The Detours of Historical Fiction Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup January 17

Pack Horse Librarian
Pack Horse Librarian
Pack Horse Librarian , Kentucky Digital Library

In three recent audiobooks of historic fiction, I found myself lured off to research real-life events and details in these stories. Each detour made the audiobooks even richer. I was immediately entranced by the Packhorse Librarians project, the focus of Jojo Moyes’s GIVER OF STARS. Between 1935 and 1943, this WPA initiative delivered thousands of library books, recipes, and other reading material to the hills and hollers of eastern Kentucky. In Moyes’s audiobook, narrator Julia Whelan helps us follow the “book women” of Baileyville, Kentucky. In the first scene, one of the librarians, Margery, riding her mule with a saddlebag of books, is accosted on a remote track. Yes, the project was real, and yes, the librarians often rode mules—this Smithsonian Magazine article is full of details. Are you hooked yet? Learning about the library project and thinking about the stamina and dedication the librarians made the fictional GIVER OF STARS story even more interesting. 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.

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits on Audio

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits

The Wisdom of Moles and Rabbits

This time of year puts me in a nostalgic mood to spend time with furry creatures that star in the sort of books that are loved by both adults and children. Rabbits, for instance. When the British publisher Rex Collings agreed to publish Richard Adams’s WATERSHIP DOWN, he wrote a colleague, “I’ve just taken on a novel about rabbits, one of them with extra-sensory perception. Do you think I’m mad?” Farsighted is a better description. The 1972 classic about a band of anthropomorphized rabbits on a quest for a new home has been republished and adapted repeatedly since publication, most recently in a terrific audiobook read by Peter Capaldi. That male rabbits get starring roles despite the matriarchal nature of real rabbit society is mostly forgivable because the story’s drama is enhanced by Capaldi’s rich voice and insightful pacing. The Scottish-born actor also starred as the twelfth Doctor in BBC’s epic Doctor Who series, which turns out to have been excellent preparation for creating an abundance of character voices for the brave group. 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.

Thinking Thanksgiving: Grateful for These Audiobook Experiences

Thinking Thanksgiving: Grateful For These Audiobook Experiences

Thinking Thanksgiving: Grateful For These Audiobook Experiences

The cold, raw air of November is blowing in, bringing with it thoughts of Thanksgiving, family get-togethers, and, most importantly, all those things in my life that I am grateful for. That list includes audiobooks. I feel privileged to be living in a time when audiobooks are accessible in an instant and can be listened to on my phone or on my tiny MP3 player. 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).

Gained in Translation: 6 Translated Mysteries from Around the World

Rio Ipanema beach

Rio Ipanema beach

From Barcelona to Singapore to Rio, I have been privileged to see wonderful sites and to hear many voices from around the world. To experience another culture, through words, foods, and relationships, opens one’s eyes and one’s heart. What strikes me about my recent visits to Europe and Asia is the extent to which English has become the common vehicle for communicating. I am so grateful that English is my native language, since it’s not an easy language to learn. I also feel fortunate that there is a long list of mystery audiobooks from around the world that have been translated into English.

And in case you were not aware, August is Women in Translation Month (#WITMonth). Google it to find out more!

Below, I provide a mini-sample of the smorgasbord of offerings in world mysteries. 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).

4 Summer Listens: Relax with Tales of Murder and Mayhem

Lakeside listening

Lakeside listeningSummer: Hot days, time for play, for laying your head back in a cool lake and looking up at the puffy clouds. Time for barbecues, sangria, and sweet watermelon slices. Time for murder???

What constitutes a great summer mystery/suspense listen? Summer is a time to allow yourself the luxury of being totally captivated and carried away. For me that includes playing audiobooks that are funny, light, and filled with favorite characters, stories that take me away to different parts of the world, and plots that are so engaging you walk an extra mile just to keep listening. 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).

Delight in Mystery, Fantasy, and Classic Audiobooks from Golden Voice Simon Vance

Simon Vance

Simon VanceIn this happy month, when we are celebrating actors honored by AudioFile as Golden Voices for their outstanding achievement in audiobook narration, I wish to announce that few things make me happier than hearing Simon Vance in my earbuds. His bright baritone and BBC English accent, his facility with characterization, and most of all, the way he uses microsecond pauses to keep me hooked — hooked — on what will happen next. Oh my. Given his multitudinous prizes for narration, including many Audie and Earphones Awards, and appearances on annual “Best Of” lists, I am not alone in my esteem. 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.

Essential Listening: Golden Voice Narrators

Robin’s Roundup June 21

Stars of the Audiobook Universe

Stars of the Audiobook UniverseCelebrating Audiobook Month in June has given us such a great opportunity to give special attention to the narrator luminaries of the audiobook world. Here at AudioFile, each day in June is dedicated to one of our Golden Voices. Starting with Derek Jacobi on June 1 up to today—”John Lee Day”—we’ve posted “essential listens” for each narrator on our Twitter stream, and on weekdays in June, we’ve devoted each podcast episode of Behind the Mic to a single narrator. Today, host Jo Reed and I chat about narrator John Lee and his skilled handling of British mysteries and unique style. Yesterday, we talked about Robin Miles and her amazing skills with different dialects. 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.

Interview with Golden Voice narrator Scott Brick

Celebrating 20 Years of Audio Excellence

Scott Brick

Scott BrickNarrator Scott Brick is celebrating 20 years of audiobook recording this June. He was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2004, and whether he’s narrating science fiction, thrillers, or history, he helps listeners get to the heart of the story. Listen to our interview with Scott and hear about his start in audiobook narration, his love of science fiction, and the audiobooks that have had the greatest impact on his life.

“I’ve never lost the fanboy inside of me. I’m just thrilled by the fact that I get to do this for a living.”—Narrator Scott Brick

Read more…

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Audiobook Fan Goes Gaga for Golden Voices: Narrator January LaVoy’s Audiobook Mysteries

January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy (l) and Ellen Quint

One of the privileges of being part of the AudioFile team is the opportunity to rub elbows on special occasions with stars of the audiobook universe. Imagine being in a New York recording studio surrounded by the people who have thrilled you with their performances again and again. That was me this week at the reception in honor of our five new Golden Voice recipients who have joined this very special class of narrators. A full cadre of Golden Voices was there to welcome their fellow narrators.

Let me focus on new Golden Voice honoree January LaVoy. You can read more about January in the latest issue of AudioFile Magazine and in her narrator profile. January has recorded more than 200 audiobooks: biographies as diverse as ELIZA HAMILTON and QUEEN BEY (about Beyoncé and Jay Z); science fiction, including VERSION CONTROL; and, of course, mysteries. January has one of those voices you would follow anywhere. As with her Golden Voices colleagues, she can make any genre come alive for the listener. That takes true talent. 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).

6 Tips for Listening to Audiobooks with Kids

Audiobook Listening for Kids

Audiobook Listening for KidsReading with our ears can have educational benefits at all ages, but my favorite benefit of listening to audiobooks with kids is the priceless connection of experiencing a good story together. If your family has never listened to an audiobook, getting started can feel daunting, so here are some tips to get you up and running. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.