Audiobooks: Life By Keith Richards and More
By Keith Richards,
Read by Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley
20 CDs, 22.5 hours
After a brief introduction from “Keef” himself, in which he promises that he does, indeed, “remember it all,” Life begins with a riotous tale of a drug arrest in Arkansas. It’s the kind of story you’d expect from Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, fitting his public persona far more than the next chapter’s revelation that he was a patrol leader in the boy scouts. But both of them say something about the man who is deemed the heart and soul of the Stones. Richards puts his all into whatever he takes on.
Never holding back, he tells the story of his childhood, the birth of the Stones, the early days of fame, his admiration, friendship and irritation over the years with Mick Jagger, the drugs, the women and of course, the music. Actor Johnny Depp relays the tale in a deceptively deadpan way that captures Richards’ matter-of-fact manner, without actually imitating him. Musician Joe Hurley takes on reading duties for a few chapters, and the difference is jarring. Hurley reads with more animation, laughing through some lines, so the book sounds less like Keith telling you the story of his life while knocking back a few beers, and more like — well, someone reading.
Still, it is the story of Keith Richards. And that’s unfailingly captivating.
Katie Up and Down the Hall
By Glenn Plaskin
Read by the author
7 CDs, 7.5 hours
You don’t have to be a dog lover to enjoy Glenn Plaskin’s memoir about his fun-loving cocker spaniel, Katie, because it’s really about people.
Plaskin lives in the kind of New York City apartment that is filled with people who barely know each other. They exchange quick “hellos” in the hallway and move on with their lives. But when Plaskin adopts an adorable and feisty little dog, named Katie, the little fur ball manages to turn these near strangers into a sort of family.
Katie is a handful, and Plaskin has no luck reeling her in. In desperation he asks Pearl, the “granny” down the hall, for help in training his new dog, and one connection is made.
Soon, single dad John and his 3-year-old son, Ryan, meet Katie and Pearl. When boy meets dog, another connection is made, and it extends to the adults.
Since Plaskin is an entertainment journalist, celebrities Katharine Hepburn, Bette Midler and Peter Jennings make cameo appearances in Katie’s life. But this canine is the true star. She has an uncanny bond with the elderly women of her building. She attends doggy costume parties with her owner.
As Pearl and Katie grow older together, the high-rise neighbors are forever changed when a friend passes away in the devastation of 9/11.
Plaskin takes listeners through more than a decade of Katie-centric moments, both fun and tragic. By the time the last CD ends, Katie has wormed her way into the reader’s heart.
Full Dark, No Stars
By Stephen King
Read by Jessica Hecht and Craig Wasson
12 CDs, 14 hours
Stephen King sure knows how to tell a story. He offers every exquisite, and sometimes gruesome, detail as he unspools his tales. In each of the four short stories that make up this collection, his characters reveal a very dark side of human nature.
The opener, “1922,” is a man’s confession to brutally murdering his wife. Wilfred, a well-read and seemingly logical farmer, plays on his own 14-year-old son’s fears to enlist him in helping get rid of a troublesome wife, a deed that haunts them long after they get away with it. “Big Driver” is a tale of a woman attacked and left for dead, who gets her revenge. The amusing yet nasty “Fair Extension” puts a twist on the whole “deal with the devil” storyline, and “A Good Marriage” — well it’s a union with some unholy secrets.
Both narrators are accomplished actors who add another layer of depth to the stories they are reading, and every story keeps the listener on edge.
These aren’t horror tales, though some of the scenes are horrific. King has explained that when he reads about these kinds of crimes in the newspaper, he wonders about the people who perpetrate them. What kind of person could do such a thing? The four stories in Full Dark, No Stars is his answer to that question.
Cleopatra: A Life
By Stacy Schiff
Read by Robin Miles
Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Stacy Schiff removes fact from fiction in this tale of one of the most powerful women in history. From her incestuous marriages to war and the death of Caesar, Schiff takes the audience on the true journey of the woman who reshaped the ancient world and became a legend.
Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
By Patton Oswalt
Read by Patton Oswalt
Character actor (The King of Queens) and comedian Patton Oswalt explains how his hilarious and twisted worldview developed as he grew up to do comedy. The title comes out of his philosophy that before any young great mind has something to write about, they will focus on zombies, spaceships and wastelands.
By Howard Gordon
Read by Carlos Bernard
The executive producer of the TV thriller series 24, Howard Gordon, delivers his first novel. Time is of the essence here too, though its twice as long as Jack Bauer had each season. Master negotiator Gideon has 48 hours to bring his brother, a rogue government agent, back to the U.S. from Southeast Asia.
Dead or Alive
By Tom Clancy with Grant Blackwood
Read by Lou Diamond Phillips
What’s next for Jack Ryan now that he’s been president of the United States? Well, he keeps up on the news from Campus, a secretive counter-terrorism organization he created. How secret? Jack Ryan, Jr., is going after the top terrorist threat to bring him in dead or alive — and his dad doesn’t even know it.