Take 5 with Candace: Five Fiery Listens

Discovering a red-hot trend in audiobooks

A Column of FireHave you noticed that this year’s books have been on fire? It seems every time I turn around, there’s another audiobook with the word fire in the title; in fact, there are LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Celeste Ng). From kids’ stories to fantasy and politics, 2017 has been the year of the red-hot audio. Want to share in a little of the heat? Here are 5 audiobooks across the genres to get you started.

Historical fiction listeners should put A COLUMN OF FIRE at the top of their audiobook list. The combination of author Ken Follett’s complex storytelling with narrator John Lee’s believable characterizations and “crisp, rich” delivery can’t be beat. The audiobook is the third in a series about the people of Kingsbridge, England, but can easily be enjoyed as a standalone journey back to the 1500s. 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: December 1 Best Audiobooks of the Year

Which audiobook will you choose next?

Best Audiobooks 2017Today, we’re launching our annual celebration of Best Audiobooks. Choosing among ALL of the audiobooks we’ve reviewed this year, we selected titles that have special resonance as audiobooks. You can explore our choices from the Best Audiobooks Ezine. I love this edition because we’ve added video and sound clips to help you find your next great audiobook.

Throughout the month here in my Roundup,  I’ll be highlighting a few of our choices from each of the nine subject categories. It’s quite hard to choose just a couple from the great titles in each genre—that’s why you’ll have to explore the whole list! I’ll start with Fiction and Memoir—two categories that always get a lot of attention. Read more…

Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Behind the Mic: Kitchen Chinese

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

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!

Take 5 with Candace: 5 Questions with Karen White

Five audiobooks and five questions for narrator Karen White

Karen WhiteSay hello to Karen White, the first guest in my 5 Audios / 5 Questions series. Karen is not only one of the queens of romantic fiction narrators but is also known for compelling performances in literary fiction, memoir, mystery, and more.

5 Audiobooks

Audiobook fans live for those magic pairings between author and narrator, especially for ongoing series. Karen has performed many of Jill Shalvis’s novels and is the voice of her Heartbreaker Bay Series, including this fall’s CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE. Her delivery emphasizes the romantic tension between the characters and brings out the Shalvis’s sense of humor. Karen’s believable characterizations and spot-on pacing for Julie James’s FBI-US Attorney romantic fiction series won her an Earphones Award for SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER. 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.

Audiobooks and Literacy: Purposeful Performances

6 audiobooks with narrations that will thrill you, comfort you, and send you off to bed

Every day we read, listen to, or watch a variety of media with specific purposes in mind: to gather information, find entertainment, explore a new culture, or participate in our own. Each should vary in delivery if we are to satisfy our goal: to learn, to relax, or to share in a sense of community. There is no one-size-fits-all presentation for a certain kind of content, and no one way of engaging with that content that will work for everyone.

Manhattan BeachAnd so it is when you choose audiobooks for yourself or for children. Beyond content, what sort of performance might best fit the material and help listeners satisfy their immediate needs? Luckily, the audiobooks available to us today continue to show growth the in diversity of their expressive styles as well as their range of content, both for adults and children. Some performance styles particularly enhance and expand the particular kind of content you seek on audio.

Looking for a satisfying escape through story? Certainly the acting performance of a skillful narrator—or multiple narrators, like in MANHATTAN BEACH—can move a thriller or a cozy mystery or a celebrity biography from page to sound, with highly enhanced entertainment value. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: November 17 New Audiobook Reviews

A food-centric audiobook to inspire holiday plans

Out Of Line Chef and restauranteur Barbara Lynch’s memoir OUT OF LINE: A Life of Playing With Fire may be just the ticket to inspire your holiday planning while hearing about Lynch’s bootstrap rise to extraordinary success. Narrator Christina Delaine leads us through avowed risk-taker Lynch’s memoir. I was intrigued by the New York Times interview with Lynch titled “After South Boston, a Restaurant Was Easy.” That seems like a good way to approach holiday meal planning!

One of the audiobook publishing events I’ve most looked forward to this fall is Philip Pullman’s new THE BOOK OF DUST: La Belle Sauvage. I’ve previously written about my affection for and admiration of Pullman’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS—the full trilogy, released nearly 20 years ago. I had the great pleasure of talking with some of the audio producers involved in creating Pullman’s terrific audiobooks, and I’ll write more about this in a few weeks. Read more…

Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Do You Even Like Pumpkin Pie?

Audiobooks to See You Through Thanksgiving

Appetite For LifeAs our national celebration of family and pie approaches, I’m reminded of the Thanksgiving when our gorgeously brown turkey slid off the serving platter and across the none-too-clean kitchen floor. After a stunned silence, my mother called out, “Julia Child!” We took up the cheer, “Yes, yes, Julia Child!” And with that paean to the woman who showed America how to cook and cope cheerfully with culinary setbacks, we plopped the bird back on the platter and headed into the dining room to brave my uncle’s divergent political opinions. (For more on the indomitable American cook, I recommend Wanda McCaddon’s reading of APPETITE FOR LIFE: THE BIOGRAPHY OF JULIA CHILD.)

The Lay of the Land

Weighted with food calamities, family contretemps, and expectations of perfection, November Togetherness Day can be tense. As Joe Barrett’s fine performance of Richard Ford’s THE LAY OF THE LAND reveals, it can also be joyous. Selected as an AudioFile Best Audiobook of 2007, the novel drops us into the amusing and angst-ridden tribulations of Frank Bascombe, Ford’s everyman hero, as he faces Thanksgiving with friends and family. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: November 10 New Audiobook Reviews

We persist—with both ferocity and compassion

Nevertheless We Persisted For a little listening to lift our spirits this week, I want to highlight this audio-first anthology of stories, poems, and essays, NEVERTHELESS WE PERSISTED, written and performed by an ensemble of authors and narrators. The collaboration between authors and narrators from around the globe resonates clearly in this labor of love and careful production. And for tiny feminists (ages 4-6) and their parents, remember to take a listen to Chelsea Clinton’s SHE PERSISTED.

For a listening choice to galvanize resolve to speak up, Gretchen Carlson’s BE FIERCE: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back is a timely choice this week. When Carlson walked away from her job as a news anchor for Fox News to fight—and win—her sexual harassment case, she discovered that her story is just one of many that deserves to be told. She suggests practical steps women can take to stand up for themselves. Read more…

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: November 3 New Audiobook Reviews

Electrify your listening with baseball or jazz!

Electric OctoberBaseball season may be over with the conclusion of the World Series, but it’s not too late to extend the season if you love baseball history. Joe Barrett’s snappy narration of ELECTRIC OCTOBER is perfect for stories from the Golden Age of Baseball. And—enjoy hearing the players’ names: Cookie Lavagetto, Burt Shotton, Snuffy Stirnweiss, and Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish (really!). Names are just not what they used to be!

With holiday travel coming up when many families will be hitting the road, now is a perfect time to plan your “are we there yet?” listening stash.

Read more…

Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: The Stars are Out Tonight

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.

The Testament of Mary

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…

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