As far as I’m concerned, summer vacation-reading is about finding a comfortable spot and succumbing to guilt-free total immersion. I prefer a hammock, beach chair, or quiet back stoop. I’m agnostic about genre, but it’s got to leave me fully satiated and sighing with satisfaction. With three more weeks of August listening left, I want to recommend five of the summer’s best new titles and two classics guaranteed to carry you away, even if it’s just to a rickety lounger in the backyard. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Read more…
Ever since Jurassic Park was released in June 1993, the summer has belonged to dinosaurs. I mean, you or a close family member have already seen this summer’s blockbuster, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, right? So tell me, what does “brontosaurus” mean? Give yourself a gold star if you answered, “Thunder Lizard.” If you blanked, no worries. I’ve collected six titles that’ll inform and thrill your dino-loving outer adult and inner child.
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DINOSAURS by Steve Brusatte, read by Patrick Lawlor, is a captivating and informative “new history of a lost world.” Brusatte’s a youthful paleontologist with a taste for international adventure, and he leads a fun and occasionally dangerous tour from Chinese deserts to the American badlands, acquainting us with creatures that become more astounding the more we learn. By the way, did you know that before dinosaurs, the earth was dominated by pelycosaurs, archosaurs, and therapsids — aka ginormous meat-eating reptiles? I know, I know, this stuff is so cool. Read more…
Happy Fourth of July—a holiday to celebrate the birthday of this amazing country, eat ice cream, ooh and ahh over fireworks, and for audiophiles, maybe even walk along the beach listening to a great thriller. And why not focus on thrillers involving the White House? With the recent publication of THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, a lot of attention has been paid to the relationship between U.S. presidents and mysteries. This new book is performed by a troupe of narrators, including Dennis Quaid, who voices the President. Craig Fehrman in his New York Times essay, The Mystery Buffs in the White House, tells of how presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton enjoyed mysteries of many genres.
As a setting for a mystery or a political thriller, what better place could there be than the White House, and the goings on there with the first family and the hundreds of folks in and out of the president’s entourage? Read more…
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).
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?
On 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…
Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Matching audiobooks to the drive improves the scenery
My husband Bob and I recently drove from Maine to California and back just to listen to audiobooks. Okay, we also wanted to escape winter in the 23rd state. However we played lots of audiobooks along the way, choosing ones set more or less where we were going. Call them road-trip audiobooks. That’s how we took the LAST BUS TO WISDOM, Ivan Doig’s heartfelt, comic paean to lighting out. Across the Great Plains we went with 12-year-old Donal, 70-something Herman-the-German, and the amazing narrator, Aaron David Baker. They rode the Dog Bus — think now, what bus line’s emblem is a hound? — while we drove a Subaru. But with a master author and narrator to guide us, we found wide-open spaces and quirky, worthwhile Americans. We survived robbery (Donal and Herman) and a blizzard on Donner Pass (Bob and me). And we replaced several meals with chocolate bars. Read more…
Captivating and compelling listening all around — but who will win?
As fans of mystery audiobooks, we’re looking forward to this year’s Audie Awards and are excited to share the nominees for the Mystery and Thriller/Suspense categories. If you missed any of these audiobooks, there are a still couple of months for you to listen and root for your favorites before the winners are announced on May 31. Do you think Louise Penny and Robert Bathurst will take home an Audie this year? They were nominated for A GREAT RECKONING last year, but didn’t take home the prize. What about Harlan Coben and Steven Weber, nominated for HOME? Will the winner also have an AudioFile Earphones Award, like MAGPIE MURDERS or THE CHEMIST? Listen to clips of all the nominees in the 2018 Mystery and Thriller/Suspense categories and place your bets, theoretical or otherwise. Read more…
From Prohibition to marijuana’s budding legalization
A century ago, the United States experimented with a federal mandate prohibiting the manufacture and sale of liquor. Enforcement turned out to be a Sisyphean task, and repeal of Prohibition was legislated less than 20 years later. The remainder of the 20th century turned legal enforcement against other potentially intoxicants (called vaguely “drugs”) and included a kind of unevenness in enforcement that punished poorer communities, often of color, while turning an increasingly blind eye, across the ensuing decades, to wealthier ingesters of coke, marijuana, and prescription pharmaceuticals taken beyond a regulated relationship between prescribing physician and patient.
In the past few years of the 21st century, while marijuana cultivation, sale, and use continue to carry federal criminal penalties, several states have passed laws that, at first, legalized marijuana for medical use, and, more recently, for recreational use as well. With New Year’s drinking behind us and contentious legal paths ahead on the federal level for changing standards of acceptable marijuana use, here’s an audiobook path from Prohibition through marijuana’s budding legalization. Read more…
Francisca Goldsmith has worked with teens, collections, and administering branch services in public, school, and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Connecting communities to information and supporting new Americans in learning both language and culture are her passions. To those ends, she’s worked with audiobooks and listeners for the past 20 years.
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…
What a combination—the Wild West & dinosaurs! Scott Brick loved narrating Michael Crichton’s re-discovered audiobook
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with Golden Voice narrator Scott Brickto hear his excitement for recording DRAGON TEETH, by Michael Crichton. Scott knows Crichton’s dinosaur territory from his recordings of JURASSIC PARK and THE LOST WORLD. The setting of the Wild West and the golden age of fossil hunting adds to the fun.
“It’s a rollicking good time, and I think in many ways it’s the book he always wanted to write.”—Narrator Scott Brick
DRAGON TEETH by Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick Harper Audio
The dawn of paleontology and rival scientists set a great stage for Crichton’s adventure. The book was recently discovered in the estate of this blockbuster author, and with Scott Brick at the helm of the audiobook, listeners get an exciting ride. There’s plenty to learn from Crichton’s meticulous research, and Scott’s narration clearly shows why he’s a narrator at the top of his game. Listen to a sound clip, and read AudioFile’s full review here.