While we are hunkered down—staying home, trying to get work done, helping kids have productive learning days, and staying healthy—some days seem interminable and others somehow busier than usual. Many of us have more listening time, though some without a commute to work may be finding themselves with less. Some of us have discovered how nice it is to just listen to a story at home at the end of a day. AudioFile reviewers are busier than ever, and new reviews are streaming out. Earlier this week, I was a guest on the program Reset on Chicago public radio station WBEZ. I prepared a list of recommended titles and thought I’d share some of the highlights here. Read more…
If you ask an audiobook listener about their favorite audiobooks, odds are good that they’ll say they adored Jim Dale’s narration of the HARRY POTTER series. What many listeners may not know is that HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE was his introduction to audiobook narration. Jim came to audiobooks accidentally, and later in his career, and listeners are so lucky he did. Listen as Jo Reed and Jim Dale discuss his audiobook work and his extraordinary career in the entertainment industry.
“You’re now more intimate than ever. You’re just speaking to one person, listening to you, reading. And that’s a joy.”—Narrator Jim Dale
Audiobook publishers have been trying out new ideas in casting voices for several years. Some recent new releases showcase the creative ways producers are taking audiobooks beyond the single voice. A new full-cast production that pulls out all the stops—and in addition, wows listeners with original music and songs—is PUSS IN BOOTS. It’s headlined by none other that the marvelous Jim Dale, with nearly a dozen other narrators making the most of the reimagined, fractured fairy tale. PUSS has the same creative team as SPIN: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical, which was a 2019 Audie Finalist. Read more…
AudioFile is pleased to celebrate five new Golden Voices with our lifetime achievement honor for narrators—January LaVoy, Edoardo Ballerini, Bahni Turpin, Johnny Heller, and Suzanne Toren. For the month of June, we’re celebrating 30 days of Golden Voice narrators and their work—listen in to our podcast to learn more about these audiobook greats with conversations about how they got their start and memorable recording experiences.
AudioFile is aligning the stars this June. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been seeing that we’re going all out this month to celebrate the narrators who have been honored with our lifetime achievement award, Golden Voice. We kicked off the celebration with a party—of course—and AudioFile editors welcomed Golden Voice narrators at NYC’s John Marshall Media studios. We were dazzled by so many audiobook stars that night, but our five new Golden Voice narrators—January LaVoy, Edoardo Ballerini, Bahni Turpin, Johnny Heller, and Suzanne Toren—got special love. They even “signed in” by autographing our Stars of the Audiobook Universe poster. Read more…
In the pink glow of stage lighting, the 2019 Audie Awards Gala, hosted by Tan France, Queer Eye fashion expert, dazzled a capacity crowd. The AudioFile editorial team—Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, Jo Reed, and me, along with numerous AudioFile reviewers, met and chatted with guests LeVar Burton, Euan Morton, Elizabeth Acevedo, and the dozens of narrators we write about every day. The 24th annual Audie Awards selected the best audiobooks in 24 categories, including Audiobook of the Year. This year the prestigious award went to Tomi Adeyemi’s CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, narrated by Bahni Turpin and published by Macmillan Audio. Read more…
I wanted to collect audiobooks about dogs while we’re in the “dog days of summer” . . . only to find out that the original meaning has nothing to do with dogs. The Greeks used “dog days” for the hottest days of the summer when our brightest star, Sirius (aka the “dog star”), appears in the east. Nevertheless, it’s still a good theme, and I’ve found a terrific array of listening choices for dog lovers.Read more…
A New Year and the Real Meaning of Robin’s Roundup
2018 has roared into Maine with frigid temps and plenty of snow. This is great curl-up-and-read/listen weather.
Just what Danish author Meik Wiking suggests in his popular THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE. His new audiobook, THE LITTLE BOOK OF LYKKE, offers encouragement for a happier year, and life that includes getting to know your neighbors and volunteering. Another new audiobook that offers thoughts along the lines of “fresh starts” for the new year is Oprah Winfrey’s audio collectionTHE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. I wasn’t initially sure about the title, but found that once I listened to the sample sound clip—that comes up with our review—I was eager to hear more. One activity I do in my neighborhood at the start of the new year reveals another meaning to Robin’s Roundup. My husband and I “roundup” Christmas trees for our garden—limbed up, the boughs make a terrific mulch!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good crime story!
To all those observing today, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is filled with joy and love, that you’re surrounded by friends and family—or if you’re like me, that you’re getting some down time to quietly enjoy your audiobooks.
Christmas is a popular setting for crime novels, believe it or not. In the festively fun new collection of short stories from SoHo—THE USUAL SANTAS—Peter Lovesey explains why in his foreword:
“The seasonal shopping spree provides rich pickings for thieves and fraudsters. Well-stocked stores become tempting targets for stick-up men and shoplifters. Pockets are picked, shoppers mugged, cars broken into and Christmas tree plantations raided. Cyber criminals relieve the unwary of their savings. Scam emails masquerade as greeting cards. Empty homes ransacked. Drink-fueled assaults are common. And even when the run-up to the holiday ends and the streets become more peaceful, domestic violence increases behind locked doors. Family feuds are revived by stressed-out, not-so-merry merrymakers. All of this is rich material for crime writers.” Read more…
A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!
Audiobooks that offer perspective on a long war and turbulent time
Soldiers lunged muddy, exhausted, and wide-eyed across our kitchen table most evenings when I was a teenager. It was the Vietnam War, in all its fear and confusion, playing in black-and-white on the nightly news. I wish we’d had Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward’s audiobook, THE VIETNAM WAR: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, to support our viewing, as it’s every bit as informative and wide-ranging as their recent PBS documentary. Though the audiobook is abridged, Burns won an Earphones Award for his clear and serious narration, which helped me concentrate on the hard story without turning away.