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.

AudioFile at the Audie Awards

Robin’s Roundup June 1

Robin and Michele

Last night we attended the 2018 Audies Gala—AudioFile editor Francisca Goldsmith and I were decked out in our finest at the New-York Historical Society for the Audio Publishers Association’s fabulous event. We did not see this hand-off of the Audies winners before the event, but did have a chance to chat with host Simon Vance and Best Narrator finalists Robin Miles, Bahni Turpin, Christian Coulson, and Saskia Maarleveld. Francisca kept her fingers tuned up for live tweeting of the winners!

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.

Not just Harry Potter—Jim Dale Celebrated for his Magic

Robin’s Roundup May 25

Tim Ditlow Robin Whitten Jim Dale

Audiobook listeners know Jim Dale—the voice of Harry Potter, of course, with seven audiobooks and a Guinness World Record for the 146 voices in just  HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS! But wait, there’s more . . . Jim’s career includes Broadway (Barnum), the British National Theatre, and 1960s British comedy Carry On, and he was the lyricist for Georgy Girl— you can see for yourself in this video created by Belock Design to celebrate a Lifetime Achievement Award given to Jim by Urban Stages.

Last week in the glorious setting of The Boathouse in Central Park, Jim was feted for his truly amazing career. Publisher Tim Ditlow (who brought Jim together with Harry Potter) and I were delighted to be among the guests. Think a moment about the magical casting of Jim to perform HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE in 1998, before American listeners and readers had ever met Harry. Tim deserves an award as well!

Tim Ditlow, Robin Whitten, and Jim Dale 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.

Ride a Magic Carpet with 6 Historical Fiction Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup May 18

6 New Historical Fiction Audiobooks

6 New Historical Fiction Audiobooks

Something I love about audiobooks set outside our current time and place is that the historical details make the listening experience so rich. We get a sense of the history of  the time—1920s Bombay, the Soviet Union in 1958, colonial America—but also details of customs, costume, and conventions. Wrapping these in the storytelling medium of audiobooks is the perfect way to transport the listener. I’m reminded of a vivid passage in THE WATER DIVINER, the brilliant Australian audiobook about a father and his sons who are lost at Gallipoli in 1915. The father transports the boys with stories of the magic carpet of THE ARABIAN NIGHTS. Narrator Jack Thompson took me aboard as well, and I’ve always liked the episode as a perfect example of what the best historical fiction audiobooks can do. 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.

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup May 4

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

Jazz is on my mind. Just a few weeks ago, I attended the tribute to the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters—Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves—at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It was such a treat—first listening to podcasts from the NEA, “Art Works,” about each musician, and then getting to be part of the tribute celebration—you can actually watch it in full:

When I got home, I looked up which audiobooks about jazz and jazz musicians we could recommend. Jazz books, and audiobooks, are a bit scarce—perhaps we listen to jazz more than we read about jazz. And in many cases, actual music is not included in audiobook programs. Nevertheless, I’ve put together a list of 15 audiobooks that explore and celebrate Jazz in America.  There are some biographies and memoirs of jazz greats; a few histories on the culture and music of jazz; and, not to be overlooked, engaging jazz stories for young listeners and families.

Let’s start with an iconic audiobook: MILES by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe. For many listeners, the brilliant performance by Dion Graham epitomizes the way that an audio experience can engulf you. WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? offers a different approach to a life portrait with Alan Light’s carefully researched biography. Yet Adenrele Ojo’s performance is no less riveting. 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.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week with Simon Vance on The Download

Robin’s Roundup: May 5

Simon Vance

Narrator Simon Vance is a man of many voices, in both contemporary fiction and classic literature, and he’s won dozens of awards for his audiobooks. In our interview on The Download, Simon shares reflections about many books he’s narrated—starting off with children’s classics like THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, he takes us through details of his process to create his distinct “vocal wizardry.”

“Sitting in my little box, I do my own thing—I am free to let my creativity roam far and wide.”—Narrator Simon Vance

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.

Barbara Bush Loved Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup: April 27th

Barbara Bush reads Dr. Seuss
Photo © The George Bush Presidential Library/ Chandler Arden-Specialties Photography

Former First Lady Barbara Bush loved audiobooks. When I spoke with her in 2004 about her narrating her own memoirs, REFLECTIONS and BARBARA BUSH: A Memoir, she told me that audiobooks were among her “travel essentials.” She shared what she was listening to with friends—biographies like David McCullough’s TRUMAN, Kathryn Stockett’s THE HELP—even recently Mrs. Bush always had her iPad and headphones handy and ready to play whatever audiobook she was listening to at the time, especially for car rides or when she was home needlepointing. And if she ever couldn’t decide what to listen to next, she never got tired of her classic favorite, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Read our full interview with Mrs. Bush. 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.

The Poetry of Each Day: Tracy K. Smith & Emily Dickinson

Robin’s Roundup: April 20th

Wade In The Water

“Poetry lives everywhere,” said Tracy K. Smith, teacher and writer and America’s Poet Laureate, as she kicked off April’s National Poetry Month a few weeks ago. As a listener—to audiobooks, poetry, podcasts, and even the eloquence of a speaker—I love that we celebrate all of these in sound.

In Smith’s new collection of poetry WADE IN THE WATER—which of course she reads—we hear her unhurried presentation of cadences and rhythm. And happily for listeners, her earlier collections, DUENDE and LIFE ON MARS, have also been released as audiobooks. In today’s New York Times there is a great conversation between Smith and Jacqueline Woodson, “Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature.”

Duende
Life On Mars
Wade In The Water
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.

8 Short Collections to Listen to Now

Robin’s Roundup: New Audiobook Reviews April 13

8 Short Story Collections to Listen to Now


Short stories have often gotten the short straw in audiobooks. With audio publishers producing more titles each season, and podcasts gaining more and more listeners, short story collections may be getting more attention. Eight new collections, just reviewed, are worth your listening time. I’ve split them into essays (nonfiction) and fiction stories.

Awayland
A Perfect Universe

Ramona Ausubel’s AWAYLAND showcases the voices of a dozen narrators in a collection that’s both fantastical and familiar. Scott O’Connor’s stories in A PERFECT UNIVERSE are all set in California. Two narrators, Bronson Pinchot and Thérèse Plummer, take us outside the bright lights of Hollywood with very human and complex characters, and pick up an Earphones Award for their performances. 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.