New York Times Review
ARTEMIS By Andy Weir. Read by Rosario Dawson. (Audible Studios.) Dawson's nuanced voice takes us to the moon in the second novel by the author of "The Martian." UNCOMMON TYPE By Tom Hanks. Read by the author. (Penguin Random House Audio.) The Oscar-winning actor brings to life his debut collection of 17 loosely linked short stories. THE PURLOINING OF PRINCE OLEOMARGARINE By Mark Twain, with Philip Stead and Erin Stead. Read by Keegan-Michael Key, Philip Stead et al. (Listening Library.) The comedian and producer (and one half of the dynamic Key and Peele) narrates a previously unfinished and unpublished manuscript by Mark Twain, newly completed by the husband-and-wife children's book team behind the Caldecott Medal-winning "A Sick Day for Amos McGee." THE BOOK OF DUST By Philip Pullman. Read by Michael Sheen. (Listening Library.) The Welsh actor transports us into the fantastical parallel universe of Pullman's latest Y.A. trilogy, in which everyone has an inner daemon. PROMISE ME, DAD By Joe Biden. Read by the author. (Audible Studios.) The former vice president delivers his candid, heartfelt and inspiring memoir of losing his son Beau to cancer while facing political challenges foreign and domestic. & Noteworthy "O.K., I'm a nerd. I loved THE ODYSSEY from my first encounter in ninth-grade English class (the Robert Fitzgerald translation). The great questions of survival, cunning, treachery, exploitation and parental and marital love have never failed to transfix me, in whatever translation (Richmond Lattimore, Robert Fagles). But Emily Wilson's, the first into English by a woman, is a revelation. Never have I been so aware at once of the beauty of the poetry, the physicality of Homer's world and the moral ambiguity of those who inhabit it. Don't miss reading her enlightening translator's note, which explains how seriously she took up the challenge posed a few lines into the first book: 'tell the old story for our modern times./Find the beginning.' She wrestled with contemporary questions of feminism and colonialism without imposing them on the values of Homeric Greece. Her decisions to discard flowery conventions, and to limit herself to the number of the lines in the original poem, produce a version both fleet and vivid. Read for all this, but mostly to savor lines like these: 'he plunged into the sea and swooped between/the waves, just like a seagull catching fish,/wetting its whirring wings in tireless brine.'" -SUSAN CHIRA, SENIOR EDITOR AND CORRESPONDENT FOR GENDER, ON WHAT SHE'S READING.
Publishers Weekly Review
Oscar-winner Hanks's debut collection is a wide-ranging affair of 17 stories threaded together by the recurring image of typewriters-some stories, like the intriguing "These Are the Meditations of My Heart," build entire narratives around the machines, while others mention them in passing. In "Alan Bean Plus Four," one of the collection's best entries, four friends decide to build a backyard rocket and orbit the moon. These same characters star in two more stories, the enjoyable bowling yarn "Steve Wong Is Perfect," and the less noteworthy "Three Exhausting Weeks," which uses standard romantic comedy tropes in recollecting a wacky and doomed relationship. Hanks's stories sometimes lead to pat, happy endings, but not always-"Christmas Eve 1953" develops a simple holiday story into a rumination on war. Similarly, "The Past Is Important to Us" employs a sharp, unexpected conclusion to elevate a story of time travel and romance at the 1939 World's Fair. Hanks's narrators speak with similar verbal tics-multiple narrators say "Noo Yawk," for example-but the stories they tell generally charm. The only true misfires come when Hanks breaks away from traditional structure: the story-as-screenplay "Stay With Us" drags, and faux newspaper columns by man of the people Hank Fiset start clever but turn grating. 250,000-copy announced first printing. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.