Make Me Smart: These Audiobooks Educate While They Entertain

Make Me Smart

Make Me Smart

That day, about two-thirds of the way through summer vacation, when you eat the entire bin of caramel corn and allow your brain to embrace indolence? Well, that day is over. O.V.E.R. The beach towels have been put away, and the kids are back in school. It’s time for the rest of us to get smart again, too. 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.

Criminal Intent: Series Mystery Listens

Almost Midnight

Forest Covered in Fog

Who are you planning to bump off this summer? Oh, don’t look shocked. If it isn’t an in-law, blood relative, supervisor, cubicle mate, or politician, then it’s the barista who has never once acknowledged your daily presence in the coffee shop. (Could be your lack of tipping—just saying.) Before doing the deed, you need inspiration about what to do and how to not be caught. So, today’s Audio Adventures celebrate the newest offerings from some of my favorite mystery series. 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.

Listening on a Summer Day

Robin’s Roundup July 19

Juniper Listening

Summer is full of activities for many of us—summer work schedules, family trips and get togethers, travels and adventures, projects that require good weather. For me, summer is prime listening time. I do more traveling, so I have more audiobook time in the car, and I also love to keep a story going while I cook or garden. (My wireless headphones have made garden-time listening so much more satisfying because I don’t get tangled up with headset cords!) A lazy hammock for reading just never seems to materialize, but my summer pace does offer plenty of listening opportunities. Kate Atkinson and Jason Isaacs just introduced me to Jackson Brodie in the new BIG SKY. I also love to have a listening partner. Whether it’s a young companion like my grandson (his current favorite remains TROMBONE SHORTY), or sharing a retelling of Greek myths with husband, Rob (we recently enjoyed listening to GREEK MYTHOLOGY EXPLAINED). 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.

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.

New Earphones Awards for Your Earphones

Robin’s Roundup December 28

Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson
Joel Froomkin
Derek Perkins by Huw Jones

Talking about the Best Audiobooks of the Year can’t really be called a distraction, but for the last month we have given top priority to talking about these great titles. If somehow you missed checking the list—it’s still here. Meanwhile, new reviews keep rolling in—almost 50 reviews each week. SO many good audiobooks! Here are some recent Earphones Award winners that especially caught our attention. 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.

A Foxhole to Audiobooks on the World War I Centenary

Robin’s Roundup November 9

Remembrance Audiobooks

Each week I often “go down the rabbit hole” in pursuit of audiobooks for this blog post. Perhaps this week it’s a “foxhole,” as my topic is the World War I Centenary—the Great War Forum even has a discussion of when and where the term foxhole originated. We’ve collected a varied group of audiobooks about WWI. Solve editor Ellen Quint just posted Reflecting on Remembrance Day through WWI Mysteries, and Aurelia Scott’s post My Grandfather’s War offers a good group of fiction and nonfiction audiobooks. Aurelia includes THE WORLD REMADE: America in World War I by G.J. Meyer. Narrator Rob Shapiro made a compelling video for us noting how relevant Meyer’s history remains.

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.

The Night a Classic Ghost Story Was Born

Robin Rounds Up Frankenstein

Frankenstein

FRANKENSTEIN was the result of a challenge among a group of friends to come up with a new ghost story. In 1816 on a holiday in Italy with friends, Percy Bysshe Shelley, his 18-year-old fiancee Mary, and Lord Byron shared stories, and Byron made the challenge. Mary Shelley’s resulting novel is still a catalyst for writers 200 years later. As an audiobook, the story of Frankenstein makes terrific listening—in both classic and newly imagined versions.

Frankenstein
Frankenstein
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.

The Romantic Tropes That Listeners Love

Admit it—we all have our favorites

Romance Covers

Romance CoversWhile mystery and science fiction certainly have tropes that weave through the genres—romance rules for recognizable storylines. In the early years of Harlequin et al., certain romantic tropes could not be avoided: boss/secretary, nurse/patient, and teacher/widower-with-son stories were thick on the ground. (Some of the more random ones that I particularly enjoyed were woman inherits castle in remote location, person rescued from waves with amnesia, and man suspects woman of having May/December affair with his father, but really it’s platonic.) 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!

Words and Sensibility

In Our Time

Word By Word

Words and SensibilityRegardless of individual political allegiance, Americans—and many in Europe, Asia, and Africa, too—are gaining new and more popular awareness of how words can be used to both contract and expand communication. Whether used as singular epithets or strung into carefully designed phrasing, words and the meanings they carry can persuade, enrage, comfort, and signal a lowering or heightening of tension. People who love to read know this as surely as do gossips and clergy crafting sermons. Adding the high-octane fuel of skilled performance of the written words guides listeners through pace, tone, and inflection to burn every spark of available meaning and potential nuance from the written word and bring it to the audiobook reader’s attention. 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.

Solve: Christmas Mysteries

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good crime story!

The Usual Santas

To all those observing today, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is filled with joy and love, that you’re surrounded by friends and family—or if you’re like me, that you’re getting some down time to quietly enjoy your audiobooks.

Christmas is a popular setting for crime novels, believe it or not. In the festively fun new collection of short stories from SoHo—THE USUAL SANTAS—Peter Lovesey explains why in his foreword:

The Usual Santas“The seasonal shopping spree provides rich pickings for thieves and fraudsters. Well-stocked stores become tempting targets for stick-up men and shoplifters. Pockets are picked, shoppers mugged, cars broken into and Christmas tree plantations raided. Cyber criminals relieve the unwary of their savings. Scam emails masquerade as greeting cards. Empty homes ransacked. Drink-fueled assaults are common. And even when the run-up to the holiday ends and the streets become more peaceful, domestic violence increases behind locked doors. Family feuds are revived by stressed-out, not-so-merry merrymakers. All of this is rich material for crime writers.” 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!