Portraits of Nelson Mandela in 8 Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup July 20

Nelson Mandela

"Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng" from The Good News, 13 May 2008

This week marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. With celebrations and tributes happening around the world, I wanted to share 8 audiobooks that offer unique portraits of the South African leader. In the audio medium we can not only hear Mandela’s voice in speeches and interviews, but also experience his memoirs and other writing. 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.

Explore the Surprising Black History of Tudor England

Behind the Mic with Narrator Corrie James

Corrie James

We take a walk back into history with narrator Corrie James in today’s Behind the Mic video. With insights on narrating Miranda Kaufmann’s historical work BLACK TUDORS, Corrie introduces us to the lives of some fascinating figures of 16th-century England.

“Miranda Kaufmann also gives us the political, historical, and social mores of the time to help put everything in perspective.”—Narrator Corrie James

Read more…

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

6 Thrilling Encounters with Dinosaurs

Enjoy a Summer of Jurassic Love

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Ever since Jurassic Park was released in June 1993, the summer has belonged to dinosaurs. I mean, you or a close family member have already seen this summer’s blockbuster, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, right? So tell me, what does “brontosaurus” mean? Give yourself a gold star if you answered, “Thunder Lizard.” If you blanked, no worries. I’ve collected six titles that’ll inform and thrill your dino-loving outer adult and inner child.

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursTHE RISE AND FALL OF THE DINOSAURS by Steve Brusatte, read by Patrick Lawlor, is a captivating and informative “new history of a lost world.” Brusatte’s a youthful paleontologist with a taste for international adventure, and he leads a fun and occasionally dangerous tour from Chinese deserts to the American badlands, acquainting us with creatures that become more astounding the more we learn. By the way, did you know that before dinosaurs, the earth was dominated by pelycosaurs, archosaurs, and therapsids — aka ginormous meat-eating reptiles? I know, I know, this stuff is so cool. 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.

Beat the Heat! 8 Icy Audiobook Listens

Robin’s Roundup July 6

Ice
Elementals: Ice Wolves

Ok, I’ll admit it—just looking at the covers of these “icy” audiobooks is helping me cool off! Even if air conditioning is keeping you cool, we all have to venture out into the recent hot weather. Here’s a bit of audiobook listening to beat the heat.

Anna Kavan’s ICE features an ice apocalypse and plummeting temperatures—a good start to cool me down. But before you grab it, it’s worth looking into this 1967 science fiction/fantasy/dystopian classic. Jonathan Lethem wrote recently about the work in The New York Times. In this new audio release, Nigel Patterson engages with a passionate performance. ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES is a fantasy for the younger set—good for middle grade listeners and family listening. 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 Audiobook Listening for Independence Day

Robin’s Roundup June 29

During the holiday week of America’s Independence Day, along with the barbecue, clambake, and fireworks, add in a few audiobooks. Many of us celebrate with our families—and my first choice will resonate with the younger set, bringing a fun and informative take on Lady Liberty: HER RIGHT FOOT.  Author Dave Eggers and narrator Dion Graham are a dynamic duo as usual. Listeners—of all ages—will also learn about Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet that contains “Give me your tired, your poor . . . .” I was pleased to read the full text that appears on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. And while everyone is listening, Khizr Khan’s THIS IS OUR CONSTITUTION is accessible and illuminating for young listeners.

Her Right Foot
This Is Our Constitution
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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.

7 (and more) Great Audiobooks About the Civil War

Aurelia Recommends Listens That’ll Bridge the Mason-Dixon Line

The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of CourageJuly 1st is the anniversary of the start of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. On my first visit to the battlefield, which is one of the country’s top summer travel sites, I got lost in the woods near Little Round Top. Though I soon found the path, my panicked stomach-flop brought to mind terrified Henry Fleming in Stephen Crane’s THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, that archetypal novel about fear and heroism in the midst of a maelstrom. If you, like I, read it in school eons ago, it’s worth revisiting as we approach the anniversary of the decisive battle, and of a war whose wounds persist. Of all the versions, I recommend the re-release of Frank Muller’s performance. His reading is as marvelous as the war was devastating. 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.

Four Audiobooks for Doing Your Business Right

Self: Learning By Ear

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and ResponsibilitySome of the business audiobooks I’m sharing today are decidedly in the how-to category, offering advice and strategies on starting a business, keeping it moving, hiring and keeping the best people. POWERFUL, by former Netflix CEO Patty McCord, explains why leaders should be ruthlessly clear about expectations and demand honest talk between every employee about everything. She reads her book with such authentic presence and spontaneity that you never doubt who she is and what’s important to her.

In another author-narrated title, THE BEST TEAM WINS, two behavioral scientists summarize fascinating research on what motivates the diverse types of people working in today’s high-pressure workplaces. For the busy executive with no time to read, listening to business audiobooks like these while commuting or exercising is a great way to stay current on what can bring out the best in you, your team, and your business. 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.

Five Questions with Grover Gardner

Sharing five excellent audiobooks and five insightful questions with a veteran narrator

Grover Gardner

Grover GardnerI don’t know why I always associate veteran narrator Grover Gardner with nonfiction, because although he does indeed narrate history, biography, and theology, he has worked on a full range of genres, everything from horror to light kids’ stories. While I’m not likely to listen to Grover’s Earphones Award–winning performance of THE STAND (I think it might be too spooky for me), I enjoy listening to his “charming voice” on much tamer audiobooks.

Grover has narrated hundreds of titles (no exaggeration), so it was just a little difficult to pick only five to show off his work. The titles featured today reflect my own tastes: These are audiobooks I recommend or that are on my personal to-be-listened-to wish list. 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.

Under Questioning: Listening to Formal Hearings

In Our Time

Mastergate

MastergateCongressional hearings are a process of information gathering—both orally and aurally. Hearings might be called for  democracy-threatening political disagreements, huge calamities with manmade elements, or the approval of candidates for important non-elected offices. This formal, often public, investigatory medium, with its spoken and heard nuances as important as the words transmitted, is very friendly to audiobook publishing and listening. Hearings have been recorded in sound media, as well as in transcript form, for over a century now. These recordings, as they relate to events included in audiobooks, may be in the form of archival clips, re-enactments, or elements of wholly fictional drama.

Among the past century of such Congressional hearings, events ranging from disaster at sea to dubious secret intelligence programs have given rise to such hearings. And the hearings have given rise to audiobooks for a variety of ages and in a variety of narrative styles. You can choose your concern or choose your genre to get a taste of listening to how hearings are realized by professional narrators and actors. 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.

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup May 11

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

15 Great Jazz Audiobooks

Jazz is on my mind. Just a few weeks ago, I attended the tribute to the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters—Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves—at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It was such a treat—first listening to podcasts from the NEA, “Art Works,” about each musician, and then getting to be part of the tribute celebration—you can actually watch it in full:

When I got home, I looked up which audiobooks about jazz and jazz musicians we could recommend. Jazz books, and audiobooks, are a bit scarce—perhaps we listen to jazz more than we read about jazz. And in many cases, actual music is not included in audiobook programs. Nevertheless, I’ve put together a list of 15 audiobooks that explore and celebrate Jazz in America.  There are some biographies and memoirs of jazz greats; a few histories on the culture and music of jazz; and, not to be overlooked, engaging jazz stories for young listeners and families.

Let’s start with an iconic audiobook: MILES by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe. For many listeners, the brilliant performance by Dion Graham epitomizes the way that an audio experience can engulf you. WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? offers a different approach to a life portrait with Alan Light’s carefully researched biography. Yet Adenrele Ojo’s performance is no less riveting. 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.