Pride in Maine Audiobooks . . . Susan Conley, Stephen King, Richard Blanco, and More

Robin’s Roundup February 22

Lawn at Tidesong

Lawn at TidesongMaine. Beautiful. Cold, this time of year. Glorious in the summer. Maine is my home, and AudioFile’s, and home to generations of extraordinary writers. Every time we review a new audiobook by a Maine author, I feel a bit of hometown pride. Susan Conley’s ELSEY COME HOME is featured this week with a spectacular, Earphones Award review for Cassandra Campbell’s narration. Susan lives in Portland and is the founder of The Telling Room, a creative writing lab for young writers ages 6 to 18—a favorite project that inspires storytelling, both written and spoken. In November 2015, The Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program was presented with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the White House for A SEASON FOR BUILDING HOUSES, a collection of stories that open a window onto today’s immigrant and refugee experience. The audiobook of CALL ME AMERICAN, written by Somali refugee and Portland resident Abdi Nor Iftin, was published last summer. Narrator Prentice Onayemi brings his remarkable life to listeners.  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.

Solve: The Elvis Cole series

Robert Crais got Jen hooked on a life of crime (fiction)

The Watchman

Many people have heard me credit Robert Crais with hooking me on crime fiction. The Elvis Cole series was, in fact, my first serious foray into the genre. I picked up THE WATCHMAN at the bookstore and realized it was part of a series. Instead of getting that title, I grabbed THE MONKEY’S RAINCOAT and binged my way straight through the whole series and the three standalones that were available.

The WatchmanAppropriately, those who go a little nutty for Crais’s work are called the “Craisies,” and I’ve made many lifelong friends through a shared love of Elvis, Joe, and the gang. These people are extremely passionate about the series, so they are very upfront about their feelings on everything from book covers to characters to, yes, audiobook narrators.

Unlike some other series that have had long-running narrators who read most, if not all, of the series—Dick Hill for Jack Reacher, George Guidall for Walt Longmire, Will Patton for Dave Robicheaux, Lorelei King for Stephanie Plum—the Elvis Cole series has had a variety of narrators, including Crais himself (THE FIRST RULE). This lends itself to a lot of heated discussion between die-hard fans. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: Crime in Small Bites

Investigate these 10 short story crime audiobooks and get hooked on listening

Craig Johnson - Wait for Signs

When I tell people how much I enjoy listening to audiobooks, I often receive the response, “I can’t listen to audiobooks. I can’t pay attention.” I thought the very same thing at one time. Now I constantly want someone to be telling me a story.

Craig Johnson - Wait for Signs

Listening to audiobooks is a skill, just like reading print books. Even though we eagerly listened to adults telling us stories as small children, somewhere along the way, we lost the knack for listening—personally, I blame it on television, but that’s a different blog post. Never fear, though. Listening skills can be dusted off and honed back into shape. One of the ways I recommend people work on their listening skills is with short audios, and lucky for us, there are great short works of crime fiction available.

About once a year now, I listen to Craig Johnson’s WAIT FOR SIGNS. This collection of Walt Longmire shorts is described by Johnson as the stories between the novels. He develops his well-loved characters in funny, heart-warming, and engaging short stories. It’s probably my favorite collection to recommend to someone just starting to listen to audiobooks. I often recommend it as the introduction to the Longmire series as well. When you’re confident listening to these short stories, you can move on to his novellas—THE HIGHWAYMAN and SPIRIT OF STEAMBOAT. Same great style, in a slightly longer format. By the time you finish these two, you’ll be ready to listen to the novels. All of Johnson’s work is narrated by George Guidall. There hasn’t been one time I’ve attended a book event for Craig Johnson when at least one member of the audience hasn’t gushed about how much they love the series on audio. There’s a good reason for that. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!