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According to Audible.com, as of this month, I've purchased and downloaded more than 300 audiobooks from them over the past five or six years.

Honestly, some have been real dogs.

Blech!!

Others have been little short of life-changing. Here are a few that fall in the Truly Excellent catagory:


Nonfiction:

While I've "read" some really good fiction over the past five years or so, the most useful (in a classroom sense) and really provocative have been non-fiction. Here are my Top 10 favorite NonFiction audiobooks:

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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
by Bill Bryson
7 hours, 38 minutes

Bill Bryson is a very, very good writer - engaging, cranky, articulate and self-effacing. Anything he's written is good.

This is his memoir about growing up in the 1950s and 60s in Desmoines, Iowa. It is funny, thought provoking and sometimes just plain weird.

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The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson
14 hours, 48 minutes

The 1893 Chicago World's Fair was one of the most amazing, ground-breaking (pun sort-of intended) events in American history, but we hardly think of it today.

It was also the stalking grounds of one of the most prolific serial killers of the 19th Century.

This is one of the most fascinating historical reconstructions I've ever read.

Heard.

Whatever.

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Theodore Rex
by Edmund Morris
25 hours, 50 minutes

I'm not a huge fan of comprehensive, block-buster biographies written by historians.

I've got enough trouble staying awake, as it is.

Theodore Roosevelt though, is a fascinating enough figure that this really is 26 hours of your life that is really well spent. (By the way, this is the middle volume of a three-part biography and deals exclusively with his time in the White House.) Morris does a pretty good job of showing Roosevelt's flaws along with his enormous gifts, but if you want a snapshot (okay - a 26 hour snapshot) of American politics at the turn of the 20th Century, this is it.

As a side-note, I don't know what it says about me that the whole time I listened to this biography of one of the great Presidents of the United States, one of the great reformers in American History, the winner of the first Nobel Peace Prize, that I kept thinking, "Wow! What a newspaper man he would have been!"

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Secret Ingredients
Edited by David Remnick
24 hours, 57 minutes

I may have mentioned before that I'm a bit obsessed by food.

I've got nothing on the staff of the New Yorker.

Listen to this over the course of a month or two, stopping frequently for snack and exercise breaks.

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Outliers/What the Dog Saw
by Malcolm Gladwell
7 hours, 22 minutes & 11 hours 35 minutes

Malcolm Gladwell is probably the most riveting nonfiction writer out there today. I would read his gas bill.

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Boys Adrift
by Leonard Sax
7 hours, 35 minutes

As a classroom teacher and the father of a boy (and as a slacker boy myself), one of my biggest concerns is how we can meet the needs of boys in school. The vast majority of our discipline problems, Special Education case-load and underachievement comes from boys.

I'm not sure I totally agree with all of Sax's conclusions, but this made me think very, very hard about my classroom practices.

[I think the whole topic of boys in the classroom needs to be a national discussion and will definitely be the topic of a future blog post.]

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A Sense of the World

by Jason Roberts
13 hours, 14 minutes

The greatest traveler in history was a blind man.

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The Poisoner's Handbook

by Deborah Blum
9 hours, 17 minutes

A juicy and fascinating history of the New York City Medical Examiner's Office.

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The Worst Hard Time
by Timothy Egan
11 hours, 47 minutes

The definitive history of the Dust Bowl.

Gripping.

Obsessively fascinating.

Read it... er... Listen to it.

Whatever.

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The Botany of Desire
by Michael Pollan
8 hours, 54 minutes

Simply put, this is the most fascinating book I've ever read. It...

Actually, you know what? Just read it.

Listen to it.

Whatever.



Coming some time in the unspecified future - Fiction



10/12/2010 19:30:05

Wow, have only read two of those books...looks like I have some to add to my must read list.

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