Courtship Counts

Let’s Bring Romance Back!

The Kiss Quotient

Courtship. In this age of dating apps, texting, and Twitter, the ways we maneuver the initial phase of a relationship are unique to our modern (and confusing) culture. Do you find yourself multitasking even when you’re around your loved ones? Can you get through a dinner date without taking out your smartphone at some point? (Be honest!) Do you Google all of your potential partners? Have you ever rethought a relationship with someone because of what you saw on their Facebook or Instagram account? All of this is to say that technology is often miraculous and wonderful—it keeps us connected to each other in many ways. On the other hand, technology may distract us from meaningful moments that move us from courtship to a relationship. Let’s bring romance back! These audiobooks stand out for delicious, delightful courtships that are even more romantic and more memorable when dedicated narrators share it with us up close and out loud.

The Kiss Quotient

THE KISS QUOTIENT
by Helen Hoang
read by Carly Robins
Dreamscape

What’s Stella to do when her family flat-out tells her they want grandchildren and encourages her to use Tinder to get them some? Hire a sexy consultant. This sizzling #ownvoices novel features a character with Asperger’s. 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!

7 Audiobooks for Summer Listening

AudioFile’s Staff Picks for June

Summer Listening in Maine

Today marks the official first day of summer — what better day to share our summer audiobook listening recommendations? AudioFile happens to be located in Maine, aka Vacationland (that’s our beautiful coastline above), so we know how to do summer! Our staff picks include fiction, nonfiction, and family audiobook recommendations for all of your road trips, camp-outs, evening strolls, and long weekends. Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

7 Top New British Mysteries

Robin’s Roundup June 15 New Audiobook Reviews

7 Top New British Mystery Audiobooks

Summer is the perfect time to relax with a great audiobook—and for me, I go first to British mysteries. I try to keep up with authors I don’t know well—like Ruth Ware or Anthony Horowitz—and also follow favorite long-running series—like Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge or Martha Grimes’s Inspector Jury and his motley crew of village regulars. Peter May, author of several compelling stories set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, is another favorite. Since I binged on the TV series “Vera,” I have happily been consuming Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope audiobooks. 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.

Sneha Mathan on When Dimple Met Rishi

Tease: Behind the Mic on a summer teen romance

Sneha Mathan by Howard Petrella

Every year, audiobook lovers rejoice in AudioFile’s Sync Audiobooks for Teens summer listening program. It’s free audio, thoughtfully curated, and there are always SO many good titles that I start to have audio anxiety (Audio anxiety (noun): The state of panic and fear that arises when an audiophile realizes there are more audiobooks that one yearns to listen to than there are hours in a day/week/year/lifetime/geologic time scale.) This summer, I foresee an especially bad case of audio anxiety coming on.

“Sandhya Menon’s writing is cinematic and makes for a fun read.”—Narrator Sneha Mathan

OF COURSE, what makes Sync even better, at least for the week of May 24-30 specifically, is that we have a ROMANCE to discover. Now, newsflash. Many people who claim not to like romance Actually. Like. Romance. (Ahem, Sarah Maas. Ahem, THE HUNGER GAMES. Ahem, Rainbow Rowell.) So, no matter your usual genre preferences, you’ll want to check out WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. When a romance is all about dialogue, you know it’s perfect audiobook material. And narrators Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam ensure that listeners are as in love with the story as the characters are with each other. Listen in as Sneha talks about the audiobook with our Behind the Mic video above!

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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!

Let’s Flip Jane on Her Head

Six Austen-Inspired Audiobooks and One Perfume

Jane Austen photograph

See the yellowed pages in my copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?  That’s to prove that I am a true Janeite.

Bona fides established, let me tell you about the literary mashup PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, by Seth Grahame-Smith, in which the basic P&P plot line and tone are intercut with zombies roaming the 19th-century English countryside. Yes, Jane and zombies are ridiculous, but I listened during one of those complicated family summers, and its occasionally gruesome silliness was a magic diversion.  Author Steve Hockensmith has written two subsequent mashups of the mashup, which are also crazy funny: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: DAWN OF THE DREADFULS and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: DREADFULLY EVER AFTER. Most importantly for us, all three were narrated by the amazing Katy Kellgren, who won an Earphones Award for the second volume.

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

The Poetry of Each Day: Tracy K. Smith & Emily Dickinson

Robin’s Roundup: April 20th

Wade In The Water

“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.

In Smith’s new collection of poetry WADE IN THE WATER—which of course she reads—we hear her unhurried presentation of cadences and rhythm. And happily for listeners, her earlier collections, DUENDE and LIFE ON MARS, have also been released as audiobooks. In today’s New York Times there is a great conversation between Smith and Jacqueline Woodson, “Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature.”

Duende
Life On Mars
Wade In The Water
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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.

Opening Doors Beyond the Binary

In Our Time

The 57 Bus

In my work with library staff working to improve their reference interviewing skills, I regularly need to provide coaching to those who persistently (and inadvertently) shut down clients by offering them either/or options instead of open-ended questions. This binary view of possibilities is endemic in our culture as well: The person before us can identify themselves as this or that, black or white, straight or gay, right or wrong. In fact, identities match spectra, rather than simply opposite points, and allowing ourselves the opportunity to become aware of realities that go beyond what we already imagine as likely, or even possible, enlarges our own world as well as admitting more variety into it.

The 57 BusAn increasing number of authors address this concern, and many of these books are coming to audio format with successful performances. To be successful in this regard, narrators must be sensitive to the fact that humanity is much broader than a binary, and win listeners to greater possibilities through careful interpretation in their performances.

Among recent audiobooks that demonstrate such wider realities, Robin Miles’s reading of journalist Dashka Slater’s THE 57 BUS: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives is a fine example. There are surface-level elements in this account that clearly spotlight neither/nor, such as the crime victim’s identity as genderqueer. There are more subtle aspects, too, including the true reason behind the perpetrator becoming presumptively identified with a hate crime when, in fact, hate did not inform his motivation. Miles, for her part, does not add a fictional layer to Slater’s carefully balanced reporting by presuming character voices. Instead, she allows each and all sides to be heard unweighted, leaving the listener to consider all the mitigating points along the spectrum of gender identity, class, and racial histories. 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.

We love Stina Nielsen and her sweet puppy Phoebe

Tease: Behind the Mic with Stina Nielsen

A New Leash on Love

A New Leash on LoveThere is NOTHING I love as much as ANY book that has an animal as one of the characters. Especially an animal with so much personality that they hog center stage away from the people. A couple of past favorites that immediately come to mind are Linda Howard’s TROUBLEMAKER and Susan Mallery’s SECOND CHANCE GIRL. When the first thought that comes to your mind as you are entering a new scene of the story is, “Well, what does the dog think of this development?” you know you’re in dog heaven.

We are fortunate enough to have some Behind the Mic thoughts from narrator Stina Nielsen and her puppy Phoebe! After watching this video, I predict that you’ll be in love with Stina Nielsen and Debbie Burns AND convinced that audiobooks are a force for good in the world. On the off chance you haven’t yet listened to one of Nielsen’s titles, do so immediately. She’s fun, she’s lively, and she brings a warmth to everything she does that keeps you connected to the story.

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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 voices of women crime solvers of the past

Solve: In celebration of March’s International Women’s History Month

To Die But Once

To Die But OnceBold, brave, fierce women—amateur sleuths, trained medical professionals, photographers, and spies are the heroines in the historical mysteries that come to mind in celebration of International Women’s History Month (March).  Well-researched, well-written, and well-narrated, these audiobooks provide listeners with an illuminating and inspiring view into the challenges facing women in recent history.

The first and second world wars seem particularly rich as the inspiration for women mystery authors writing lead women characters.  Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series takes us on a journey from 1913 through the latest entry, TO DIE BUT ONCE, taking place in the beginning of WWII. While Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator and psychologist, unravels serious crimes, she also provides insights into the emotions of ordinary people trying to get on with their lives under the shadow of war. Earphones Award winner Orlagh Cassidy has become the voice of Maisie Dobbs and the associates who surround her. 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).

Behind the Mic: Openly Straight

Narrator Pete Cross brings humor and empathy to Bill Konigsberg’s LGBTQ teen novel

Openly Straight

Narrator Pete Cross takes AudioFile readers Behind the Mic to share his narration of Bill Konigsberg’s funny and sweet audiobook for teens, OPENLY STRAIGHT.

“I was happy, really happy, to be a part of it because I thought it was important . . . I’m gay, and when I was a teenager, there weren’t books with main characters my age who were gay and  that had these positive images of gay people.”—Narrator Pete Cross

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We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!