Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Before the Pulitzer Prize

Great Early Audiobooks from Famous Award Winners

Sag Harbor

I spent years believing, or was it hoping, that I was too special to read books found on bestseller lists. Then I became a writer. Now I’m grateful for readers. And I applaud those who turn a book, any book, into a bestseller. Way to go, readers! But it still makes me feel special, even astonishingly brilliant, to have savored a writer’s work before they became famous. Thus I offer five fine audiobooks by some of my favorite authors, written before they won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Underground Railroad
Sag Harbor

Colson Whitehead, for example, whose wondrous and experimental THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, took the 2017 award and rightly blew everyone away, including our reviewer, who turned cartwheels over Bahni Turpin’s performance. Well before that, Whitehead wrote the more straightforward SAG HARBOR, given an Earphones Award winning performance by Mirron Willis. It’s a funny, often entrancing coming-of-age memoir cast as a novel about a 15-year-old boy during one special summer in a Sag Harbor neighborhood where black families owned the beach houses. 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: March 2 New Audiobook Reviews

Take comfort from series continuity, and then add a change-up challenge

To Be Where You Are

If you are a listener who loves series, one of the worst moments is when a new episode arrives and the long-time narrator is replaced. It’s a little like losing old friends . . . not only the narrator’s voice but the way he or she creates all the recurring characters. We do survive . . . think Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, where we lost beloved narrator Ralph Cosham. Luckily, the new narrator, Robert Bathurst, has turned out to be just as much of a delight. In one case of the same narrator remaining at the helm, Jan Karon’s Mitford series started with AT HOME IN MITFORD in 1994, and narrator John McDonough introduced me to this lovely slice of small-town America (nearly 25 years ago!). 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.

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.

Robin’s Roundup: February 9 New Audiobook Reviews

Pairs: two identical, similar, or corresponding things that are matched for use together

It Occurs to Me that I Am America

This week I noticed an impressive crop of nonfiction audiobooks reviewed. Thoughtful and powerful audiobooks on immigration, politics, abuse, and race give us the chance to listen to important and varied perspectives. We often see some of these complex topics handled in both nonfiction and fiction. Listeners usually have a specific preference—a factual account, or the same topic with imagined historical or emotional detail.  Here are some thoughts on audiobook pairs from our recent reviews.

It Occurs to Me that I Am America
Revolution Song

Russell Shorto’s new history REVOLUTION SONG takes a look at the American Revolution through the stories of six people. I’ll pair that with IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I AM AMERICA, a collection of short stories by Richard Russo, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, and thirty other contemporary authors. 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.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: So Love Goes

Uplifting Audiobooks About Love’s Complexities

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryWhen I was about seventeen, I read the obituary of a New York City matron that included her recipe for a happy marriage. She had recommended living as she and her husband did, in side-by-side brownstones with a connecting door that they never used before 10 AM. At the time, I thought that immensely clever. Now that I’ve been married forever, I wonder why have such a well-managed relationship, when instead you could walk the length of England in uncomfortable shoes to reach your beloved, as does the protagonist in Rachel Joyce’s THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY? Or when, as in Joyce’s companion novel, THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSEY, you could commit your heart as fiercely and nobly as the woman to whom Harold is limping? Jim Broadbent won an Earphones Award for Harold’s story and Celia Imre won the same for Queenie’s. I have read and listened to each more than once and can only say that the exquisite, quirky novels are so well narrated that it hurts, and that they present the truth of love in all its heartbreaking glory. 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.

Audiobooks and Literacy: Invitations to Connect through Storytelling

Using Audiobooks to Become a Better Storyteller

Vacationland

VacationlandStorytelling is an ancient art practiced many times a day in homes and workplaces. For example, teachers guide students into lessons in lab sciences, mathematics, social studies and, of course, language arts, by asking questions that illuminate an underlying story: What happens when these two liquids are combined? What might be revealed when you multiply the two sides of this shape? What proved to be the tipping point in Alabama’s election of a Democrat to the U.S. Senate? How long did it take John Boyne to write the first draft of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS? (Hint: two and a half days.)

Being a competent storyteller comes naturally to some people. However, to become a truly compelling one can take some coaching and modeling. And who better to learn from than audiobook narrators? They are experts in this field, deploying pacing, tone, and timbre to convey the words, but also to impart the underlying stories of character depth, historical or regional pronunciations, and which passages are most urgent for the listener to understand and take note of. 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: 5 Questions with Robert Fass

Five audiobooks and five questions with narrator Robert Fass

Robert Fass

Today I welcome the versatile Robert Fass to the 5 Audios / 5 Questions hot seat. I say versatile not only because Robert’s audiobook catalog covers a wide range of genres but also because he’s dipped his toe into the audiobook publishing pool as well (IT HAPPENED IN BOSTON?).

Robert Fass

5 Audiobooks

One of Robert’s strengths as a narrator is creating a strong link between listeners and author, especially for nonfiction. For example, his performance of the personal essays in THE FLY TRAP highlights entomologist Fredrik Sjöberg’s personality, enthusiasm, and wry humor, making us feel as if we had just made a new friend. Robert’s delivery of Henry Fountain’s THE GREAT QUAKE, about the 9.2-magnitude 1964 Alaskan earthquake, helps us absorb the unthinkable devastation as described by eyewitnesses but wisely backs off the melodrama. 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: January 26 New Audiobook Reviews

Stories by Heart and with Heart

They All Saw A Cat

Actor John Lithgow’s long career is studded with awards—Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe—for his many roles as  varied as the undercover extraterrestrial professor in “3rd Rock from the Sun” to Winston Churchill in “The Crown.” He is currently appearing on Broadway in his one-man show, STORIES BY HEART.

Lithgow puts a lot of heart into all his work, and as author and audiobook narrator he’s a consummate storyteller. Reviewed this week is a charming children’s audiobook,  THEY ALL SAW A CAT. Lithgow has written for children and recorded other audio, including Dr. Seuss’s OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Ten years ago Lithgow’s memoir, DRAMA, was celebrated on the October/November 2011 AudioFile cover, and was one of the year’s Best Audiobooks. I love the interview we did with him, and he has an array of audiobooks to explore. 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.

Behind the Mic: The Prague Sonata

Listen in as Christina Delaine tells of narrating Bradford Morrow’s sweeping historical novel

The Prague Sonata

Narrator Christina Delaine takes AudioFile readers Behind the Mic for her narration of THE PRAGUE SONATA. Bradford Morrow’s moving novel tells of a mysterious musical score that connects two women across history.

“I loved these women. They are humbling and awe-inspiring. I miss hanging out with them—they were fine company to keep.”— Narrator Christina Delaine

Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Behind the Mic: The Last Ballad

Lament for textile worker, balladeer, and union organizer Ella Mae Wiggins

The Last Ballad

Narrator Karen White takes AudioFile listeners Behind the Mic to share her thoughts on the narration of THE LAST BALLAD. This Earphones Award winner by Wiley Cash revolves around Ella Mae Wiggins, a forgotten heroine of history.

“The story resonates so deeply with all the social justice issues that we are still wrangling with today.” —Narrator Karen White

Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!