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Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing Audiobook, by Lydia Peelle Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lydia Peelle Narrator: Tom Stechschulte, Scott Sowers, Thérèse Plummer, Therese Plummer, Suzanne Toren Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781461804130
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (379 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The compelling short stories of Lydia Peelle have earned her two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Award, and publication in Best New American Voices. This debut collection brings together eight superbly crafted stories that peer deeply into the human heart, exploring lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the land and to the natural world of which they are a part.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[The stories] read like fully formed classics, as if Bob Dylan was rewriting the stories of Alice Munro. These are eight clear and precise gems, deeply rooted in Southern soil, and alive with every pore to heartbreak and possibility.”

    Louisville Courier Journal

  • “Peelle’s acute perception of a squandered world inspires complex, suspenseful stories that celebrate life’s endless improvisation and assertion…Darkly lyrical, ironic, and compassionate stories…Brilliant and stunning.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “An incredible collection of eight gorgeously crafted stories, with wonderfully drawn characters whose individual tales stay with you.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “With humor and insight, these sharply etched fictions illuminate turning points…in lives conscribed by limited horizons…Peelle vividly evokes a setting and brings its inhabitants…instantly and convincingly to life.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Rock-solid prose, surprising connections, and resounding transformations add up to powerful and significant stories of improvised life in a consumed world.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Lydia Peelle’s lovely, fluid voice lures you into a world full of heartbreak and devastation…[It] calls to mind masters of the unsettling short story like Mary Gaitskill, or even Alice Munro…[Peelle] has the makings of a writer who defies labels and creates her own categories.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Selected for the August 2009 Indie Next List
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A 2010 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Honourable Mention

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 2/20/2014

    " Incredibly skilled writer. Loved the title story! Not all of the stories resonated with me (like my other 5-star books), but I give it a 5 based on the amazing writing and fantastic storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 2/17/2014

    " One of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. A collection of short stories, each one packed full of emotion and character development. This is Peele's first book, which you would never believe considering the maturity of her writing. I can't wait to see what this author does next! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas | 2/16/2014

    " Some fine work in this first collection. Sincere, well-crafted stories with just enough attention paid to the music of the sentences (enough to create ear-pleasure, but not so self-consciously to distract from the characters and events). Here's a favorite sentence about goats using hay as bed and meal simultaneously: "The goats slit their yellow eyes blissfully, grabbing mouthfuls of whatever was in reach, while at the other end, their puckered assholes winked turds into it." The word "winked" here tells me that this writer pays attention and waits patiently for just the right word. The strongest stories in the collection - fine prose, complex characters, surprising yet subtle turns, and wonderful endings -- are "Mule Killers," "The Still Point," and "Kidding Season." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meaghan | 2/11/2014

    " Sometimes I wished I were reading Maile Meloy instead, but I will say Peelle's characters will stick with me. There's an ache and longing that permeates these stories--in a good way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Antoinette | 2/4/2014

    " Another book that failed to really grab me though some of the writing is quite wonderful, especially in the first story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 2/4/2014

    " Drawing from a simple landscape, Lydia Peelle explores the complicated emotions that accompany being human. She is able to avoid the pitfall I tend to see of an overly complicated story-line, and her use of rural backdrops allows the emotional aspect of her stories to really shine through. Her two standout stories are, without a doubt, Phantom Pain and Shadow on a Weary Land. Her other stories are beautiful as well, but some left me searching for more than what was given, not necessarily in a good way. Regardless, this is a book I would recommend as an easy, quick, and touching read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gaytracy | 1/31/2014

    " Beautiful Short Stories by an emerging and soon to be well know young author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsey | 1/20/2014

    " Lydia Peelle has a talent for making one's heart ache. While it is true that short fiction in its brevity has a particular power to instill longing, not many other writers I've read have quite such stunning ability to infuse that form with such powerful nostalgia. These stories are riveting and haunting and while in many instances are not plot driven so much as snapshots of a time, a place, an emotion, Peelle's superb talent leaves you feeling absorbed by the anonymous and the fleeting as if it is something one can know intuitively. In the whole collection, there was really only one weak point, a story narrated by a mother reminiscing for her daughter about her first love. But stories like "Sweethearts of the Rodeo" and the title piece were among the best I think I've ever read. I read this in its entirety sitting in a bookstore in SoHo, and felt like I was in the hills of Kentucky, or the farmlands of the South, utterly transported by the author's remarkable vision. I sincerely hope this collection gets all the attention it deserves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/12/2014

    " Absolutely beautiful stories. Some more haunting than others, but I enjoyed each one for different reasons. Recommend if you want a good, short read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gregory | 12/26/2013

    " For her story, "Mule Killers", alone Lydia Peelle's collection of stories is worth the price of admission. A powerful, close-to-the-bone writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louie | 12/16/2013

    " not bad. a few good stories...worth the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helen | 12/11/2013

    " Evocative writing; captures an America now lost, along with the souls who inhabited it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 11/25/2013

    " These short stories are gems, each one beautifully rendered. I can't say enough good things about "Sweethearts of the Rodeo" or "The Mulekillers," in particular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lewis | 7/29/2013

    " This is really 3 1/2 stars. The writing is outstanding and the stories are bleak...portraits of feeling disconnected in the world. Quick read.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marysa | 6/6/2013

    " One of the best story collections I've read in a long, long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 3/20/2013

    " This was a very well-written collection of short stories. I enjoyed it for a change of pace, but I still find the short story somewhat unsatisfying compared to a full-length novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristyn | 3/16/2013

    " I'd give five stars to "The Still Point" and "Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing," but three to the rest of the stories. Those stories are expertly crafted, while the rest are just so-so, not bad but not fantastic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vera | 8/6/2012

    " reminds me of Alistair MacLeod... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 7/16/2012

    " Great, compelling stories. The characters make me glad not to be them yet I feel like I know them and find them completely sympathetic. Go figure, because some of them are fairly un-heroic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 7/13/2012

    " A slice of rural life, the South, and how development is changing the characters lives. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 4/21/2012

    " A beautifully written collection with compelling narrative pull. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 3/16/2012

    " Beautiful writing, imagery. Super depressing storylines. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aharon | 12/15/2011

    " Reasons for and advantages of reading this book: it's short "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lily | 8/10/2011

    " Enjoyed some of the stories but they really didn't feel like one cohesive collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 8/5/2011

    " Excellent, terse, well-crafted Tennessee stories... "

About the Author

Lydia Peelle was born in Boston. Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications and have won two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Award, and have been featured in Best New American Voices. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

About the Narrators

Tom Stechschulte has narrated well over a hundred audiobooks and has won many AudioFile Earphones Awards. He won the prestigious Audie Award in 2009 and has been a finalist for the Audie in 2005 and 2011. As an actor, he has been seen in eleven Broadway shows as well as numerous television and film shows, including the remake of The Manchurian Candidate. He was featured on one of the most famous episodes of The Incredible Hulk ever, September 1979’s “Blind Rage.”

Scott Sowers is an actor and audiobook narrator. AudioFile magazine named him the 2008 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense. He is the winner of seven Earphones Awards.

Thérèse Plummer is an actor, award-winning voice-over artist, and counselor. She is a winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has appeared in a variety of television and film roles. As a counselor for adolescents, she spent five years using drama therapy techniques in individual and group settings.

Thérèse Plummer is an actor, award-winning voice-over artist, and counselor. She is a winner of several AudioFile Earphones Award and has been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has appeared in a variety of television and film roles. As a counselor for adolescents, she spent five years using drama therapy techniques in individual and group settings.

Janina Edwards, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, is a native of Chicago and a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts acting program. Her 2016 performance of Voice of Freedom was a finalist for the Audie Award.