The Year's Best Audio Books Review by Katherine A. Powers

Best audiobooks of 2010

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS

By Tom Rachman

Recorded Books, 9 ¾ hours, 7 CDs, www.recordedbooks.com, buy: $44.95; rent, $17.50; audible.com download, $27.99

It would be hard to come up with a better narrator than Christopher Evan Welch for Tom Rachman's saga of the birth, life and death of a newspaper. By turns bitter, sweet, icily callous and very funny, the novel covers half a century and a large number of characters. Welch distinguishes between the characters mostly by mood and register, but so adeptly that he conveys personality and predicament as well as any thespian.

THE KILLING OF CRAZY HORSE

By Thomas Powers

Tantor, 21 hours, 17 CDs, $54.99, 2 MP3 CDs, $39.99; audible.com download, $38.49

This latest account of the murder of Crazy Horse of the Lakota Sioux in 1877 is a complex, detailed and multilevel tale of greed, bad faith, racism and miscomprehension on both sides. John Pruden reads Thomas Powers's long book in a calm, unhurried voice. His pronunciation of the formidable Indian expressions and names is deft and unstrenuous. Though the voices of many are heard from letters, journals and interviews, Pruden does not embellish them; he maintains the narrating voice, avoiding complications in an already complicated but revelatory account.


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