Talking with George Guidall

This Golden Voice narrator has recorded more than 1,700 audiobooks

Podcast Interview with George Guidall

Podcast Interview with George Guidall

Join host Jo Reed as she speaks with one of the greats in the world of audiobooks, George Guidall. Hear what drew him to the world of audiobooks, highlights from his impressive career, and what he’s loved about narrating the series that listeners adore. George and I met near the very beginning of AudioFile in the 1990s. We honored George as one of the very first Golden Voices, and he has won multiple accolades including many AudioFile Earphones Awards, Audie Awards, and the Audio Publishers Association Special Achievement award.

Don’t wait! Listen to our interview with George on our podcast, Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

“A painter uses colors and a palette to draw a certain scene. A narrator does the same thing, only his brush is his voice, and his palette is his emotional palette.”—Narrator George Guidall

Read more…

Giving Thanks: 5 New Audiobooks from Favorite Women Novelists

Giving Thanks New Audiobooks from 5 Favorite Women Novelists

Giving Thanks New Audiobooks from 5 Favorite Women Novelists

In this month of gratitude, I am celebrating new novels by five of my favorite female authors. Plus I’m giving some of their previous books a shout-out because the only thing better than five wonderful new books is five new books and  five newish books. For the record, I’ll be starting at the end of the alphabet because, having spent several lifetimes waiting for Scott to be called, I feel like turning the tables.

Red At The Bone
Harbor Me

Jacqueline Woodson’s RED AT THE BONE begins with a 16-year-old’s coming of age ceremony. She wears the dress prepared for her mother’s own such ceremony — one dress, two women, a multitude of opportunities gained and lost.  A quartet of narrators, plus the author — Jacqueline Woodson, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin — won an Earphones Award for their rich voicing of this spare and emotional tale.

Woodson’s short HARBOR ME also won an Earphones Award and is read by a cast of fine narrators, including the author.  N’Jameh Camara, Toshi Widoff-Woodson, Jacqueline Woodson, Jose Carrera, Dean Flanagan, Angel Romero, Mikelle Wright-Matos, and Jackson Leroi Widoff-Woodson. Though it’s classified as a children’s book, I posit that the lyrical novel is meant for anyone ready to listen to six classmates share what’s really up with them. Whoa, they so own the future.

Olive, Again
My Name Is Lucy Barton

I just finished Elizabeth Strout’s OLIVE, AGAIN, given an Earphones Award performance by Kimberly Farr, and can attest that it’s as fantastic as Strout’s previous novel about inimitable Olive Kitteridge and the other inhabitants of small town Crosby, Maine. Farr narrates like she knows the town and its quirky people and brings them hearteningly to life. P.S. Quirky is what we’re each like when we think no one is watching.

Strout’s MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, perfectly read by Kimberly Farr, is the aching and heartfelt tale of Lucy, who’s in the hospital; her estranged mother, who’s come for a visit; and the life story they weave during a series of conversations. It’s all here so realistically that, while listening, I wanted to shush passersby for interrupting the conversation.

The Dutch House
Commonwealth

Ann Patchett’s THE DUTCH HOUSE is also about family, this time a brother and sister and the home they love. Narrated by Tom Hanks in a performance that matches the controlled personality of the storyteller, brother Danny, the book offers a satisfying exploration of love, loyalty, redemption, forgiveness, and what we will do to make the world the way we want it to be.

Patchett’s previous novel, COMMONWEALTH, narrated by Hope Davis, is also built around the stories we tell ourselves and others. This time it’s two families and a forbidden kiss that changes everything. Everyone has their own version of what happened then and in the years that follow. Davis gives them all voice in this sometimes funny, sometimes painful meditation on love and the ownership of truth.

Tidelands
The Last Tudor

Historical fiction is where I turn when I want to venture far away. Luckily, one of the best tour guides to the past, Philippa Gregory, has a new Earphones Award-winning novel on which I can stow away.  Stunningly performed by Louise Brealey, TIDELANDS is set on England’s marshy coast during the 17th-century Civil War. There, herbalist Alinor encounters a disguised Catholic priest and sets herself on a collision path with the community. Extra happy news — this is the first in a new series.

Gregory’s THE LAST TUDOR also touches on the position of women in an earlier time. In this case, Lady Jane Grey, who famously was queen for nine days, as well as Catherine and Mary — each of whom tangled with the powers of the day during Tudor times. It’s been given an Earphones Award performance by Bianca Amato, who reads all of Gregory’s Tudor series. So once you finish this, you have lots more listening to look forward to.

A Single Thread
The Last Runaway

I’ve enjoyed Tracy Chevalier since listening to her famous novel turned film GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (given an Earphones Award reading by Ruth Ann Phimister). Chevalier’s newest, A SINGLE THREAD, read by Fenella Woolgar, introduces us to the marvelous Violet Speedwell, one of the thousands of England’s “surplus women” made spinsters by World War I. Determined to live life no matter what, she leaves home for a fresh and surprising start.

I’ll finish with one more remarkable female character created by a remarkable female author. In Chevalier’s THE LAST RUNAWAY, we meet 19th-century Quaker Honor Bright, who sails from England to America and finds herself caught between aiding fugitive slaves and loyalty to her in-laws. Narrated by Kate Reading in an Earphones Award performance, the story is a timeless examination of what it means to do right.

Lakeside Love: 4 Romance Audiobooks with a Water View

Lakeside Love

Lakeside Love

By the time you read this, we may have had our first November snowfall here in the Northeast. Saying goodbye to the warm weather is easier for some of us than others. I’m a true New Englander — by August or September, I am so sick of heat and humidity, I am more than happy to say hello to sweaters, cocoa, and falling leaves. It’s the same with every season — by the time one is ending, I am more than ready to move to the next one with all of its unique joys and tribulations.

But for those of you who may be having a hard time tucking away your sandals and tank tops in favor of boots and hats, here are two absolutely charming audiobooks about lakeside love. Plus, one set on an alien tropical island (yes, I said alien), and another that just might have you trying out the rowing machine at the gym . . .   Read more…

6 Audiobooks on Your Money and Your Life

Learning By Ear

6 Audiobooks on Your Money And Your Life

6 Audiobooks on Your Money And Your Life

In the Zen-inspired audiobook HAPPY MONEY, Japanese personal growth expert Ken Honda has an interesting take on personal finance. He says money has positive or negative energy, depending on what that money is doing and how it impacts us. All of us have had the experience of having a bad feeling about money we’ve spent or received. That’s unhappy money. Though smart people can try to evaluate these situations with their analytical skills, Honda’s refreshing alternative is to look at them through the prism of a simple litmus test—just pay attention to the energy. Another audio that looks at financial management as an emotional affair is the smoothly narrated YOUR NEW MONEY STORY, by business coach David Kreuger. His focus is on how money decisions can be contaminated by self-defeating life scripts, compulsive optimism, and other psychosocial dynamics that sabotage our efforts to create financial stability. Read more…

Narrator Oliver Wyman on Loki: Where Mischief Lies

Oliver Wyman on Loki

Narrator Oliver Wyman embodies everyone’s favorite trickster god in LOKI: WHERE MISCHIEF LIES , an exciting origin story for Marvel’s Loki of Asgard written by Mackenzi Lee. When one of Loki’s constant schemes to show up his brother, Thor, lands them both in hot water, he is banished to Midgard (a.k.a. nineteenth-century London) to investigate a series of magical murders. From his studio “Amazingland,” certified Thor fan Oliver tells listeners why they’ll love listening to this magical new Loki adventure—especially if they like comic books and Norse mythology.

“We learn some things about Loki in this story that I found surprising.”—Narrator Oliver Wyman

Read more…

8 Audiobooks about Inspiring Lives of Service

Robin’s Roundup November 8

Audiobooks About Service

Audiobooks About Service

Each month, AudioFile editors Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, and I decide on topics which we can explore with both new titles and older audiobooks mined from our AudioFile archives. We feature them on our social media and in articles here on the blog. We try to find a twist on holiday themes—which we can all agree get a little repetitive—and look at whether there’s any fun to be had with holidays like Pi/Pie Day. One that we chose this month is “service” as we think about veterans and humanitarians alike, like Chef José Andrés (above) and his service to Puerto Rico, which he recounts in WE FED AN ISLAND. Read more…

Between the Wars: Audiobooks in Honor of Remembrance Day

Highclere in the rain
Highclere in the rain
Ellen Quint’s visit to Highclere Castle

Confession time—I am a Downton Abbey addict. And in fact, I made a trip to Highclere Castle (where Downton is filmed) to walk the rooms and grounds and soak in the atmosphere. I even took it one step further with a trip to Bampton (the setting for the outdoor scenes). This is a quiet little village near Oxford that has built a small tourist industry around Downton. You can imagine my thrill as I got to stand in the church where Lady Mary got married twice. (Please don’t judge me.)

The release of the Downton movie brings the Crawley family up to 1927, almost ten years since the end of WWI, which officially ended on November 11, 1918.  This period between the wars was a dramatic time of trying to recover from painful losses and find a path to a future, which unfortunately planted the seeds for the next great war. Many mystery series take place during this time and then continue into the WWII years. It seems appropriate to focus on them in preparation for Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day on November 11. Read more…

In the Studio: Author Stephen Chbosky on Imaginary Friend

In The Studio With Stephen Chbosky

In The Studio With Stephen Chbosky

AudioFile spoke with film director Stephen Chbosky, author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, about the process of creating the audiobook of his new horror novel IMAGINARY FRIEND, which he cast and directed himself.

AudioFile: Tell us about how you came to be involved with directing your own audiobook. Was your film directing experience helpful?

Stephen Chbosky: I became involved in my audiobook because simply put, I love audiobooks. I live in Los Angeles. The reality of traffic there is that I have more time to listen than read. So, I’ve been on a steady diet of classic audiobooks for years. My movie directing experience was a natural fit. Read more…

4 Audiobooks for Stormy Days: Weather the Weather with These Romance Listens

4 Audiobooks for Stormy Days

Hurricane season thankfully is drawing to a close, and to mark its passing, let’s dive into romances where the weather plays a starring role. Meg Cabot’s new fall title, NO JUDGMENTS, is the inspiration for this post. Twenty-five-year-old Bree moves to Little Bridge Island in the Florida Keys, and she has a newcomer’s view of the preparations for a hurricane and the recovery efforts of this close-knit community. Narrator Piper Goodeve moves deftly among Cabot’s citizens, bestowing a masculine gruffness on Bree’s boss, Ed, and a more clipped tone for Bree’s love interest, Drew. One important thing to mention? Bree finds her post-hurricane mojo in locating and tending to island animals left behind by their owners. The warm, heart-squeezing love we all feel for our pets is, of course, a major reason to love this audiobook! Goodeve follows Bree around the island as she searches for animals and a second chance at love — NO JUDGMENTS caught my attention and kept it, so don’t hesitate to add it to your playlist. It’s audio therapy for scary weather and its aftermath.

Ready for more stormy listening?  Read more…