Mothers & Others: Recent Audiobook Biography and History

Robin’s Roundup May 10

The Moment Of Lift

With events and awards taking the limelight for the last few months, I haven’t had a chance to simply highlight some of the most interesting audiobooks we’ve recently reviewed. A classic “Robin picks a quirky group of audiobooks” roundup follows.

The Matriarch
America's Jewish Women
The Moment Of Lift

Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, so “mothers” seems like a good theme to start with. Three recent Earphones Award-winning audiobooks give us some different ways of thinking about one iconic mother, Former First Lady Barbara Bush—THE MATRIARCH—and the many Jewish mothers who are portrayed in AMERICA’S JEWISH WOMEN. My third choice in the group is Melinda Gates’s new memoir THE MOMENT OF LIFT, not just because this audiobook inspires, but also particularly because of her views on service and giving back—see the video below. That’s certainly a purpose wholly shared by Mrs. Bush as well as by 19th-century philanthropist Rebecca Gratz, who is profiled in AMERICA’S JEWISH WOMEN. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

SYNC Audiobooks for Teens Celebrates its 10th Season

Robin’s Roundup April 26

SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

SYNC Free Audiobooks for Teens

We opened SYNC: Audiobooks for Teens’s 10th season this week! The lineup of teen titles this year seems like the best ever, including everything from Shakespeare’s OTHELLO to BECOMING KAREEM by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The diversity of titles clearly reflects the interests of teen listeners. This is confirmed by our many colleagues in the school media and library fields who help promote the program and get the word out to their teens. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Poets & Audiobooks: The Interestingness of Connections

Robin’s Roundup April 12

How To Love A Country

How To Love A CountryOne of the things I like best about doing my blog posts is the places I go. For the audiobooks I write about here, I follow a wide variety of breadcrumbs and chase bits of information to amplify the story of the audiobook with details about authors or the topics. This type of research—a bit of web surfing, a rabbit hole to check out, or the discovery of an archival tidbit—is a great pleasure. Today I’m looking at Richard Blanco, Maria Popova, and Leonard Cohen.

Richard Blanco is one of our most influential poets and storytellers. While he lives in Maine, he writes about the world, including his Cuban-American heritage, and invites conversation with all Americans. He was President Obama’s inaugural poet performing his poem, “One Today.” He has published six collections of poetry. The newly released collection HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY  is a great listening experience. Jennifer Dowell writes in our review, “With a quiet but driving intensity, Richard Blanco delivers poems that speak to our times.”  Watch Richard working in the studio recording the collection—this gives a glimpse at what the full collection offers. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Audiobooks for Carolina Low Country: The Prince of Tides and Crawdads

Robin’s Roundup March 22

Marsh

If I mention THE PRINCE OF TIDES, do you think of Barbra Streisand, or do you think of the audiobook by Pat Conroy and narrated by the iconic Frank Muller? If you’ve been listening to audiobooks for a while, Frank’s THE PRINCE OF TIDES may be right there in your lifetime “best” list. It is in mine—and I’ve just been in tides territory—Dewees Island, South Carolina. It is also crawdads country, so to get ready for my trip I also listened to Cassandra Campbell narrate Delia Owens’s WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Libro.fm March Audiobook Bestsellers

Robin’s Roundup March 15

Libro.fm

Libro.fmIndependent bookstores have a special place in my heart.  When I travel, finding a local bookstore gem is an extra treat. These days I mostly pack ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, but there’s still a great way to support your local bookseller: Libro.fm Audiobooks. Looking at the new Libro Indies Bestseller list, I see a lot to recommend. We have great reviews, of course, and our special AudioFile media extras—podcasts and narrator videos to really draw you into these audiobooks.

Julia WhelanStarting with nonfiction: EDUCATED by Tara Westover and narrated by Julia Whelan continues to get a lot of attention. Julia just won two 2019 Audie Awards with her performance—Best Female Narrator and Best Autobiography/ Memoir. We have a terrific interview with Julia just published on our podcast.

Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Audie Awards 2019: Audiobook of the Year & More Great Listening

Robin’s Roundup March 8

Host Tan France by Max Flatow
Host Tan France at the Audie Awards Gala

In the pink glow of stage lighting, the 2019 Audie Awards Gala, hosted by Tan France, Queer Eye fashion expert, dazzled a capacity crowd. The AudioFile editorial team—Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, Jo Reed, and me, along with numerous AudioFile reviewers, met and chatted with guests LeVar Burton, Euan Morton, Elizabeth Acevedo, and the dozens of narrators we write about every day. The 24th annual Audie Awards selected the best audiobooks in 24 categories, including Audiobook of the Year. This year the prestigious award went to Tomi Adeyemi’s CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, narrated by Bahni Turpin and published by Macmillan Audio. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Thank you, Toni Morrison—Celebrating Black Women Authors

Robin’s Roundup March 1

Toni Morrison by Michael Lionstar

Toni Morrison by Michael LionstarEarlier this month, author Toni Morrison turned 88. On her birthday, a new collection of her essays and speeches, THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD, was published. Twenty years ago I was privileged to interview Ms. Morrison for an AudioFile profile. I was terrified—not having a lot of interview experience and talking with such a literary icon had me worried. Of course, Ms. Morrison had done hundreds of interviews and taught at Princeton for many years, so she was gracious and put me at ease. “Toni Morrison sets the gold standard for a writer narrating her own work,” said our reviewer Beth Gutcheon in her review of the 2012 novel HOME. She does indeed, and listeners are blessed be able to listen to the author read SULA, BELOVED, PARADISE, and others. Even her acceptance speech of the 1996 National Book Award for THE DANCING MIND is a treat. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Pride in Maine Audiobooks . . . Susan Conley, Stephen King, Richard Blanco, and More

Robin’s Roundup February 22

Lawn at Tidesong

Lawn at TidesongMaine. Beautiful. Cold, this time of year. Glorious in the summer. Maine is my home, and AudioFile’s, and home to generations of extraordinary writers. Every time we review a new audiobook by a Maine author, I feel a bit of hometown pride. Susan Conley’s ELSEY COME HOME is featured this week with a spectacular, Earphones Award review for Cassandra Campbell’s narration. Susan lives in Portland and is the founder of The Telling Room, a creative writing lab for young writers ages 6 to 18—a favorite project that inspires storytelling, both written and spoken. In November 2015, The Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program was presented with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the White House for A SEASON FOR BUILDING HOUSES, a collection of stories that open a window onto today’s immigrant and refugee experience. The audiobook of CALL ME AMERICAN, written by Somali refugee and Portland resident Abdi Nor Iftin, was published last summer. Narrator Prentice Onayemi brings his remarkable life to listeners.  Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Hello, It’s Flavia!— An Interview with Alan Bradley and Jayne Entwistle

Robin’s Roundup February 15

Alan Bradley and Jayne Entwistle

Alan Bradley and Jayne Entwistle

Flavia de Luce always makes me smile. Alan Bradley’s 11-year-old sleuth has just solved her tenth mystery, THE GOLDEN TRESSES OF THE DEAD. Flavia lives in the village of  Bishop’s Lacy, in 1950s England. She’s passionate about poisons—although she’s almost as interested in old churchyards and the fascinating chemistry of decay. 

Jayne Entwistle inhabits the irrepressible and intrepid Flavia in all ten of the audiobooks. For listeners she IS Flavia, with all of her bright-voiced curiosity and charming cleverness. Jayne has garnered lovely reviews and Earphones Awards and is a brilliant example of how a narrator can fully inhabit not just a single character but an entire series. This great author and narrator duo had never actually spoken until AudioFile brought them together on the Behind the Mic podcast. 

Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Audie Award Finalists Announced

Robin’s Roundup February 8

The Audie Award medals

The Audie Award medalsThe 2019 Audie Awards are joining awards season early this year with Audie nominations announced this week and winners to be announced March 4 at the New York Gala. QUEER EYE fashion expert Tan France will host the New York City event, presiding over the makeover of timing and format. The 2019 panel of more than 208 judges, including Ron Charles, Book Critic for The Washington Post; Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation; and Linda Holmes, Host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, have designated Audie Finalists in 24 categories. Listen to samples of all the Finalists here. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.