Some of the business audiobooks I’m sharing today are decidedly in the how-to category, offering advice and strategies on starting a business, keeping it moving, hiring and keeping the best people. POWERFUL, by former Netflix CEO Patty McCord, explains why leaders should be ruthlessly clear about expectations and demand honest talk between every employee about everything. She reads her book with such authentic presence and spontaneity that you never doubt who she is and what’s important to her.
In another author-narrated title, THE BEST TEAM WINS, two behavioral scientists summarize fascinating research on what motivates the diverse types of people working in today’s high-pressure workplaces. For the busy executive with no time to read, listening to business audiobooks like these while commuting or exercising is a great way to stay current on what can bring out the best in you, your team, and your business. Read more…
Tom Walken has spent most of his professional life in clinical psychology, primarily as a psychotherapist and now as a management consultant. Reviewing audio programs for more than two decades has exposed him to some great thinkers and helped him become more effective in his work. But the biggest gift has been how listening helps him grow personally, look at himself with calmer eyes, and connect with others with a kinder heart.
What’s on your shelf of classic books? Revisit them as audiobooks with a favorite narrator
Simon Vance narrates many of our favorite children’s classics, including Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, which he also fondly remembers performing as a kid. Listen as he shares his delight in narrating these well-loved classics.
“They may be the classics that children start reading with, but I think they can stand alongside the best.”—Narrator Simon Vance
Today, on Earth Day, I’ll be taking my kids out to pick up trash around the neighborhood — something I remember doing with my friends and family growing up in rural Vermont. Every year, after the snow melted and all the accumulated garbage started appearing along with the crocuses, we would have our “green-up day” and go along the roads and in the woods picking up the trash we found. In my memories, we could trade in our full bags for donuts at the general store, which was a pretty magical experience.
In the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve found some conservation-themed audiobooks that celebrate protecting the magic of the earth — and the ocean — for everyone from four-year-olds to your David Attenborough-loving mom.
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers.
“Poetry lives everywhere,” said Tracy K. Smith, teacher and writer and America’s Poet Laureate, as she kicked off April’s National Poetry Month a few weeks ago. As a listener—to audiobooks, poetry, podcasts, and even the eloquence of a speaker—I love that we celebrate all of these in sound.
Tease: Audiobooks featuring women in unconventional locales, careers, and callings
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? (I wanted to be a superhero with a purple shirt, but I’m still waiting on that one.)
Regardless of your age, the scope of work for women has changed drastically during our lifetimes. Ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what jobs were available for women. Perhaps they went to college, or perhaps they raised a family. Perhaps they went to work during the Great Depression or during wartime. And what about your mother? Perhaps she became a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse, or perhaps she pursued part-time work when you and your siblings were little. Are there women in your family who are in the military, the sciences, or in government? And it goes on. In the past few years, women in our time have been pushing for equal inclusion in technology and corporate cultures. No matter what, I imagine the women you know and love have some stories to tell, for sure.
Speaking of stories, these romance audiobooks feature women in unconventional locales, careers, and callings. Whether it’s a historical romance where the woman wishes to define marriage and happiness on her own terms, the fast-paced world of journalism in the early twentieth century, a forced engagement via social media, or women breaking barriers in combat and law enforcement circles, these narrators create likable, authentic female characters who define their futures on their own terms. 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 Grammy Award-winning singer, author, and audiobook narrator Janis Ian was kind enough to sit and talk about SOCIETY’S CHILD, her experiences making her inspiring audiobook memoir, and the world of audiobook narration that it opened up for her. Listen to our conversation to hear more about Janis’s life in and out of the recording booth.
“The preparation to read an audiobook is the same as the preparation to go on stage, or to write a song.”—Janis Ian
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.
As you might guess, Women’s History is big this month at AudioFile! Each month we brainstorm about audiobook titles that we can recommend around themes, holidays, or current events—think Women’s History, Groundhog Day, or immigration. Our newsletters, Twitter posts, and website use the titles to suggest listening. I’m also excited about using the “playlist” option of our Soundcloud channel. We have 16 clips from, and about, Outspoken Women and will be adding more each week through the month. I love the fact that this is an ongoing project, so we keep adding new voices. Read more…
I spent years believing, or was it hoping, that I was too special to read books found on bestseller lists. Then I became a writer. Now I’m grateful for readers. And I applaud those who turn a book, any book, into a bestseller. Way to go, readers! But it still makes me feel special, even astonishingly brilliant, to have savored a writer’s work before they became famous. Thus I offer five fine audiobooks by some of my favorite authors, written before they won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Colson Whitehead, for example, whose wondrous and experimental THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, took the 2017 award and rightly blew everyone away, including our reviewer, who turned cartwheels over Bahni Turpin’s performance. Well before that, Whitehead wrote the more straightforward SAG HARBOR, given an Earphones Award winning performance by Mirron Willis. It’s a funny, often entrancing coming-of-age memoir cast as a novel about a 15-year-old boy during one special summer in a Sag Harbor neighborhood where black families owned the beach houses. Read more…
Take comfort from series continuity, and then add a change-up challenge
If you are a listener who loves series, one of the worst moments is when a new episode arrives and the long-time narrator is replaced. It’s a little like losing old friends . . . not only the narrator’s voice but the way he or she creates all the recurring characters. We do survive . . . think Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, where we lost beloved narrator Ralph Cosham. Luckily, the new narrator, Robert Bathurst, has turned out to be just as much of a delight. In one case of the same narrator remaining at the helm, Jan Karon’s Mitford series started with AT HOME IN MITFORD in 1994, and narrator John McDonough introduced me to this lovely slice of small-town America (nearly 25 years ago!). Read more…
Listeners can celebrate the Lunar New Year with Grace Lin’s THE YEAR OF THE DOG. Recently re-released, Lin’s debut novel was first published in the previous year of the dog, 2006. The combination of part story and part memoir makes the audiobook welcome for family listening.
As most of you know, Maine has quite a lot of “weather.” For anyone who can’t stand cold and doesn’t like to experience the elements, this state may not be for you. In my family, we have a mantra about that that’s just turned up as the title of Linda Åkeson McGurk’s audiobook: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER. In the pictures below are my hearty son and grandson, and on the right, Alex Johnston, Denny’s second grade teacher who espoused what’s now called the No Child Left Inside movement in the 1990s.