2019 marks the centennial of Congress approving the 19th Amendment, which gave many women the right to vote—a change that was brought about by a brave group of activists. The audiobooks in this list celebrate female activists—from more than 100 years ago all the way up to today. These inspirational true stories show ALL young listeners the importance of, and the power that comes from, speaking up for the rights of all people.
BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, read by SiSi Aisha Johnson, January LaVoy, Lisa Renee Pitts, Bahni Turpin
Live Oak Media, Ages 4-6
Four African-American women narrate in turn to describe Harriet Tubman’s voice rising in protest as a suffragist, as General Tubman, as a Union spy, and as an enslaved child when her father taught her to read the stars. Sounds of horse-drawn carriages, marching soldiers, spirituals, and rushing rivers help listeners imagine the many roles that Tubman played over her lifetime.Read more…
My most recent listen—HATE NOTES by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, read by Sebastian York and Lynn Barrington—proposes the millennial’s version of a bucket list. Rather than making a to-do list motivated by terminal illness, the main characters accomplish adventures that simply make their lives richer and more fulfilling. Their list expresses gratitude and bravery as well as a good measure of silliness. Looking at other recent titles, I notice that they comprise a sort of audio bucket list. I’ve never lived in a small town with a large family circle, but thanks to the arch sweetness of Diana Luke in K.M. Jackson’s AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME, I can experience that—and so can you! Read more…
In MOTHER COUNTRY, Kathleen Gati narrates the story of Nadia, a Ukrainian woman who is struggling to make her way in the U.S. and to bring her daughter to this country. Her quest is punctuated by flashbacks—deftly negotiated by Gati—that detail what brought Nadia herself to New York.
“The lengths she goes to to express her love for her daughter . . . I think you’ll love this book.”—Narrator Kathleen Gati
Independent bookstores have a special place in my heart. When I travel, finding a local bookstore gem is an extra treat. These days I mostly pack ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, but there’s still a great way to support your local bookseller: Libro.fm Audiobooks. Looking at the new Libro Indies Bestseller list, I see a lot to recommend. We have great reviews, of course, and our special AudioFile media extras—podcasts and narrator videos to really draw you into these audiobooks.
Starting with nonfiction: EDUCATED by Tara Westover and narrated by Julia Whelan continues to get a lot of attention. Julia just won two 2019 Audie Awards with her performance—Best Female Narrator and Best Autobiography/ Memoir. We have a terrific interview with Julia just published on our podcast.
With spring just days away, I’m starting to get a touch of cabin fever. In my part of the world, winter has been too cold, wet, and windy to spend much time outside. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, however, I can now enjoy taking a walk after work, even if I still have to bundle up.
Mysteries and thrillers are a sure bet for encouraging me to put on my walking shoes and head out the door. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up thinking, “If keep walking and listening to this mystery for another fifteen minutes, maybe I’ll be able to figure out who the villain is.”
All the audiobooks recommended today were written by women; the stories take us around the world, and a couple send us back in time. Queue up one of these great listens, and get ready to wear out your walking shoes.
I find myself frequently trying to explain what “The Audies” are to non-audiophiles. I say they are the Oscars for audiobooks. What I should say is that the Audies are even better than the Oscars. After all, for this year’s ceremonies, we had a fine host in Tan France (“Queer Eye” fashion expert). The Oscars could learn a few things from the Audie ceremonies—such as, the only acceptance speeches are by the winners of the Best Female Narrator, Best Male Narrator, and Audiobook of the Year categories. All other award winners are announced and stand at their seats and get cheered. So, the ceremonies begin and end on time! Oh, and the best part this year was that while the awards were being announced, the audience (including me) got to munch on delicious mini pastries and assorted desserts. Read more…
Our Podcast Interview with the Best Female Narrator
Narrator Julia Whelan brought home the 2019 Audie Awards for Best Female Narrator and Autobiography/Memoir for her narration of Tara Westover’s EDUCATED, a memoir that has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Julia’s moving acceptance speech for Best Female Narrator had the Audies audience enthralled.
In our interview with Julia, she reflects on narrating this intense memoir of Westover’s childhood spent in a traditionalist and isolationist family. She also talks about narrating another blockbuster of a very different stripe: Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL. Plus, Julia shares insights into the work that goes into narrating an audiobook, her transition from acting to college to audiobook narration, her love of reading, and the challenges of narrating her own book, MY OXFORD YEAR. Listen to their fascinating conversation now!
“As an actor, you always want to play the sociopath. They’re just so much fun.”—Narrator Julia Whelan
In the pink glow of stage lighting, the 2019 Audie Awards Gala, hosted by Tan France, Queer Eye fashion expert, dazzled a capacity crowd. The AudioFile editorial team—Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, Jo Reed, and me, along with numerous AudioFile reviewers, met and chatted with guests LeVar Burton, Euan Morton, Elizabeth Acevedo, and the dozens of narrators we write about every day. The 24th annual Audie Awards selected the best audiobooks in 24 categories, including Audiobook of the Year. This year the prestigious award went to Tomi Adeyemi’s CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, narrated by Bahni Turpin and published by Macmillan Audio. Read more…
Ah, the joy of sun hats and short sleeves, palm trees and warm blue waters. Yes, that’s me, escaping the icy Maine weather last month for some time on Florida’s gulf coast. I prepared by listening to a fun mix of audiobooks (and by forgetting to pack my swimsuit and my husband’s sneakers).
Lauren Groff set the scene with an Earphones Award-winning narration of FLORIDA, her arresting and quirky collection of beautifully told short stories, which was a National Book Award finalist. Her light, musical voice contrasts disarmingly with the dangers that lurk in her tales, which span characters, places, and centuries. They’re captivating and dangerous, like peering close at a winking flower that’s actually the eye of a camouflaged alligator. Read more…
Tease: Celebrating His Viking Bride and narrator Greg Patmore
Whether you watched the 2019 Audie Awards in person on March 4 in New York City at Guastavino’s under the stunning columns and vaulted ceilings of the Queensboro Bridge arcade . . . or on your couch in your flannel PJs via Twitter, I’m sure you enjoyed that wonderful sense of anticipation that comes as the Audio Publishers Association gets together to celebrate the year’s best audiobooks. The Audies have been given annually since 1996, and the Romance award started in 2005. This year, the APA streamlined both the Audies categories and the timeline, with the result that the Audie Awards Gala arrived in March, and titles from both the Erotica and Romance genres combined under the “Romance” Audie category. Read more…
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