Home

Twain's Feast

A Feast of Listening for the Holidays

One of my favorite times to listen is while I’m cooking, and during the holidays I’m spending more time with my sleeves rolled up. This is when I wish I had a voice-controlled speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home. Pushing pause when your hands are gummy always presents a problem!

Any audiobook choice will do, but if  you’re in the mood to hear about food while you are preparing food, here are some possible choices.

Twain's Feast
A Chef's Christmas

Nick Offerman hosts a lively audio program based on food writer Andrew Beahrs’ book TWAIN’S FEAST. It’s much more than a straight narrative with Offerman reading from Twain’s letters and comments, and an actual eight-course meal is prepared with chef Tyler Anderson. If you haven’t fully planned your menus—this program may give you some ideas!  Hearing Anthony Bourdain read his short story, A CHEF’S CHRISTMAS is a bit bittersweet, but we’re reminded of the late chef/writer/television personality’s ability as a storyteller. It’s great to hear Bourdain and may even lead you to his 2010 memoir MEDIUM RAW. Read more…

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

Don’t panic, but Christmas is less than a week away! If you celebrate Hanukah, then you’re already cruising and looking forward to the new year, but if you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, or the winter solstice, then you’re probably deep into last-minute prep.

For most of us, pre-holiday activities include baking and cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping, and—I hope—relaxing in the evening with some cookies and a warm (or warming) drink. Are you looking for something that will make all of those chores more fun and will put you in a holiday mood? One of my secrets is listening to holiday-themed cozy mystery audiobooks. Read more…

The Big Sleep

Off to the City of Angels and the Devil in a Blue Dress

The Big SleepYes, this blog is being posted the week before Christmas, but I’m going to let my fellow bloggers call out the holiday, as Caitlin Augusta does in her Countdown to the Holidays post. I am not being a grinch, it’s just that I’m taking a break from the gray skies and holiday-decked-out New York City and flying off to sunny Los Angeles. Come join me through audiobooks.

Perhaps because Los Angeles is associated with Hollywood, glitter, glamour, big dreams, celebrities, and sun, it’s also known for the dark side that seethes just beneath the surface—the perfect setting for noir classics as well as some of the top mystery/thriller series.

Let’s start with the original hardboiled detective novels—Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe series. Sadly, the audio versions narrated by actor Elliot Gould, including THE BIG SLEEP, are out of print and might be hard to find (check your library!), but listeners can enjoy the BBC’s Full Cast Radio Drama. Audiobooks are well-suited for Chandler’s quick-paced writing and snappy dialogue. When asked if Marlowe was his alter ego, Chandler responded: “Yes, I’m exactly like the characters in my books. I do a great deal of research, especially in the apartments of tall blondes.” Read more…

January LaVoy by Scott Sherratt

January LaVoy on ELIZA HAMILTON

January LaVoy by Scott Sherratt
January LaVoy by Scott Sherratt

January LaVoy narrated an impeccably researched biography of the philanthropist and unsung hero married to Alexander Hamilton, one of our 2018 Best Audiobooks in Biography & History. Tilar J. Mazzeo’s ELIZA HAMILTON: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton is a richly detailed audiobook concentrating on Eliza’s life after Alexander’s death. January’s skilled narration brings to life her dynamic character with personality, wit, and intelligence.

“As it turns out, there are two sides to every story—even a story that’s the biggest Broadway phenomenon of our time.”—Narrator January LaVoy

Read more…

Robin at Podcast Studio

How Long Do the Best Audiobooks Last?

Robin Whitten
Robin at the HarperAudio studios last week recording an episode of Harper Presents.

One of the criteria we think about when picking the Best Audiobooks of the Year is to choose titles that we can continue to recommend as great listening year after year. I can look back to our Best of 2013 and see the first Cormoran Strike title by Robert Galbraith, THE CUCKOO’S CALLING—the fourth, LETHAL WHITE, is on this year’s list. Graham Greene’s THE END OF THE AFFAIR, read by Colin Firth, won nearly every audiobook award, and can still be recommended without reservation. Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN’ ‘EM is a terrific author memoir, old or new. We hope the 50 titles in this year’s list enjoy the same longevity! Read more…