Listening to audio books can be expensive if you are an avid listener. It was with some surprise that I recently discovered a new provider with a distinctly new offer for audio books. Audiobooks.com now offers over 25,000 audio books with two at a time unlimited downloads for $29.99 per month. You can immediately stream or download any audio book on their site if you are a member. Player apps are available for both IOS and Android devices. This is a great deal for those that listen to more than two books per month.
The Audiobooks.com device app is very usable but not as good as the Audible app. One unexpected benefit is the two audio books at a time applies independently on each of your devices. You can have two audio books downloaded on your iPhone and iPad for example, making it a total of four. This is very useful for family memberships where each person can listen to different books at the same time. The app interface is shown in detail for an iPad below.
About the Author
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
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.