Tasting Reality

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, July 12, 2017


During Week 12 of AudiobookSYNC’s season, our pair of free audiobooks includes a nonfiction exploration of flavor and a teen novel in which food also plays a significant role.


Mark Schatzker’s THE DORITO EFFECT: THE SURPRISING NEW TRUTH ABOUT FOOD AND FLAVOR, from Dreamscape Audio, is filled with revelations, produced by many sciences, that inform us about the experience of our sense of taste. Narrated by Chris Patton, who earned an Earphones Award for his performance here, THE DORITO EFFECT explores the natural and manufactured chemicals that impart flavors; how our physiology influences our sensing taste; and how trends in agriculture and marketing influence what might be available for us to taste.

Deirdre Riordan Hall’s teen novel SUGAR, from Brilliance Audio, takes its title from the main character’s nickname. At 17, Mercy is overweight, and her obese mother is abusive. Narrator Tara Sands brings each of the multiethnic cast members, with their widely differing personalities, alive so that listeners feel Sugar’s despair, hopes, efforts, and endurance against her load of burdens. Listeners from the Northeast will be pleasantly surprised to discover a character of Polish-Puerto Rican heritage, a common combination in some neighborhoods that rarely appears in contemporary teen fiction. On the other hand, the bullying that is also realistically depicted in this novel will seem familiar to almost every listener.

This week’s pair of free audiobooks offers a lot of food for thought, although listeners may rethink their options about a good snack to choose after hearing them.

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