The 2020 Audie Awards Gala last week in NYC was a glittery celebration of the APA’s annual awards given in 24 categories. Mo Rocca, “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent, author, and host of the Mobituaries podcast, emceed the sold-out event of publishers, authors, and audiobook narrators. Emily & I were surrounded by talent at Table 17 (above). Read more…
Women make history in large and small ways every month of every year, including Women’s History Month in March. The third month of the year is also when I celebrate the memory of my mother. Dramatic, kind, brave, with a flair for rule-breaking and attentive listening, she was always proud of being accepted as a white woman at a Black Panther rally where she got to shake hands with Angela Davis. In that spirit, here’s to all the cool women in your life, the ones who look like you and the ones who don’t. Read more…
Neil Gaiman’s fantastic worlds are an absolute delight on audio, and listeners are especially lucky to get to experience his work this way. Not only is there so much to choose from across so many genres, but we often get multiple audio versions of a single book. And Gaiman is an expert interpreter of his own work—once you’ve listened to his nuanced narration, you’ll be able to conjure up his voice in your head anytime you read his words.
Where to start? Whether you’re a longtime fan of GOOD OMENS, Gaiman’s funny book about the apocalypse co-written with the late Terry Pratchett almost 30 years ago, or a new convert thanks to the sparkling new Amazon/BBC series, now is the perfect time to hear (or revisit) the audiobook. Read more…
This humorous redundancy, credited to Yogi Berra, always tickles me. Looking over the new audiobook reviews of the last couple of weeks, I do get the feeling we’re heard some of the titles before. In some cases there are new recordings that replace older ones, or new versions with a different performance approach. And some of that feeling of recollection is with new memoirs from people who continue to write more chapters about their lives. Read more…
Get Your Young Listeners in a Trick-or-Treating Mood
Some people love to be scared at Halloween. I was never one of them. While for my friends, October means breaking out frightening stories of ghosts and ghouls, I prefer my Halloween listens to be cozy and maybe slightly spooky, but definitely on the tamer side of terrifying.
Here are some atmospheric stories perfect for chilly fall nights to get kids in the mood for Halloween—without being too scary. Read more…
In a couple of days, I am off to the United Kingdom. I am packing clothes, lots of good walking shoes, an umbrella, and several audiobooks, some new and some already well-listened-to, to accompany me on the long flight across the pond. I find that on overnight journeys, when my eyes tire from the screen (watching a movie or reading a book), audiobooks entertain, relax, and make the time fly by.
I need look no further than this year’s Audie Award finalists to find audiobooks to set the mood for my trip. For a mystery buff going to London, the first choice has to be Sherlock Holmes. In the best male narrator category is Stephen Fry reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s SHERLOCK HOLMES. I’m looking forward to listening on my long plane trip, and then paying a visit to Baker Street and the Old Bailey. I’ll be taking pictures for my upcoming blog post. Read more…
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).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Holmes has influenced many greats in the world of mystery
This past weekend was lauded as Sherlock Holmes weekend. It’s a regular celebration for the folks in Cape May, NJ, and Cambridge, OH. In the crime fiction world there is plenty of reason to celebrate. The beloved sleuth and his revered creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have shaped literature—especially the mystery genre—for ages and continue to do so even today.
For those who somehow managed to get through high school English courses without some exposure to the great Holmes, there are plenty of recordings of the novels and stories, like those Aurelia mentioned in her October post about her love of Sherlock. But for those who have read, reread, listened, watched, and maybe even enacted Doyle’s detective, here are some modern works he inspired to feed your hunger for the brilliant, deducing investigator.
Steve Hockensmith takes a fun twist with his Holmes on the Range series. Including novels and short stories, he parallels his Amlingmeyer brothers in the American West with Holmes and Watson across the pond. The series currently includes five novels, all narrated by William Dufris, and a collection of the shorts called DEAR MR. HOLMES, narrated by Barry Campbell. Hockensmith also reports that a new Holmes on the Range mystery is in the works! 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!
Great actors who can also deliver great audiobook performances
Asked to read a telephone book, Meryl Streep could find subtext even in the X’s. Hand her a novel and she’s la crème de la crème. That cannot be said about most celebrities who’ve narrated audiobooks. Unfortunately, mega stardom doesn’t guarantee a mega audiobook performance. So let’s celebrate three stage and screen superstars who also are able to deliver splendid listening.
Streep can do serious, as evidenced by her performance of Colm Tóibín’s THE TESTAMENT OF MARY — a blazing commentary by the mother of Jesus on her son’s fate. She channels Mary, making the audiobook one for every faith or none. It’s a performance of a lifetime that I’ve pressed on many who weren’t sure and who came away convinced. Streep can also do funny, and her comedic timing is beautifully displayed in Nora Ephron’s fictionalized memoir, HEARTBURN. Both performances won Earphones Awards. Then there are her characterizations, vividly apparent in several narrations for children. For the kids in your life, or just for yourself, listen and savor THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, or three stories in an audio collection called RABBIT EARS STORIES BY BEATRIX POTTER. Rarely has Peter Rabbit sounded so inveterately tempted by Mr. MacGregor’s garden. Read more…
New Swedish noir from Anders de la Motte and a curious gem performed by Derek Jacobi
A couple of the audiobooks in this week’s new reviews have European provenance. THE SECRET DIARY OF HENDRIK GROEN: 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen is a Dutch bestseller published in 2014. The brilliant Derek Jacobi performs pseudonymous author Groen’s diary as a listener’s delight, delivering the emotional beats and subtle layers of humor.
For listeners who relish Swedish noir mystery, Anders de La Motte may be an author to check out. MEMORANDOM follows his successful GAME trilogy. Narrator Peter Noble does a great job leading listeners into an intriguing thriller that reflects the clear authenticity of de la Motte’s law enforcement background.
Being in the midst of summer, I would think we’d be seeing more baseball audiobooks. THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES sounds like a real nostalgia piece, and will take many listeners back to 1942 with the story of Lou Gehrig and the making of the Gary Cooper movie. The season is long, so more choices for baseball may come along.
We do seem to be in love with book covers with dogs . . .and COLLARED is no exception. Of course, it’s not just the cover—David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series is owned by narrator Grover Gardner. An Earphones Award here, but definitely not the duo’s first. I love this comment from AudioFile reviewer Brian Price: “Gardner’s wonderful combination of the rhythms of Sam Spade and the irreverent tones of Mark Twain make this diverting whodunit a listening treasure.” That’s my listening for this week.