Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: So Love Goes

Uplifting Audiobooks About Love’s Complexities

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryWhen I was about seventeen, I read the obituary of a New York City matron that included her recipe for a happy marriage. She had recommended living as she and her husband did, in side-by-side brownstones with a connecting door that they never used before 10 AM. At the time, I thought that immensely clever. Now that I’ve been married forever, I wonder why have such a well-managed relationship, when instead you could walk the length of England in uncomfortable shoes to reach your beloved, as does the protagonist in Rachel Joyce’s THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY? Or when, as in Joyce’s companion novel, THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSEY, you could commit your heart as fiercely and nobly as the woman to whom Harold is limping? Jim Broadbent won an Earphones Award for Harold’s story and Celia Imre won the same for Queenie’s. I have read and listened to each more than once and can only say that the exquisite, quirky novels are so well narrated that it hurts, and that they present the truth of love in all its heartbreaking glory. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Robin’s Roundup: January 19 New audiobook reviews

The Spiritual Journeys of Mountains and Mountaintops

The Man on the Mountaintop

The Man on the MountaintopLooking at some of the new audiobook reviews this week, I see a theme of personal journeys—some fictional and some biographical. In an original audio adaptation, Susan Trott’s THE HOLY MAN is transformed into a full cast performance as THE MAN ON THE MOUNTAINTOP. Headlining the cast of this pilgrims’ tale are British actor Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci, who said the project “blends parable, myth, and morality with powerful and thought-provoking storytelling.” 

At first, I confused Trott’s mountaintop and THE MOUNTAINTOP, the play by Katori Hall about Martin Luther King, Jr. This L.A. Theatre Works production is also an excellent listening experience, and a spiritual journey.  A memoir of a slightly different type of journey, AN ODYSSEY: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn, is also reviewed this week. Narrator Bronson Pinchot  receives an Earphones Award for this memoir. Listening to even the briefest of sound clips lets you hear Bronson’s engaging style. 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.

Solve: Asian Crime Fiction

Audiobooks to transport you to China, Japan, and beyond

One of the most amazing things about books is the ability to travel to foreign and exotic locations without leaving the comfort of your own home. When the stories are truly powerful, you feel like you’re living in a world you’ve never physically inhabited. Then, when you bring a talented narrator into the mix, you will swear you can smell, taste, and hear that environment.

Malice

For me, that’s especially true in the tales set in Asian nations. It may be a result of my lack of international travel—or the snow and ice currently covering the landscape all around me—but more likely I’ve simply experienced great crime fiction from these lands.

From Japan, Keigo Higashino writes his Detective Galileo Series, which made a huge impression on American audiences when the debut, THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, released in 2011. The series continued with SALVATION OF A SAINT and A MIDSUMMER’S EQUATION, all narrated by David Pittu. Higashino has also published MALICE (read by Jeff Woodman) and UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN in the United States. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I’m not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I’m an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Tease: Pairing Up for the New Year

Finding that perfect match

Lady Traveler's Guide to Scoundrels and other Gentlemen

My niece (a smart cookie!) received a matching game for Christmas. All of her animal shapes in neat matching pairs made me think about how none of us like to be alone for New Year’s. If we’re going to jump into this brand new, perilous endeavor of 2018, we want company.

Surely, the same must be true of your audiobook collection. If one audiobook is good, then a pair must be better. So, in the spirit of starting the new year off right, here are some romance audiobook pairs. They all have something in common, some reason to be together in your playlist. And, if you have no other New Year’s resolutions, then keep it simple and Love Your Listening.

Pair THE LADY TRAVELERS GUIDE TO SCOUNDRELS & OTHER GENTLEMEN by Victoria Alexander, read by Marian Hussey
with VIRGIN’S SECRET by Victoria Alexander, read by Xanthe Elbrick

Both Victoria Alexander titles share her signature naughtiness. Her heroines manage to skirt the edges of proper behavior while remaining a part of society. THE VIRGIN’S SECRET was my first Xanthe Elbrick audiobook, and I still have fond feelings toward the book because of her superb accents and smooth-as-silk voice. If you like historical romance that keeps you on your toes, this pairing will suit nicely. Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she’s listening to right now!

Thankful for Great Narrators

Giving thanks for amazing storytellers

George Guidall by Joanna Perrin

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the U.S. And as we have been thinking about all that we’re thankful for, I’m reminded of how thankful I am for great stories, creative story writers, and amazing storytellers. When the craziness of the world just feels overwhelming, it’s a gift to be able to escape into the realms of these books that their creators and performers so generously share with us.

George Guidall by Joanna Perrin
Photo by Jo Anna Perrin

As audiobook fans know well, the narrator can make all the difference in a book. A so-so tale can become amazing, while a good one can fall flat, leaving the listener disappointed. Interpretation, nuance, and delivery are as important in an audiobook as a strong plot. For that reason, I wanted to pay homage today to narrators who have reminded me how I first learned to love stories and who make me love listening to them every day.

Anyone who follows my posts here should not be surprised to see George Guidall’s name on my list. He is, of course, the voice of Walt Longmire. Guidall is no stranger to mystery and crime novels. Some of his recordings in the genre include Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee series, Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp novels, and Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who books. His credits are far too lengthy to list here, but some other highlights of my personal listening history include his reading of Caleb Carr’s THE ALIENIST and Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I’m not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I’m an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Audiobooks and Literacy: Purposeful Performances

6 audiobooks with narrations that will thrill you, comfort you, and send you off to bed

Manhattan Beach

Every day we read, listen to, or watch a variety of media with specific purposes in mind: to gather information, find entertainment, explore a new culture, or participate in our own. Each should vary in delivery if we are to satisfy our goal: to learn, to relax, or to share in a sense of community. There is no one-size-fits-all presentation for a certain kind of content, and no one way of engaging with that content that will work for everyone.

Manhattan BeachAnd so it is when you choose audiobooks for yourself or for children. Beyond content, what sort of performance might best fit the material and help listeners satisfy their immediate needs? Luckily, the audiobooks available to us today continue to show growth the in diversity of their expressive styles as well as their range of content, both for adults and children. Some performance styles particularly enhance and expand the particular kind of content you seek on audio.

Looking for a satisfying escape through story? Certainly the acting performance of a skillful narrator—or multiple narrators, like in MANHATTAN BEACH—can move a thriller or a cozy mystery or a celebrity biography from page to sound, with highly enhanced entertainment value. Read more…

Francisca Goldsmith

Francisca Goldsmith has worked with teens, collections, and administering branch services in public, school, and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Connecting communities to information and supporting new Americans in learning both language and culture are her passions. To those ends, she’s worked with audiobooks and listeners for the past 20 years.

Robin’s Roundup: November 17 New Audiobook Reviews

A food-centric audiobook to inspire holiday plans

Out Of Line

Out Of Line Chef and restauranteur Barbara Lynch’s memoir OUT OF LINE: A Life of Playing With Fire may be just the ticket to inspire your holiday planning while hearing about Lynch’s bootstrap rise to extraordinary success. Narrator Christina Delaine leads us through avowed risk-taker Lynch’s memoir. I was intrigued by the New York Times interview with Lynch titled “After South Boston, a Restaurant Was Easy.” That seems like a good way to approach holiday meal planning!

One of the audiobook publishing events I’ve most looked forward to this fall is Philip Pullman’s new THE BOOK OF DUST: La Belle Sauvage. I’ve previously written about my affection for and admiration of Pullman’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS—the full trilogy, released nearly 20 years ago. I had the great pleasure of talking with some of the audio producers involved in creating Pullman’s terrific audiobooks, and I’ll write more about this in a few weeks. 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 Download: Stephen Fry’s Sherlock Holmes

Join us as we discuss the legendary Sherlock and this masterful new interpretation of the classics

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesAudioFile contributing editor and reviewer Aurelia Scott has been a lover of Sherlock Holmes since she was a little kid poring over the annotated collection, as regular blog readers are well aware! I was excited to learn of actor Stephen Fry’s new narration and commentary on the complete works of SHERLOCK HOLMES and decided to sit down to chat with Aurelia about our mutual love of the detective and all the many interpretations we have listened to over the years.

Stephen Fry’s narration is special, as it not only includes his complex rendition of Sherlock and the engaging Watson, but also his own introductions that share with listeners his reflections on the novels and short stories. Listen in as Aurelia and I discuss our love of Sherlock, our appreciation for this masterful collection, and why Sherlock is still so relevant today.

Read more…

Josephine Reed

Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Sherlock Holmes Anniversary

My Man Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesIt began with “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” which is arguably Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous short story. I was 11 years old and at odds with the world when my mother thrust a heavy volume into my hands. Still complaining, I retired to my room. Within a page, I’d been offered a wonderful new nineteenth-century identity as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s invisible sidekick. One who knew that only a dog cart throws up mud on a person’s sleeve in that way. “And then,” as Holmes explained, “only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver.” Soon thereafter, we discovered the snake in the wall, that is, the speckled band, and I was hooked for life.

The Sherlock Holmes canon—four novels and 56 short stories—has remained in print since publication of the first novel, A STUDY IN SCARLET, in 1887. It’s inspired hundreds of screen adaptations (beginning with a silent film in 1900), radio and stage plays, and new Holmes novels and short stories by other writers. Luckily for us, that wealth has produced an equal richness of audiobooks. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Behind the Mic: The Yid

History and invention in the last days of Stalinist Russia—and this audiobook is funny, really.

AudioFile went Behind the Mic to hear from Peter Berkrot about narrating THE YID, written by Paul Goldberg. Peter tells us that as he prepared for the narration, it brought back memories of his own family.

“It took me back to memories of my childhood, growing up and listening to my grandparents, and great aunts and uncles speaking Yiddish and laughing.”—Narrator Peter Berkrot

Read more…

We’re the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!