July Audiobook Summer Staff Picks

6 Audiobooks for Summer Listening

July Staff Picks

July Staff Picks

This past weekend, narrators, producers, and the AudioFile staff gathered by the sea for a day of sunshine and perfectly cooked lobsters. One thing is for sure — we had a lot of fun talking audiobooks with a crowd of audiobook lovers!

Our summer staff picks this month include 6 audiobooks — both new and old favorites — that are compelling enough to keep you company along the journey to wherever you’re going, whether that’s driving up the coast, strolling around the block, or commuting to work. Read more…

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5 Questions With Khristine Hvam

5 Audiobooks and 5 Questions with One Skilled Narrator

Khristine Hvam

Khristine HvamPlease welcome Khristine Hvam to the Take 5 stage. When I tune in to one of Khristine’s audiobook performances, I’m always impressed with her skill at helping me forge a strong emotional bond with the characters. From fantasies to literary fiction, Khristine’s narrations immerse me in the story as I root for the heroes and boo the villains.

I’m most familiar with Khristine’s work in fantasy, but she’s won awards in historical fiction, literary fiction, romance, and more. The audiobooks I feature today reflect this range. 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.

Life Goes on Until it Doesn’t—Love and Second Chances

Behind the Mic with Khristine Hvam

Khristine Hvam

This visit Behind the Mic brings us a chat with Khristine Hvam, co-narrator of EXTRAORDINARY MEANS. Author Robyn Schneider sets a stage in a not-so-distant future, when a virulent strain of tuberculosis is sweeping the U.S. In a dual narration, Khristine and James Fouhey tell the story of two teens who are battling the epidemic.

“We sometimes forget what strength and power teenagers really have.”—Narrator Khristine Hvam

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Sneha Mathan on When Dimple Met Rishi

Tease: Behind the Mic on a summer teen romance

Sneha Mathan by Howard Petrella

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!

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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!

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.

5 Questions with January LaVoy

Take 5 with Candace: Why this narrator has fans of all ages and listening genres

January Lavoy by Scott Sherratt

January Lavoy by Scott SherrattSay hello to January LaVoy, a narrator who never fails to impress me with her incredible range of voices and ability to adapt her delivery to fit the intended audience. Our reviewers universally comment on January’s distinct, consistent voices and how smoothly she slips from character to character. It’s no wonder that audiobook fans of all ages and listening tastes have January on their short list of favorite narrators.

I had a hard time picking just five audiobooks to share this week (and, in fact, I cheated by featuring two series), but ultimately I made my choices to highlight January’s performances across different genres. 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.

Nine audiobooks for Earth Day

Taking care of our planet

The Seabird's Cry

Today, on Earth Day, I’ll be taking my kids out to pick up trash around the neighborhood — something I remember doing with my friends and family growing up in rural Vermont. Every year, after the snow melted and all the accumulated garbage started appearing along with the crocuses, we would have our “green-up day” and go along the roads and in the woods picking up the trash we found. In my memories, we could trade in our full bags for donuts at the general store, which was a pretty magical experience.

The Seabird's CryIn the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve found some conservation-themed audiobooks that celebrate protecting the magic of the earth — and the ocean — for everyone from four-year-olds to your David Attenborough-loving mom.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for seabirds, so THE SEABIRDS CRY: The Lives and Loves of the Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers seems like the perfect way to learn more about the often overlooked but essential creatures who live their lives on top of the ocean. This audiobook shares the natural history of ten species of seabirds, and how humans have impacted them. Read more…

Emily Connelly
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers. She works behind the scenes to help keep AudioFile's blog running and is currently working towards a MLIS.

What We’re Loving Right Now

Staff Picks for April

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Our Staff Picks this month represent our own wide and varied listening tastes. We’d love to hear from AudioFile listeners, too — what are you listening to now? Share below in the comments or post a picture of you listening and tag us on Twitter or Facebook!

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens AgendaIn happy anticipation of seeing the movie Love, Simon, I was glad to revisit the YA book it’s based on, Becky Albertalli’s SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. Since I’ve already read it twice in print (ahem), this time I decided to listen to the audiobook version. Narrator Michael Crouch brings out all of the novel’s humor, charm, and swoony sweetness. Now I’m looking forward to the sequel (all about Simon’s BFF Leah), LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT.
—Jenn Dowell, Managing Editor Read more…

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Learning to Love Author-Read Audiobooks

Take 5 With Candace: 5 Author-Narrated Audiobooks

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

One of the great debates among audiobook fans has do with author-narrated audiobooks. Do you seek them out or avoid them like the plague? I used to be solidly in the “just say no to author-read books” camp, thinking audiobooks should be left to the professionals. While I still don’t fully reject that premise, I have to admit that some of my all-time most memorable audiobooks are, in fact, performed by the author.

Born With Teeth
H is for Hawk

Memoirs are a natural for author-read audiobooks. Who could understand the emotional impact and intimate revelations of books in this genre more than the authors themselves? It’s probably a little unfair of me to name Kate Mulgrew’s BORN WITH TEETH as one of my favorite author-read memoirs; after all, she’s an actor, and her ability to read her own life story should be a given. In reality, however, not all actors make good narrators, so I was pleasantly surprised at how genuine Mulgrew sounded as she recounted her journey from childhood to stardom. 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.

Opening Doors Beyond the Binary

In Our Time

The 57 Bus

In my work with library staff working to improve their reference interviewing skills, I regularly need to provide coaching to those who persistently (and inadvertently) shut down clients by offering them either/or options instead of open-ended questions. This binary view of possibilities is endemic in our culture as well: The person before us can identify themselves as this or that, black or white, straight or gay, right or wrong. In fact, identities match spectra, rather than simply opposite points, and allowing ourselves the opportunity to become aware of realities that go beyond what we already imagine as likely, or even possible, enlarges our own world as well as admitting more variety into it.

The 57 BusAn increasing number of authors address this concern, and many of these books are coming to audio format with successful performances. To be successful in this regard, narrators must be sensitive to the fact that humanity is much broader than a binary, and win listeners to greater possibilities through careful interpretation in their performances.

Among recent audiobooks that demonstrate such wider realities, Robin Miles’s reading of journalist Dashka Slater’s THE 57 BUS: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives is a fine example. There are surface-level elements in this account that clearly spotlight neither/nor, such as the crime victim’s identity as genderqueer. There are more subtle aspects, too, including the true reason behind the perpetrator becoming presumptively identified with a hate crime when, in fact, hate did not inform his motivation. Miles, for her part, does not add a fictional layer to Slater’s carefully balanced reporting by presuming character voices. Instead, she allows each and all sides to be heard unweighted, leaving the listener to consider all the mitigating points along the spectrum of gender identity, class, and racial histories. 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.