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AudioFile's
Best Audiobooks of 2007

AudioFile's editors recommend 45 must-hear audiobooks of the past year. From great literature to explorations of current events, these audio experiences represent the very best of the medium.

AnchorTOP 12 FICTION

THE ECHO MAKER Richard Powers
Read by Bernadatte Dunne (BBC Audiobooks America)
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FRAGILE THINGS Neil Gaiman
Read by Neil Gaiman (Harper Audio/BBC Audiobooks America)
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THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS Kiran Desai
Read by Meera Simhan (Penguin Audio/Books on Tape)
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THE LAY OF THE LAND Richard Ford
Read by Joe Barrett (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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MONTREAL STORIES Mavis Gallant
Read by Margot Dionne (Rattling Books)
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PONTOON Garrison Keillor
Read by Garrison Keillor (HighBridge Audio)
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THE ROAD Cormac McCarthy
Read by Tom Stechschulte (Recorded Books)
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SELECTED SHORTS Various Authors
Read by Various Readers (Symphony Space)
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SHANTARAM Gregory David Roberts
Read by Humphrey Bower (Blackstone Audiobooks)
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TALLGRASS Sandra Dallas
Read by Lorelei King (Macmillan Audio/BBC Audiobooks America)
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WAR AND PEACE Leo Tolstoy
Read by Neville Jason (Naxos AudioBooks)
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WHAT IS THE WHAT Dave Eggers
Read by Dion Graham (BBC Audiobooks America)
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Symphony Space has released several best-of collections of its popularSELECTED SHORTS series, also heard weekly on public radio, this year--short stories about food, about travel, about pets, about ordinary and extraordinary lives, written by the likes of T.C. Boyle, John Cheever, and Joan Didion and performed onstage at New York City's Symphony Space in front of a live audience by stage and screen luminaries such as Isaiah Sheffer, Dylan Baker, and David Strathairn. Recent anthologies include Pets!, Tales of Betrayal, Travel Tales, Family Matters, Food Fictions, and Wartime Lives.
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In his marathon 60-hour narration of WAR AND PEACE, Neville Jason "gives a fresh and consistently insightful interpretation of the action, atmospheres, numberless characters, and author's apostrophes. An accompanying booklet, intended to help the listener keep characters and events straight, is unnecessary, thanks to Jason's skill." Add Naxos' elegant packaging of the two volumes, and you have a keepsake audio edition of Tolstoy's classic.
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AnchorTOP 8 NONFICTION

THE ASSAULT ON REASON Al Gore
Read by Will Patton (Penguin Audio/Books on Tape)
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50+ William D. Novelli, Boe Workman
Read by Eric Conger (Macmillan Audio)
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INSPIRED BY . . . THE BIBLE EXPERIENCE: THE NEW TESTAMENT
Read by Angela Bassett et al. (Zondervan)
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THE LOOMING TOWER Lawrence Wright
Read by Alan Sklar (Tantor Media)
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THE SECRET Rhonda Byrne
Read by Rhonda Byrne et al. (Simon & Schuster Audio/Recorded Books)
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STATE OF DENIAL Bob Woodward
Read by Boyd Gaines (Simon & Schuster Audio)
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THIS I BELIEVE Jay Allison, Dan Gediman [Eds.]
Read by Various Readers (Macmillan Audio/BBC Audiobooks America)
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AUD
THE WORLD WITHOUT US Alan Weisman
Read by Adam Grupper (Macmillan Audio/BBC Audiobooks America)
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The hugely successful INSPIRED BY . . . THE BIBLE EXPERIENCE: THE NEW TESTAMENT was a breakout audiobook: It garnered national press coverage, was named Audiobook of the Year by the Audio Publishers Association, and was so successful that the producers followed up with a 90-hour COMPLETE BIBLE. It's a fully dramatized aural kaleidoscope of music, sound effects, and a star-studded cast of more than 200 African-American actors, including Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Samuel L. Jackson.
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AnchorTOP 5 AUTHOR-READ

ABOUT ALICE Calvin Trillin
Read by Calvin Trillin (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE Barbara Kingsolver et al.
Read by Barbara Kingsolver et al. (Harper Audio/Blackstone Audiobooks)
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I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK Nora Ephron
Read by Nora Ephron (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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LONG TIME LEAVING Roy Blount, Jr.
Read by Roy Blount, Jr. (HighBridge Audio)
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TALK TALK T.C. Boyle
Read by T.C. Boyle (Books on Tape)
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ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE is a perfect example of how author-read audiobooks can be winners--Barbara Kingsolver, her husband, Steven Hopp, and their daughter, Camille, narrate their own sections of this memoir about their family's yearlong local food experiment. Add in the occasional background sounds of clucking chickens, and listeners are right there on the farm.
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AnchorTOP 5 BIOGRAPHY & HISTORY

CHINA ROAD Rob Gifford
Read by Simon Vance (Blackstone Audiobooks)
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EINSTEIN Walter Isaacson
Read by Edward Herrmann (Simon & Schuster Audio/Recorded Books)
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MUHAMMAD Karen Armstrong
Read by Karen Armstrong (Recorded Books)
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ROOTS Alex Haley
Read by Avery Brooks (BBC Audiobooks America)
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THE WAR Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns
Read by Ken Burns et al. (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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To correspond with the 30th anniversary of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize-winningROOTS, BBC Audiobooks America recorded an all-new unabridged audio version, narrated by Avery Brooks. As we noted in our review, "Being the consummate actor, Brooks has immersed himself into the role of narrator. In fact, it is difficult to describe what Avery Brooks does in this audiobook. He neither narrates nor performs, rather, he conjures. He brings the plethora of characters to life as memory, as history, as the pawns of diaspora." We hope this audio edition makes Haley's literary masterwork accessible to a whole new generation.
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AnchorTOP 7 FAMILY LISTENING

BEHOLD THE BOLD UMBRELLAPHANT Jack Prelutsky
Read by Jack Prelutsky (Harper Audio)
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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS J.K. Rowling
Read by Jim Dale (Listening Library)
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THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET Brian Selznick
Read by Jeff Woodman (Scholastic Audiobooks)
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JAZZ Walter Dean Myers
Read by James "D-Train" Williams, Vaneese Thomas (Live Oak Media)
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THE ONE AND ONLY SHREK! William Steig
Read by Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci (Macmillan Audio)
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PETER PAN IN SCARLET Geraldine McCaughrean
Read by Tim Curry (Simon & Schuster Audio/Recorded Books)
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TREASURE ISLAND Robert Louis Stevenson
Read by Alfred Molina (Listening Library)
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Scholastic Audiobooks' innovative audiobook adaptation of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET includes a DVD of bonus material: a fully produced, filmed conversation with author Brian Selznick as well as his 284 illustrations from the print book. The result is a wholly original integration of audio narration, soundscapes, illustration, and author discussion.
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Longtime team Lee Child and Dick Hill score another hit in BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE, the eleventh story in the Jack Reacher series. As we wrote in our feature, "Two-Part Harmony," about their author-narrator partnership, "Dick Hill loves being the voice of Reacher, a fearless one-man SWAT team whom he describes as a 'compelling character.' Hill's interpretation of Reacher is so convincing that Lee Child now hears it when he reads his work to himself. 'Dick's just got it, period,' he says. 'He connects.' And Child adds, 'I know for a fact that he has won me thousands of new fans.'" This latest collaboration should win them even more.
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AnchorTOP 8 MYSTERY & SUSPENSE

BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE Lee Child
Read by Dick Hill (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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THE CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT Jeffery Deaver et al.
Read by Alfred Molina (Audible.com)
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THE DOGS OF RIGA Henning Mankell
Read by Dick Hill (Blackstone Audiobooks)
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HIDE Lisa Gardner
Read by Maggi-Meg Reed (Random House Audio/Books on Tape)
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THE OVERLOOK Michael Connelly
Read by Len Cariou (Hachette Audio)
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PLAY DEAD David Rosenfelt
Read by Grover Gardner (Listen & Live Audio)
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THE SUSPECT John Lescroart
Read by David Colacci (Brilliance Audio)
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THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN James Lee Burke
Read by Will Patton (Simon & Schuster Audio/Recorded Books)
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"If this isn't the best iteration of the long-running Will Patton/James Lee Burke audio collaboration, it has set the bar very high." Our review calls THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN "a stunning elegy to New Orleans and the physical and cultural losses suffered by all of south Louisiana from the devastations of Hurricane Katrina. Burke's novels read by Will Patton, as nearly a dozen have been, are perfect partnerships. Patton exquisitely captures the visceral and vivid prose style. He makes the crooks and psychopaths menacing and utterly frightening, and the descriptions of the bayou and the pecan trees lyrical and dazzling." Choose from the unabridged version or the well-crafted abridgment--even listeners who haven't followed the whole Robicheaux series will find this entry, with its New Orleans setting and compelling language and imagery, a superb starting point.
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AnchorUN = Unabridged   AB = Abridged   AUD = Audio program

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