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October 2017 Earphones Award Winners

The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.


BEFORE WE WERE YOURS
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

This audio experience is truly horrifying. It's not Wingate's writing, which is gripping, evocative, and colorful. The narration is, likewise, admirable. Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber are polished narrators who give us sympathetic, memorable characters whose voices are age appropriate and conventionally Southern. What's horrific is the story itself, which describes the... Read More

A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

The second in the Lady Sherlock series is a delight, especially as performed by the extraordinary Kate Reading. A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN introduced Charlotte Holmes, an unusual young woman who created the fictional Sherlock Holmes so she could use her detecting skills in a male-dominated society. Clients who come to Sherlock must go through his sister--because he's gravely ill.... Read More

DEATH NEED NOT BE FATAL
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

No one else could perform the life story of the eccentric and brilliant Malachy McCourt. Now in his 80s, the bestselling author (who never graduated from grammar school) and talk-radio pioneer looks ahead to the inevitability of death--and spits in its face. McCourt talks about his life in Brooklyn and Ireland; his saintly mother, Angela; and his equally famous brother, Frank,... Read More

FINISH
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

Author Jon Acuff's entertaining narration encourages listeners to maximize their potential and finish their projects. FINISH reexamines the premise that Acuff put forth in his previous book, START: Starting is the hardest part of a goal. In his lively and encouraging narration, Acuff now explains why finishing is even harder than starting and describes how to overcome the... Read More

THE HEART'S INVISIBLE FURIES
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Cyril Avery's story begins in the womb of his teen mother as he narrates her exile from her Irish village, his birth, and his adoption. Narrator Stephen Hogan's performance of the twists and turns of Cyril's struggle is dramatic, life affirming, and inspiring. Hogan's pleasing Irish lilt shifts appropriately as he portrays the accents and diction of the upper- and lower-class... Read More

IN THE MEMORIAL ROOM
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Beautifully written by New Zealand's Janet Frame, this comedy of manners pokes fun at literary wannabes who seek to enshrine the life and works of a local mediocre writer. Narrator Humphrey Bower manages to completely disappear into the hapless Harry Gill, the writer, who wins the Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship, a memorial to poet Margaret Rose Hurndell, whose work was once... Read More

LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

M.T. Anderson's narration shows deep knowledge of his invented world. A tone of menace characterizes hero Adam Costello when a group of aliens, called "vuvv," land on Earth. They soon monetize Earth's culture beyond anything humans have ever imagined, and Adam's family's survival is threatened. Anderson shifts to a romantic tone as Adam embarks upon a survival plan with his... Read More

A LEGACY OF SPIES
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

The combined performances of author John le Carré and narrator Tom Hollander in this new George Smiley espionage novel are a tour de force to be savored and cherished. Our protagonist is Peter Guillam, who, 40 years on and under interrogation, must revisit the disastrous events of THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. We're back in the morally ambiguous world of Cold War spy craft... Read More

THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO STRUCK LUCKY AGAIN!
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Hold onto your wallets--the League of Pensioners are up to their old tricks! Patience Tomlinson's performance of this sequel to THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO BROKE ALL THE RULES is so stellar it's criminal. As the Swedish retirees connive to outsmart Vegas casinos in this caper, Tomlinson delivers the action and humor with her own sleight of hand so that listeners get caught up in... Read More

THE MOUNTAIN
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Tim Campbell's understated performance is ideal for Paul Yoon's contemplative short stories, which are linked by characters who are trying to find their place in the world in the wake of loss. Campbell narrates the quietly emotional stories in a meditative tone that is fitting for the poetic and thoughtful prose. Spanning several continents and a number of different... Read More

NYXIA
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Sullivan Jones conveys the desires, frustrations, and determination of Detroit teen Emmett Atwater as well as the tension in this fast-paced audiobook. Emmett is one of 10 poor teens, most of color, who are competing aboard a spaceship for a position with Babel, a company that mines nyxia, "the new black gold." Jones conveys Emmett's African-American background through... Read More

OF MESS AND MOXIE
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

Jen Hatmaker's twelfth book is an unreservedly honest and heartfelt guide to how women can approach their messy lives with moxie. The self-described low-grade Christian author narrates her own story. She provides anecdotes not included in the written text, which add more fun to the listening experience. The chapters start with interesting quotes delivered in her upbeat Southern... Read More

THE ROOM OF WHITE FIRE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

T. Jefferson Parker's latest novel is filled with well-defined characters, excellent dialogue, and a gripping story. Will Damron's narration makes it even better. At first, Damron's slow pace seems out of place, but it becomes clear quickly that his delivery enhances every aspect of the audiobook. The story focuses on P.I. Roland Ford's search for Clay Hickman, an escapee from... Read More

SING, UNBURIED, SING
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Ward's latest novel takes the heroic quest motif, adds ghost story elements, and then plunges into contemporary America's battle with poverty and addiction. There is a truth and grittiness here that narrators Kelvin Harrison, Rutina Wesley, and Chris Chalk enhance significantly with their powerful talents. Thirteen-year-old Jojo's voice is both innocent of and sadly experienced... Read More

SOLDIER BOY
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Powerful writing based on the real life of Ricky Anywar is heightened by narrator Kevin R. Free's dramatic reading. Free's use of an African accent carries readers to the Ugandan setting and the stories of two characters--one real, one fictional. The true story of 14-year-old Ricky begins with the tenderness of his warm family. Soon, there's a horrific reversal as Free narrates... Read More

STANDARD DEVIATION
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Cassandra Campbell never deviates from a lively presentation that depicts the complexities of love and marriage. As the novel's omniscient narrator, her steady, velvety voice captures the story's numerous situational ironies and perfectly embodies its vivid characters. After 10 years of marriage to his loquacious second wife, Audra, Graham finds himself observing her... Read More

A STARDANCE SUMMER
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Amy Landon narrates this lovely summer romance perfectly. Her delivery is so seamless that she disappears, allowing the story to shine. Liliana has been fired from her accounting firm, falsely accused of crimes. Then she's let down by her family as well. In response, she joins the Tornado Alleycats, a camping club of glamorous senior women, and flees to the mountains of... Read More

A TEENY TINY HALLOWEEN
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Listeners will settle in for a Halloween-focused teeny tiny woman story that is not too frightening while being a whole lot of fun. Narrator Elisabeth Rodgers quietly yet firmly emphasizes the words "teeny tiny," and her descriptions of the howling of the wind and the darkness of the house have a scary edge to them. With each repetition, Rodgers builds suspense through her... Read More

WHO ARE YOU, REALLY?
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Author and narrator Brian R. Little sheds light on how our personal goals and projects are not simply a reflection of ourselves--they can actually shape who we become. While some aspects of our personality are affected by biological and social influences, Little explains that we can also control some of our traits for the purpose of reframing our goals and accomplishing them.... Read More

THE WONDERLING
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Whatever your age, the adventures of part-human, part-animal Number 39 and Trinket in Mira Bartók's steampunk otherworld are captivating. Add Simon Vance's enthusiastic narration, and this is an audiobook to be cherished. The plot, which is unique while paying homage to DAVID COPPERFIELD, WIND IN THE WILLOWS, and other classics, sets our "groundlings," mild-mannered part-badger... Read More

THE WORLD REMADE
Earphones Award Winner
History

G.J. Meyer's fascinating and controversial history of U.S. involvement in WWI is ably served by Rob Shapiro's fully engaged narration. Meyer, the author of many books, including a well-received 2006 examination of the war's effects on Europe, is a journalist rather than an historian. He has a great feel for plot and character study as well as a thought-provoking point of view... Read More

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