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February 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.


THE ARRANGEMENTS
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

This pithy story--an homage to MRS. DALLOWAY by Virginia Woolf--features an afternoon and evening in the life of Melania Trump as she prepares for a party. Both Adichie and narrator January LaVoy offer more probable truths than journalistic accounts of Mrs. Trump can manage. As she goes from her Pilates class to receiving the flower delivery she ordered for the evening ahead... Read More

BEAUTIFUL BLUE WORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Children

The story takes place in the fictional country of Sofarende. Narrator Christy Romano expresses the tenderness among Mathilde's family members even as they're threatened by the bombings in their war-torn town. When Mathilde is given the opportunity to contribute to the war effort and her family's financial well-being, her parents think it's for the best. She passes an... Read More

THE BEST BEAR IN ALL THE WORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Martin Jarvis takes on the narration of four new Winnie-the-Pooh stories and nails it. In this authorized sequel Jarvis has all the emphasis, hesitation, skepticism, authority, bluster, elongated pauses, grumpiness, breathlessness, hush, and tempo and voice modulation listeners expect from a Winnie-the-Pooh 90th anniversary celebration. Listeners will meet Penguin, who arrives... Read More

THE CASE AGAINST SUGAR
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Author Gary Taubes makes a strong and frightening case against sugar, claiming that there is nothing sweet about its links to numerous chronic diseases, which include insulin resistance, liver disease, and obesity. Narrator Mike Chamberlain flawlessly delivers these sour facts with journalistic directness. His clear narration fluidly presents the comprehensive information... Read More

THE COMET SEEKERS
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Billie Fulford-Brown's light, musical voice carries listeners through this story of love, obligations, and dreams. In Segwick's debut, the narrative jumps around in time and between stories, but listeners never feel lost. In one part, Irish astrophysicist Róisín runs towards and away from her small-town childhood and intense attachment to her cousin, Liam. In another... Read More

CONCLAVE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Intrigue reigns at the Vatican as the world's cardinals gather to elect a new pope. Narrator Roy McMillan takes full advantage of the opportunity to display his range. While not strictly miraculous, his transformation of Cardinal Lomeli, the protagonist, from dispirited to Spirit-filled is most certainly charismatic. As dean of the College of Cardinals, Lomeli must preside over... Read More

THE DARK DAYS CLUB
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Fiona Hardingham expertly portrays the characters in this novel with doses of snobbery, passion, and wit. Cosseted within high society, Lady Helen Wrexall experiences an energy and awareness she can't explain. Having lived under the control of her aunt and uncle since her parents' death, she outwardly accepts the restraints of upper-class London in 1812. But when she... Read More

THE DARK LADY'S MASK
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Jilly Bond narrates this charming fictionalized account of Amelia Bassano Lanier, one of the famous female poets of Elizabethan England, and her interactions with William Shakespeare. Bond captures the magical language of Sharratt's story, which includes poetry and plays filled with rhymes and metrical lines. Using a range of British accents, Bond embodies the story's... Read More

THE DRY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Debut author Jane Harper's fine prose and narrator Steven Shanahan's expert delivery combine for a transcendent Australian noir experience. Against the backdrop of a devastating two-year drought, federal agent Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler. Luke has apparently killed his family and then himself, but Falk's own... Read More

THE GIRL BEFORE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

JP Delaney's intricate psychological thriller immediately entangles us, and the gifted narrators keep us spellbound. One Folgate Street, a minimalist architectural wonder, is available to the tenant who willingly goes through a rigorous application process and agrees to live by a demanding set of rules. Edward Monkford, the inscrutable world- famous designer, has created a... Read More

GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

The riveting dual performances by John H. Mayer and Hillary Huber capture the heart of this haunting audiobook. Mayer's weary, thoughtful voice provides the essence of the aging researcher Augustine, who finds himself confronting the twilight of his life, his hubris, and his decisions while stationed in the Arctic Circle. A catastrophe has struck civilization, and Augustine... Read More

HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Sendhil Ramamurthy expertly narrates the first audiobook in the author's humorous trilogy about a former teacher turned private investigator with a special skill--he sees gods. Ravi Chandra Singh works for Golden Sentinels, a prestigious London PI agency, discretely handling cases for the rich and famous. Ramamurthy nails Ravi's idiosyncratic colleagues and family members,... Read More

HOODOO
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Ron Butler conveys the naïve playfulness of 12-year-old Hoodoo, who was born into a magical family--seemingly, without any magic himself. Butler amplifies the humor of Hoodoo's oft-repeated refrain--"if you didn't know"--with just the right throw-away quality. Butler is also frighteningly believable as the deep-voiced Stranger, a demon who must be vanquished by Hoodoo... Read More

THE MOUNTAINTOP
Earphones Award Winner
Poetry & Drama

"I've been to the mountaintop," Martin Luther King, Jr., proclaimed in his final speech in Memphis on April 3, 1968. The next day he was assassinated. What took place in the wee hours in-between is the grist for this tough, mesmerizing, and lyrical one-act play featuring two rising stars in American stage and film--Larry Powell and Aja Naomi King. As the mysterious motel maid... Read More

NIGHT AND DAY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Elisabeth Rodgers jumps right into this thriller, which features Eve Duncan, her friend Joe Quinn, and the rest of her crew. Once again, they face down sociopath Natalie Castino, the twisted woman who kidnapped her own daughter, Cara, taking the 11-year-old deep into Moscow to hand over to her vicious father, a member of the Russian mafia. Rodgers deftly delivers the... Read More

ONCE A CROOKED MAN
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

To hear a terrific book brilliantly performed by the author is one of life's huge pleasures. Is McCallum up to it? He's only been working on stage and screen for what--six decades? Oh, surprise, he's fabulous. Really, listen to him do a simple thing like chuckle winningly. Go on, you try it. His velvety voice is a wonderful instrument, and he uses it to purr, to alarm, to make... Read More

PROSPERITY
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Narrator Nicholas Boulton has his work cut out for him with this raucous, ribald Victorian steampunk adventure. Piccadilly, aka Dil, recounts his adventures on the airship SHADOWLESS, which glides through the aether without much ado. Dil encounters a host of characters, some charming, some lethal, some sexually addicting, and some not-so-human. Boulton uses broad British... Read More

RETURN TO THE SECRET GARDEN
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Maggie Ollerenshaw's unassuming yet powerful storytelling pulls one into an adventure that begs to be listened to. In 1939 England, 10-year-old Emmie and her orphanage mates are hastily evacuated to Misselthwaite Manor. Her time at the Manor in the care of Lieutenant and Mrs. Craven and son Jack connects to Frances H. Burnett's 1911 book THE SECRET GARDEN--but is its... Read More

SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator James Langton finds unique voices and accents for the many characters in this story of two children murdered in Brighton, England, in 1951. The children are uniquely portrayed: Annie is clever and writes dark stories inspired by fairy tales with her best friend, Mark. Langton successfully differentiates the voices of the principal characters, Max Mephisto, a great... Read More

SO, ANYWAY . . .
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

No one else could perform this work by John Cleese. His presence, his voice, his speaking style are hilarious and hypnotic. You'll listen to it for hours and want more. It's a wonderful look at the Monty Python founder's early life and career. But as Cleese would say, it doesn't have much in the way of Monty Python in it. The audiobook ends with Python's beginning, so there's... Read More

THE UNDOING PROJECT
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Most decisions we make are based, in some part, on irrationality-- sometimes referred to as a gut feeling or intuition. Author Michael Lewis simplifies the brain-boggling lifework of Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman, who developed the new discipline of behavioral economics to explain the seeming irrationality of financial decision making. Narrator Dennis Boutsikaris's faultless... Read More

VICTORIA
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Narrator Anna Wilson-Jones and author Daisy Goodwin work magic in this captivating historical novel about the tiny queen with a huge personality. Goodwin focuses on the first two years of Victoria's long reign, beginning just before the 18-year-old assumes the throne. Relying on a wealth of historical documents, including the queen's letters, Goodwin infuses life into the story... Read More

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