Meet my great great grandfather Reese, who emigrated from Wales to Wisconsin in the 1860s and married Matilda, whose family originated in Saarland. And my husband Bob’s great grandfather Jacob, who emigrated from Bavaria to Ohio around the same time. He married Maria, whose family originated in Hesse.
These men are the most recent immigrants in our respective families. They arrived with nothing but fortitude and enthusiasm and became Americans. I think of them as two precious scraps in America’s wondrous crazy-quilt. In gratitude to all newcomers from wherever they originate, I’m recommending six tales of immigration that foster admiration and appreciation.Read more…
Whether you’re headed to Kindergarten or middle school, starting a new school year can be scary no matter how old you are. This collection of audiobooks about heartwarming school friendships can help calm first-day fears and show your child that there can be a bright side to a new start, too.
The history of Pride marches and events stretches back now nearly half a century. Books and audiobooks for young listeners continue to grow in both number and depth of treatment, where LGBTQI characters have moved from props to tropes to engaging people who happen to identify along the diverse orientation spectrum. It’s a little—well, a lot—harder to find such an audiobook presence for adult listeners seeking books, authors, and narrators with whom to celebrate Pride.
However, they do exist, and there are a number that adult listeners may want to hear this month especially. 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.
Every year, audiobook lovers rejoice in AudioFile’s Sync Audiobooks for Teens summer listening program. It’s free audio, thoughtfully curated, and there are always SO many good titles that I start to have audio anxiety (Audio anxiety (noun): The state of panic and fear that arises when an audiophile realizes there are more audiobooks that one yearns to listen to than there are hours in a day/week/year/lifetime/geologic time scale.) This summer, I foresee an especially bad case of audio anxiety coming on.
“Sandhya Menon’s writing is cinematic and makes for a fun read.”—Narrator Sneha Mathan
OF COURSE, what makes Sync even better, at least for the week of May 24-30 specifically, is that we have a ROMANCE to discover. Now, newsflash. Many people who claim not to like romance Actually. Like. Romance. (Ahem, Sarah Maas. Ahem, THE HUNGER GAMES. Ahem, Rainbow Rowell.) So, no matter your usual genre preferences, you’ll want to check out WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. When a romance is all about dialogue, you know it’s perfect audiobook material. And narrators Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam ensure that listeners are as in love with the story as the characters are with each other. Listen in as Sneha talks about the audiobook with our Behind the Mic video above!
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!
Short stories have often gotten the short straw in audiobooks. With audio publishers producing more titles each season, and podcasts gaining more and more listeners, short story collections may be getting more attention. Eight new collections, just reviewed, are worth your listening time. I’ve split them into essays (nonfiction) and fiction stories.
Ramona Ausubel’s AWAYLAND showcases the voices of a dozen narrators in a collection that’s both fantastical and familiar. Scott O’Connor’s stories in A PERFECT UNIVERSE are all set in California. Two narrators, Bronson Pinchot and Thérèse Plummer, take us outside the bright lights of Hollywood with very human and complex characters, and pick up an Earphones Award for their performances. Read more…
National Book Award finalists offer thoughtful and inspiring listening
One of the great aspects of the National Book Awards is that they often highlight titles that may not be on your radar yet. And as listeners know, audiobooks can be a great way to increase your reading time and to tackle the problem of “so many books, so little time!” Among the finalist announcements this week, there are several audiobooks definitely worth taking the time to explore. We just reviewed SING, UNBURIED, SING with three narrators, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley, and Chris Chalk, and picking up an Earphones Award. Two other finalists in the Fiction category,DARK AT THE CROSSING, with narrator Vikas Adam, and THE LEAVERS, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, are also recommended.
If you’re in the mood for a little escapism, this week’s audiobook reviews have some great options. The first to catch my eye, and ear, is THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. The premise is that daughters of Victorian literary villains—Dr. Jekyll, Mr Hyde, and Rappaccini—collaborate to solve Jack-the-Ripper-like murders with some help from Sherlock Holmes. Narrator Kate Reading has a grand time with this romp.
A different sort of collaboration was the brainchild of the authors of INDIGO. Nine high-profile fantasy authors including Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and Jonathan Maberry create a crime-fighter urban myth with super powers drawn from shadows. Just one narrator, Christina Delaine, takes this on. She gets high praise for handling the many male characters as well as the female ones, and for keeping us emotionally engaged. For X-Files fans, this one’s for you—THE X-FILES: COLD CASES. This elaborate original production with a creative soundscape and a huge cast of voices also brings back the original Mulder and Scully actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Just the chance to travel through X-Files land again should delight listeners.
My last choice this week is slightly different but a true AudioFile staff pick, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. This sweet, immersive teen romance is dynamically read by two narrators, Vikas Adam and Sneha Mathan. The banter between the teens is perfected by the two actors who get the characters, and their world, just right. Dimple and Rishi both struggle with pressures and expectations from their families and society at large, and these nuances add depth to the story of ambition, romance, and tradition, while still keeping things fun.
What audiobook is taking you “out of your world” this week?