Find the Heart of America with Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup July 13

Our Towns
Endpapers from OUR TOWNS by James and Deborah Fallows

Two audiobooks we reviewed this week made me think about what a great variety of communities and lifestyles we have across the country. Several recent audiobooks have brought to mind small towns. The cross-country journeys of authors James and Deborah Fallows to small communities across the U.S. are the topic of OUR TOWNS: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. Reading about the audiobook, I was curious what the authors learned, and about the places they explored, like Erie, Pennsylvania, or Fresno, California. James Fallows wrote an article for The Atlantic, “The Reinvention of America,” just as the book and audiobook were released. 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.

6 Thrilling Encounters with Dinosaurs

Enjoy a Summer of Jurassic Love

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Ever since Jurassic Park was released in June 1993, the summer has belonged to dinosaurs. I mean, you or a close family member have already seen this summer’s blockbuster, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, right? So tell me, what does “brontosaurus” mean? Give yourself a gold star if you answered, “Thunder Lizard.” If you blanked, no worries. I’ve collected six titles that’ll inform and thrill your dino-loving outer adult and inner child.

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursTHE RISE AND FALL OF THE DINOSAURS by Steve Brusatte, read by Patrick Lawlor, is a captivating and informative “new history of a lost world.” Brusatte’s a youthful paleontologist with a taste for international adventure, and he leads a fun and occasionally dangerous tour from Chinese deserts to the American badlands, acquainting us with creatures that become more astounding the more we learn. By the way, did you know that before dinosaurs, the earth was dominated by pelycosaurs, archosaurs, and therapsids — aka ginormous meat-eating reptiles? I know, I know, this stuff is so cool. 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.

Beat the Heat! 8 Icy Audiobook Listens

Robin’s Roundup July 6

Ice
Elementals: Ice Wolves

Ok, I’ll admit it—just looking at the covers of these “icy” audiobooks is helping me cool off! Even if air conditioning is keeping you cool, we all have to venture out into the recent hot weather. Here’s a bit of audiobook listening to beat the heat.

Anna Kavan’s ICE features an ice apocalypse and plummeting temperatures—a good start to cool me down. But before you grab it, it’s worth looking into this 1967 science fiction/fantasy/dystopian classic. Jonathan Lethem wrote recently about the work in The New York Times. In this new audio release, Nigel Patterson engages with a passionate performance. ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES is a fantasy for the younger set—good for middle grade listeners and family listening. 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.

7 (and more) Great Audiobooks About the Civil War

Aurelia Recommends Listens That’ll Bridge the Mason-Dixon Line

The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of CourageJuly 1st is the anniversary of the start of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. On my first visit to the battlefield, which is one of the country’s top summer travel sites, I got lost in the woods near Little Round Top. Though I soon found the path, my panicked stomach-flop brought to mind terrified Henry Fleming in Stephen Crane’s THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, that archetypal novel about fear and heroism in the midst of a maelstrom. If you, like I, read it in school eons ago, it’s worth revisiting as we approach the anniversary of the decisive battle, and of a war whose wounds persist. Of all the versions, I recommend the re-release of Frank Muller’s performance. His reading is as marvelous as the war was devastating. 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.

Romance Reaches the Highlands

5 Romance Audiobooks Set in Scotland

Standing Stones

My book group just read WAVERLY by Sir Walter Scott (yes, I read in print, too, although these days I listen more), which is the story of an English soldier’s time among Scots Highlanders preparing for a final attempt to install Bonnie Prince Charlie as the king of England. Scott gives the true picture of how distinct, how remote, how stunning the topography is in the Highlands, north of Glen Mor, the Highland Fault.

Now, even if you aren’t an Outlander fan (yet), I hope you can imagine from that description how this awe-inspiring setting is the perfect backdrop for any romance. (Romance writers have learned to omit references to mosquitoes!) And so, we couldn’t resist bringing you a bunch of new Highland audio — quite a variety, but plenty of Scotland to gorge yourself on!  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!

Honoring Pride’s Continuing Relevance

In Our Time: LGBTQI recommendations

Pride

PrideThe history of Pride marches and events stretches back now nearly half a century. Books and audiobooks for young listeners continue to grow in both number and depth of treatment, where LGBTQI characters have moved from props to tropes to engaging people who happen to identify along the diverse orientation spectrum. It’s a little—well, a lot—harder to find such an audiobook presence for adult listeners seeking books, authors, and narrators with whom to celebrate Pride.

However, they do exist, and there are a number that adult listeners may want to hear this month especially. 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.

Five Questions with Grover Gardner

Sharing five excellent audiobooks and five insightful questions with a veteran narrator

Grover Gardner

Grover GardnerI don’t know why I always associate veteran narrator Grover Gardner with nonfiction, because although he does indeed narrate history, biography, and theology, he has worked on a full range of genres, everything from horror to light kids’ stories. While I’m not likely to listen to Grover’s Earphones Award–winning performance of THE STAND (I think it might be too spooky for me), I enjoy listening to his “charming voice” on much tamer audiobooks.

Grover has narrated hundreds of titles (no exaggeration), so it was just a little difficult to pick only five to show off his work. The titles featured today reflect my own tastes: These are audiobooks I recommend or that are on my personal to-be-listened-to wish list. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

What Are We Doing Here? Marilynne Robinson’s cultural criticism

Behind the Mic with Carrington MacDuffie

What Are We Doing Here?

In our latest Behind the Mic, narrator Carrington MacDuffie shares her experience narrating WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? Essays by Marilynne Robinson.

“The depth and passions with which Marilynne Robinson explores her subjects—primarily theology— inspired me throughout.”—Narrator Carrington MacDuffie

Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Go West for Romance

Tease: Western Romance Audiobooks

Cowboy Up

Cowboy UpFor those of us who live in the cold, rainy northeast, the setting of a Western romance audiobook holds huge appeal. Large ranches and farms are outside our everyday reality, and I always take an extra moment while listening to a western to soak in the descriptions of plants and trees we don’t have here. I’ll never forget driving through the fairly flat, mostly treeless highways of Kansas. In focusing on what was missing (our verdant, rolling hills covered with leafy trees and winding roads that twist around a varied landscape), it took me a while to realize what I’d gained — sky. Giant, overwhelming sky stretching from horizon to horizon. I remember talking to someone who said he felt claustrophobic without that unobstructed view, while I felt frighteningly small underneath it — it’s all what you’re used to! So this week we share some awe-inspiring western romances. A place to call home, independent characters who rely on friends and family to get by, a sense of belonging — narrators have to speak from their heart to capture the true spirit of the western happily ever after.  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!

Under Questioning: Listening to Formal Hearings

In Our Time

Mastergate

MastergateCongressional hearings are a process of information gathering—both orally and aurally. Hearings might be called for  democracy-threatening political disagreements, huge calamities with manmade elements, or the approval of candidates for important non-elected offices. This formal, often public, investigatory medium, with its spoken and heard nuances as important as the words transmitted, is very friendly to audiobook publishing and listening. Hearings have been recorded in sound media, as well as in transcript form, for over a century now. These recordings, as they relate to events included in audiobooks, may be in the form of archival clips, re-enactments, or elements of wholly fictional drama.

Among the past century of such Congressional hearings, events ranging from disaster at sea to dubious secret intelligence programs have given rise to such hearings. And the hearings have given rise to audiobooks for a variety of ages and in a variety of narrative styles. You can choose your concern or choose your genre to get a taste of listening to how hearings are realized by professional narrators and actors. 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.