5 Questions with Xe Sands

Plus 5 Audiobooks from Xe!

Xe Sands

Xe SandsThis month I welcome Xe Sands to the Take 5 stage. Xe’s soft voice and emotionally deep performances have enhanced hundreds of audiobooks across many genres. She is particularly skilled at tightening the gap between author and listener while still leaving enough room to let us experience our own reactions to the story, whether it’s literary fiction, mystery, or romance.

As I picked five audiobooks to showcase Xe’s work, I couldn’t help but be biased by my own favorites, which lean heavily toward literary fiction. I should point out, though, that Xe has many devoted romance-loving fans and has earned much praise for her performances of a variety of nonfiction titles as well. 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.

New Audiobooks Offer Plenty of Contrast

Robin’s Roundup August 10

The Middleman

Contrasts—dark or light-hearted, subtle or intense, Russia or North Carolina. Going through our new reviews this week, I am struck by the variety of titles and how the audiobooks are often in stark contrast. Of course, books are written on a vast variety of subjects and with radically different points of view, and this gives a grand range of options for listening and reading.

The Middleman
East of Innocence

In newly reviewed thrillers, I’ll contrast the cerebral and politically charged THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer with EAST OF INNOCENCE by David Thorne. Narrator Rupert Degas portrays a cast of hard-bitten characters with stunning emotional dimension in the latter. In the former, Ari Fliakos deftly takes listeners through “a snarl of idealism, cynicism, paranoia, and lies.” 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.

7 Audiobooks on Creating the Good Life

Learning By Ear

Off the Clock

Off the ClockAmong our recent personal growth audios, quite a few focus on the specific things we can do to be happier and more satisfied with life. Being productive is one of those things, and in OFF THE CLOCK Laura Vanderkam says we’re going about it all wrong. She’s against obsessive time-management and instead offers a graceful invitation to stand back from our to-do lists and take a mindful look at how we can best engage with what needs to be done.

Another recent title, HOW WOMEN RISE, is about overcoming obstacles to personal effectiveness, another component of happiness. Lifted by the refreshing reading of voice pro Suzanne Toren, the audio describes how women can use their strengths to confront workplace gender bias instead of automatically capitulating to it. 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.

Audiobook Narrators Come to Maine

Robin’s Roundup July 27

Lobster Bake
photo by Sean Runnette

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…

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.

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.

7 Top New British Mysteries

Robin’s Roundup June 15 New Audiobook Reviews

7 Top New British Mystery Audiobooks

Summer is the perfect time to relax with a great audiobook—and for me, I go first to British mysteries. I try to keep up with authors I don’t know well—like Ruth Ware or Anthony Horowitz—and also follow favorite long-running series—like Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge or Martha Grimes’s Inspector Jury and his motley crew of village regulars. Peter May, author of several compelling stories set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, is another favorite. Since I binged on the TV series “Vera,” I have happily been consuming Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope audiobooks. 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.

5 Audiobooks about Summer Sports

Dive Into Summer Listens

Find A Way

Hello, Summer! I welcome your days of outdoor living. You bring me gardening, cookouts, and naps on the deck. The air is teeming with the soothing sounds of birds and bees . . . and the occasional thwack of balls.

Find A WayYes! Now’s the time to dust off those tennis balls, golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, and bocce balls. Don’t care for cricket? Maybe it’s time to launch a canoe, a sailboat, a kayak, or a raft. Don’t have sports equipment? No problem. Head on over to the swimming pool, the swimming hole, the creek, the beach, or the bay and just jump in.

I love summer sports and look for ways to participate on a casual level, whether it’s a pick-up neighborhood baseball game or a Saturday bike ride with my husband. Despite, or maybe because of, my amateur status, I’ve always felt that sports enrich our lives, not only encouraging us to improve our physical skills but teaching us to be better winners and losers and giving us a basis to form lifelong friendships.

I’ll never be a professional athlete, but thanks to audiobooks, I can live vicariously. Today I feature five memoirs from both hobbyists and elite athletes who are devoted to a summer sport. These audiobooks may not help you improve your score, but they’ll inspire you to get in the game. 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.

They Do What!?

The Secret Lives of Four Audie Award Nominees

Lorelei King

If I said that a much lauded, respected, and beloved narrator was once put to work cleaning toilets in an Athens youth hostel, would you guess it was Lorelei King, John Lee, Davina Porter, or Scott Brick?

SpellmongerOn the eve of the Audie Awards, I thought I’d share some unexpected facts about four of this year’s nominees. Particulars that their normal bio might not reveal. So, back to the youth hostel’s toilets. What if I add that the aforementioned narrator also likes to “contemplate a historic marker in my hometown that memorializes the place where plastic was invented”? Before you do an Internet search, I’ll hint that this person previously won an Audie Award for THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, which required over forty hours of narration, and is the voice of Philip Kerr’s iconic Bernie Gunther suspense series, of which the latest is GREEKS BEARING GIFTS.

Yes, it’s true. Golden voiced John Lee, nominated this year for SPELLMONGER, Book 1 of Terry Mancour’s fantasy series, knows the backside of a Greek youth hostel. Let’s just hope he also got to see the Parthenon. Lee also once worked the night shift at a razor-blade factory, which he says makes him feel lucky for every moment in the recording booth. 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.

What We’re Listening to Now

AudioFile Staff Picks for May

Tulips

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!

CIRCE

Tulips
Circe
Listening in the garden

I’m in the garden with my stunning pink tulips listening to the story of sorcerer CIRCE making her potions from flowers and herbs to enchant her visitors.
—Robin Whitten, Founder & Editor Read more…

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