Listening to Past Audie Award Winners

Taking Up Listening Challenge #8

Simon Vance at Audies 2018
Simon Vance at Audies 2018
Simon Vance at the 2018 Audie Awards

This year, the 2019 Audie Award winners will be announced in early March, versus previous years when the celebration took place in May. So, for us mystery audiophiles, it seems like this is an appropriate time to take on #8 in AudioFile’s 2019 Listening Challenge and prepare for the 2019 awards by catching up on previous winners. To see the full list of winners and hear samples from 2014–2018, check out AudioFile’s special feature on past Audie Awards (and look for the list of 2019 Audies finalists on February 4!).

Let’s start with the winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Mystery, THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), narrated by Robert Glenister. This is the second in the detective Cormoran Strike series. CAREER OF EVIL, Book 3 in this series, was the 2016 winner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the fourth book in the series, LETHAL WHITE, wins the 2019 prize. 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).

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Robin’s Roundup January 25

surreal enigmatic picture on canvas

This humorous redundancy, credited to Yogi Berra, always tickles me. Looking over the new audiobook reviews of the last couple of weeks, I do get the feeling we’re heard some of the titles before. In some cases there are new recordings that replace older ones, or new versions with a different performance approach. And some of that feeling of recollection is with new memoirs from people who continue to write more chapters about their lives. 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.

View From the Mountain

Martin Luther King, Jr. — Greater than the icon with a dream

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Twenty years ago, in February 1999, AudioFile published the review of THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. along with a feature by Maja Thomas, then the director of production of Time Warner AudioBooks.

February 1999

When I was growing up, I loved to explore the attics of the Victorian houses we lived in. They always contained something interesting and unexpected—a sheaf of impassioned letters, an old baby’s pram with rusted springs, a steamer truck, empty, but still smelling of its exotic voyages.

As director of production for Time Warner AudioBooks, I again felt this thrilling sensation of discovery when I had the privilege of putting together the audio version of THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., from rare historic recordings. 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.

Listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Audiobooks That Illuminate His Legacy

Robin’s Roundup January 18

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meet at the White House, 1966

Audiobooks create a immersive and affecting way to understand and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. His accomplishments will continue to resonate for generations, but the short period when he was active with the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until April 4, 1968, was a mere 13 years. There is much to explore among these audiobooks, and many opportunities to be inspired by Dr. King, “A prophet of justice, a leader of tremendous will, a moral and spiritual defender of good.” (“View From the Mountain” by Maja Thomas, AudioFile, February 1999.) 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.

5 Questions with Simon Vance

Plus 5 Audiobooks from a King of Audiobooks

Simon Vance

Simon VanceIs there genre or style today’s Take 5 narrator can’t handle? If there is, I haven’t discovered it. Veteran narrator Simon Vance is one of the kings of audiobook performers and a favorite of thousands of listeners (me included).

Simon’s voice has been my companion for many hours over the years, helping me navigate fantasy worlds as well as the very real past and contemporary culture. I’m sure you agree: If you see his name is on an audiobook cover, you know the performance will be fabulous. 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.

Warming Up to Winter with Nordic Noir

E Quint on Lundegatan

E Quint on LundegatanAs I look up into the gray skies of Brooklyn and know that the winter sun, which has barely shown its face for days, will be disappearing behind the skyscrapers of Manhattan in an instant, I feel an affinity with the bleak and coffee-filled settings of Nordic Noir.

Many of us were introduced to the genre by Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO and David Largercrantz’s follow-ups, the latest one being THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE, all narrated by the award-winning Simon Vance. Having listened to all of the audiobooks numerous times, I am really looking forward to the next one, THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE, which is scheduled for release in August 2019. I actually went super fangirl on a recent trip to Stockholm and searched for Lisbeth Salander. At least I found the street where she grew up—Lundegarten. Ironically, I got to experience Sweden during the heat of summer with beautiful blue skies when the sun never sets. 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).

Off to the City of Angels and the Devil in a Blue Dress

Leaving the gray skies for sunny L.A.

The Big Sleep

The Big SleepYes, this blog is being posted the week before Christmas, but I’m going to let my fellow bloggers call out the holiday, as Caitlin Augusta does in her Countdown to the Holidays post. I am not being a grinch, it’s just that I’m taking a break from the gray skies and holiday-decked-out New York City and flying off to sunny Los Angeles. Come join me through audiobooks.

Perhaps because Los Angeles is associated with Hollywood, glitter, glamour, big dreams, celebrities, and sun, it’s also known for the dark side that seethes just beneath the surface—the perfect setting for noir classics as well as some of the top mystery/thriller series.

Let’s start with the original hardboiled detective novels—Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe series. Sadly, the audio versions narrated by actor Elliot Gould, including THE BIG SLEEP, are out of print and might be hard to find (check your library!), but listeners can enjoy the BBC’s Full Cast Radio Drama. Audiobooks are well-suited for Chandler’s quick-paced writing and snappy dialogue. When asked if Marlowe was his alter ego, Chandler responded: “Yes, I’m exactly like the characters in my books. I do a great deal of research, especially in the apartments of tall blondes.” 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).

How Long Do the Best Audiobooks Last?

Robin’s Roundup December 14

Robin at Podcast Studio
Robin Whitten
Robin at the HarperAudio studios last week recording an episode of Harper Presents.

One of the criteria we think about when picking the Best Audiobooks of the Year is to choose titles that we can continue to recommend as great listening year after year. I can look back to our Best of 2013 and see the first Cormoran Strike title by Robert Galbraith, THE CUCKOO’S CALLING—the fourth, LETHAL WHITE, is on this year’s list. Graham Greene’s THE END OF THE AFFAIR, read by Colin Firth, won nearly every audiobook award, and can still be recommended without reservation. Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN’ ‘EM is a terrific author memoir, old or new. We hope the 50 titles in this year’s list enjoy the same longevity! 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.

Best Mystery Audiobooks of 2018

6 Must-Listen Titles for Mystery Lovers

Best Mystery Audiobooks 2018Congratulations to the authors and narrators of the 2018 Best Audiobooks in the Mystery category. The competition is tough—AudioFile’s editors start with 2000 audiobooks in 9 categories that eventually get sorted down to 50 honorees (including the 6 in the Mystery category listed below).

What do all of these audiobooks have in common—what makes them rise to the top? They are all masterfully written by talented authors and read for us by narrators who manage to convincingly convey multiple characters while leaving room for our imaginations. Robin Whitten puts it so beautifully in the podcast about the Best Mystery Audiobooks, saying that the best narrators disappear into the story, becoming the voice that provides all the details while also inhabiting all of the characters. 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).

The 5 Best Memoirs of 2018

Inspiring Peeps to Hang Out With

Becoming

BecomingIn my next life, I will be mathematically gifted, a natural athlete, pale with copper hair or mocha with corkscrew curls, able to carry a tune and tell a joke without ruining the punchline, and unafraid of roller-coasters. Until then, I’m spending time with folks who inspire me in this life, finding them in AudioFile’s picks for the five best memoirs of 2018. (Check out all of our 2018 Best Audiobooks in our media-rich E-Zine.)

Let’s begin with Michelle Obama, whose new memoir, BECOMING, lifts the spirits as it heartens. As I listened to her Earphones Award-winning performance, I admired her more than ever and felt I’d gained a new best friend. This is an audiobook that I’ll keep coming back to in order to savor Obama’s embracing voice and thoughtful, fierce, funny reminiscences about real life, both grand and humble.

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.