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The Girl in the Tower

Behind the Mic: The Girl in the Tower

Listen in as Kathleen Gati takes AudioFile readers Behind the Mic to learn more about her narration of THE GIRL IN THE TOWER. The second in author Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy is perfect listening for the season!

“It’s intriguing, it’s a fabulous fantasy fable, and it’s dark and sexy. I think you’ll enjoy it.”—Narrator Kathleen Gati

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They All Saw A Cat

Robin’s Roundup: January 26 New Audiobook Reviews

Actor John Lithgow’s long career is studded with awards—Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe—for his many roles as  varied as the undercover extraterrestrial professor in “3rd Rock from the Sun” to Winston Churchill in “The Crown.” He is currently appearing on Broadway in his one-man show, STORIES BY HEART.

Lithgow puts a lot of heart into all his work, and as author and audiobook narrator he’s a consummate storyteller. Reviewed this week is a charming children’s audiobook,  THEY ALL SAW A CAT. Lithgow has written for children and recorded other audio, including Dr. Seuss’s OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Ten years ago Lithgow’s memoir, DRAMA, was celebrated on the October/November 2011 AudioFile cover, and was one of the year’s Best Audiobooks. I love the interview we did with him, and he has an array of audiobooks to explore. Read more…

I'm Just A Person

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Have You Heard the One About My Cancer?

One of my father’s favorite stories was about when he picked apricots from an orchard and barely managed to outrun a shovel-wielding farmer (and a cow that he mistook for a bull) before making it home to Mama and Papa. The telling reduced the family to gales of tearful laughter each time. And each time, after wiping his eyes, he’d conclude, “The fruit wasn’t ripe, but there was nothing else for it. It was all the food we had that night.”

I'm Just A PersonThe man who taught me to take control by laughing at adversity, at least after the fact, would have loved comedian Tig Notaro’s performance of I’M JUST A PERSON, her memoir about facing down cancer and other iniquities. Delivered in her trademark deadpan delivery, Notaro’s audiobook is one that cures pain while delivering sidesplitting guffaws. I know because my father didn’t make it out of his Big C treatment alive, so I listened, cried, and laughed for both of us to her fierce and funny tale. Read more…

Lisa Lutz: The Spellman Files

Solve: Finding humor in crime

I love to laugh, probably because all the endorphins my body releases when I do makes me feel better no matter what my mood is. It’s certainly good for me: reduces stress, burns calories, improves my immune system, and protects my heart. Which is especially helpful this time of year when the snow piles up and the sunshine is scarce. There are plenty of health reasons to support laughing, but sometimes it’s simply just fun. So I also appreciate humor in the audiobooks I listen to. And over the many, many audiobooks I’ve listened to, I’ve discovered that humor can be quite tricky. There is definitely the chance it won’t be appreciated by all listeners, but there’s also the real possibility that author and narrator won’t be on the same page and the humor will be missed. So when a production nails the humor and leaves me laughing tears of joy, I savor it all the more.

MacLeod Andrews
Narrator MacLeod Andrews

One truly great example of this is MacLeod Andrews narrating Jutta Profijt’s Morgue Drawer Four series. When I listened to the first book in this series (MORGUE DRAWER FOUR), I could not stop telling people about it. It was smart and funny and Andrews’s delivery was perfect. What was even more astounding was the added layer of a translation from the original German. A lot of the humor arises from slang, idioms, and Profijt’s invented words, which make for tricky translations. But the trio involved in this production—author, translator and narrator—makes it seem effortless. If you haven’t listened to this series, I highly recommend it. Read more…

Tales of Two Americas

Self: The Nuance of Social Issues

Audiobooks about issues and ideas have always been a large segment of the nonfiction catalog, and we’re honoring that tradition with a collection of audios on social issues your friends and neighbors are talking about. Racial and LGBTQ discrimination, unfairness in the workplace, an upside-down criminal justice system—these are issues that deserve our attention.

Tales of Two AmericasWhile the messaging in print and other media outlets is too often full of passion without mercy and chaotic conversations, the social issue audiobooks we hear are invariably more illuminating than divisive. Written persuasively by well-qualified authors, these audios tackle the foundations and nuance of today’s social challenges and offer appealing ideas about how to handle them.

With audiobooks in this genre, the challenge for narrators is bringing the type of tone, attitude, and character that fits the energy and substance of the message. By carefully modulating their passion, a good reader draws listeners into a book’s point of view instead of throwing hand grenades at them. Just watch a bit of political or local-access TV to get a taste of how bombast and an untrained voice can ruin an idea. Read more…