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June 2017 Earphones Award Winners

The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.


BETWEEN THEM
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford's remembrance of growing up in the 1950s is at times insightful, enlightening, and emotionally evocative, especially as performed by narrator Christian Baskous. Ford gives his mother credit for honing his narrative voice. He spent most of his years with her, as his father, a traveling salesman, died in his arms when he was 16.... Read More

THE BOOK OF POLLY
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Conceived "in something close to a bona fide miracle," when Polly was 57, 10-year-old Willow worries that her now 68-year-old chain-smoking mother will succumb to "the Bear," Willow's name for cancer. Narrator Jenna Lamia is just terrific as the outspoken Willow. She completely immerses herself in the child's perception and descriptions of Polly's life. When Polly takes over,... Read More

THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Pablo Cartaya brings humor, poignancy, and a fresh voice to his reading of his audiobook. His prose is rich with imagery and honesty, and his cast of characters is bursting with warmth, personality, and passion. When Arturo's family is threatened by a land developer, they must band together to protect their neighborhood. Through lively prose and a lyrical narration, Cartaya... Read More

THE FIX
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

This fast-moving mystery is a wonderful vehicle for narrators Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy. Brewer portrays FBI agent Amos Decker's quirky personality and investigative abilities with aplomb. Cassidy provides wonderful, unique personalities for Defense Intelligence Agent Harper Brown and Decker's roommate and colleague Alex Jamison, as well as various other female characters.... Read More

FLAVOR
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Jonathan Yen brings an expressive reading to a scientific subject that remains an elusive concept, difficult for many of us to verbalize: flavor. Scientific works can sometimes prove difficult to follow in the audio format, but Yen's enthusiasm helps to keep the information fresh as he describes the intricacies of cutting-edge research into flavor, including such... Read More

GOLDEN PREY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

This audiobook is a prime example of what makes for addictive listening. Sandford moves the plot quickly through the dialogue of colorful, even maniacal, characters, setting a real challenge for narrator Richard Ferrone. The 27th in the Prey series has Lucas Davenport out to prove himself in unfamiliar territory as a U.S. Marshal. Ferrone differentiates characters, including... Read More

THE GREAT PASSAGE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Brian Nishii is the perfect narrator for this audiobook about the making of a definitive Japanese dictionary called THE GREAT PASSAGE. The book's translation combined with Nishii's narration makes the story sound and feel Japanese--there's a subtle choppiness, and certain word choices and phrases aren't what native English speakers would say--and it's all entirely fitting and... Read More

GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX
Earphones Award Winner
Horror

Listeners are introduced to 12-year-old Gwendy Peterson atop a cliffside stairway to Castle View, a park in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. There Gwendy meets Richard Farris, a strange man who knows just a little too much about her, and receives a gift that for a decade brings her good fortune and unthinkable terror. Maggie Siff narrates with touches of nostalgia, wonder, and... Read More

HONESTLY BEN
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Dan Bittner's narration develops the unique personality of 17-year-old Ben, a secondary character in Konigsberg's earlier book OPENLY STRAIGHT. At the end of that story, Ben has pushed away Rafe, his best friend with whom he had a brief lover relationship. In this follow-up, Bittner quickly reveals Ben's intelligence and introspection. His delivery continually contrasts Ben's... Read More

IF THE DUKE DEMANDS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Justine Eyre is the perfect fit for this Regency romance, the first Capturing the Carlisles novel by the author of The Secret Life of Scoundrels series. Her voice is textured and full of emotion, and her British accent draws the listener into the story. Miranda Hodgkins has her sights set on Robert Carlisle, but her failed plans at seduction lead her to share a kiss... Read More

INFECTIOUS MADNESS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Quiet wonder and intellectual security dominate Robert Petkoff's narration of this engaging audiobook, an astute and fast-moving exposition on how microbes can figure in mental disorders as diverse as anorexia, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Petkoff's pleasing voice and conversational phrasing lighten the book's subject matter and give the narrative verve.... Read More

LET JUSTICE ROLL DOWN
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Pull up a comfortable rocker on your front porch and be prepared to learn civil rights history in Mississippi as voiced by Calvin Robinson. Doing more than simply reading, Robinson recounts the life of John M. Perkins, an unassuming Christian civil rights leader of the '50s and '60s, who struggled to understand what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I could not stop... Read More

THE LOST KINGDOM OF BAMARRE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator January LaVoy captures young Peregrine's conflict over which of two societies she belongs to. The land of the Bamarre, Peregrine's original home, has been conquered by the Lakti. As portrayed by LaVoy, Peregrine's gentle parents sound sorrowful when the Lakti ruler, Lady Klausine, arbitrarily decides to adopt their infant daughter and takes her away. LaVoy balances... Read More

MANDERLEY FOREVER
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Narrator Charlotte Wright's assurance, crisp enunciation, and fine sense of nuance give voice to a life lived freely and bravely, within and without social conventions. De Rosnay's empathetic narrative moves through the significant roles du Maurier played in her life: daughter of a celebrated artistic family, fledgling novelist, young bride and mother of three, and author who... Read More

ONCE AND FOR ALL
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Author Sarah Dessen is top-notch at fast-moving teen dialogue, and narrator Karissa Vacker is wonderful at delivering it. Vacker captures the witty sarcasm of Louna, who believes that the possibility of love is limited. Vacker nails the jaded attitude of an 18-year-old who's been raised by a busy, problem-solving mother, a wedding planner extraordinaire. Vacker also reveals the... Read More

OPTION B
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

Narrator Elisa Donovan's palpable empathy adds to her authentic delivery of this profound and personal audio. With relaxed pacing and conversational phrasing, she makes the pathos and advice unfold with unfailing grace. Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg's reactions to the unexpected death of her husband in 2015 constitute the core narrative, which features descriptions of how... Read More

PERFECT LITTLE WORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Thérèse Plummer's thoughtful narration ably explores this offbeat novel's meditation on family. The story features Izzy Poole, a pregnant high school graduate who receives an intriguing offer from Dr. Preston Grind to join a research project called The Infinite Family in which parents collectively rear their offspring. Plummer narrates Izzy's thoughts with a musing, restrained... Read More

PRUSSIAN BLUE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Bernie Gunther is a shrewd German detective in prewar Nazi Germany. Narrator John Lee is the personification of Gunther--full of sarcasm, street smarts, and dark wit. When Gunther is forced by the Nazis to investigate the murders of Hitler's right-hand men in Austria, Lee takes listeners on Gunther's tumultuous and treacherous journey, keeping them riveted as he continually... Read More

SAY YOU'RE SORRY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Search no further for a suspenseful audiobook. And narrator Cris Dukehart gives it a dynamic performance. Having returned to her hometown, Morgan is finally ready to continue her career as a prosecutor after her husband is tragically killed in combat during his tour in Iraq. But then, her babysitter is murdered. When her neighbor's son, Nick, is arrested for the murder, Morgan,... Read More

STRANGERS TEND TO TELL ME THINGS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Amy Dickinson, who writes the syndicated "Ask Amy" advice column and contributes to NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me," is back with a second memoir. In this one she delves into her own personal stories of making her way through life. Many listeners will find her anecdotes relatable as she adopts a down-to-earth, open tone to recount both uplifting and challenging experiences,... Read More

THEFT BY FINDING
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Only David Sedaris should narrate books by David Sedaris. He's simply wonderful. Covering the period ranging from his starving early days to his much-deserved outrageous success, these diary entries are well worth hearing, including an entire entry of "uh's." Even his unfinished ramblings are well crafted, and Sedaris is truly a delight to hear. He's candid about his early drug... Read More

THE UNDERWORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Mining towns are notoriously just a breath and a spark away from disaster, and Silverton, Idaho, was no different. Paul Michael Garcia narrates this fictionalized account of the aftermath of a real-life 1970s underground fire that killed 91 miners. With a sense of detachment, Garcia keeps the emotions close to his chest and the action and observations close to the bone. A new... Read More

WICKED ABYSS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Robert Petkoff delights listeners with another installment in Kresley Cole's paranormal romance series. Sian, a demon and lord of hell, was betrayed by a fey princess more than a millennium ago. Princess Lila is that fey princess reborn, and now she becomes imprisoned in Sian's castle. To complicate matters, Lila is Sian's fated mate. Petkoff does a fabulous job... Read More

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