8 Audiobooks about Inspiring Lives of Service

Robin’s Roundup November 8

Audiobooks About Service

Audiobooks About Service

Each month, AudioFile editors Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, and I decide on topics which we can explore with both new titles and older audiobooks mined from our AudioFile archives. We feature them on our social media and in articles here on the blog. We try to find a twist on holiday themes—which we can all agree get a little repetitive—and look at whether there’s any fun to be had with holidays like Pi/Pie Day. One that we chose this month is “service” as we think about veterans and humanitarians alike, like Chef José Andrés (above) and his service to Puerto Rico, which he recounts in WE FED AN ISLAND. 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.

Audiobook Casting: Beyond the Single Voice

Robin’s Roundup October 25

Audiobook Casting Puss in Boots
Audiobook Casting Puss in Boots
PUSS IN BOOTS cast in action!

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…

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.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: A Shout-out to Sonnets

Listening to Poetry Just Makes Life Better

The Great Poets: Walt Whitman“Focus on something. It’ll steady your nerves,” my mother advised. That’s why I stared fixedly at Mr. Potter the Latin teacher throughout my 6th grade recitation of “Oh Captain, My Captain” by Walt Whitman. Mr. Potter smiled benignly. And when my nerves settled, the words rose, heated, as they had not when I’d practiced, surprising me into passion. In the years since, I’ve found that whether in the midst of joy or sorrow, wistfulness or contentment, poetry speaks intimately to the heart and mind. It also demands to be spoken.

White men who died long ago wrote most of the poetry I learned in school. I still turn to it because the guys, including Whitman, really could write. Naxos AudioBooks’ Great Poets series has a fine collection, including Garrick Hagon’s Earphones Award performance of Whitman’s best known poems in THE GREAT POETS: WALT WHITMAN. 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.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: The Stars are Out Tonight

Great actors who can also deliver great audiobook performances

The Testament of Mary

Asked to read a telephone book, Meryl Streep could find subtext even in the X’s. Hand her a novel and she’s la crème de la crème. That cannot be said about most celebrities who’ve narrated audiobooks. Unfortunately, mega stardom doesn’t guarantee a mega audiobook performance. So let’s celebrate three stage and screen superstars who also are able to deliver splendid listening.

The Testament of Mary

Streep can do serious, as evidenced by her performance of Colm Tóibín’s THE TESTAMENT OF MARY — a blazing commentary by the mother of Jesus on her son’s fate. She channels Mary, making the audiobook one for every faith or none. It’s a performance of a lifetime that I’ve pressed on many who weren’t sure and who came away convinced. Streep can also do funny, and her comedic timing is beautifully displayed in Nora Ephron’s fictionalized memoir, HEARTBURN. Both performances won Earphones Awards. Then there are her characterizations, vividly apparent in several narrations for children. For the kids in your life, or just for yourself, listen and savor THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, or three stories in an audio collection called RABBIT EARS STORIES BY BEATRIX POTTER. Rarely has Peter Rabbit sounded so inveterately tempted by Mr. MacGregor’s garden. 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.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Humor Is the Best Medicine

When the going gets tough, get laughing with some well-chosen audiobooks

A Spot Of Bother

The summer before my mother died, I repainted our front porch. Neither she nor I wanted me in constant attendance. So, in between visits to her bedside, I scraped, painted, and laughed hysterically to Mark Haddon’s A SPOT OF BOTHER, given an Earphones Award-winning performance by Simon Vance. This startled passersby, but given the chance to blend my weeping with tears of laughter, I didn’t care about the spectacle I was making. The audiobook is nominally about an estranged English family arranging for a wedding. For Haddon, whose THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME found humor and profundity in a character’s coping with Asperger’s Syndrome, a family wedding (like a family death) gives rise to just about every behavior, some of it bizarre, much of it transcendent. And in my hour of need, it was transformative.

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.