5 Audiobooks for the New School Year

Get a fresh start with these audiobooks

5 Audiobooks for the New School Year

I love novels that feature schools; public school, boarding school, parochial school, or college—I read them all. Because fall fills me with fond memories of a new school year and all the promises of a fresh start, I’m often drawn to these kinds of stories in September.

I especially like novels in which the school itself (or a particular classroom) is a prominent aspect of the story, and the audiobooks featured in today’s Take 5 meet that criterion. Each one is tightly linked to a specific school or teacher and transported me back to my school days. Well, maybe not my school days, but you know what I mean.

Sharpen your pencils and shine your apples; it’s time to head off to class and make new friends. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Favorite Audiobook Series: Part 2

Hours of excellent audiobooks to love

Pillars of the Earth

Earlier this month I confessed my out-of-control love of audiobook series. When a narrator clicks with an author’s work, the results virtually transport me to another place or another time and introduce me to my new best friends. It’s such a joy to know I can return to that world again and again in each audiobook installment.

As I said a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop at just five series, so here’s another batch of serial reading that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Pillars of the Earth
A Column of Fire
Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Questions with Xe Sands

Plus 5 Audiobooks from Xe!

Xe Sands

Xe SandsThis month I welcome Xe Sands to the Take 5 stage. Xe’s soft voice and emotionally deep performances have enhanced hundreds of audiobooks across many genres. She is particularly skilled at tightening the gap between author and listener while still leaving enough room to let us experience our own reactions to the story, whether it’s literary fiction, mystery, or romance.

As I picked five audiobooks to showcase Xe’s work, I couldn’t help but be biased by my own favorites, which lean heavily toward literary fiction. I should point out, though, that Xe has many devoted romance-loving fans and has earned much praise for her performances of a variety of nonfiction titles as well. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Favorite Series: Part 1

Outlander, In Death, All Souls, and more excellent series to love

Outlander

Hello, my name is Candace and I’m addicted to series. Especially on audio.

I’m not picky, either: mystery, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction . . . if I sense author–narrator magic going on, I’m there. And I can’t stop listening.

I refuse rehab. You can’t get me to quit.

Outlander
Written In My Own Heart's Blood

One of my favorite audiobook series is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books read by the divine Davina Porter. The books take place in two time periods (20th century and 18th century) and in both the Old and New Worlds. The plot includes family saga, romance, and time travel, wrapped up in historical fiction. Listen to these books just for Porter’s perfect accents (especially Gaelic/Scottish) and her characterizations, but really listen because the story is so, so good. Start with OUTLANDER and get ready for about 365 hours of audiobook heaven, ending with WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD. I understand there are at least two more books planned. Davina Porter had better clear her schedule. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Questions With Tim Gerard Reynolds

A master of character voices—and a practitioner of Zen

Tim Gerard Reynolds

Tim Gerard Reynolds

This month’s Take 5 guest is a master when it comes to large casts of characters and complex stories. Tim Gerard Reynolds excels at creating multiple distinctive voices and infusing the dialogue with matching personality. What’s more, he carries those voices consistently from audiobook to audiobook when performing series.

I’m most familiar with Tim’s work on speculative fiction, but his résumé includes mysteries, literary fiction, nonfiction, children’s stories, and classics. Whatever the genre, we fans love the way Tim embodies our favorite heroes and villains, strengthening our connection to their worlds. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Family Listening Favorites

Audiobooks for Your Summer Family Vacations and Staycations

Audiobooks for Summer Family Time

School’s out for summer, and the kids are ready for fun. Road trips or plane rides, two weeks at the beach house, or three months of staycation; whatever your plans are, they’ll all go better with a family audiobook or two.

This month’s Take 5 roundup is your family listening lifesaver. These audiobooks will make the travel go faster and will brighten up a rainy, indoor afternoon. They might even keep your young listeners happy when you send them out to weed the garden or organize the garage. We can always hope, right?

As you might imagine, it wasn’t easy to limit my recommendations to just five good stories, so I picked titles based on several criteria. First, all of the audiobooks featured here are under 4.5 hours, which means they can be listened to in a single car ride or while doing a family activity, like working on a jigsaw puzzle. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Questions With Khristine Hvam

5 Audiobooks and 5 Questions with One Skilled Narrator

Khristine Hvam

Khristine HvamPlease welcome Khristine Hvam to the Take 5 stage. When I tune in to one of Khristine’s audiobook performances, I’m always impressed with her skill at helping me forge a strong emotional bond with the characters. From fantasies to literary fiction, Khristine’s narrations immerse me in the story as I root for the heroes and boo the villains.

I’m most familiar with Khristine’s work in fantasy, but she’s won awards in historical fiction, literary fiction, romance, and more. The audiobooks I feature today reflect this range. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Audiobooks about Summer Sports

Dive Into Summer Listens

Find A Way

Hello, Summer! I welcome your days of outdoor living. You bring me gardening, cookouts, and naps on the deck. The air is teeming with the soothing sounds of birds and bees . . . and the occasional thwack of balls.

Find A WayYes! Now’s the time to dust off those tennis balls, golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, and bocce balls. Don’t care for cricket? Maybe it’s time to launch a canoe, a sailboat, a kayak, or a raft. Don’t have sports equipment? No problem. Head on over to the swimming pool, the swimming hole, the creek, the beach, or the bay and just jump in.

I love summer sports and look for ways to participate on a casual level, whether it’s a pick-up neighborhood baseball game or a Saturday bike ride with my husband. Despite, or maybe because of, my amateur status, I’ve always felt that sports enrich our lives, not only encouraging us to improve our physical skills but teaching us to be better winners and losers and giving us a basis to form lifelong friendships.

I’ll never be a professional athlete, but thanks to audiobooks, I can live vicariously. Today I feature five memoirs from both hobbyists and elite athletes who are devoted to a summer sport. These audiobooks may not help you improve your score, but they’ll inspire you to get in the game. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Five Questions with Grover Gardner

Sharing five excellent audiobooks and five insightful questions with a veteran narrator

Grover Gardner

Grover GardnerI don’t know why I always associate veteran narrator Grover Gardner with nonfiction, because although he does indeed narrate history, biography, and theology, he has worked on a full range of genres, everything from horror to light kids’ stories. While I’m not likely to listen to Grover’s Earphones Award–winning performance of THE STAND (I think it might be too spooky for me), I enjoy listening to his “charming voice” on much tamer audiobooks.

Grover has narrated hundreds of titles (no exaggeration), so it was just a little difficult to pick only five to show off his work. The titles featured today reflect my own tastes: These are audiobooks I recommend or that are on my personal to-be-listened-to wish list. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Five Audiobooks Celebrating Nature

Getting your nature fix through audiobooks

The Soul of an Octopus

I know I’m not alone in welcoming warmer weather. Like so many others in the Northern Hemisphere, I couldn’t be happier to finally see spring. I love opening the windows and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Whether I’m on the beach or in the woods, in my garden or relaxing on my deck, I’m all about enjoying the natural environment.

When Mother Nature won’t cooperate, and I’m cooped up inside because of rain or cold, I can still get my nature fix thanks to audiobooks. Sometimes I’m looking for a novel set in a remote locale or an outdoor adventure story; other times I want to be inspired to be a better advocate for planet Earth.

Today, however, I want an upbeat nonfiction audiobook that will teach me more about plants and animals or help me to better appreciate the world around me. Today’s Take 5 recommendations meet these requirements and take us from ocean to farm to sky. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.