Holiday Picnic Listening

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, June 29, 2016


We all know that nature is essential to the support of human life and—that we as humans demonstrate a continuing capacity to manipulate nature. This week’s pair of SYNC audiobooks offers us alternative ways to plumb the meaning of this dichotomy.

Food activist Michael Pollan’s THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition, published by Listening Library and performed by MacLeod Andrews, gives us a fact-filled tour of where the food we eat comes from—and how we can make better choices when we’re making informed ones. Both Pollan and Andrews approach this account with feeling and a range of artful tones including irony and surprise that include the listener in the journey of discovery.

Novelist Andrew Smith, whom we met in Week 3, is back with GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, also published by Listening Library, performed by Philip Church. This one  offers a fanciful trip into the extremes of nature accidentally unleashed by teenagers in love. Inflating insect facts and agricultural manipulation’s outcomes to degrees both comical and thought provoking, this journey through love and science gone mad has been heaped with praise for its success on the bizarre side of science fiction and is in production for the big screen. Hearing Church’s performance fast-forwards satisfaction in enjoying the novel way ahead of the movie’s release.

While both of this week’s audiobooks give us a lot of food for thought, be warned—taking either one of them along on a picnic may challenge the appetite when the contents of the picnic basket are set before you. We’re sure you’ll be able to plan around that.


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