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January 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.


BACK TO CHRISTMAS
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Gleefully performed by Simon Vance, this quirky and charming Christmas tale is as good as it gets. Who knew that some of Santa's elves are Irish, others North American, and at least one is Scandinavian? "Of course!" one thinks as this grin-worthy story about the Krumwerth family unfolds. They are about to land on the dreaded Permanent Naughty List (which is worse than lumps of... Read More

BORN A CRIME
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Comedian Trevor Noah's stories of growing up in South Africa are vivid, sometimes harrowing, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The bonus of audio is that listeners get to HEAR Noah tell these stories in his South African-accented English, as well as hear him speak snippets of various other South African languages. Noah (who succeeded Jon Stewart as the host of "The Daily Show")... Read More

CHAMPION OF THE WORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

A redemptive story about wrestling not not only works--but succeeds. Kevin Kenerly narrates Dundas's stunning debut novel superbly, bringing to life a story that engages the listener from its opening moments to its conclusion. In 1921, disgraced former wrestler Pepper Van Dean, who is working the carnival circuit, is lured back to the sport. He soon finds himself navigating a... Read More

THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

From her first utterance, Tara Clancy evokes belly laughs as she recounts her uncommon life from ages 5 to 18. She spent part of the time in a Queens boathouse belonging to her Irish dad, part of the time in the Brooklyn home of her working-class Italian grandparents, and weekends in the Hamptons with her mother. Clancy's character portrayals are convincing, with the standouts... Read More

CRITICS, MONSTERS, FANATICS, AND OTHER LITERARY ESSAYS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

This audiobook will open doors. For listeners familiar with Cynthia Ozick's brilliant criticism, these essays affirm that status. For those unfamiliar with Ozick's criticism, this audiobook serves as an excellent introduction. Although narrator Donna Postel doesn't sound like Ozick, whose actual voice is as memorable as her writing, Postel's performance brings out the author's... Read More

CRY OF THE NEEDLE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Like most thrillers, this one has its chilling moments. But unlike most thrillers, these will cause fear because they highlight both the dangers of medical malpractice and the relative ease with which the pharmaceutical industry covers up the serious side effects of its products. Nigel Patterson delivers an exceptional narration, transforming even the most basic dialogue into... Read More

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Amy Melissa Bentley is a spunky Dixie Dupree, who is dealing with the head-on collision between her innocence as an 11-year-old and the harsh reality of her life. Her parents are divorcing, and Dixie is frequently the recipient of her unstable mother's quick rages. To preserve appearances, Dixie tells lies, but her lies entangle her in a web of deceit that even her... Read More

EXPIRATION DAY
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

In a marvelously touching performance, narrator Gabrielle de Cuir embodies the fragility, determination, and curiosity of a 14-year-old English schoolgirl. Tania is struggling to find her way in the near future of 2049, a time when the world population has been decimated by infertility and hopeful parents have taken to adopting highly specialized androids, indiscernible from... Read More

IQ
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Author Joe Ide and narrator Sullivan Jones make a phenomenal team. Ide writes a crack debut with charm, wit, and style. Jones delivers it with such ease and perfection that listeners will feel they're living the story instead of listening to it. Isaiah Quintabe, a gifted young man living in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood, uses his intellectual ability to help those in... Read More

JUST GETTING STARTED
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Joe Barrett gives a light touch of New York to his narration of this memoir by singer Tony Bennett, a native New Yorker. Barrett shares his talent for dialect and accent as listeners hear conversations that Bennett recalls with people who helped guide his long and distinguished career. Pearl Bailey gave Bennett his first break, and Bob Hope took him on the road and changed his... Read More

THE LADIES' ROOM
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Donna Postel creates a glowing narration in this whimsical Southern tale about life's unpredictable twists and turns. Trudy discovers her husband of many years has been cheating when she overhears her cousins' gossip in the ladies' room during her great-aunt Gert's funeral. In need of a fresh start, Trudy moves into the house Gert bequeathed to her but finds the place... Read More

THE LEFT BRAIN SPEAKS, THE RIGHT BRAIN LAUGHS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Narrator James Patrick Cronin brings out the humor and intrigue that are deftly interwoven with scientific data in this exploration of how the brain works. Cronin's narration of this research is lively and informal. Whether delivering the personal stories of test subjects, the mind-boggling statistics and measurements of widths of synapses or axons, or the analysis of how the... Read More

MOCKINGBIRD
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Tevis offers a new twist on the postapocalyptic theme. Narrators Robert Fass and Nicole Poole portray the last viable humans on an Earth overcome by well-meaning robots. As narrators, they keep the listener guessing throughout. Fass embodies his character with a will to survive that far surpasses that of the rest of the drug-addled humans, yet he speaks with a kindness and... Read More

OUR FOOD
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Christina Moore's diverting narration is well suited to this fun short science book for children. Moore keeps things light and engaging as the authors explore food and basic biology. Lilting tones pose questions such as "what vegetables come in your favorite color?" and explain topics like "why beans make us gassy," capturing the book's humor and encouraging curiosity and... Read More

THE SECRET KEEPERS
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Opening with the sound of a ticking clock, this audiobook introduces the atmosphere of mystery that surrounds an unusual "clock-watch," which holds many secrets. While darker and more ominous than Stewart's usual fare, the book does include the puzzles his fans eagerly expect and enjoy solving. Cameron Brown's narration enhances the story's atmosphere. He employs clear... Read More

A SIEGE OF BITTERNS
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator David Thorpe deftly conveys the stunning beauty of Saltmarsh, Norfolk, an ever-present character in this first Birder Murder Mystery. Canadian DCI Domenic Jejeune is renowned for his skill at ferreting out even the most elusive criminal. Thorpe portrays him perfectly--uncommunicative and secretive, he'd rather be birding than investigating. So it's intriguing to hear... Read More

THE STRIVERS' ROW SPY
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Narrator Avery Glymph inhabits Sidney Temple's life from his college graduation until he's recruited by J. Edgar Hoover to monitor Marcus Garvey's Back to Africa activities. The story captures 1920s Harlem and the early Civil Rights movement, particularly the factions of blacks and whites who try to influence "colored" Americans. Glymph's best creations are the intelligent,... Read More

SUBJECT 375
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator January LaVoy adds to the intense atmosphere of this psychological thriller. As Maria tries to adjust to the noise, distractions, and general sensory overload of prison after her conviction for murder, LaVoy makes her fears palpable. Relying on pace and tone, LaVoy captures Maria's growing anxiety at the disruption of her former routine and her forced confrontation of... Read More

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

This trio of narrators turns the alternating voices in this story into a terrific audio. Bahni Turpin emphasizes the raw, seething emotions of Natasha, a Jamaican teen who is in the U.S. illegally. Natasha has only one day to avoid being deported. Into her day walks Korean-American Daniel, portrayed by Raymond Lee. Lee's narration begins calmly but soon shows how Daniel is... Read More

SWING TIME
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Zadie Smith's writing takes center stage in this exceptional novel of tenuous friendships, racial and gender politics, and the complexity of family relationships. Smith's language etches precise incidents, characters, and places, all heightened by Pippa Bennett-Warner's appealing husky voice and spot-on narration. Two black girls meet, recognize themselves in each other, and... Read More

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