To Dwell in the Wonder of the World

6 Audiobooks About the Natural and the Divine

Blossoming cherry tree

It’s spring! Yes, even if a snow-bomb cyclone dumped a foot of white stuff in your yard last week, Passover, Easter, and Earth Day are all right around the corner, followed by maypole dances. So let’s savor this froth of cherry tree blossoms as we consider the best new and classic celebrations of the natural and spiritual worlds.

Barbara Brown Taylor’s Earphones Award performance of her celebrated essay collection, AN ALTAR IN THE WORLD, is a listening experience to treasure, preferably while enjoying spring flowers. The theology professor and former Episcopal priest has a pleasant voice with a slight southern lilt that welcomes listeners like the smile so audible in her tone. In essays both personal and universal, she writes about encountering the sacred while living every day—talking a walk, ironing a shirt, waiting in line at the grocery store. As a non-churchgoer, I appreciated her broad view of God and her embrace of the holiness to be found in a garden, as well as in a cathedral or temple. 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.

Poets & Audiobooks: The Interestingness of Connections

Robin’s Roundup April 12

How To Love A Country

How To Love A CountryOne of the things I like best about doing my blog posts is the places I go. For the audiobooks I write about here, I follow a wide variety of breadcrumbs and chase bits of information to amplify the story of the audiobook with details about authors or the topics. This type of research—a bit of web surfing, a rabbit hole to check out, or the discovery of an archival tidbit—is a great pleasure. Today I’m looking at Richard Blanco, Maria Popova, and Leonard Cohen.

Richard Blanco is one of our most influential poets and storytellers. While he lives in Maine, he writes about the world, including his Cuban-American heritage, and invites conversation with all Americans. He was President Obama’s inaugural poet performing his poem, “One Today.” He has published six collections of poetry. The newly released collection HOW TO LOVE A COUNTRY  is a great listening experience. Jennifer Dowell writes in our review, “With a quiet but driving intensity, Richard Blanco delivers poems that speak to our times.”  Watch Richard working in the studio recording the collection—this gives a glimpse at what the full collection offers. 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.

On the Town in Spring: These Audiobooks will Make You a City Lover

Listen and travel from New York to San Francisco to Rome and Beyond

Here Is New York

Here Is New YorkSpringtime in the city.  Blue skies, warming temperatures, birds singing. I walk out without a hat, breathe deep, and inhale the pungent scent of aged dog poop revealed by melting snow. Urban life is full of surprises. Yet I love cities in spring, and, for that matter, in summer, fall, and winter. Herewith are a few of my favorite listens in which the city is a character.

E.B. White’s classic, HERE IS NEW YORK, may have been written about the great metropolis of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, but it remains a timeless, perfect love letter to an imperfect urban mistress. The audiobook begins with a cogent 1999 introduction written by White’s stepson, editor and writer Roger Angell, which brings the family reminiscences into a contemporary era. Narrator Malcolm Hillgartner reads the introduction and the all-too-brief stroll around the city in an endlessly listenable baritone that manages to be simultaneously rugged and refined.   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.

St. Patrick’s Day Every Day: 6 Irish Mysteries

Discover a bounty of Irish listening

The Ruin
Oscar Wilde and Ellen Quint in Dublin
Oscar Wilde and Ellen Quint in Dublin

While St. Patrick’s Day gives us just one day to focus on all things Irish, I would need years to explore the wonderful bounty that is the world of mysteries that take place on the Emerald Isle. But what a delightful assignment that would be.  Delving into the world of Irish mysteries takes me back to my last trip to Ireland where I got to explore Dublin while listening to audiobooks. Catch this picture of me with the one and only Oscar Wilde.

Ireland has a rich history of oral storytelling, which makes these mysteries so well-suited for audiobooks. The stories are atmospheric and complex with multi-layered characters, and the narrators enchant with charming Irish lilts, making for a captivating listening experience. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Florida in 6 Audiobooks (plus palm trees and gators)

P.S. The sand really is sugar white

Aurelia in Florida

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…

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

5 Questions with Cherise Boothe

Why patience is important in the recording booth

Cherise Boothe

Cherise BootheSay hello to today’s Take 5 guest, Cherise Boothe, who is one of the queens of collaborative audiobooks. Her voice always gives spark to multicast productions, and I’m impressed with her ability to portray characters of all ages and from different parts of the world.

You may be familiar with Cherise’s youthful voice, which allows her to bring authenticity to children’s books. She is also, however, equally at home performing contemporary culture (THE FIRE THIS TIME), literary fiction (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE?), and humor audiobooks (BLACK MAN, WHITE HOUSE).

The audiobooks I feature here underscore the range of Cherise’s solo work, starting with a children’s story and ending with a novel about life under Jim Crow. 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.

Make a Wish! Great Listens for Grown-Up Birthdays

Audiobooks to treat yourself

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

The remarkable coincidence that this blog entry is posting on my birthday encourages me to share that on the first birthday I remember, I hid under a table at the Wharf Theater in Monterey, California, while the actors serenaded me. I was five and had never before had a room full of strangers sing my praises. Now it happens all the time.

Or not, which brings me to David Sedaris. Birthdays need laughter, and his newest painfully comic essay collection, CALYPSO, is about aging. He thinks about it while recalling his family’s never-less-than-dramatic beach vacations. Sedaris reads in his famous tongue-in-cheek manner and with a vivid ability to dramatize a range of characters. Listen for the mirth and cherish the honesty. 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.

8 Wintry Kids’ Listens

Stay warm with cozy listening!

Snowy mittens

Snowy mittens

Where I live in New Jersey, kids go to sleep on winter nights hoping to wake up to a SNOW DAY— a snowy world of no school. Whether you love the snow, hate it, or live in a climate that never sees it, I have picked a bunch of cozy winter listens for your kids to snuggle down with this month and embrace the joys of winter.

Bear Snores On

BEAR SNORES ON
by Karma Wilson, read by Karma Wilson
Weston Woods Studios, Ages 4-6
 

As Bear hibernates through the winter, Mouse and an ever increasing group of friends take advantage of the comforts in Bear’s cave by cooking a feast under his sleeping nose. This reading by the author allows young listeners to appreciate the rhyme and beat of the story, and to soak in the humor of the midwinter merriment. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Warm up with Romantic Comedies

New favorites from narrators we love

Warm Up ListensThese days, if you live in the East (or Midwest or Mid-Atlantic or Northwest), you can’t look at a short-sleeved shirt without a faint feeling of nausea. We escaped the last snowstorm when cold air sat on top of us and pushed the snow out to sea but we’re due to get a couple more and they say, the polar vortex is breaking up through the end of February. (Translation: Snow. Lots of snow.) In my personal opinion, one of the things that makes bitter cold more bearable is connecting with friends and having a great time. You know that friend who always erases your bad mood and makes you laugh out loud? You get their call, email, or text, and suddenly you’re smiling? Well, welcome to the audiobook version of that with these humorous rom-coms! Insta-friendship coming right up with these fun, flirty titles. 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!

The Thrill of Knowing Stuff (in Five Audiobooks)

Inspiration! Enlightenment! Entertainment!

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Brief Answers to the Big QuestionsThis time of year, I want to be inspired and enlightened about things that matter while also being entertained. I seek hope about the future, even if that hope is tethered to a “what must happen to save the world” to-do list. Yes, watching the Great British Baking Show and listening again to Henning Mankell’s AN EVENT IN AUTUMN (read by the marvelous Simon Vance) have been satisfying diversions. But now I’m looking for empowerment, energy, and the happiness that comes from knowing stuff.

You too? Well, here are five audiobooks to get us started, beginning with Stephen Hawking’s BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS. Hawking’s “parting gift to humanity,” according to NPR, this short audiobook offers an eloquent and moving consideration of all that science has given us and the challenges left to face. Ben Whishaw’s gentle clear voice stands in eloquently for Hawking, making the science easy to understand and the human lessons significant. This will be one to play more than once and treasure forever. 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.