Robin’s Roundup: February 16 New Audiobook Reviews

Hello, universe, check out the spectacular listening in the Newbery and Odyssey Awards

Hello, Universe

Hello, UniverseIn the midst of awards season, I’m always looking out for those that specifically celebrate audiobooks, like the Spoken Word Grammy (Carrie Fisher’s THE PRINCESS DIARIST) and The Odyssey Award (THE HATE U GIVE). Also, I love finding the audiobook companion of books that are being celebrated—the American Library Association awards announced this week offer a wealth of great listening. The Newbery Award, for example, given for the year’s “most outstanding contribution to literature,” honored HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly. We’ve talked about and celebrated the audiobook for months—check out narrator Ramon de Ocampo in one of our Behind the Mic videos telling us how swept up he was in this book. It’s thrilling to know that it has received the great Newbery honor. You’ll be hearing more about one of the Newbery Honor titles, Jason Reynolds’s LONG WAY DOWN—we have an exciting interview with Jason about recording his audiobooks for our upcoming print issue. (Look for it April 1.)  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.

Robin’s Roundup: February 9 New Audiobook Reviews

Pairs: two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together

It Occurs to Me that I Am America

This week I noticed an impressive crop of nonfiction audiobooks reviewed. Thoughtful and powerful audiobooks on immigration, politics, abuse, and race give us the chance to listen to important and varied perspectives. We often see some of these complex topics handled in both nonfiction and fiction. Listeners usually have a specific preference—a factual account, or the same topic with imagined historical or emotional detail.  Here are some thoughts on audiobook pairs from our recent reviews.

It Occurs to Me that I Am America
Revolution Song

Russell Shorto’s new history REVOLUTION SONG takes a look at the American Revolution through the stories of six people. I’ll pair that with IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I AM AMERICA, a collection of short stories by Richard Russo, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, and thirty other contemporary authors. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: February 2 New Audiobook Reviews

Sound Out Black History

Black Detroit

Each February we’re pleased to find a crop of new audiobooks that chronicle Black History  and celebrate lives of African Americans. Two important history titles in our reviews this week look at the city of Detroit: BLACK DETROIT: A People’s History of Self-Determination by Herb Boyd, which looks at the rich cultural tapestry of the city, and DAWN OF DETROIT: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits by Tiya Miles, professor of History and  African-American Studies at the University of Michigan. She looks at the  entwined African American and Native American communities in the 18th century. Before jumping into this 10-hour immersion, The New York Times review has some interesting background.  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.

Robin’s Roundup: January 26 New Audiobook Reviews

Stories by Heart and with Heart

They All Saw A Cat

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…

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.

Robin’s Roundup: January 19 New audiobook reviews

The Spiritual Journeys of Mountains and Mountaintops

The Man on the Mountaintop

The Man on the MountaintopLooking at some of the new audiobook reviews this week, I see a theme of personal journeys—some fictional and some biographical. In an original audio adaptation, Susan Trott’s THE HOLY MAN is transformed into a full cast performance as THE MAN ON THE MOUNTAINTOP. Headlining the cast of this pilgrims’ tale are British actor Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci, who said the project “blends parable, myth, and morality with powerful and thought-provoking storytelling.” 

At first, I confused Trott’s mountaintop and THE MOUNTAINTOP, the play by Katori Hall about Martin Luther King, Jr. This L.A. Theatre Works production is also an excellent listening experience, and a spiritual journey.  A memoir of a slightly different type of journey, AN ODYSSEY: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn, is also reviewed this week. Narrator Bronson Pinchot  receives an Earphones Award for this memoir. Listening to even the briefest of sound clips lets you hear Bronson’s engaging style. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: January 12

Celebrating Katherine Kellgren

My Roundup this week was going to center on children’s audiobooks to bring some welcome counterpoint to the weather and news of the last few weeks. Instead, I share the sad news of the death of brilliant narrator Katherine Kellgren. Her wonderful performances are known and loved by listeners. Her work was celebrated with every audiobook award—Golden Voice, Earphones, Audie Awards, Odyssey, Voice of Choice, and more. Her kindness and indomitable spirit were loved and cherished by her colleagues and friends. We will miss her greatly. However, Katy leaves us with the enduring treasure of her audiobooks.

Katherine Kellgren
Katherine Kellgren

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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.

Robin’s Roundup: January 5 New Audiobook Reviews

A New Year and the Real Meaning of Robin’s Roundup

Robin's round up

2018 has roared into Maine with frigid temps and plenty of snow. This is great curl-up-and-read/listen weather.

Just what Danish author Meik Wiking suggests in his popular THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE. His new audiobook, THE LITTLE BOOK OF LYKKEoffers encouragement for a happier year, and life that includes getting to know your neighbors and volunteering. Another new audiobook that offers thoughts along the lines of “fresh starts” for the new year is Oprah Winfrey’s audio collection THE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. I wasn’t initially sure about the title, but found that once I listened to the sample sound clip—that comes up with our review—I was eager to hear more. One activity I do in my neighborhood at the start of the new year reveals another meaning to Robin’s Roundup. My husband and I “roundup” Christmas trees for our garden—limbed up, the boughs make a terrific mulch!

Robin Whitten rounding up Christmas trees for mulch. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: Rounding up 2017

2,200 audiobook reviews published in 2017

When I meet people for the first time and tell them about AudioFile, they often ask, “Do you listen to all the books yourself?” What a thought! I don’t even want to calculate how many hours that might be—considering we clock in at almost 2,200 audiobook reviews published in 2017. The listening hours are spread among the ~85 AudioFile reviewers. Bless them all . . . for the many hours of work and listening pleasure, but also for the harder work of forming cogent, succinct reviews to enlighten all of us about each listening experience.

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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.

Robin’s Roundup: December 22 Best Audiobooks of the Year #4

Getting an inside look at some biographies

Suzanne Toren

AudioFile Best of 2017

Looking this week at our choices for the BEST titles in the Biography & History category, I’m excited that we have the narrators’ Behind the Mic videos for so many of these titles.

Christian Baskous talking about recording Richard Ford’s BETWEEN THEM; Mark Bramhall on Ron Chernow’s GRANT biography; Jonathan Yen giving us a wonderful teaser to explore A MIND AT PLAY and discover the man who is called the father of the information age, Claude Shannon; and Rob Shapiro talking about recording THE WORLD REMADE, a timely look at America in World War I.

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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.

Robin’s Roundup: December 15 Best Audiobooks of the Year #3

Look at some Audiobook “Besties” for Kids & Teens

She Persisted

AudioFile Best of 2017If you are looking for audiobooks for Kids & Family listening or for a Teen in your life, our 2017 Best lists have great choices. Last week in my picks from the Nonfiction list, I singled out a couple of choices to inspire writers from John McPhee and Colum McCann. There’s a title for kids to add to this group—Jack Gantos’s WRITING RADAR: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. Jack’s engaging style and involving ideas really connect with young writers.

Two audiobook choices on our list give another sort of inspiration. Chelsea Clinton’s SHE PERSISTED: 13 American Women Who Changed the World
aims at tiny feminists (ages 4-6), with mini-biographies of Nellie Bly, Helen Keller, Maria Tallchief, Sally Ride, and Sonia Sotomayor, among others. (Aren’t you curious who the other 8 women are?) Kwame Alexander’s THE PLAYBOOK: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life will appeal to audiences ages 10+. Kwame’s rules come from a variety of sources, particularly star athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Steph Curry, but the wisdom goes beyond the young athlete. Great family listening.

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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.