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Behind the Mic: Miller’s Valley

Narrator Brittany Pressley shares her appreciation of Anna Quindlen’s involving story, MILLER’S VALLEY, with AudioFile Magazine.

“For me it was the kind of book that as soon as I was finished reading it, I immediately wanted to read it again.”—Narrator Brittany Pressley

Millers ValleyMILLER’S VALLEY
by Anna Quindlen, read by Brittany Pressley
Brilliance Audio

We always admire the outward simplicity and underlying resonance of Anna Quindlen’s novels. In a quiet, unaffected performance, narrator Brittany Pressley makes 1960s Miller’s Valley, Pennsylvania, incredibly real. The government is pressuring residents to move because of a plan to flood the town and make it a reservoir. Pulitzer Prize winner Anna Quindlen’s eighth novel is engrossing listening. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Brittany Pressley
To find more audiobooks narrated by Brittany, click HERE. 

Solve: Death at Breakfast

Cozy mystery fans, take note of Beth Gutcheon’s series debut. With characters as colorful as the fall foliage, this is a story listeners won’t want to miss.

Death At Breakfast

DEATH AT BREAKFAST
by Beth Gutcheon, read by Cynthia Darlow
Harper Audio

Two women set out on a travel adventure—attending a cooking seminar at a remote Maine inn—when a suspicious fire leaves a celebrity guest dead. Cynthia Darlow performs this whodunit with confidence and ease. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Browse our newest mystery reviews any time to find your next great listen.

Behind the Mic: In the Land of Armadillos

Narrator Elizabeth Wiley goes Behind the Mic for AudioFile this week. Elizabeth draws us to the magic that Helen Maryles Shankman brings to listeners in IN THE LAND OF ARMADILLOS, weaving Jewish folklore into rich stories of Holocaust survival.

“It’s a brilliant title. It holds all the significance and layers of meaning that I came to find while I was narrating it.” —Narrator Elizabeth Wiley

In the Land of ArmadillosIN THE LAND OF ARMADILLOS
by Helen Maryles Shankman, read by Elizabeth Wiley
Tantor Media
Earphones Award Winner

Don’t let the cute cover divert you—this unique addition to the canon of Holocaust literature is must listening. Magical realism meets grim reality in this superb collection of short stories. Each lyrical story merges the ordinary with the horrific, and narrator Elizabeth Wiley makes each one poignant without sentimentality. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Elizabeth Wiley
To find more audiobooks narrated by Elizabeth, click here.

Solve: A Hero of France

From the many terrific suspense, thrillers and mystery audiobooks we review, this week we’re keen on the latest from spy master Alan Furst where “ordinary people fight the darkness.”

A Hero Of France

A HERO OF FRANCE
by Alan Furst, read by Daniel Gerroll
Simon & Schuster Audio

This WWII thriller is atmospheric, savage, and dark. Should it be your next beach read? Find out more—read our full review and listen to a sound clip here!

Browse our newest mystery reviews any time to find your next great listen!

What Makes a Great Narrator Memorable and Mediocre Narrators Terrible?

Image of narrator as connector between text and listener

When a listener revels, “That narrator was outstanding,” can you guess the one fundamental reason why? If you answer, “Outstanding narrators consistently bring the author’s story and characters to life,” you’ve got it. Conversely, when a frustrated listener laments, “Well, at least my insomnia was cured,” what went fundamentally wrong? If you answer, “The story and its characters felt dead on arrival,” you’re right again. In my definition, an audiobook narrator must be a storyteller who, like an electrical wire with dual connectors, plugs into a book’s story, brings that story, whether fiction or nonfiction, and including its characters, events, and ideas, to life, and connects that life to the listener.

To be sure, storytelling is a complex process that requires highly skilled and intuitive performers. That said, an advanced degree is not required to identify and explain, at its core, what makes great narrators compelling, and terrible narrators not. Here’s how the best get it done–and why the worst leave listeners frustrated or bored.

Read more…