Audiobooks, Uncategorized, Work

The Best Audiobooks I Listened To This Year

Your Monkey has a looong commute to and from work every day, plus a 45 minute a day gym habit, and two dogs that need lots and lots of walking. So to make a long story short, he needs a lot of audiobooks to keep him entertained and educated while he goes about his business.

Picking out the right audiobook is a bit of risky business. You try your best to find something that will be interesting, challenging and engaging, and that will be worth your time for the 8-20 or so hours that you are going to be wrapped up with the author and the narrator.

That being said, the following books are among the best that your humble monkey listened to this year.

“The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival” by John Valliant

Your Monkey would normally not be interested in a story about the hunt for a deadly tiger (really? tigers? in this day and age?), but Valliant does an amazing job of capturing the remoteness of far eastern Russia, the deadly power of the Siberian Tiger, the desperate economic conditions of the Russians who live there, and how all three elements — land, tiger and man — interact with each other. It is a mesmerizing story and a perfect choice for the winter. You won’t be able to crunch through the snow without wondering if there’s a tiger somewhere in the shadows waiting to pounce.

“Columbine ” by Dave Cullen

A meticulously detailed account of what is perhaps the country’s most famous school shooting to date, Cullen does an excellent job of separating fact from fiction, dispelling myths, and pointing out the errors in judgement made by police officers both before and after the murders took place. We also get an uncomfortably close look into the minds of the two Columbine killers via detailed excerpts from their journals. It is a dark, sad and frustrating read, but worth it in the long run. You’ll understand what motivated the killers (it may not be what you think) and have a new empathy for the victims and their families.

“The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter” by Mark Seal

Seal does an amazing job of charting the life and lies of most famous con-man/chameleon to be exposed in recent years. Rockefeller made his name by posing as a descendent of the famously rich Rockefeller family,  but was actually a German immigrant who lied his way to the top of high society several times over. Rockefeller, who gained national attention by  kidnapping his daughter “Snooks” during a supervised visit in Boston,  presents a maddening case of a man whose seemingly sole purpose on earth is to pretend to be someone  he is not.  What makes Seal’s book so unusual is that he merely presents the facts of Rockefeller’s case to us. He does not try to psychoanalyze Rockerfeller, or explain away his actions.

“The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars” by Paul Collins

It is just before the turn of the 20th century in New York City, and the headless torso of a man neatly wrapped in oil cloth is pulled out of the East River one sultry summer day by a group of swimming boys. The discovery leads to a riveting murder investigation, a sensational court trial, and a no holds barred media circus. Collins does an excellent job of presenting the facts and testimony of the case while concurrently charting the competition between New York’s two leading tabloid newspapers to provide the most complete coverage of the case. For anyone who thinks that the media is ruthless and sensationalistic now…you have another thing coming.

“A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Social Experiment Reveals About Human Desire” by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gadda

After America Online inadvertently leaked a Titanic-sized boatload of information about how people search for information on the web (and by information we mean pornography), a group of scientists used the  data to draw some interesting conclusions about what turns men and women on. The result is a fascinating look into gender roles, human desire, and how evolution plays a role in who we look for in a mate. You will not want to miss.

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