Taking the Leap

5 Audiobooks to Inspire Change and Growth

Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Author/narrator Gregg Clunis

People wanting to change their lives usually go through six stages before they succeed, says personal growth blogger and podcaster Gregg Clunis in his audiobook, TINY LEAPS, BIG CHANGES. With his sincere, resonant voice and determined pacing, his reading of this stimulating audiobook gives it instant credibility—authority you recognize right away when you hear it. His thinking on this subject, intuitive and accessible, contributes to the audiobook’s power: He says people need a jolt of unpleasantness to kick-start change—a wake-up call like a betrayal by someone you trusted, a demeaning interaction with a boss, or a bad decision that has come home to roost. But for most of us, the alarm bell is not enough. The sting of bad news fades quickly because we tend to resist change and fall back into familiar routines. But once we have learned to “stay with” our unhappiness, he suggests that we spend time looking at alternative directions and focus on one, connect with it fully, and then get into a daily routine that moves us in that direction. 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.

Coretta Scott King Award-Winning Audiobooks

Beauty, intelligence, courage, and ingenuity

A Few Red Drops

Coretta Scott King 50th AnniversaryIn her speech accepting the 2018 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, author Eloise Greenfield said, “Children need to know, and to see in books, the truth — the beauty, intelligence, courage, and ingenuity of African and African American people.” 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, given annually to African American authors and illustrators who demonstrate an appreciation of or affirm African American culture and universal human values. Many of this year’s Coretta Scott King Award winners and honorees are also excellent audiobooks. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Tease: Wedding Edition

Three audiobook romances that ring the wedding bells—and bring the wedding drama

The Wedding Date

What’s more romantic than a wedding? It’s the quintessential happily ever after, even if wedding plans sometimes bring out the worst in people (oh, the stories we each could share, right?!). After years of listening to various genres on audio, it’s my humble opinion that audiobooks as a medium excel at drama. So wedding romances could not be more suited to the audio format. Sure, you can read the pre-marital exploits on the page, but when the narrator is barreling full tilt at tropes such as “fake marriage,” “left at the altar,” “my mother hates my fiancé,” or “runaway bride,” it’s undeniably MORE. Today’s audiobook recommendations are officially over the top!

The Wedding Date

THE WEDDING DATE
by Jasmine Guillory, read by Janina Edwards
Penguin Audio/Books on Tape
AudioFile Earphones Award

Love in an Elevator? (Cue the Aerosmith soundtrack.) Alexa agrees to be a wedding date for a guy she met while stuck in an elevator. Can a fake-to-real relationship between two busy career professionals go the distance? Listeners will enjoy hearing this cute yet cheeky performance by Janina Edwards. 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!

Robin’s Roundup: August 25 New Audiobook Reviews

No escapes this week—activism in my listening queue

SevenSo many great listening choices this week, I could make a long list! Astronomy, history, education, political activism . . . it looks like nonfiction is catching my eye. For teachers and students getting ready to go back to school, here’s a welcome message. MAKE IT STICK is ready to toss out “learning the hard way.” Two cognitive scientists have teamed up with storyteller Peter Brown for a highly listenable audiobook offering some powerful strategies. Another work that addresses totally different educational challenges, THE BATTLE FOR ROOM 314 is an important, though harrowing, memoir from Ed Boland’s year of teaching at a New York City high school. Alongside this audiobook is Gwendolyn Brooks’s biography, A SURPRISED QUEENHOOD IN THE NEW BLACK SUN. Brooks, brilliant American poet, Poet Laureate, and first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize, is often known for her poem “We Real Cool.” As I was looking at details about Brooks, I found her reading of the poem.

A sad endpoint to Boland’s story, but learning about Brooks’s legacy offers listeners inspiration and admiration. Another dynamic listening experience is L.A. Theatre Works’ live-audience production of SEVEN, based on interviews with women activists from around the world.

For anyone who was wrapped up in this month’s solar eclipse, AMERICAN ECLIPSE, which is about the 1878 eclipse, has some fascinating history and scientific detail, as well as an astroid hunter. Narrator Jonathan Yen adds a lot to the listening experience. I can’t wrap up this week’s roundup without mentioning my nostalgia on seeing Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. I love the Inspector Gamache books and admire the success of the change of narrators in the middle of the series. Robert Bathurst gets his second Earphones Award for his narration with the newest title. He took over for my lovely friend Ralph Cosham, who recorded the earlier titles and brought the series to listeners’ attention.

What are you listening to this week?

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.