Audiobooks to Help You Survive Parenthood

Learning By Ear

Small Animals

Small AnimalsHow does anyone learn to be a parent? We not only can’t be told ahead of time how to do it, but we resist advice once we become parents and find out how hard it is. Many learning audiobooks say that part of the difficulty in the U.S. is a parenting culture that is too doctrinaire and unforgiving. Kim Brooks, the author of SMALL ANIMALS, describes how she was dragged into the legal system by a common parental mistake. She argues that too many parents have to defend their choices against the judgments of other parents and a growing number of institutional scrutinizers. 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.

Taking the Leap

5 Audiobooks to Inspire Change and Growth

Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Author/narrator Gregg Clunis

People wanting to change their lives usually go through six stages before they succeed, says personal growth blogger and podcaster Gregg Clunis in his audiobook, TINY LEAPS, BIG CHANGES. With his sincere, resonant voice and determined pacing, his reading of this stimulating audiobook gives it instant credibility—authority you recognize right away when you hear it. His thinking on this subject, intuitive and accessible, contributes to the audiobook’s power: He says people need a jolt of unpleasantness to kick-start change—a wake-up call like a betrayal by someone you trusted, a demeaning interaction with a boss, or a bad decision that has come home to roost. But for most of us, the alarm bell is not enough. The sting of bad news fades quickly because we tend to resist change and fall back into familiar routines. But once we have learned to “stay with” our unhappiness, he suggests that we spend time looking at alternative directions and focus on one, connect with it fully, and then get into a daily routine that moves us in that direction. 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.

Audiobook Narrators Come to Maine

Robin’s Roundup July 27

Lobster Bake
photo by Sean Runnette

Each summer AudioFile celebrates audiobook narrators with a Maine clambake in Boothbay, Maine. Narrators come from across the country, and sometimes we even have an international guest. But it’s not just the usual suspects—each year a different and diverse group of narrators joins us. We greet old friends and make new ones!

We always have representation from AudioFile’s Golden Voices—this year Barbara Rosenblat and Robin Miles joined us. AudioFile Earphones Award winners and Audie Award winners also are well represented. And it’s a true delight just to get to put voices and faces together. 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.

July Audiobook Summer Staff Picks

6 Audiobooks for Summer Listening

July Staff Picks

July Staff Picks

This past weekend, narrators, producers, and the AudioFile staff gathered by the sea for a day of sunshine and perfectly cooked lobsters. One thing is for sure — we had a lot of fun talking audiobooks with a crowd of audiobook lovers!

Our summer staff picks this month include 6 audiobooks — both new and old favorites — that are compelling enough to keep you company along the journey to wherever you’re going, whether that’s driving up the coast, strolling around the block, or commuting to work. Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Celebrating Winners — And Adding More New Listening

Robin’s Roundup June 8

Audiobook Tea by Steve Kagan
Audiobook Tea by Steve Kagan
photo by Steve Kagan

Everyone in the audiobook world had eyes on the NYC conferences and social events last week. With more than 400 narrators, publishers, producers, authors, Audie judges, and audiobook media attending each of 4 events, I greeted, spoke with, or waved at so many audiobook people. At the Audiobook Tea—held during BookExpo—I was delighted to introduce the four guest authors: Laini Taylor, Gayle Forman, Jason Fry, and Kathryn Hahn spoke about their audiobooks. Publishers Weekly covered the event that was attended by booksellers, librarians, and publishers. 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.

Get It Together

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Five Audiobooks that Will Put Your Life in Order

Spark Joy

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpSo how did your tax preparation go this year? Personally, I only cursed twice. First when I dropped the file of medical receipts. Second when I learned that despite what my husband and I had spent on doctors, it wasn’t enough to be deductible. I discovered that after adding it all up on a recalcitrant calculator.

That’s when, inspired by Marie Kondo’s runaway bestseller, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, I shredded those useless receipts and resolved next year to keep only that which I truly need (in one pouch as she does). Emily Woo Zeller’s Earphones Award performance makes Kondo’s quirky, precise guide to living tidily endearing as well as helpful. (Watch Zeller’s delightful Behind the Mic chat about narrating the book – she too folds her shirts differently!)  Her friendly tone warms the exacting tea-ceremony aspect of Kondo’s approach and animates her appealing eccentricities, such as thanking her possessions. Then again, who’s calling whom eccentric?  I’ve always talked to my stuff. 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.

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.

Take 5 with Candace: Lunar New Year

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

In China, the celebration of the Lunar New Year is called the Spring Festival, though you may know it as Chinese New Year. During the two-week-long holiday, participants honor their ancestors and deities and spend time with their families.

Festivities involve red decorations, lanterns, parades, firecrackers, and special foods (such as dumplings and long noodles). Similar to the celebration of the new year in cultures and religions around the world, several Chinese traditions are meant to ensure a healthy and prosperous future.

Do Not Say We Have NothingThis year, Spring Festival begins on February 16 and ushers in the Year of the Dog. According to one source, the coming months will see an increase in “social awareness and action, for the many rather than the few.” If you were born in the Year of the Dog, you likely share traits with Winston Churchill, Madonna, and Mother Teresa.

What can you do if you’re unable to attend any local celebrations? You can still get into the spirit of the Lunar New Year by donning a bright red sweater and ordering in some spring rolls. Then settle down to listen to one (or more) of today’s Take 5 recommendations, which will transport you to China, right from your favorite armchair. 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.

Behind the Mic: Kitchen Chinese

From a Hong Kong streetcar, Emily Woo Zeller recalls Isabelle’s journey

Kitchen Chinese

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller takes AudioFile readers Behind the Mic—and onto a streetcar in Hong Kong—to tell us more about her narration of KITCHEN CHINESE: Food, Family, and Finding Yourself and her connections to Ann Mah’s novel about Isabelle Lee, the heroine, who reconnects with her family and heritage.

“I’m currently in Hong Kong . . . Isabelle’s journey reminded me a lot of my time here and it’s wonderful.”—Narrator Emily Woo Zeller

Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Robin’s Roundup: October 20 New Audiobook Reviews

Seasonal—spooky—listening from Joe Hill, and essays on feminism by Rebecca Solnit

Strange Weather

Strange WeatherTopical essays, historical portraits, and short story collections can all give listeners a useful introduction to an author, but also showcase the variety offered with the audio version. Author Joe Hill’s collection of four novellas, STRANGE WEATHER, is a great example.

Four top narrators—Wil Wheaton, Dennis Boutsikaris, Kate Mulgrew, and Stephen Lang—each take on one of Hill’s stories. One can binge the whole collection or dole out the listening one dark scenario at a time. AudioFile is hosting a conversation between Joe Hill and narrator Dennis Boutsikaris as part of our podcast series, The Download. Keep an eye out for more on this program. 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.