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.

Taking the Leap

5 Audiobooks to Inspire Change and Growth

Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Gregg Clunis by Jovan Qeleshi
Author/narrator Gregg Clunis

People wanting to change their lives usually go through six stages before they succeed, says personal growth blogger and podcaster Gregg Clunis in his audiobook, TINY LEAPS, BIG CHANGES. With his sincere, resonant voice and determined pacing, his reading of this stimulating audiobook gives it instant credibility—authority you recognize right away when you hear it. His thinking on this subject, intuitive and accessible, contributes to the audiobook’s power: He says people need a jolt of unpleasantness to kick-start change—a wake-up call like a betrayal by someone you trusted, a demeaning interaction with a boss, or a bad decision that has come home to roost. But for most of us, the alarm bell is not enough. The sting of bad news fades quickly because we tend to resist change and fall back into familiar routines. But once we have learned to “stay with” our unhappiness, he suggests that we spend time looking at alternative directions and focus on one, connect with it fully, and then get into a daily routine that moves us in that direction. 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.

Warm up with Romantic Comedies

New favorites from narrators we love

Warm Up ListensThese days, if you live in the East (or Midwest or Mid-Atlantic or Northwest), you can’t look at a short-sleeved shirt without a faint feeling of nausea. We escaped the last snowstorm when cold air sat on top of us and pushed the snow out to sea but we’re due to get a couple more and they say, the polar vortex is breaking up through the end of February. (Translation: Snow. Lots of snow.) In my personal opinion, one of the things that makes bitter cold more bearable is connecting with friends and having a great time. You know that friend who always erases your bad mood and makes you laugh out loud? You get their call, email, or text, and suddenly you’re smiling? Well, welcome to the audiobook version of that with these humorous rom-coms! Insta-friendship coming right up with these fun, flirty titles. Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!

Negotiating

In Our Time

The Art of Negotiation

The Art of NegotiationWe all negotiate in many different ways to achieve what we need and want—whether that’s negotiating with other people or with actual physical barriers. When it comes to negotiating with things, our negotiation techniques can include climbing, detouring, and other physical methods of getting past what seems to stand in our way. Negotiating with people isn’t physical, however: It’s all about discussion. And discussion involves a lot of talking, listening, and consideration of what has been said, from all parties. Learning about negotiating better and more helpfully through audiobook listening can give us practice as well as good information to take into our next social, political, or work-related negotiating round. Read more…

Francisca Goldsmith
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.

New Earphones Awards for Your Earphones

Robin’s Roundup December 28

Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson
Joel Froomkin
Derek Perkins by Huw Jones

Talking about the Best Audiobooks of the Year can’t really be called a distraction, but for the last month we have given top priority to talking about these great titles. If somehow you missed checking the list—it’s still here. Meanwhile, new reviews keep rolling in—almost 50 reviews each week. SO many good audiobooks! Here are some recent Earphones Award winners that especially caught our attention. 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 Surprising Audiobooks to Make You Smile

Discover delightful end-of-the-year listens

Snowman Smile

Snowman SmileAs we count down the remaining days of December, I wish all of you a new year filled with unexpected moments of delight—the smile of a passing stranger; a tune that sends you shuffle-dancing down the supermarket aisle; learning that your favorite barista loves the same François Truffaut films you do; discovering the most amazing book at the library.

Take Susan Orlean’s THE LIBRARY BOOK, which I loved so much that I listened to it and then checked it out of the library and read it all over again. Ever since I was empowered by my own borrower’s card at age seven, libraries have been a source of intrigue, joy, solace, drama, and education. Orlean’s captivating nonfiction audiobook offers all that and more. Read by Orlean herself in an Earphones Award-winning performance, it is an investigation into who set the devastating 1986 Los Angeles Library fire, a look at the library’s occasionally wacky history, and a celebration of libraries (and library patrons) all their excess and weirdness. It’s not that I recognized myself in any of those oddball patrons. Oh no. 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.

The 5 Best Histories and Biographies of 2018

Finding Hope for Today in What Once Was

2018 Best Biography & History Audiobooks

2018 Best Biography & History AudiobooksIt turns out that “May you live in interesting times” was probably not an ancient Chinese curse, but I mutter it to myself anyway, because, hey, are these interesting times or what?  In between muttering, I have turned to AudioFile’s selection of the best histories and biographies of the year. They offer perspective, inspiration, and occasional comfort. I figure that folks have already lived what’s described in the books, so today has got to be manageable. 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.

Podcasting the Best Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup December 7

HarperPresents Recording

HarperPresents Recording

We’re in the thick of celebrating the 2018 Best Audiobooks and finding new ways to get the word out. In addition to our own podcasts, this week I was a guest at the HarperAudio studios in New York to record a podcast episode of Harper Presents. See above—I’m chatting with host Andrew Kaberline and engineer Nathan Rosborough. Also, I was delighted to be Roxanne Cody’s guest on the Just the Right Book! podcast. Roxanne is a real pioneer and leader in book podcasts, and she’s the founder of RJ Julia Booksellers and JustTheRightBook.com. We have both been talking books/audiobooks for more than 25 years! For followers of Overdrive’s Professional Book Nerds podcast, I also got a chance to talk about our process for selecting the daily choices for Behind the Mic.

In case you missed any of this week’s BEST lists or the narrator interviews with January LaVoy and Fiona Hardingham—here you go.

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.

Best Mystery Audiobooks of 2018

6 Must-Listen Titles for Mystery Lovers

Best Mystery Audiobooks 2018Congratulations to the authors and narrators of the 2018 Best Audiobooks in the Mystery category. The competition is tough—AudioFile’s editors start with 2000 audiobooks in 9 categories that eventually get sorted down to 50 honorees (including the 6 in the Mystery category listed below).

What do all of these audiobooks have in common—what makes them rise to the top? They are all masterfully written by talented authors and read for us by narrators who manage to convincingly convey multiple characters while leaving room for our imaginations. Robin Whitten puts it so beautifully in the podcast about the Best Mystery Audiobooks, saying that the best narrators disappear into the story, becoming the voice that provides all the details while also inhabiting all of the characters. Read more…

Ellen Quint
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).

The 5 Best Memoirs of 2018

Inspiring Peeps to Hang Out With

Becoming

BecomingIn my next life, I will be mathematically gifted, a natural athlete, pale with copper hair or mocha with corkscrew curls, able to carry a tune and tell a joke without ruining the punchline, and unafraid of roller-coasters. Until then, I’m spending time with folks who inspire me in this life, finding them in AudioFile’s picks for the five best memoirs of 2018. (Check out all of our 2018 Best Audiobooks in our media-rich E-Zine.)

Let’s begin with Michelle Obama, whose new memoir, BECOMING, lifts the spirits as it heartens. As I listened to her Earphones Award-winning performance, I admired her more than ever and felt I’d gained a new best friend. This is an audiobook that I’ll keep coming back to in order to savor Obama’s embracing voice and thoughtful, fierce, funny reminiscences about real life, both grand and humble.

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.