Naxos Hooks Jacobi and Full Cast for ‘Angler’

Venerable actors Derek Jacobi, David Timson, and Sean Barrett head the new full-cast recording of The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, out from Naxos this month. In addition to their narration, cast members perform the original songs that appear in the text, which have been newly set by Roger Marsh to music from the Naxos catalogue. Though it was first published in 1653, Walton and Cotton’s tale of a fisherman extolling the art of fishing and an appreciation of the natural world to fellow sportsmen has maintained its appeal: it is the third most reprinted book in the English language after the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. Upon the release of a 2014 print edition from Oxford University Press, editor and professor Marjorie Swann explained why modern audiences should hear this book: “When we’re told by policy makers today that environmental issues need to take a back seat to economic or political realities, Walton reminds us that bold visionaries not only can but should put the environment front and center during tough times.”

Narrators Connect with Timely ‘Refugee’ from Gratz, Scholastic

Author Alan Gratz’s new middle grade novel Refugee intertwines the harrowing stories of three young refugees from different eras of history: a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany, a Cuban girl in 1994, and a Syrian boy in 2015. For the audiobook recording, Scholastic Audio cast three young actors—Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen—each of whom has a family member or close friend who was a refugee from the same country as the character whose story they are narrating. Garcia provided comment on her emotional experience working on this project: “The education of a nation’s youth is the first thing that is taken when a country crumbles in the face of war. The expansion of a child’s mind is the deadliest weapon of all because the people in power know that with enough compassion, love, awareness, and knowledge, these kids could change the world for the better. What Alan is doing to educate today’s future generations through what he has created in Refugee is vital and, I believe, holds within its pages the power to save the planet. I’m honored to be a part of it.” The print and audiobook editions will be simultaneously released on July 25.

Audible Has Hart

The audio version of comedian and actor Kevin Hart’s memoir I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons was released by Audible Studios on June 6. Chronicling his journey from a rough childhood in North Philadelphia to his current Hollywood success, Hart shares how he overcame seemingly overwhelming challenges to transform his life. He promoted the title, published in hardcover by Atria, at BookCon in New York City on June 4, doing a meet-and-greet with fans and participating in a q&a discussion led by hip-hop radio and TV personality Charlamagne tha God.

Akana Tells Her Story for Random House

Anna Akana, the comedian, actress, and filmmaker widely known for her YouTube channel with 1.8 million subscribers, has narrated her audiobook, So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister, for Random House Audio, on sale June 13. The title is a collection of essays about love, loss, and teenage mistakes that contains, the author writes, “the advice I would give her if she was still here,” referring to the teen sister she lost to suicide in 2007. Akana began her creative journey during the months following her sister’s death when she channeled her grief into making humorous, straight-shooting, and informative YouTube videos about her own life experiences. Popular episodes on Akana’s weekly online show include “How to Put on Your Face,” “Please Don’t Kill Yourself,” and “Why Girls Should Ask Guys Out.”