Like Music to My Ears

Solve: Capturing the vibe with the right accent

I'll Keep You Safe

There I was in the visitors’ gallery of the Old Bailey (London’s famed criminal courthouse made famous by Rumpole of the Bailey). The male and female barristers were indeed dressed in black robes with white collars and wigs of various shades of off-white, with tight rolls of curls and little ponytails down the back. The prosecuting barrister, with his elegant British accent, was reading the testimony of a young gang member accused of murder, with every third word being “like” (just as young folks do in the U.S.) and saying the “F” word with emphasis every other sentence.

I'll Keep You SafeThe situation made me realize how a charming, easy on the ears accent can really enhance the listening experience by capturing and projecting the right vibe for the characters and the story. But the intriguing thing is that it doesn’t necessarily mean the narrator’s accent has to match the location.

For example, I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE, the most recent in Peter May’s Lewis series, takes place on a Scottish island and is narrated by Peter Forbes with a strong but very easy to listen to and understand Scottish accent. Forbes ALSO narrates the recent re-recording of May’s THE FIREMAKER, the Chinese Thriller series which takes place in Beijing. In an Audible Sessions interview with May and Forbes, author May comments that he has come to view Forbes as his voice. May says that it doesn’t matter if the narrator is Scottish, Chinese, American, or English, it is the way the narrator is able to make the subtle changes in character that does the book justice. For the listener, this allows for a wonderfully engaging listening experience. 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).

Following Sherlock Holmes to Las Vegas

Vegas and London have more in common than you think

Sherlock in Vegas

Void MoonWhile this isn’t a travel blog, the treks I am doing this spring have been intriguingly enlightened by mystery audiobooks, which can deepen one’s perspective on a location. I started the month of April with a trip to London and ended it with a jaunt to Las Vegas. On the surface, the cities have little in common: one city steeped in history, the other where it is still not clear whether civilization has a foothold; one cold and rainy, the other parched from unrelenting desert sunshine. But scratch the surface, and mystery writers have found endless sources of inspiration in both. Since I covered London in my previous blog, I will focus this post on Las Vegas audiobooks.

A good starting point is an older (2000) stand-alone, Michael Connelly’s VOID MOON, read by L.J. Ganser, which like many Connelly books shuttles the listener between L.A. and Las Vegas. A switch-up for Connelly, the main characters in this tale are criminals, one sympathetic (Cassidy Black) and the other despicable (Jack Karch). Ganser performs a totally engaging tale that takes the listener into the back office and the overhead air-conditioning ducts of the Las Vegas high roller resorts. 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).

Four Reasons Writers Should Love Narrators

Hint: Narrators can make amazing books even better

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall
Bring Up The Bodies

Hilary Mantel’s historical novels about Henry the Eighth’s chief fixer Thomas Cromwell, WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES, may have been hugely popular, but I never made far into either tome. Judge me if you will, but the long, phrase-filled sentences and constant present tense put me off. Then I turned to the audiobooks, and sure enough, narrators Simon Slater (WOLF HALL) and Simon Vance (BRING UP THE BODIES) captured me immediately. The expressiveness of their voices, scenic pacing, and vivid vocal portraits welcomed me into Mantel’s blend of prodigious fact and colorful imagination. Thanks to Slater and Vance, each of whom won an Earphones Award for their performances, I read two books I loved, and Mantel gained a fan. 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.

Kelly Bowen’s A Duke in the Night

Tease: Q&A with Narrator Ashford McNab

Ashford McNab

Chocolate-covered pretzels. Elsa and Anna. Beyonce and Coachella. There are some things in life that just work together amazingly well. Let’s add to the list historical romance author Kelly Bowen and esteemed narrator Ashford McNab. In their latest collaboration, A DUKE IN THE NIGHT, we meet Clara and August, who come face to face 10 years after a memorable meeting. August is a 19th-century entrepreneur (and a Duke), and he’s after a company that Clara’s family owns. With two strong-minded protagonists, how will it all end up? We’re lucky enough to have some inside information from narrator Ashford McNab. We asked her a few questions about A DUKE IN THE NIGHT.

A DUKE IN THE NIGHT
Ashford McNab
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!

Nine audiobooks for Earth Day

Taking care of our planet

The Seabird's Cry

Today, on Earth Day, I’ll be taking my kids out to pick up trash around the neighborhood — something I remember doing with my friends and family growing up in rural Vermont. Every year, after the snow melted and all the accumulated garbage started appearing along with the crocuses, we would have our “green-up day” and go along the roads and in the woods picking up the trash we found. In my memories, we could trade in our full bags for donuts at the general store, which was a pretty magical experience.

The Seabird's CryIn the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve found some conservation-themed audiobooks that celebrate protecting the magic of the earth — and the ocean — for everyone from four-year-olds to your David Attenborough-loving mom.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for seabirds, so THE SEABIRDS CRY: The Lives and Loves of the Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers seems like the perfect way to learn more about the often overlooked but essential creatures who live their lives on top of the ocean. This audiobook shares the natural history of ten species of seabirds, and how humans have impacted them. Read more…

Emily Connelly
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers.

Learning to Love Author-Read Audiobooks

Take 5 With Candace: 5 Author-Narrated Audiobooks

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

One of the great debates among audiobook fans has do with author-narrated audiobooks. Do you seek them out or avoid them like the plague? I used to be solidly in the “just say no to author-read books” camp, thinking audiobooks should be left to the professionals. While I still don’t fully reject that premise, I have to admit that some of my all-time most memorable audiobooks are, in fact, performed by the author.

Born With Teeth
H is for Hawk

Memoirs are a natural for author-read audiobooks. Who could understand the emotional impact and intimate revelations of books in this genre more than the authors themselves? It’s probably a little unfair of me to name Kate Mulgrew’s BORN WITH TEETH as one of my favorite author-read memoirs; after all, she’s an actor, and her ability to read her own life story should be a given. In reality, however, not all actors make good narrators, so I was pleasantly surprised at how genuine Mulgrew sounded as she recounted her journey from childhood to stardom. 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.

Before you fly, don’t forget to download these audiobooks

Solve: Getting Ready for Take-Off

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesIn a couple of days, I am off to the United Kingdom. I am packing clothes, lots of good walking shoes, an umbrella, and several audiobooks, some new and some already well-listened-to, to accompany me on the long flight across the pond.  I find that on overnight journeys, when my eyes tire from the screen (watching a movie or reading a book), audiobooks entertain, relax, and make the time fly by.

I need look no further than this year’s Audie Award finalists to find audiobooks to set the mood for my trip. For a mystery buff going to London, the first choice has to be Sherlock Holmes.  In the best male narrator category is Stephen Fry reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s SHERLOCK HOLMES. I’m looking forward to listening on my long plane trip, and then paying a visit to Baker Street and the Old Bailey.  I’ll be taking pictures for my upcoming blog post. 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).

4 Women Who Changed Our World

Robin’s Roundup: April 6 Audiobook Reviews

Visionary Women

VISIONARY WOMEN is made up of four mini biographies of women who changed the way we look at our world. As I thought about this interesting group—Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters—I realized that essays by each of them are also available on audio. Several preserve the voices of the authors themselves.

Chef, food activist, and founder of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters recorded her memoir COMING TO MY SENSES last fall. I love what our reviewer said: “Alice Waters’s narration is so approachable that it’s as if she walks up to your table wearing an apron, carrying an enticing plate of food, and says, ‘Eat this while I tell you my story.'” Jane Goodall has written and read several volumes on conversation, botany, and animals many years after her pioneering work with chimpanzees. Her last volume, SEEDS OF HOPE, did not record Jane’s voice, but in her mid-70s she did record HOPE FOR ANIMALS AND THEIR WORLD. 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.

What it feels like to be a parent

Self: Seven audiobooks on parenting toddlers and beyond

Achtung Baby

Achtung BabyMost people I talk with have fond memories of the years they spent raising children. It felt great to love those little ones with such intensity and to feel that consuming sense of responsibility for their journey into adulthood. Now that I’m a grandparent, I can tell you it’s even more fun when you’re not the primary care provider and don’t feel that pressure to do something when things aren’t going well. My responsibilities now are to give unwanted advice to the parents and to hide my judgment when I see they’re doing something “wrong.” Two of the parenting audiobooks I listened to recently struck a chord with the part of me that misses being overprotecting and pushing my children to astounding achievements. 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.