What do you listen to when you’ve heard all of the Harry Potter and Rick Riordan audiobooks multiple times? We’ve paired up 16 excellent audiobooks for ages 8-12+, titles that share a theme, subject matter, or narrative style. Each of these “listen-alikes” is a great choice for middle graders looking for fresh listening. Read more…
Listen and travel from New York to San Francisco to Rome and Beyond
Springtime in the city. Blue skies, warming temperatures, birds singing. I walk out without a hat, breathe deep, and inhale the pungent scent of aged dog poop revealed by melting snow. Urban life is full of surprises. Yet I love cities in spring, and, for that matter, in summer, fall, and winter. Herewith are a few of my favorite listens in which the city is a character.
E.B. White’s classic, HERE IS NEW YORK, may have been written about the great metropolis of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, but it remains a timeless, perfect love letter to an imperfect urban mistress. The audiobook begins with a cogent 1999 introduction written by White’s stepson, editor and writer Roger Angell, which brings the family reminiscences into a contemporary era. Narrator Malcolm Hillgartner reads the introduction and the all-too-brief stroll around the city in an endlessly listenable baritone that manages to be simultaneously rugged and refined. Read more…
When I say that I come from a family of spoken word enthusiasts, it’s not just that we talk a lot. It’s that when I was born, my mother was a theater actress and my father a lighting designer. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my father was raised in a traveling marionette theater. So, declaiming in full sentences and the general trying-on of plot lines and personalities were big in our house. That’s why I’m delighted that AudioFile’s 2019 Listening Challenge includesListen to an audiobook performed by a full cast. But why stop at one? Here are some of my favorites, most of them Earphones Award winners, starting with a trip around the galaxy with Arthur Dent. Read more…
Escape the present with crime fighters of the past
I was always a little smitten with history. I’m not exactly sure what originally ignited my fascination with the past—watching “Little House on the Prairie” as a small girl, reading GONE WITH THE WIND for the first time, having great teachers in school . . . probably a combination of all that—but it’s as strong today as ever. And I’m not even obsessed with a certain time period. The Roaring ’20s period in the U.S. is as intriguing to me as Ancient Rome. So it should come as no surprise that historical mysteries also captivate me.
Even though I’m not particular about time period, some folks are. But mystery can cover virtually any era on any point of the globe. And sometimes you might be surprised. You might think you don’t care for that period but then the mystery is so riveting, you find yourself looking up details to see what is fact and what is a little creative license on the part of the author.
David C. Taylor’s detective protagonist, Michael Cassidy, works in New York City in the mid-Twentieth Century. Don’t worry if that feels unfamiliar to you. By the time you finish hearing Keith Szarabajka’s killer narrations, you’ll feel like you lived it personally. Dark and gritty, historical police procedural at its finest. 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!
Traveling in England with mysteries as my reference guides
When I first visited rural England in late August about twenty years ago, I was prepared for hedgerows, pubs, village greens, and vicars and their requisite belfries. Also dead bodies, likely in the belfries, and detective superintendents.
Yes, it’s true. Much of my knowledge about the country across the pond came from my copious consumption of mysteries (and reverential watching of BBC’s Upstairs Downstairs). What’s remarkable is how useful my “research” proved.
Accents, for example. “We really have everything in common … except, of course, the language,” wrote Oscar Wilde about America and England in his 1887 comic story THE CANTERVILLE GHOST, about an American family in an English haunted house. Read more…