died of natural causes. Thus begins the investigation into Gordon Edgley’s murder and the introduction of Stephanie into a different side of reality she never knew existed. A world filled with things from living skeletons to vampires to old gods some are trying to bring back.

Derek Landy’s story is filled with humor. This novel would probably fit well under the heading “screwball fantasy.” It also won the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book of the Decade Award and is part of a series. Three of the series have already been released and the fourth is set to be released on April 1.

Political Intrigue on CD


While we are deep into the current political scene and after you have done your research and made your choices, why not enjoy a novel of political intrigue. I found the hours just evaporated along with the miles as I listened to the audio book Dead Watch by John Sandford on a recent road trip to Colorado. This is not his most current book, but the story couldn’t be more timely with it’s political scandals and time bombs. A former Virginia senator is missing and the current governor and political rival may have a hand in his disappearance. Or did he?

If political scandal is a little too close to home, why not try one of our other audio books. Some of our new titles are:

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, Plague Ship by Clive Cussler, Swan Peak by James Lee Burke, Faces of Fear by John Saul, Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs, Forbidden by Elizabeth Lowell, The Gypsy Morph by Terry Brooks.

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart, (an interesting addition to our One Book/ One Community reading list of Central Asia titles) and The post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.

Another option is to download an audio book to your computer through our website and burn it to cd’s or load it onto your IPod or mp3 player. Use the following link to get started.

We all lead busy lives but technology is helping us enjoy reading while on the go.