Love Audiobooks in June

Celebrating Audiobook Month with AudioFile’s Reviewers

Mohana Rajakumar

In honor of Audiobook Month, we’ve been spending June rounding up audiobook listening insights from our team of professional reviewers. And we’ve found that many of our reviewers, including some of AudioFile’s own editors, use their audiobook listening time to engage their minds while working through mundane tasks, commuting, or crafting.

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Listen Loud, Listen Proud

LGBTQIA Fiction & Nonfiction for Adults

Sally Ride Lego

Sally Ride LegoHappy Pride Month! I struggled with limiting my selection to a handful of engaging, immersive, and energizing LGBTQIA audiobooks for this post. More and more stories featuring characters with a range of sexual and gender identities are being released as audiobook productions. It’s a great time for listeners, however you identify. It’s still difficult to find these books in online audiobook store catalogs, though. If you’re unfamiliar with the names of queer publishers or want to browse self-published authors with audio productions, it’s harder still. I’ve included a small sample of memoir and biography, historical fiction, and contemporary romance that were reviewed for AudioFile. Read more…

Julie Thompson
Julie Thompson is a Washington State-based librarian. When she’s not immersed in audiobooks or reviewing for her blog, she can be found cheering on the Seattle Storm basketball team, catching up on her favorite television shows, and hanging out with her family.

7 Audiobooks for Summer Listening

AudioFile’s Staff Picks for June

Summer Listening in Maine

Today marks the official first day of summer — what better day to share our summer audiobook listening recommendations? AudioFile happens to be located in Maine, aka Vacationland (that’s our beautiful coastline above), so we know how to do summer! Our staff picks include fiction, nonfiction, and family audiobook recommendations for all of your road trips, camp-outs, evening strolls, and long weekends. Read more…

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Love Audiobooks

Celebrating Audiobook Month with AudioFile’s reviewers

Jessica Coates

June is Audiobooks Month

While we celebrate fantastic audiobooks all year long, we’re never ones to say no to a party. Since June is Audiobook Month, all month long we’re sharing why we love audiobooks here on our blog and on our social media channels (look for #loveaudiobooks on Twitter and Facebook to join!). Because we know that our reviewers are some of the biggest audiobook fans around, we’re sharing some of the reasons that they love listening.

Reviewer Susie Wilde has discovered that audiobooks are a great help with ADD and says, “Mornings when I can’t get going, my go-to strategy is audiobooks. My theory is that when my right brain is occupied with a story, my left brain is free to organize my day.” Shira Pilarski agrees that listening is great for multitasking and says, “A great narrator can bring me into a story in a way that print books simply can’t. I connect more strongly with characters when I hear their voices.” Read more…

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What We’re Listening to Now

AudioFile Staff Picks for May

Tulips

Every month we like to feature some of what our AudioFile editors are listening to, both to review and for fun! The warmer weather means we’re excited to be listening in the garden and while exploring outside (and, as always, while getting those dishes done in the evening). This month’s staff picks range from audiobooks that will help you escape the stresses of the world to audiobooks to inspire change.

Chime in, and tell us, what audiobooks are you listening to now? We’re all ears!

CIRCE

Tulips
Circe
Listening in the garden

I’m in the garden with my stunning pink tulips listening to the story of sorcerer CIRCE making her potions from flowers and herbs to enchant her visitors.
—Robin Whitten, Founder & Editor Read more…

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Nine audiobooks for Earth Day

Taking care of our planet

The Seabird's Cry

Today, on Earth Day, I’ll be taking my kids out to pick up trash around the neighborhood — something I remember doing with my friends and family growing up in rural Vermont. Every year, after the snow melted and all the accumulated garbage started appearing along with the crocuses, we would have our “green-up day” and go along the roads and in the woods picking up the trash we found. In my memories, we could trade in our full bags for donuts at the general store, which was a pretty magical experience.

The Seabird's CryIn the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve found some conservation-themed audiobooks that celebrate protecting the magic of the earth — and the ocean — for everyone from four-year-olds to your David Attenborough-loving mom.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for seabirds, so THE SEABIRDS CRY: The Lives and Loves of the Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers seems like the perfect way to learn more about the often overlooked but essential creatures who live their lives on top of the ocean. This audiobook shares the natural history of ten species of seabirds, and how humans have impacted them. Read more…

Emily Connelly
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers. She works behind the scenes to help keep AudioFile's blog running and is currently working towards a MLIS.

What We’re Loving Right Now

Staff Picks for April

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Our Staff Picks this month represent our own wide and varied listening tastes. We’d love to hear from AudioFile listeners, too — what are you listening to now? Share below in the comments or post a picture of you listening and tag us on Twitter or Facebook!

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens AgendaIn happy anticipation of seeing the movie Love, Simon, I was glad to revisit the YA book it’s based on, Becky Albertalli’s SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. Since I’ve already read it twice in print (ahem), this time I decided to listen to the audiobook version. Narrator Michael Crouch brings out all of the novel’s humor, charm, and swoony sweetness. Now I’m looking forward to the sequel (all about Simon’s BFF Leah), LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT.
—Jenn Dowell, Managing Editor Read more…

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A Narrator’s Journey on the Road to Tara

Insights from narrator Karen Commins

Road to Tara

Film star Clark Gable once called author Margaret Mitchell “the most fascinating woman I ever met.”

Road to TaraI’m an Atlanta native, and GONE WITH THE WIND has always been my favorite book and movie. However, I didn’t know much about Margaret Mitchell until I read ROAD TO TARA: The Life of Margaret Mitchell by Anne Edwards.

As I read the book, I found myself agreeing with Gable’s assessment. The many quoted passages in ROAD TO TARA illustrate Mitchell’s terrific gift in captivating her audience and reveal her sharp grasp of publishing legalities.

This book became a map for a spiritual quest. I visited several Atlanta tourist spots associated with Miss Mitchell, including her tiny apartment where she wrote GWTW, her grave, and a GONE WITH THE WIND museum.

The more I learned about her, the more I felt called to narrate this audiobook. I hosted a webinar for other narrators to learn with me how to acquire audio rights and then negotiated the licensing with the publisher. Read more…

Karen Commins
Karen Commins is a professional audiobook narrator, producer, and publisher in Atlanta who has given voice to over 50 audiobooks. In addition to earning a BA in broadcast journalism and MS in computer information systems, Karen has completed extensive specialized training in voiceover and audiobook narration technique, as well as in digital audio production. In 2016 and 2017, Karen was selected as an audiobook juror for the Voice Arts Awards competitions. She spoke about audiobook creation at VOAtlanta 2018. She has written numerous articles about audiobook production for Digital Book World, InD’tale Magazine, the ACX blog, and her web site.

Extraordinary Worlds: Afrofuturism, science fiction, and fantasy on audio

Exploring Wakanda and beyond through audiobooks

Black Panther: The Young Prince

Like millions of others around the world, I went and saw Black Panther last weekend and was completely blown away. It was an amazing movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go!

Black Panther: The Young PrinceThere are many comic book explorations of superhero Black Panther out there, but only one has been recorded as an audiobook so far. BLACK PANTHER: The Young Prince is read with urgency and excitement by Dion Graham. As I left the theater, I was struck by the many outstanding science fiction and fantasy audiobooks that those who loved the world of Black Panther and Wakanda could dive right into, even if they are set outside of Marvel’s universe. Read more…

Emily Connelly
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers. She works behind the scenes to help keep AudioFile's blog running and is currently working towards a MLIS.

Celebrating 25 years of AudioFile Magazine

Iconic 25: What makes an audiobook iconic?

AudioFile 25 Years

We’re celebrating AudioFile’s 25th anniversary this June (which also happens to be Audiobook Month!), and we’d love to have you join us! AudioFile started in 1992 as a source of audiobook reviews and recommendations. In our 25 years of reviewing over 40,000 titles, we have listened to many, many fabulous audiobooks.

To celebrate our 25 years of publishing and Audiobook Month, we are sponsoring the ICONIC 25 project. During the month of June, we’re posting “iconic” audiobooks daily on our Twitter account and asking followers to share their choices using #iconicaudio. Our list is 25 audiobooks long, and we know you’ll think of many more you’ll want to add!

What makes an audiobook iconic? When a friend says, “What audiobooks should I listen to?”, what do you say? We can define iconic different ways, but  Merriam-Webster has a good start: iconic audiobooks are “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.”

Their Eyes Were Watching GodOur #iconicaudio discussion will be happening all June on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, and we’d love to hear from you, too! We’ll be sharing a roundup of our – and your – iconic audiobooks here on the blog in July, but in the meantime, here’s what’s on our list so far!

The classic THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD was on top of our list – Ruby Dee’s narration is marvelous and stage-worthy as she switches between the roles, dialects, and voices of the cast of characters for a masterful one-woman performance. Immerse yourself in Zora Neale Hurston’s famous novel about South African-American culture in the 1930s.

There are many adaptations out there of the interstellar classic THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, but Stephen Fry has the spot on our list for his narration of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect’s capers throughout the universe – not to mention the slew of otherworldly weirdoes they encounter on their travels.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

John Lee provides a masterful performance of the award-winning A FINE BALANCE. Four people are thrust together as they struggle to survive in their tumultuous coastal Indian city. The story has a Dickensian mix of compassion and narrative sweep, and Lee’s narration colors the characters beautifully.

THE THIRTEENTH TALE, a gothic mystery, is stunningly narrated by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner. Jill, as the elderly and enigmatic Vida Winter, uses a hesitant and fragile voice in conversation which falls away to take on the power of a masterful storyteller as she recounts her life story to her biographer Margaret Lea. Bianca shows a respect for the power of the story and the written word as Margaret, who slowly unravels the facts of Ms. Winter’s life.

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, as performed by the author himself, allowed him to communicate his understanding of his own story from beginning to end. Listeners are carried along, entranced and intrigued, into the magical story of the graveyard community raising young Bod. Neil gives each specter a distinct voice, which he goes so far as to change over time with journeys abroad – and uses to dramatic effect when he reveals the villain.


What iconic audiobooks would make it onto your list? Tell us in the comments or hop onto Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads to let us know!

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