Behind the Mic: Lily and the Octopus

An audiobook best appreciated by knowing very little about the plot before starting

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with Michael Urie as he tells us more about LILY AND THE OCTOPUS. We love Michael’s clear connection to this audiobook. Listeners need know only that Steven Rowley’s debut is a beautiful love story.

“Steven Rowley has created something so true, so real.”—Michael Urie

Lily and the Octopus
LILY AND THE OCTOPUS

by Steven Rowley, read by Michael Urie
Simon & Schuster Audio
Earphones Award Winner

We loved the title (and jacket art) even before we heard Michael Urie’s performance. Now that we have, we want to share Michael’s heartfelt comments and his brilliant connection to the performance. You can also listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Michael Urie
Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Read our full interview with Michael!

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Behind the Mic: The Arabs

A sweeping history of the Arab peoples and nations

Narrator Derek Perkins always brings a fluency and engagement to even the most challenging titles and subjects, including history. Derek goes Behind the Mic for AudioFile and gives us some insight into his preparation for Eugene Rogan’s THE ARABS.

“Much of Professor Rogan’s history—which goes from the 16th century to today—is from the Arab perspective.”— Derek Perkins

The Arabs
THE ARABS
by Eugene Rogan, read by Derek Perkins
Tantor Audio
Earphones Award Winner

When our reviewer says that a history is “as dramatic and fraught as any novel,” we know that is accessible listening. Listen to a sound sample of Derek’s well-researched pronunciations from THE ARABS, here.

Derek Perkins
Find out more about Derek and the audiobooks he’s narrated here.

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Self: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Why is this audiobook creating conversation around the world?

Do the things around you bring you joy? Find the secret, and the method behind making it so—listen to  THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. Narrator Emily Woo Zeller goes Behind the Mic with AudioFile to share one of the unexpected pleasures of having narrated Marie Kondo’s audiobook.

“A wonderful book that affected me personally—I still fold my clothes differently.”—Narrator Emily Woo Zeller

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
by Marie Kondo, read by Emily Woo Zeller
Tantor Media
Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller captures the voice of author Marie Kondo so perfectly that it’s as if the Japanese de-cluttering guru is speaking in person. Discussing the Japanese art of organizing is a fascinating listen and fun to talk about with friends. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Look for more life-changing magic in our Personal Growth and Contemporary Culture reviews!

 

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Behind the Mic: Vinegar Girl

Anne Tyler takes on THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

Narrator Kirsten Potter speaks to us from her backstage dressing room as AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to hear more about her audiobook performance of Anne Tyler’s VINEGAR GIRL.

“There’s Russian scientists and acerbic modern women . . . it’s remarkably universal in how quirky they are.”

Vinegar Girl
VINEGAR GIRL

by Anne Tyler, read by Kirsten Potter
Random House Audio

From BREATHING LESSONS to A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD readers—and listeners—of Anne Tyler’s novels always follow her work closely. Her retelling of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW for the Hogarth Shakespeare Series will keep fans listening. Kirsten Potter brings alive this thoroughly contemporary sharp-tongued Kate.

Kirsten Potter
For more about Kirsten and the audiobooks she’s narrated, click here.

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Behind the Mic: Save Me a Seat

Two fifth-grade boys from worlds apart find a common bond in this dual narration

Narrators Josh Hurley and Vikas Adam go Behind the Mic for AudioFile and give us a dual perspective on SAVE ME A SEAT as two boys start school at Einstein Elementary.

“These kids are like a lot of kids in grade school who deal with bullies, insecurities, and trying to fit in.”— Josh Hurley

Save Me a Seat
SAVE ME A SEAT

by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan, read by Vikas Adam & Josh Hurley
Scholasitc Audio
Earphones Award Winner

Two fifth-grade boys, Ravi and Joe, come from very different places. Ravi is newly immigrated from India, and Joe is dealing with learning challenges. Using two narrators is the perfect way to deliver this story, and Vikas Adam and Josh Hurley bring every moment to listeners with clear connection and involvement. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Vikas Adam and Josh Hurley

Read our interview with Josh and Vikas!

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Behind the Mic: The Greatest

Much of Muhammad Ali’s humanitarian work went unheralded, and you’ve probably never heard this story

 

The Greatest


In an exclusive extra,
AudioFile reviewer Mike Sangiacomo tells us about meeting Muhammad Ali—in Baghdad—in 1990.

I spent some time with Muhammad Ali in the most unlikely place: Baghdad in late 1990, just weeks before the U.S. and its allies bombed it in Desert Storm. I was there on assignment from my newspaper, THE PLAIN DEALER, and he was there to get hostages released. Both of us were there against the wishes of the U.S. Government, to say the least.

Ali’s mission to Baghdad was largely unreported at the time, but the story leaked out a few times over the years.

As a world-renowned Muslim, Ali was welcomed in the city of Bagdad, and through his power of persuasion, he was able to leave with 15 American hostages. You probably never heard about it—the story was kept quiet, though I reported it in my newspaper. My group was invited to spend some time with Ali in his room at the Al Rashid Hotel. When we got there, Ali was lying down on the bed. He looked drawn and tired—his Parkinson’s disease was taking its toll. His schedule in Baghdad was exhausting. When he was not in talks with leaders, he was entertaining Iraqi children, who followed him everywhere.

He sat up in his bed, half-clothed, and asked us to wait in the seating area of his room. I remember watching him struggle to stand up, a shadow of his former self. But when he emerged minutes later, he looked like a new man. He had put on a blue suit, white shirt, and a tie, in deference to his visitors. He could only speak in a whisper, his voice exhausted from days of negotiations. Amid the small talk and stories I have long forgotten, Ali asked to keep his private talks with Saddam Hussein a secret, at least until the hostages were released.

“We admire the man who has never stopped using his celebrity for good- the man who helped secure the release of 14 American hostages from Iraq in 1900,” Obama was quoted in USA Today. With all due respect to Mr. Obama, it was 15. I counted.

Ali surprised our group by asking if we wanted to see some magic tricks, something he also performed for the other “guests” (Iraqi code for hostages) in the hotel lobby. He even did his levitation trick. Ali’s mission to Baghdad was largely unreported at the time, but the story leaked out a few times over the years. George Bush and subsequent presidents ignored it until President Barack Obama talked about it this year after Ali’s death on June 3. “We admire the man who has never stopped using his celebrity for good—the man who helped secure the release of 14 American hostages from Iraq in 1990,” Obama was quoted in USA Today. And, with all due respect to Mr. Obama, it was 15. I counted.

In addition to sharing this story, Mike listened to Ali’s autobiography, THE GREATEST: MY OWN STORY for us and wrote, “It’s uncanny how much narrator Dion Graham sounds like Ali”. You can read Mike’s full review and listen to a sound clip here or check out what Dion had to say about recording Ali’s story below!

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Behind the Mic: Out of My League

Pitching against major leaguers comes alive in this first-person account

Narrator Robert Fass takes AudioFile listeners Behind the Mic and tells us about bringing alive the baseball classic, OUT OF MY LEAGUE, when George Plimpton went behind the professional baseball pitching mounds.

“I was a big fan of Plimpton’s exploits growing up and I read OUT OF MY LEAGUE as a teenage baseball fan.” -Robert Fass

Out Of My League
OUT OF MY LEAGUE
by George Plimpton, read by Robert Fass
Hachette Audio

We knew the new audiobook releases of George Plimpton’s journalistic participatory forays into professional sports would make great listening. Baseball fan Robert Fass is the perfect choice for OUT OF MY LEAGUE. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

And if you’re as intrigued as we are—find more of Plimpton’s wry wit in ONE FOR THE RECORD, OPEN NET, and PAPER LION.

Robert Fass
Read about Robert’s foray into audiobook publishing 
or find more audiobooks narrated by him HERE.

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Behind the Mic: The House at the Edge of Night

Rich and beguiling storytelling will entrance listeners

Narrator Edoardo Ballerini transports listeners to the curious Sicilian island of Castellamara. He shares with AudioFile why this literary gem, THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF NIGHT, affected him and stays with him in ways he did not expect.

I didn’t know the characters were going to get inside me and show me things about my own life. —Narrator Edoardo Ballerini

The House at the Edge of Night
THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF NIGHT
by Catherine Banner, read by Edoardo Ballerini
Random House Audio

This multi-generational tale full of loves and tragedies, lore and history attracted our attention early, and we echo Edoardo’s comments on the lasting effect of the story. His astute character portraits and sensuous storytelling have much to do with why listeners will be enveloped by the tale.  To listen to a sound clip and read our full review, click here.

Catherine Banner by Philip Hunton

Read our interview with Catherine Banner here.

Edoardo BalleriniFind more audiobooks recorded by Edoardo.

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Behind the Mic: How Women Decide

How do empathy, decisiveness, commitment, and memory play into your decisions?

Narrator Susan Boyce goes Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine and tells us a little of what surprised her in narrating HOW WOMEN DECIDE.

All the lessons I learned while narrating it, I think I’m carrying forward in my life—Narrator Susan Boyce

113516.jpgHOW WOMEN DECIDE
by Therese Huston, read by Susan Boyce
Dreamscape
Earphones Award Winner

We learned more about decision-making and gender and how to view decisions and their pitfalls in new ways. Narrator Susan Boyce engaged us throughout. To listen to a sound clip and read our full review, click here.

Susan BoyceTo find more books narrated by Susan, click here

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Behind the Mic: Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday

Let the Simone family’s love and heartbreak sweep you away

Talented narrator Julia Whelan shares her warm and heartfelt praise for Christine Reilly’s debut novel, SUNDAY’S ON THE PHONE TO MONDAY. As AudioFile Magazine goes Behind the Mic,  Julia lets us in on why she felt this project was truly a special one.

“It is a beautiful story. It is about family, love, mental illness, finding love in mental illness, and loss.”—Narrator Julia Whelan

Sunday's on the Phone to MondaySUNDAY’S ON THE PHONE TO MONDAY
by Christine Reilly, read by Julia Whelan
Dreamscape
Earphones Award Winner

Julia Whelan’s performance of beautiful lyrical writing, and a family story that connects so clearly with listeners, is a winning combination. Julia Whelan sweeps listeners into the lives of the Simone family until the final tearful moment. To listen to a sound clip and read our full review, click here.

Julia WhelanTo find more audiobooks narrated by Julia, click here.

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