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…
Narrator Paul Michael tells us about The Brotherhood of Spies
In this new narrator video with Paul Michael, we go Behind the Mic to get his take on what’s fascinating about A BROTHERHOOD OF SPIES, Monte Reel’s behind-the-scenes chronicle of the history of the CIA and the U-2 spy plane and the saga of Francis Gary Powers.
“If you like history or like to know how things came to be—specifically modern intelligence gathering—this might be the book for you.”—Narrator Paul Michael
Aurelia Recommends Listens That’ll Bridge the Mason-Dixon Line
July 1st is the anniversary of the start of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. On my first visit to the battlefield, which is one of the country’s top summer travel sites, I got lost in the woods near Little Round Top. Though I soon found the path, my panicked stomach-flop brought to mind terrified Henry Fleming in Stephen Crane’s THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, that archetypal novel about fear and heroism in the midst of a maelstrom. If you, like I, read it in school eons ago, it’s worth revisiting as we approach the anniversary of the decisive battle, and of a war whose wounds persist. Of all the versions, I recommend the re-release of Frank Muller’s performance. His reading is as marvelous as the war was devastating. Read more…
Revisiting WWI through Fiction and Nonfiction Audiobooks
At age twenty-two, my grandfather looked a hero in his WWI pilot’s uniform. Peaked cap at a rakish angle, hand on his father’s shoulder, arm around his mother, he smiled broadly for the Brownie camera. Only the bulge of a service revolver beneath his jacket hinted at upcoming danger.
In this 100th anniversary year of America’s entry into the war, I wish I’d been able to hear about his experiences. He died when I was young, though, so I was never able to ask how the French battlefields looked from his biplane’s cockpit, how the rat-a-tat-tat of aerial combat really sounded, and frivolously, why didn’t he wear a silk scarf in the photo? Or did that sartorial flourish belong only to Snoopy’s Red Baron?
Instead, I’ve found a vicarious experience of my grandfather’s war in books and film, beginning with Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the war’s start, THE GUNS OF AUGUST. I read it as a teenager, and recently listened to the Earphones Award-winning performance by one of my favorite narrators, Nadia May (also known as Wanda McCaddon). That’s two prizes for one compulsively readable account of the dares and double-dares that caused so much bravery and death. Read more…