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Kick Back This Summer with Beacon Audiobooks!

Image credit: Marco Verch Professional

This will be our second summer with our favorite global party-crasher, the pandemic. (Leave already, Pandy! We want to get on with our lives.) Seems like a lifetime ago when this started, huh? Except this season, the rollout of vaccines is making outdoor time under the sun a little freer and a little less fraught with worry. Although still nowhere near the comfort and safety level we need, some of us may make to the beach. Others may make it as far as their backyard. Wherever you set your beach blanket or beach chair, vaxxed and masked, we have some audiobook suggestions for the occasion.

First off, we are so stoked about our audio rerelease of Kate Bornstein’s memoir, this time narrated by the gender outlaw herself with a new epilogue! A Queer and Pleasant Danger is as outrageous as it was when it first came out. Listening to it in Kate’s own voice makes it all the more delicious. From nice Jewish boy to Scientologist to the lovely lady she is today, her story is unforgettable and wickedly told. Just in time for Pride Month, too!


Bornstein audio

“I don’t call myself a woman, and I know I’m not a man. That’s the part that upsets the pope—he’s worried that talk like that—not male, not female—will shatter the natural order of men and women. I look forward to the day it does.”
—Kate Bornstein

Listen to a selection.

Summer is also the season for blissing out to bops and jams. We selected some choice memoirs and biographies on music and musicians from our catalog for you to cue up on your playlists, four of which are perfect for Black Music Month! You may even discover some new tunes to carry into the fall and winter. (I know: Let’s not think that far ahead into the year yet. We need to enjoy what we can of months coming up.)


Boyz n the Void audio

In a rocking debut that Kimberlé Crenshaw calls “a spellbinding odyssey,” G’Ra Asim pens a survival guide to his younger brother, Gyasi, for tackling the sometimes treacherous cultural terrain particular to being young, Black, brainy, and weird in the form of a punk rock mixtape.

Listen to a selection.


Odetta audio

An AudioFile Earphones Award winner and selected as an AudioFile Best Audiobook of 2020! Ian Zack brings the legendary singer and Voice of the Civil Rights Movement back in the spotlight in her first in-depth biography. So many folk roads lead back to Odetta. Where’s her Grammy?

Listen to a selection.


Wald audio

Leslie Uggams, Shawn T. Andrews, and Anthony Heilbut lend their vocal talents to narrate Gayle Wald’s biography of America’s first rock guitar diva, 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was the Woman Who Rocked before Women Who Rock.

Listen to a selection.


Ollison audio

The late pop music critic and culture journalist Rashod Ollison had such an ear for music and such acumen for laying out the cultural context in which it was written. In his memoir, he described how music was his refuge during his tumultuous upbringing, especially soul and R&B, as he came of age Black and gay in 1980s’ Arkansas. 


Stadler audio

What’s left unexamined in many Woody Guthrie bios is how the bulk of his work delves into the importance of intimacy in his personal and political life. Gustavus Stadler dismantles the man we’ve been taught to reveal the overlapping influences of sexuality, politics, and disability on his art.

Listen to a selection.


If you get through these as fast as you get through a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day, look no further than our bestselling audiobooks! They cover a wide range of subject matter—asexuality, abolitionist teaching, fat justice, white fragility, embracing life and meaning in the face of stark hardship—to tide you over through the season. 


Chen audio

Aces today are not concerned with how to have sex, but we are not anti-sex either. We don’t ask people to stop having sex or feel guilty for enjoying it. We do ask that all of us question our sexual beliefs and promise that doing so means that the world would be a better and freer place for everyone.
—Angela Chen

Listen to a selection.


Love audio

Abolitionist teaching stands in solidarity with parents and fellow teachers opposing standardized testing, English-only education, racist teachers, arming teachers with guns, and turning schools into prisons. Abolitionist teaching supports and teaches from the space that Black Lives Matter, all Black Lives Matter, and affirms Black folx’ humanity.
—Bettina L. Love

Listen to a selection.


Gordon audio

Regardless of our size, working toward fat justice will call upon our most honest, compassionate selves. It will require deep vulnerability, candor, and empathy. Together, we can create a tectonic shift in the way we see, talk about, and treat our bodies, fat and thin alike.
—Aubrey Gordon


DiAngelo audio

Though white fragility is triggered by discomfort and anxiety, it is born of superiority and entitlement. White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.
—Robin DiAngelo 

Listen to a selection.


Frankl audio

The rules of the game of life . . . do not require us to win at all costs, but they do demand from us that we never give up the fight.
—Viktor E. Frankl

Listen to a selection.

Put on your shades, pull up your umbrella, and jack in those headphones.