AUTHOR’S BIO
Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature.

After university and before his success with his Rebus novels, Ian had a number of jobs including working as a grape-picker, a swineherd, a journalist for a hi-fi magazine, and a taxman. Following his marriage in 1986, he lived briefly in London where he worked at the National Folktale Centre, followed by a short time living in France, before returning to Edinburgh.

Ian’s first novel Summer Rites remains in his bottom drawer, but his second novel, The Flood, was published in 1986, while his first Rebus novel, Knots & Crosses, was published in 1987. The Rebus series is now translated into twenty-two languages and the books are bestsellers on several continents. In addition to his Rebus and Malcolm Fox novels, he has also written standalone novels including Doors Open, which was televised in 2012, short stories, a graphic novel – Dark Entries, and a play (with Mark Thomson, the Royal Lyceum Theatre’s Artistic Director) Dark Road, which premiered at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, in September 2013. There are also a number of novels under the pseudonym ‘Jack Harvey’ and in 2005 he collaborated with singer Jackie Leven on a CD. His non-fiction book Rebus’s Scotland was published in 2005.

Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America’s celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Edgar and Anthony Awards in the USA, and won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and Germany’s Deutscher Krimipreis.

Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Hull, Abertay, St Andrews and Edinburgh as well as The Open University.

A regular contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin’s Evil Thoughts on Channel 4 in 2002 and Rankin on the Staircase for BBC Four in 2005. In 2007, Rankin appeared in Ian Rankin’s Hidden Edinburgh and Ian Rankin Investigates Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde also for BBC Four. Ian has been the subject of ITV’s South Bank Show and BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs where his choice of music included Joy Division, The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

Ian has received an OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

KIRKUS REVIEW

Veteran cop John Rebus emerges from retirement to look into a pair of parallel cases of revenge.

When David Menzies Minton, former Lord Advocate of Scotland, is bludgeoned to death in his Edinburgh home, DI Siobhan Clarke shares one crime-scene detail she shouldn’t with her friend DI Malcolm Fox: a note saying, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID.” After someone shoots at crime lord Big Ger Cafferty, she also rousts John Rebus, a month into his retirement, from his usual station at the Oxford Bar. As a detective, Rebus had developed an odd working relationship with Cafferty. So now he agrees to be a consultant, especially after Cafferty gets the same death-threat note as Minton. There’s no obvious link between Minton’s murder and the attempted hit on Cafferty, however, and even less connection with a past break-in and the murder of a lottery winner. Meanwhile, Fox reluctantly becomes his boss’ spy for a surveillance team that hopes to take down a Glaswegian gangster and his heir apparent, who’ve come to Edinburgh on the trail of a man who betrayed them. It’s not easy for a man widely regarded as an internal snitch to win the team’s confidence. Fox even has to take a beating from the man he suspects is the team’s undercover member. But he takes a cue from Rebus, who was notorious for going his own way when he was a cop and is even more inclined to do so as a civilian. It pays off when Rebus uses his connections and know-how to help Clarke and Fox find the key they’ve been looking for, a terrible secret that spills into the turf war among criminal factions and exposes the past lives of those supposedly on the right side of the law.

Rankin (The Beat Goes On, 2015, etc.) takes his time setting up all these plots. But it’s well worth the wait to see how the latest entry in this celebrated series fits all the pieces together.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is read by James Macpherson with an authentic Scottish accent and is 11 hrs and 10 mins long.

Watch a YouTube video of Ian Rankin discussing Even Dogs in the WildYouTube.






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AUTHOR’S BIO

Sarah Waters was born in Wales in 1966. After Milford Haven Grammar School, Waters attended university, and earned degrees in English literature.

She received a BA from the University of Kent, an MA from Lancaster University, and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. She has been an associate lecturer with the Open University.

She has written six novels: Tipping the Velvet(1998), which won the Betty Trask Award; Affinity(1999), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday /John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; Fingersmith(2002), which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize, and won the South Bank Show Award for Literature and the CWA Historical Dagger; The Night Watch(2006), which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize;The Little Stranger(2009), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the South Bank Show Literature Award; and The Paying Guests(2014)

She was included in Granta’s prestigious list of ‘Best of Young British Novelists 2003′, and in the same year was voted Author of the Year by both publishers and booksellers at the British Book Awards and the BA Conference, and won the Waterstone’s Author of the Year Award.

KIRKUS REVIEW

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex.

It’s 1922, and Frances Wray lives with her mother in a big house in a genteel South London neighborhood. Her two brothers were killed in the war and her father died soon after, leaving behind a shocking mess of debt. The solution: renting out rooms to Leonard and Lilian Barber, members of the newly emerging “clerk class,” the kind of people the Wrays would normally never mix with but who now share their home. Tension is high from the first paragraph, as Frances waits for the new lodgers to move in: “She and her mother had spent the morning watching the clock, unable to relax.” The first half of the book slowly builds the suspense as Frances falls for the beautiful and passionate Lilian and teases at the question of whether she will declare her love; when she does, the tension grows even thicker, as the two bump into each other all over the house and try to find time alone for those vivid sex scenes. The second half, as in an Ian McEwan novel, explores the aftermath of a shocking act of violence. Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight; when Frances and Lilian go on a picnic, “the eggs [give] up their shells as if shrugging off cumbersome coats”—just like the women. As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen.

Waters keeps getting better, if that’s even possible after the sheer perfection of her earlier novels.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is well read by Juliet Stevenson and is 21 hours and 28 min long.

Watch YouTube video of Sarah Waters Discussing The Paying Guests YouTube.











About the Author

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami, born January 12, 1949, is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.
Murakami’s fiction, often criticized by Japan’s literary establishment, is humorous and surreal, and at the same time focuses on themes of alienation and loneliness.  Through his work, he is able to capture the spiritual emptiness of his generation and explore the negative effects of Japan’s work-dominated mentality.  His writing criticizes the decline in human values and a loss of connection among people in Japan’s society.

He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised him as “among the world’s greatest living novelists” for his works and achievements.

Audio Book Bibliography

1Q84 UNABRIDGED Narrated by Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett 46.8 hrs
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 26.1 hrs
Norwegian Wood UNABRIDGED Narrated by James Yaegashi 13.5 hrs
Kafka on the Shore UNABRIDGED Narrated by Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur 19.13 hrs
Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World UNABRIDGED Narrated by Adam Sims, Ian Porter 14 hrs
What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir UNABRIDGED Narrated by Ray Porter 4.5 hrs
Dance, Dance, Dance UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 12.7 hrs
A Wild Sheep Chase UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas 9.6 hrs
After Dark UNABRIDGED Narrated by Janet Song 5.7 hrs
The Elephant Vanishes: Stories UNABRIDGED Narrated by John Chancer 10.5 hrs
After the Quake UNABRIDGED Narrated by Rupert Degas, Teresa Gallagher, Adam Sims 4.3 hrs
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman UNABRIDGED Narrated by Patrick Lawlor, Ellen Archer 12.7 hrs

Background

The English-language publication of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 has been called by some the most anticipated literary event of 2011.  The book is a massive 962 page compilation of the Japanese three volume trilogy which achieved tremendous popularity in Japan.  The book was translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.  The audio book is a very long 46 hours and 50 minutes, making it among the longest audio books published.  The audio book was published by Audible Inc. and was narrated by Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor and Mark Boyett.

Murakami writes in a magical realism genre that is his signature style.  1Q84 differs from many of his books by shifting from his usual first-person narration.  Most reviews of this book are positive, however a few complain of the length and slowness of the plot, even calling it tedious.  It is hard to write a very long book without creating intricate detail which some would see as an enhancing rich texture.  The real issue of course with audio books, does the narration hold your interest.  Nothing is worse than listening to tedious detail that is boring.  This audio book is not boring and you will not be relieved when you finish listening to it.  It is characteristic of magical realism that unusual, unexpected, and unbelievable events occur in what otherwise seems a rational real-world story.  You will find much of this in 1Q84, as usual with Murakami.  Listening to 1Q84 is like eating a luxurious 10 course meal, set back and enjoy it.  For those that like fast-food books look elsewhere.

The story has two protagonists, Aomame and Tengo who are the main focus of what is essentially a love story, which emerges rather slowly and does not become fully realized until the end of the book.  Aomame is a physical therapist/assassin and Tengo a math tutor/budding writer.  Add to this a beautiful mysterious 17 year old autistic other-worldly girl, a dangerous religious sect and an altered reality with two moons and the “little people” and you have the main elements of this complex storyline.  Aomame is narrated by Allison Hiroto and Tengo by Marc Vietor.  This braided narration of Aomame’s and Tengo’s stories works well.  Other background narration is by Mark Boyett.

The Audible Publisher’s Summary:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 – “Q” is for “question mark”.   A world that bears a question.

Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s, 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.





03.01.2011




About the Author

Paul Murray

Paul Murray (born 1975) is an Irish novelist. He studied English literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and subsequently completed his Masters in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. Murray has written two novels: his first, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003 and nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award. His second novel Skippy Dies was long listed for the 2010 Booker Prize and the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic fiction. It also is on Time Magazine’s List of Top 10 Novels of 2010, see TekRead Famous Book Lists

Narrated by
Nicola Barber , Fred Berman , Clodagh Bowyer , Terry Donnelly , Sean Gormley , Khristine Hvam , John Keating , Lawrence Lowry , Graeme Malcolm , Paul Nugent

Summary from the Sunday Times by Adam Lively
The publisher’s summary of Skippy Dies warns of a dark comedy with supernatural overtones about a group of boarding-school boys, interwoven with the hapless romantic adventures of an emotionally inadequate history ­master. It sounds as though we are being invited into stereotyped fictional territory. But, in fact, the novel is a triumph — it is maybe too long and suffers in places from unoriginality, but it is also brimful of wit, narrative energy and a real poetry and vision. In the boys, especially, Paul Murray proves that he can conjure up a whole psychic world, from its darkest, most savagely funny cruelty to its wildest flights of fantasy-fuelled innocence.

The novel is set in an arch-traditionalist school in Dublin’s posh suburbs, and at the heart of the story is 14-year-old Ruprecht Van Doren (“Van Blowjob”) — mathematical genius, French horn player and devoted online acolyte of a Stanford professor whose new ­version of String Theory seems to hold out an enticing prospect: access to the 11th dimension. Ruprecht’s best friend is Skippy, whose story is the blackest strand in the book: his mother is dying of cancer, the gym teacher has been touching him up and, worst of all, he has fallen self-destructively in love with the man-eater-in-training at the neighbouring girls’ school. When Skippy dies of an overdose (during a doughnut-eating competition), the comedy of Ruprecht’s earnestly crazy ­science experiments in the school basement turns to poignant tragedy, as he cranks his tinfoil contraption for one last attempt to reach his lost friend through “the veil”.

Parallel to Skippy’s tragic opera is the bathetic cautionary tale of the history teacher Howard (“Howard the Coward”), who pursues his own muse, his version of Robert Graves’s “White Goddess”, into a personal hell of middle-aged disillusion. Although Murray’s writing never lets up on its energy and invention (and though there is some wonderfully broad satire at the expense of the smoothly evil acting head, who plots the takeover of the school in the name of modernity and money), the “adult” portions of the book lack the freshness and vividness of those given to their pupils. We seem stuck firmly here in Amis-Lodge-Sharpe-Hornby land.

For all its English influences, Skippy Dies is set very firmly in Ireland. In an interview, Murray has hinted that the satire on the traditional school ruined by cynical modernisers is written with half an eye to Ireland’s breakneck economic boom and subsequent collapse. Those broader resonances may be there for the author, but what I think most readers will take away from the book is the unflagging entertainment of its intelligence, its psychological insight and its range of reference.

A brief summary can’t do justice to the variety of themes that Murray tosses about — cosmology, the first world war, role-playing computer games, prehistoric portals to fairy kingdoms etc. — or the skill with which he connects them up, as in the beautiful moment when (for reasons too complicated and zany to explain) Ruprecht and friends do the long-dreamt-of thing and break into the girls’ school next door. They find the same landscape of dormitories and teenage mess as in their own world, except that it is all, well, different — and for a glorious moment they think that they might actually have entered the 11th dimension.

Most of all, though, what readers will take away is the laugh-out-loud hilarity of some of the boys’ dialogue, as in the neat deconstruction by one of them of Robert Frost’s The Road Less Travelled, proving once and for all that it is a poem about anal sex.

Audible.com Reviews
Audible listeners rated this audio book at 3.61 with 124 ratings. This is a very polarizing novel.
You either loved it or hated it. This is demonstrated by the audible reviews 1 or 2 stars if you didn’t like it or the 4 or 5 stars if you did. There are 13 positive reviews and 16 negative.

TekRead Review
This is a long audio book some 23 hours and 36 minutes long. As stated above you will probably love or hate the book. The book is very well written with excellent characterization and plotting. It is an innovative tragicomedy, intricate and interesting.

The audio book production is good. The choice of many narrators is unusual and works well to enhance the audio book with one exception. Sometimes the many narrators make it difficult to know who is speaking. Overall it is well read.

We at TekRead fell into the “Love It” category knowing that not all of you will agree. It is a very literary work, but some may find the language too explicit. We feel the book would not work without the raw language that makes it so authentic.

Where to Get It
This audio book was published by Audible, Inc. and is not widely available outside Audible channels, notably Audible.com and iTunes. The buy links are shown below along with the Audible summary and audio sample. The audio book is discounted to $20.96 for current audible subscribers.