We’re celebrating AudioFile’s 25th anniversary this June (which also happens to be Audiobook Month!), and we’d love to have you join us! AudioFile started in 1992 as a source of audiobook reviews and recommendations. In our 25 years of reviewing over 40,000 titles, we have listened to many, many fabulous audiobooks.
To celebrate our 25 years of publishing and Audiobook Month, we are sponsoring the ICONIC 25 project. During the month of June, we’re posting “iconic” audiobooks daily on our Twitter account and asking followers to share their choices using #iconicaudio. Our list is 25 audiobooks long, and we know you’ll think of many more you’ll want to add!
What makes an audiobook iconic? When a friend says, “What audiobooks should I listen to?”, what do you say? We can define iconic different ways, but Merriam-Webster has a good start: iconic audiobooks are “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.”
Our #iconicaudio discussion will be happening all June on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, and we’d love to hear from you, too! We’ll be sharing a roundup of our – and your – iconic audiobooks here on the blog in July, but in the meantime, here’s what’s on our list so far!
The classic THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD was on top of our list – Ruby Dee’s narration is marvelous and stage-worthy as she switches between the roles, dialects, and voices of the cast of characters for a masterful one-woman performance. Immerse yourself in Zora Neale Hurston’s famous novel about South African-American culture in the 1930s.
There are many adaptations out there of the interstellar classic THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, but Stephen Fry has the spot on our list for his narration of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect’s capers throughout the universe – not to mention the slew of otherworldly weirdoes they encounter on their travels.
John Lee provides a masterful performance of the award-winning A FINE BALANCE. Four people are thrust together as they struggle to survive in their tumultuous coastal Indian city. The story has a Dickensian mix of compassion and narrative sweep, and Lee’s narration colors the characters beautifully.
THE THIRTEENTH TALE, a gothic mystery, is stunningly narrated by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner. Jill, as the elderly and enigmatic Vida Winter, uses a hesitant and fragile voice in conversation which falls away to take on the power of a masterful storyteller as she recounts her life story to her biographer Margaret Lea. Bianca shows a respect for the power of the story and the written word as Margaret, who slowly unravels the facts of Ms. Winter’s life.
Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, as performed by the author himself, allowed him to communicate his understanding of his own story from beginning to end. Listeners are carried along, entranced and intrigued, into the magical story of the graveyard community raising young Bod. Neil gives each specter a distinct voice, which he goes so far as to change over time with journeys abroad – and uses to dramatic effect when he reveals the villain.
Each year, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and dedicated audiobook judges gather, listen, and select the Audie Award winners. I’ve seen little bits of the process over the last 9 years, and it’s no small endeavor. I must admit I look at the finalists each year the same way I browse the cookie aisle at the grocery store – hard to choose, everything looks yummy! I’ve listened to many of these titles, and I encourage you to do the same.
And now, the winners! From countless entries, to the short list of finalists, to a single winner in each category:
2017 Audie Award for EROTICA
MARRIAGE GAMES: The Games Duet, Book 1
by CD Reiss, read by Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York
Flip City Media, Inc.
AudioFile Earphones Award
Our take: This was my odds-on favorite to win. I liked all the titles in this category, and MARRIAGE GAMES stood out as a psychological erotica with narration that lived up to Reiss’s visceral story. Erotica narrators deserve extra bonus points for their work – it’s very difficult to narrate high emotion and intense physicality with realistic subtlety. Congratulations Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York, true professionals and masters of their craft!
2017 Audie Award for ROMANCE
Our take: Erotica and Romance got swept! Andi Arndt aka Elena Wolfe took home both awards. Andi did a tremendous job with this wedding day-mishap romance. Male and female voices wow equally. And as a romance listener, I was thrilled to see so many excellent romances nominated for this category. There was variety, but also that all-important happily ever after that romance listeners crave. Awesome job to Andi for standing out in a category full of incredible performances!
Thursday night the Audio Publishers Association celebrated audiobooks with their 22nd annual Audie Awards ceremony. With stiff competition in the mystery and thriller categories, predicting the winners was a challenge. There were outstanding contenders in both categories. If you missed the nominees, you can check out—and sample sound clips in—the mystery category here and the thriller category here.
In two fields of spectacularly performed audiobooks, congratulations go out to the winner of the 2017 Audie Award for Mystery, Michael Connelly’s THE CROSSING, performed by Harry Bosch’s television persona, Titus Welliver, and the winner of the 2017 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense, James Patterson’s CROSS JUSTICE read by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jefferson Mays.
2017 Audie Award for MYSTERY
by Michael Connelly,
read by Titus Welliver
2017 Audie Award for THRILLER/SUSPENSE
by James Patterson
read by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jefferson Mays
Earphones Award Winner
There seems to be a bit of a “cross” theme going on with the winners this year. Both are titles in long-running series: Connelly’s L.A. Detective Harry Bosch (and attorney Mickey Haller) and Patterson’s East Coast-based FBI agent Alex Cross. “Crossing” from coast to coast, we love our crime fighters, don’t we? If you haven’t tried one or both series yet, now’s a great time to dip your toes in. And you certainly won’t run out of audios to listen to in either series for a good long while.
Congratulations to both winners and all the 2017 nominees!
The 22nd Audie Awards took place last night in New York City, and winners took home the prestigious audiobook award recognizing excellence in 29 categories. We wanted to give a hearty congratulations to all the winners, and we will be highlighting some of them in the coming week.
Audiobook of the Year
The winner of the Audiobook of the Year award is a behind-the-scenes look at HAMILTON, the musical that took Broadway by storm. It’s full of details of its run off and on Broadway, recording the cast album, and personal stories of writing, casting, composing, and choreographing what became a revolutionary tale of Alexander Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda himself narrates accompanying footnotes, while Mariska Hargitay acts as a warm documentarian narrating this essential audiobook for HAMILTON fans.
HAMILTON: The Revolution
by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, read by Mariska Hargitay, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter [Intro]
Best Female Narrator
The award for Best Female Narrator went to Tavia Gilbert for her narration of BE FRANK WITH ME, a captivating story about Frank, a 9-year-old boy with Asperger’s; Mimi, his mother who is a reclusive author; and their new personal assistant, Alice. Tavia manages to instill Frank’s dialog with charm and innocence while still capturing his unique speech patterns. Listen to her outstanding narration and you may forget that there’s only one narrator, as she switches between perspectives so seamlessly. Read our interview with Tavia to learn more about her intensive system behind her narrations.
BE FRANK WITH ME
by Julia Claiborne Johnson, read by Tavia Gilbert
AudioFile Earphones Award
Best Male Narrator
Simon Vance won the award for Best Male Narrator for his narration of the epic fantasy JERUSALEM. In Simon’s capable hands, Alan Moore’s vivid prose becomes an absorbing audiobook recounting 200 years of impoverishment in Northampton, England, over the course of 60 hours. You can learn more about Simon’s narration of JERUSALEM and his journey to meet Alan and see Northampton firsthand in his AudiOpinion piece.
To put it simply, I just read the words and allow them to take me on a journey . . . and this one, I soon knew, was unlike any other—Narrator Simon Vance
Simon has been recognized for his talents as a narrator in the past for titles ranging from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO to BRING UP THE BODIES. Read more about his narration of hundreds of audiobooks in his interviews on our site.
by Alan Moore, read by Simon Vance
AudioFile Earphones Award
Check back in next week to read more about the winners of this year’s Audie Awards – and in the meantime, peruse the whole list and listen to sound clips here!
Robert Petkoff has narrated Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for all 17 audiobooks, much to the delight of AudioFile’s reviewers! In the newest installment, WICKED ABYSS, Robert is able to bring alive the complicated love story of Sian, a demon lord of Hell, and his mate, the fey Princess Lila — not to mention a dragon with a brogue and a slightly manic Valkyrie.
You can jump into the series with WICKED ABYSS or go back to earlier titles in the series to hear Robert tell the story of a bloodthirsty vampire and an Appalachian young woman possessed by an evil goddess in LOTHAIRE, or listen to the tale of Lucia the Huntress and Scottish werewolf Garreth MacRieve in PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE.
WICKED ABYSS: Immortals After Dark, Book 17
by Kresley Cole, read by Robert Petkoff
Simon & Schuster Audio
Earphones Award Winner
Look for more new Romance reviews on our website!