4 Women Who Changed Our World

Robin’s Roundup: April 6 Audiobook Reviews

Visionary Women

VISIONARY WOMEN is made up of four mini biographies of women who changed the way we look at our world. As I thought about this interesting group—Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters—I realized that essays by each of them are also available on audio. Several preserve the voices of the authors themselves.

Chef, food activist, and founder of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters recorded her memoir COMING TO MY SENSES last fall. I love what our reviewer said: “Alice Waters’s narration is so approachable that it’s as if she walks up to your table wearing an apron, carrying an enticing plate of food, and says, ‘Eat this while I tell you my story.'” Jane Goodall has written and read several volumes on conversation, botany, and animals many years after her pioneering work with chimpanzees. Her last volume, SEEDS OF HOPE, did not record Jane’s voice, but in her mid-70s she did record HOPE FOR ANIMALS AND THEIR WORLD. 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.

What it feels like to be a parent

Self: Seven audiobooks on parenting toddlers and beyond

Achtung Baby

Achtung BabyMost people I talk with have fond memories of the years they spent raising children. It felt great to love those little ones with such intensity and to feel that consuming sense of responsibility for their journey into adulthood. Now that I’m a grandparent, I can tell you it’s even more fun when you’re not the primary care provider and don’t feel that pressure to do something when things aren’t going well. My responsibilities now are to give unwanted advice to the parents and to hide my judgment when I see they’re doing something “wrong.” Two of the parenting audiobooks I listened to recently struck a chord with the part of me that misses being overprotecting and pushing my children to astounding achievements. 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.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Behind the Mic with Narrator Adam Grupper

The Color of Law

Adam Grupper takes listeners Behind the Mic to talk about his narration of THE COLOR OF LAW, Richard Rothstein’s examination of discriminatory laws limiting housing for African-Americans. A former New York Times columnist and research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, Rothstein details disturbing evidence.

“For me, this was a deeply infuriating and deeply disturbing book. I hope it will have as profound an impact on you as it had on me.”—Narrator Adam Grupper

Read more…

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Take 5 with Candace: Pi Day

Celebrating Pi Day with pastries, pizza, and plenty of audiobooks

How To Bake Pi

How To Bake PiHappy Pi Day (or for some of us, Pie Day)! Okay, so you know about the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox (all March events), but what’s with Pi Day?

Remember your high school geometry class? Pi (π) is used in the formula that determines the circumference of a circle.  So what does that have to do with March 14? Pi is equal to 3.14 (followed by a bunch of other numbers). Get it? 3.14 = March 14.

Even though I actually do use geometry in my real life (you were right, Mr. High School Math Teacher), I much prefer to celebrate my Pi Day as Pie Day. I’m always up for yummy fruit or nuts baked in a flaky crust, perfect for breakfast or a late-night snack. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: March 9 New Audiobook Reviews

Outspoken Women

Outspoken Women

Soundcloud Playlist of Outspoken WomenAs 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…

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.

Robin’s Roundup: March 2 New Audiobook Reviews

Take comfort from series continuity, and then add a change-up challenge

To Be Where You Are

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…

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.

Robin’s Roundup: February 23 New Audiobook Reviews

Achtung, Parents!

The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog

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.

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.

Robin’s Roundup: February 9 New Audiobook Reviews

Pairs: two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together

It Occurs to Me that I Am America

This week I noticed an impressive crop of nonfiction audiobooks reviewed. Thoughtful and powerful audiobooks on immigration, politics, abuse, and race give us the chance to listen to important and varied perspectives. We often see some of these complex topics handled in both nonfiction and fiction. Listeners usually have a specific preference—a factual account, or the same topic with imagined historical or emotional detail.  Here are some thoughts on audiobook pairs from our recent reviews.

It Occurs to Me that I Am America
Revolution Song

Russell Shorto’s new history REVOLUTION SONG takes a look at the American Revolution through the stories of six people. I’ll pair that with IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I AM AMERICA, a collection of short stories by Richard Russo, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, and thirty other contemporary authors. 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.

Take 5 with Candace: 5 Questions with Robert Fass

Five audiobooks and five questions with narrator Robert Fass

Robert Fass

Today I welcome the versatile Robert Fass to the 5 Audios / 5 Questions hot seat. I say versatile not only because Robert’s audiobook catalog covers a wide range of genres but also because he’s dipped his toe into the audiobook publishing pool as well (IT HAPPENED IN BOSTON?).

Robert Fass

5 Audiobooks

One of Robert’s strengths as a narrator is creating a strong link between listeners and author, especially for nonfiction. For example, his performance of the personal essays in THE FLY TRAP highlights entomologist Fredrik Sjöberg’s personality, enthusiasm, and wry humor, making us feel as if we had just made a new friend. Robert’s delivery of Henry Fountain’s THE GREAT QUAKE, about the 9.2-magnitude 1964 Alaskan earthquake, helps us absorb the unthinkable devastation as described by eyewitnesses but wisely backs off the melodrama. 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.

Self: The Nuance of Social Issues

Audiobooks to understand the foundations of and approaches toward today’s social challenges

Tales of Two Americas

Audiobooks about issues and ideas have always been a large segment of the nonfiction catalog, and we’re honoring that tradition with a collection of audios on social issues your friends and neighbors are talking about. Racial and LGBTQ discrimination, unfairness in the workplace, an upside-down criminal justice system—these are issues that deserve our attention.

Tales of Two AmericasWhile the messaging in print and other media outlets is too often full of passion without mercy and chaotic conversations, the social issue audiobooks we hear are invariably more illuminating than divisive. Written persuasively by well-qualified authors, these audios tackle the foundations and nuance of today’s social challenges and offer appealing ideas about how to handle them.

With audiobooks in this genre, the challenge for narrators is bringing the type of tone, attitude, and character that fits the energy and substance of the message. By carefully modulating their passion, a good reader draws listeners into a book’s point of view instead of throwing hand grenades at them. Just watch a bit of political or local-access TV to get a taste of how bombast and an untrained voice can ruin an idea. 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.