Words and Sensibility

In Our Time

Word By Word

Words and SensibilityRegardless of individual political allegiance, Americans—and many in Europe, Asia, and Africa, too—are gaining new and more popular awareness of how words can be used to both contract and expand communication. Whether used as singular epithets or strung into carefully designed phrasing, words and the meanings they carry can persuade, enrage, comfort, and signal a lowering or heightening of tension. People who love to read know this as surely as do gossips and clergy crafting sermons. Adding the high-octane fuel of skilled performance of the written words guides listeners through pace, tone, and inflection to burn every spark of available meaning and potential nuance from the written word and bring it to the audiobook reader’s attention. 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.

Courtship Counts

Let’s Bring Romance Back!

The Kiss Quotient

Courtship. In this age of dating apps, texting, and Twitter, the ways we maneuver the initial phase of a relationship are unique to our modern (and confusing) culture. Do you find yourself multitasking even when you’re around your loved ones? Can you get through a dinner date without taking out your smartphone at some point? (Be honest!) Do you Google all of your potential partners? Have you ever rethought a relationship with someone because of what you saw on their Facebook or Instagram account? All of this is to say that technology is often miraculous and wonderful—it keeps us connected to each other in many ways. On the other hand, technology may distract us from meaningful moments that move us from courtship to a relationship. Let’s bring romance back! These audiobooks stand out for delicious, delightful courtships that are even more romantic and more memorable when dedicated narrators share it with us up close and out loud.

The Kiss Quotient

THE KISS QUOTIENT
by Helen Hoang
read by Carly Robins
Dreamscape

What’s Stella to do when her family flat-out tells her they want grandchildren and encourages her to use Tinder to get them some? Hire a sexy consultant. This sizzling #ownvoices novel features a character with Asperger’s. 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!

Beat the Heat! 8 Icy Audiobook Listens

Robin’s Roundup July 6

Ice
Elementals: Ice Wolves

Ok, I’ll admit it—just looking at the covers of these “icy” audiobooks is helping me cool off! Even if air conditioning is keeping you cool, we all have to venture out into the recent hot weather. Here’s a bit of audiobook listening to beat the heat.

Anna Kavan’s ICE features an ice apocalypse and plummeting temperatures—a good start to cool me down. But before you grab it, it’s worth looking into this 1967 science fiction/fantasy/dystopian classic. Jonathan Lethem wrote recently about the work in The New York Times. In this new audio release, Nigel Patterson engages with a passionate performance. ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES is a fantasy for the younger set—good for middle grade listeners and family listening. 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 Audiobook Listening for Independence Day

Robin’s Roundup June 29

During the holiday week of America’s Independence Day, along with the barbecue, clambake, and fireworks, add in a few audiobooks. Many of us celebrate with our families—and my first choice will resonate with the younger set, bringing a fun and informative take on Lady Liberty: HER RIGHT FOOT.  Author Dave Eggers and narrator Dion Graham are a dynamic duo as usual. Listeners—of all ages—will also learn about Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet that contains “Give me your tired, your poor . . . .” I was pleased to read the full text that appears on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. And while everyone is listening, Khizr Khan’s THIS IS OUR CONSTITUTION is accessible and illuminating for young listeners.

Her Right Foot
This Is Our Constitution
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.

7 (and more) Great Audiobooks About the Civil War

Aurelia Recommends Listens That’ll Bridge the Mason-Dixon Line

The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of CourageJuly 1st is the anniversary of the start of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. On my first visit to the battlefield, which is one of the country’s top summer travel sites, I got lost in the woods near Little Round Top. Though I soon found the path, my panicked stomach-flop brought to mind terrified Henry Fleming in Stephen Crane’s THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, that archetypal novel about fear and heroism in the midst of a maelstrom. If you, like I, read it in school eons ago, it’s worth revisiting as we approach the anniversary of the decisive battle, and of a war whose wounds persist. Of all the versions, I recommend the re-release of Frank Muller’s performance. His reading is as marvelous as the war was devastating. 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.

Listen Loud, Listen Proud

LGBTQIA Fiction & Nonfiction for Adults

Sally Ride Lego

Sally Ride LegoHappy Pride Month! I struggled with limiting my selection to a handful of engaging, immersive, and energizing LGBTQIA audiobooks for this post. More and more stories featuring characters with a range of sexual and gender identities are being released as audiobook productions. It’s a great time for listeners, however you identify. It’s still difficult to find these books in online audiobook store catalogs, though. If you’re unfamiliar with the names of queer publishers or want to browse self-published authors with audio productions, it’s harder still. I’ve included a small sample of memoir and biography, historical fiction, and contemporary romance that were reviewed for AudioFile. Read more…

Julie Thompson
Julie Thompson is a Washington State-based librarian. When she’s not immersed in audiobooks or reviewing for her blog, she can be found cheering on the Seattle Storm basketball team, catching up on her favorite television shows, and hanging out with her family.

Under Questioning: Listening to Formal Hearings

In Our Time

Mastergate

MastergateCongressional hearings are a process of information gathering—both orally and aurally. Hearings might be called for  democracy-threatening political disagreements, huge calamities with manmade elements, or the approval of candidates for important non-elected offices. This formal, often public, investigatory medium, with its spoken and heard nuances as important as the words transmitted, is very friendly to audiobook publishing and listening. Hearings have been recorded in sound media, as well as in transcript form, for over a century now. These recordings, as they relate to events included in audiobooks, may be in the form of archival clips, re-enactments, or elements of wholly fictional drama.

Among the past century of such Congressional hearings, events ranging from disaster at sea to dubious secret intelligence programs have given rise to such hearings. And the hearings have given rise to audiobooks for a variety of ages and in a variety of narrative styles. You can choose your concern or choose your genre to get a taste of listening to how hearings are realized by professional narrators and actors. 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.

Get It Together

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Five Audiobooks that Will Put Your Life in Order

Spark Joy

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpSo how did your tax preparation go this year? Personally, I only cursed twice. First when I dropped the file of medical receipts. Second when I learned that despite what my husband and I had spent on doctors, it wasn’t enough to be deductible. I discovered that after adding it all up on a recalcitrant calculator.

That’s when, inspired by Marie Kondo’s runaway bestseller, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, I shredded those useless receipts and resolved next year to keep only that which I truly need (in one pouch as she does). Emily Woo Zeller’s Earphones Award performance makes Kondo’s quirky, precise guide to living tidily endearing as well as helpful. (Watch Zeller’s delightful Behind the Mic chat about narrating the book – she too folds her shirts differently!)  Her friendly tone warms the exacting tea-ceremony aspect of Kondo’s approach and animates her appealing eccentricities, such as thanking her possessions. Then again, who’s calling whom eccentric?  I’ve always talked to my stuff. 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.

Hit the Road

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Matching audiobooks to the drive improves the scenery

Last Bus to Wisdom

Last Bus to WisdomMy 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…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Take 5 with Candace: Pi Day

Celebrating Pi Day with pastries, pizza, and plenty of audiobooks

How To Bake Pi

How To Bake PiHappy Pi Day (or for some of us, Pie Day)! Okay, so you know about the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox (all March events), but what’s with Pi Day?

Remember your high school geometry class? Pi (π) is used in the formula that determines the circumference of a circle.  So what does that have to do with March 14? Pi is equal to 3.14 (followed by a bunch of other numbers). Get it? 3.14 = March 14.

Even though I actually do use geometry in my real life (you were right, Mr. High School Math Teacher), I much prefer to celebrate my Pi Day as Pie Day. I’m always up for yummy fruit or nuts baked in a flaky crust, perfect for breakfast or a late-night snack. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.