As the step-parent of an autistic boy, I understand firsthand the challenges—and joys—of living with someone on the autism spectrum, and I often worry that neurotypical people will not recognize his kind heart and amazing mind. These audiobooks show autism from many different perspectives and offer opportunities for families to listen together and learn about understanding and accepting the neurodiversity of all people.Read more…
Our Podcast Interview with the Best Female Narrator
Narrator Julia Whelan brought home the 2019 Audie Awards for Best Female Narrator and Autobiography/Memoir for her narration of Tara Westover’s EDUCATED, a memoir that has spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Julia’s moving acceptance speech for Best Female Narrator had the Audies audience enthralled.
In our interview with Julia, she reflects on narrating this intense memoir of Westover’s childhood spent in a traditionalist and isolationist family. She also talks about narrating another blockbuster of a very different stripe: Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL. Plus, Julia shares insights into the work that goes into narrating an audiobook, her transition from acting to college to audiobook narration, her love of reading, and the challenges of narrating her own book, MY OXFORD YEAR. Listen to their fascinating conversation now!
“As an actor, you always want to play the sociopath. They’re just so much fun.”—Narrator Julia Whelan
When life is going full tilt — the kids back to school, those two and a half deliverables due by the end of September, and the realization that you haven’t done a thing about your sister’s birthday, which is tomorrow — that’s when you need a great, short audiobook. Or an audiobook full of great shorts. I recommend the following 6 new story collections. They will divert, inform, and entertain you. Whether you listen while commuting or sorting the laundry at midnight, they will bring you calm and give you a sense of control, however fleeting. Read more…
Kirby Heyborne loves Ray Bradbury, and his enthusiasm about narrating A MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY is infectious. Listen as he shares insights into and excitement over this collection of captivating short stories.
“Ray’s at his best in this collection.”—Narrator Kirby Heyborne
Each summer AudioFile celebrates audiobook narrators with a Maine clambake in Boothbay, Maine. Narrators come from across the country, and sometimes we even have an international guest. But it’s not just the usual suspects—each year a different and diverse group of narrators joins us. We greet old friends and make new ones!
We always have representation from AudioFile’s Golden Voices—this year Barbara Rosenblat and Robin Miles joined us. AudioFile Earphones Award winners and Audie Award winners also are well represented. And it’s a true delight just to get to put voices and faces together. Read more…
Short stories have often gotten the short straw in audiobooks. With audio publishers producing more titles each season, and podcasts gaining more and more listeners, short story collections may be getting more attention. Eight new collections, just reviewed, are worth your listening time. I’ve split them into essays (nonfiction) and fiction stories.
Ramona Ausubel’s AWAYLAND showcases the voices of a dozen narrators in a collection that’s both fantastical and familiar. Scott O’Connor’s stories in A PERFECT UNIVERSE are all set in California. Two narrators, Bronson Pinchot and Thérèse Plummer, take us outside the bright lights of Hollywood with very human and complex characters, and pick up an Earphones Award for their performances. Read more…
From the sublime—Nobel literature—to popular listening of the season
When the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced last week, it was a great pleasure to find that so many of Kazuo Ishiguro’s books are already available on audio.
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, narrated by the impeccable Simon Prebble, may be the place to start exploring Ishiguro’s work in audiobooks. Simon delivers it perfectly with nuance of emotion and subtlety of accents. Some other Ishiguro audiobooks to look at—THE BURIED GIANT or the stories collected inNOCTURNES. Also, WHEN WE WERE ORPHANS whichis narrated by John Lee (see more about John below).
Among the week’s newest reviews, there seem to be several that make a good run-up to Halloween. Since my post today happens to fall on Friday the 13th, a few scary tales to try your luck seem appropriate. Stephen & Owen King lead off with SLEEPING BEAUTIES. Women going to sleep and not waking up sounds pretty unlucky to me. THE BLACK HAND takes listeners to the wharves and warehouses of 1880s London and the origins of Italian crime syndicates. And if you want to to stay in the horror zone, THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR, VOLUME 9 has a collection of stories to curl your toes with every whisper. Read more…
I was fourteen and my brother seven when my parents hid the television in the attic linen closet and told us that it was broken. It remained at the “repair shop” for two years, which speaks to our gullibility and to our parents’ belief in the power of storytelling. For it was then that my father adopted the tradition established by his father, and began reading aloud to the family in the evening.
He started with his own childhood favorite, Arthur Ransome’s SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, which is about four English kids (one of them my brother’s age) who spend their summers sailing and camping without adult supervision. Sophisticated, yet immediate, the 12-book series is ideal family listening. Such is my affection for them that I’ve twice listened to the entire canon in audiobook form. Gareth Armstrong’s narration can be found at www.audible.co.uk and Alison Larkin’s at www.audible.com. Read more…