New Audiobooks Offer Plenty of Contrast

Robin’s Roundup August 10

The Middleman

Contrasts—dark or light-hearted, subtle or intense, Russia or North Carolina. Going through our new reviews this week, I am struck by the variety of titles and how the audiobooks are often in stark contrast. Of course, books are written on a vast variety of subjects and with radically different points of view, and this gives a grand range of options for listening and reading.

The Middleman
East of Innocence

In newly reviewed thrillers, I’ll contrast the cerebral and politically charged THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer with EAST OF INNOCENCE by David Thorne. Narrator Rupert Degas portrays a cast of hard-bitten characters with stunning emotional dimension in the latter. In the former, Ari Fliakos deftly takes listeners through “a snarl of idealism, cynicism, paranoia, and lies.” 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.

Support Your Indie Bookstore with Libro.fm Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup August 3

Libro.fm

Libro.fmWe have so many summer visitors in Maine, and I often hear how much they enjoy browsing our independent bookstores. Here in Portland, Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops and Longfellow Books are two of my favorites, along with our newest, Print: A Bookstore. Listeners can also get digital audiobooks from these Indie stores through their partnership with Libro.fm Audiobooks.

AudioFile is working with Libro.fm to help tell more listeners about the program and support the independent bookstores we love. You don’t have to visit Maine—you can find an indie near you: Libro.fm/indies.

Here’s the AudioFile spin on Libro.fm Bestsellers—first some fiction, followed by nonfiction picks: 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.

Audiobook Narrators Come to Maine

Robin’s Roundup July 27

Lobster Bake
photo by Sean Runnette

Each summer AudioFile celebrates audiobook narrators with a Maine clambake in Boothbay, Maine. Narrators come from across the country, and sometimes we even have an international guest. But it’s not just the usual suspects—each year a different and diverse group of narrators joins us. We greet old friends and make new ones!

We always have representation from AudioFile’s Golden Voices—this year Barbara Rosenblat and Robin Miles joined us. AudioFile Earphones Award winners and Audie Award winners also are well represented. And it’s a true delight just to get to put voices and faces together. 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.

Portraits of Nelson Mandela in 8 Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup July 20

Nelson Mandela

"Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng" from The Good News, 13 May 2008

This week marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. With celebrations and tributes happening around the world, I wanted to share 8 audiobooks that offer unique portraits of the South African leader. In the audio medium we can not only hear Mandela’s voice in speeches and interviews, but also experience his memoirs and other writing. 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.

Find the Heart of America with Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup July 13

Our Towns
Endpapers from OUR TOWNS by James and Deborah Fallows

Two audiobooks we reviewed this week made me think about what a great variety of communities and lifestyles we have across the country. Several recent audiobooks have brought to mind small towns. The cross-country journeys of authors James and Deborah Fallows to small communities across the U.S. are the topic of OUR TOWNS: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. Reading about the audiobook, I was curious what the authors learned, and about the places they explored, like Erie, Pennsylvania, or Fresno, California. James Fallows wrote an article for The Atlantic, “The Reinvention of America,” just as the book and audiobook were released. 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.

Beat the Heat! 8 Icy Audiobook Listens

Robin’s Roundup July 6

Ice
Elementals: Ice Wolves

Ok, I’ll admit it—just looking at the covers of these “icy” audiobooks is helping me cool off! Even if air conditioning is keeping you cool, we all have to venture out into the recent hot weather. Here’s a bit of audiobook listening to beat the heat.

Anna Kavan’s ICE features an ice apocalypse and plummeting temperatures—a good start to cool me down. But before you grab it, it’s worth looking into this 1967 science fiction/fantasy/dystopian classic. Jonathan Lethem wrote recently about the work in The New York Times. In this new audio release, Nigel Patterson engages with a passionate performance. ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES is a fantasy for the younger set—good for middle grade listeners and family listening. 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.

Best Audiobook Listening for Independence Day

Robin’s Roundup June 29

During the holiday week of America’s Independence Day, along with the barbecue, clambake, and fireworks, add in a few audiobooks. Many of us celebrate with our families—and my first choice will resonate with the younger set, bringing a fun and informative take on Lady Liberty: HER RIGHT FOOT.  Author Dave Eggers and narrator Dion Graham are a dynamic duo as usual. Listeners—of all ages—will also learn about Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet that contains “Give me your tired, your poor . . . .” I was pleased to read the full text that appears on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. And while everyone is listening, Khizr Khan’s THIS IS OUR CONSTITUTION is accessible and illuminating for young listeners.

Her Right Foot
This Is Our Constitution
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.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Beloved in Audio

Robin’s Roundup June 22: Harper Lee and Time for Conscience

Atticus Finch: The Biography

To Kill a Mockingbird
Go Set A Watchman

This week we reviewed ATTICUS FINCH, a new biography of Harper Lee’s father (and how he informed the character of Atticus Finch) by Alabama historian Joseph Crespino. It reminds me that listeners adore Lee’s classic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD as an audiobook. If you have not listened to Sissy Spacek’s narration, summer may be the perfect time to add this audiobook to your playlist. Listening to the story can renew appreciation of the brilliant novel while also immersing you in the storytelling experience. 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.

7 Top New British Mysteries

Robin’s Roundup June 15 New Audiobook Reviews

7 Top New British Mystery Audiobooks

Summer is the perfect time to relax with a great audiobook—and for me, I go first to British mysteries. I try to keep up with authors I don’t know well—like Ruth Ware or Anthony Horowitz—and also follow favorite long-running series—like Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge or Martha Grimes’s Inspector Jury and his motley crew of village regulars. Peter May, author of several compelling stories set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, is another favorite. Since I binged on the TV series “Vera,” I have happily been consuming Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope audiobooks. 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.

Celebrating Winners — And Adding More New Listening

Robin’s Roundup June 8

Audiobook Tea by Steve Kagan
Audiobook Tea by Steve Kagan
photo by Steve Kagan

Everyone in the audiobook world had eyes on the NYC conferences and social events last week. With more than 400 narrators, publishers, producers, authors, Audie judges, and audiobook media attending each of 4 events, I greeted, spoke with, or waved at so many audiobook people. At the Audiobook Tea—held during BookExpo—I was delighted to introduce the four guest authors: Laini Taylor, Gayle Forman, Jason Fry, and Kathryn Hahn spoke about their audiobooks. Publishers Weekly covered the event that was attended by booksellers, librarians, and publishers. 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.