With events and awards taking the limelight for the last few months, I haven’t had a chance to simply highlight some of the most interesting audiobooks we’ve recently reviewed. A classic “Robin picks a quirky group of audiobooks” roundup follows.
Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, so “mothers” seems like a good theme to start with. Three recent Earphones Award-winning audiobooks give us some different ways of thinking about one iconic mother, Former First Lady Barbara Bush—THE MATRIARCH—and the many Jewish mothers who are portrayed in AMERICA’S JEWISH WOMEN. My third choice in the group is Melinda Gates’s new memoir THE MOMENT OF LIFT, not just because this audiobook inspires, but also particularly because of her views on service and giving back—see the video below. That’s certainly a purpose wholly shared by Mrs. Bush as well as by 19th-century philanthropist Rebecca Gratz, who is profiled in AMERICA’S JEWISH WOMEN. Read more…
Now that I’m no longer young, I climb every flight of stairs I can find, memorize whichever numeral strings present themselves, and recite the alphabet backwards for fun. I don’t drink the extra glass of wine or eat the third donut anymore. But here’s the thing about aging—if I did want that donut, I’d eat it guiltlessly, even if you disapproved.
As 92-year-old Jan Morris makes clear in her splendid new memoir, IN MY MIND’S EYE, despite the insult of stiffer joints and occasional lapsing memory, age has compensations, including the right to do as you wish without guilt. I totally believed narrator Jennifer M. Dixon, who dons an excellent facsimile of Morris’s pleasant British voice, and reads with an appreciation that increased my own enjoyment. Sixty-six years ago, the author accompanied Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to Everest. For the past 47 years, Jan Morris has delighted readers with celebrated history and travel books. Now unable to voyage to the far reaches of the globe, she has produced a “thought diary” from her desk at home in Wales. Its sharp, kind, funny entries are a gift for listeners of many ages. Read more…
Celebrated audiobook narrators Suzanne Toren and Tavia Gilbert join us for a bonus episode to share their experiences narrating a wide range of history written by and about women. From biographies and memoirs to audiobooks that focus on a pivotal moment in women’s history—like finally getting the right to vote—Suzanne and Tavia talk about the emotional journeys they have taken with these books and the skills needed to bring them to life.
Independent bookstores have a special place in my heart. When I travel, finding a local bookstore gem is an extra treat. These days I mostly pack ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, but there’s still a great way to support your local bookseller: Libro.fm Audiobooks. Looking at the new Libro Indies Bestseller list, I see a lot to recommend. We have great reviews, of course, and our special AudioFile media extras—podcasts and narrator videos to really draw you into these audiobooks.
Starting with nonfiction: EDUCATED by Tara Westover and narrated by Julia Whelan continues to get a lot of attention. Julia just won two 2019 Audie Awards with her performance—Best Female Narrator and Best Autobiography/ Memoir. We have a terrific interview with Julia just published on our podcast.
The 2019 Audie Awards are joining awards season early this year with Audie nominations announced this week and winners to be announced March 4 at the New York Gala. QUEER EYE fashion expert Tan France will host the New York City event, presiding over the makeover of timing and format. The 2019 panel of more than 208 judges, including Ron Charles, Book Critic for The Washington Post; Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation; and Linda Holmes, Host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, have designatedAudie Finalists in 24 categories. Listen to samples of all the Finalists here. Read more…
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…
Adenrele Ojo loved experiencing Josephine Baker’s life through narrating Sherry Jones’s historical fiction about the groundbreaking entertainer, civil rights champion, and possible spy. She says JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE is a “definite ride” and an enthralling listen. Hear more about this riveting audiobook from Adenrele herself.
“If you think you know about Josephine Baker, I’m here to tell you there is so, so, SO much more to learn.”—Narrator Adenrele Ojo
AudioFile’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Audiobooks of 2018
Heath Miller narrated the zany sci-fi novel SPACE OPERA, one of our 2018 Best Audiobooks in Science Fiction & Fantasy. How zany? Sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide music contest, and it’s both scathing social commentary and a hilarious send-up of music competitions (it’s been described as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets the Eurovision song contest). Heath takes us inside this intergalactic spectacle—and the many, many accents it required of him—on a special 2018 Best Audiobooksepisode of our podcast, Behind the Mic.
“The tone was very familiar, so it mostly rolled off the tongue—I grew up with that kind of British humor.”—Narrator Heath Miller
We became culinary rebels the year that no one wanted turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. My parents preferred it cold anyway, especially in sandwiches made with toasted sourdough, Hellman’s Mayonnaise, and lettuce. My brother preferred pumpkin pie. And that year, I preferred tofu. So on theday, we made hamburgers and tofu burgers on toasted English muffins, Caesar salad, and pumpkin pie. We giggled all the way through the meal, feeling as if we’d gotten away with something wonderful. In that subversive, liberating spirit, I offer five delicious tales of food and living, because next Thursday you’ll want to have options.Read more…
Can you guess which holiday I look forward to celebrating when I turn my calendar to November? Two hints: It doesn’t involve American flags or turkey dinners. Instead, I turn my thoughts to the sky and feel so lucky to live in a time of easy air travel (never mind those TSA lines).
Why? Because November is National Aviation History Month. According to the U.S. Government Printing Office, this month “is dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight—from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.”
For whatever reason, I love to fly and have been in all kinds of aircraft, including hot-air balloons, Cessna four-seaters, helicopters, and gigantic commercial jets. I’ll be forever sad I never flew in a Concorde, but I’m looking forward to whatever advances in air travel the future holds. Read more…
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.