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The Plant Messiah

6 Natural Listens for Fall

It’s around this time of year that I bow to the wisdom of A.A. Milne, who wrote, “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” After a summer of failing to orchestrate the plants in my care, I long simply to stand back and be thrilled by the messy exuberance of it all. To be as delighted by a whirling maple seed as I was at age five.

The Weather Detective
The Hidden Life of Trees

For those who feel the same, here are six harvest-season audiobooks—beginning with Nicholas Guy Smith’s clear and friendly reading of Peter Wohlleben’s newest nonfiction, THE WEATHER DETECTIVE, which explores the secrets of the garden from the skies above to the soil below. Did you know that daisies close their flowers when wet weather is on the way? Neither did I. (It’s to preserve their pollen for bees.) The author is German, so much of the information is Eurocentric, but I still found myself saying, “Well, huh,” often enough that my husband kept asking, “What now?” Thus, he, too, knows that honeybees only leave the hive when it’s warmer than 54°F. That’s why on crisp sunny mornings, you see cheerful, shambling bumblebees among the flowers. Read more…

The Proposal

Fall Preview — 5 Romances Not to Miss

I love getting romance previews, and it’s double the fun on audio. Great authors, great narrators, great storylines — it’s hard to wait until publication day! Here are some intriguing audiobooks coming soon to your fall playlist.

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Drag Queen Story Hour

Banned Books Week: Our Right to Hear From Drag Queens

Drag Queen Story HourThe final week of September brings an annual call from a coalition of intellectual freedom advocates, including the American Library Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, to note the fragility of readers’ rights in many communities in the United States. Banned Books Week celebrates resistance through insistence on free expression as fundamental to a free society. In addition to the annual list of challenges made to specific titles around the country, this year’s celebration calls attention to an increasingly popular and much challenged children’s program held in both public libraries and bookstores: Drag Queen Story Hour. Intended to provide both entertainment—as drag performances do—and exposure to diversity, children’s departments that host Drag Queen Story Hour programs report their popularity (while also providing support for storyteller training and smooth program operation). Naysayers, on the other hand, bypass the potential for intellectual freedom and the experiences of inclusiveness without, typically, learning about what, why, and how children respond to either drag queens or story times in a group setting.

Audiobooks for both youth and adults offer ways for those who are curious to get a handle on what exactly drag queen entertainment involves. Needless to say, these audiobooks also offer anyone familiar with gender nonconformity and unthreatened by it some great listening—they’re both fun and insightful. Read more…

Lisa Flanagan

Lisa Flanagan and Naomi Novik Spin the Perfect Tale

In AudioFile’s latest narrator video, Lisa Flanagan tells us why she’s so intrigued by the shades of gray in Naomi Novik’s fairy tale retelling, SPINNING SILVER. Her insights will make you want to listen.

“In fairy tales, we are often given archetypes that easily fit into ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ and SPINNING SILVER is filled with so much more wonderfully complex characters.”—Narrator Lisa Flanagan

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Transcription

New Voices Join AudioFile’s Podcast

As we worked on creating AudioFile’s new podcast, Behind the Mic, we planned to have as many “voices” as possible to amplify our audiobook conversations. In our early weeks, listeners have heard our host Jo Reed and me as well as AudioFile Publisher Michele Cobb recommending the titles. This week, AudioFile Assistant Editor & reviewer Emily Connelly joins in with five new audiobook picks. Next week, reviewer Jonathan Smith will join us to share recent favorites. We each take a slightly different approach as we talk about the highlights and why each audiobook will be a great listen.

If you are having fun with our podcast—and finding good things to listen to— please hop over to iTunes and leave us a review or rate the show!

On the podcast this week, Emily discusses new and notable audiobooks, including some for younger listeners. Read more…