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.
Every month we like to feature some of what our AudioFile editors are listening to, both to review and for fun! The warmer weather means we’re excited to be listening in the garden and while exploring outside (and, as always, while getting those dishes done in the evening). This month’s staff picks range from audiobooks that will help you escape the stresses of the world to audiobooks to inspire change.
Chime in, and tell us, what audiobooks are you listening to now? We’re all ears!
Audiobook listeners know Jim Dale—the voice of Harry Potter, of course, with seven audiobooks and a Guinness World Record for the 146 voices in just HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS! But wait, there’s more . . . Jim’s career includes Broadway (Barnum), the British National Theatre, and 1960s British comedy Carry On, and he was the lyricist for Georgy Girl— you can see for yourself in this video created by Belock Design to celebrate a Lifetime Achievement Award given to Jim by Urban Stages.
Last week in the glorious setting of The Boathouse in Central Park, Jim was feted for his truly amazing career. Publisher Tim Ditlow (who brought Jim together with Harry Potter) and I were delighted to be among the guests. Think a moment about the magical casting of Jim to perform HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE in 1998, before American listeners and readers had ever met Harry. Tim deserves an award as well!
Take 5 with Candace: Why this narrator has fans of all ages and listening genres
Say hello to January LaVoy, a narrator who never fails to impress me with her incredible range of voices and ability to adapt her delivery to fit the intended audience. Our reviewers universally comment on January’s distinct, consistent voices and how smoothly she slips from character to character. It’s no wonder that audiobook fans of all ages and listening tastes have January on their short list of favorite narrators.
I had a hard time picking just five audiobooks to share this week (and, in fact, I cheated by featuring two series), but ultimately I made my choices to highlight January’s performances across different genres. 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.
“Poetry lives everywhere,” said Tracy K. Smith, teacher and writer and America’s Poet Laureate, as she kicked off April’s National Poetry Month a few weeks ago. As a listener—to audiobooks, poetry, podcasts, and even the eloquence of a speaker—I love that we celebrate all of these in sound.
How do children’s audiobooks catch my attention? Sometimes it’s a visual
pop from the cover, sometimes it’s wanting to hear a narrator I love, and sometimes it’s the Earphones Award a reviewer recommends.
The cover of Junot Díaz’s ISLANDBORN immediately grabbed me, and the Earphones-worthy performance by the author sealed it. The unlikely appearance of a Swedish children’s series from the 1940s, Pelle No-Tail, is another that made me curious. Master narrator Rupert Degas is one of my favorites, and his performance ofTHE ADVENTURES OF PELLE NO-TAIL sealed the deal. Rupert’s performance in THE GOLDEN COMPASS is one I hold dear, and his SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT series was a marvel.
As you might guess, Women’s History is big this month at AudioFile! Each month we brainstorm about audiobook titles that we can recommend around themes, holidays, or current events—think Women’s History, Groundhog Day, or immigration. Our newsletters, Twitter posts, and website use the titles to suggest listening. I’m also excited about using the “playlist” option of our Soundcloud channel. We have 16 clips from, and about, Outspoken Women and will be adding more each week through the month. I love the fact that this is an ongoing project, so we keep adding new voices. Read more…
Like millions of others around the world, I went and saw Black Panther last weekend and was completely blown away. It was an amazing movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go!
There are many comic book explorations of superhero Black Panther out there, but only one has been recorded as an audiobook so far. BLACK PANTHER: The Young Prince is read with urgency and excitement by Dion Graham. As I left the theater, I was struck by the many outstanding science fiction and fantasy audiobooks that those who loved the world of Black Panther and Wakanda could dive right into, even if they are set outside of Marvel’s universe. Read more…
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers. She works behind the scenes to help keep AudioFile's blog running and is currently working towards a MLIS.
Hello, universe, check out the spectacular listening in the Newbery and Odyssey Awards
In the midst of awards season, I’m always looking out for those that specifically celebrate audiobooks, like the Spoken Word Grammy (Carrie Fisher’s THE PRINCESS DIARIST) and The Odyssey Award (THE HATE U GIVE). Also, I love finding the audiobook companion of books that are being celebrated—the American Library Association awards announced this week offer a wealth of great listening. The Newbery Award, for example, given for the year’s “most outstanding contribution to literature,” honored HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly. We’ve talked about and celebrated the audiobook for months—check out narrator Ramon de Ocampo in one of our Behind the Mic videos telling us how swept up he was in this book. It’s thrilling to know that it has received the great Newbery honor. You’ll be hearing more about one of the Newbery Honor titles, Jason Reynolds’s LONG WAY DOWN—we have an exciting interview with Jason about recording his audiobooks for our upcoming print issue. (Look for it April 1.)Read more…
How does Snow White look from here? The Evil Queen’s POV
Join AudioFile Behind the Mic with narrator Kim Mai Guest — she talks about the fascinating characters she got to portray in FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS, an Earphones Award-winning young adult novel from Julie C. Dao.
“You travel across this magical, mythical land with these amazing characters . . . evil demons, beautiful women, thoughtful interesting emperors.”—Narrator Kim Mai Guest