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July 2018 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.


ALL THE WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU
Earphones Award Winner
Poetry & Drama

Television actor Judith Light ("Who's the Boss?") dives headlong into this one-woman stage performance recounting a middle-aged school teacher's "rescue" of a young man in her class years earlier. It's a tale of infatuation, deceit, and regret. Coming at the listener like a freight train, Light's character is as tough on herself as she is on the audience, which is left to judge... Read More

AMERICAN HISTORIES
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Dion Graham so closely ties his pacing and tone to MacArthur fellow John Edgar Wideman's ideas and variety of narrative structures in these essays and stories that he seems to become the writer speaking directly to the listener. The collection itself reaches broadly from the autobiographical and personal to the scholarly and to riffs on language itself, giving Graham... Read More

AS YOU WISH
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Susan Bennett maintains the fine line between realism and magical realism in Jude Deveraux's romantic novel. Three women of different ages--Olivia, Kathy, and Elise--meet in a Virginia summerhouse to discuss their failed romances. Separation, indifference, and cruelty evoke regret and longing in the women. Bennett speaks with the savoir faire of a seasoned narrator.... Read More

BLEAK HOUSE
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Such a miraculously good new audio version of this great novel is cause for hats in the air. BLEAK HOUSE is particularly rich in the verbose minor characters Dickens's newly literate audience loved. Margolyes makes them so various and so funny that you'll relish every syllable. The pompous vanity of her Mr. Turveydrop is delicious, and the nasal horror of the succubus lawyer... Read More

CRASH
Earphones Award Winner
Children

The stock market crash was only the beginning of America's descent into the Great Depression. This audiobook's chapters detail its causes, remedies, and the people most responsible for both. Narrator Oliver Wyman's slow pacing and selective emphasis allow for easy listening of a story punctuated with contemporaneous quotes and headlines, including a powerful account of the... Read More

THE DARKEST CHILD
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Bahni Turpin brings her formidable talents to bear as she narrates the story of 13-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn, a smart, dark-skinned girl who, along with her 10 brothers and sisters, lives in mortal fear of her unpredictable and shockingly abusive mother, Rozelle. It is 1958, and the Quinns live in abject poverty, eased only by the few dollars that Rozelle makes farming her... Read More

DEAR RACHEL MADDOW
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Khristine Hvam does a stellar narration of this young adult epistolary novel featuring a quirky, troubled teen. After Brynn's older brother died from a drug overdose, her grades plummeted, taking her from honors courses to the applied academics classes located in the basement of her high school. When a class assignment requires her to write to a personal hero, she chooses... Read More

THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Imogen Church is a lively and versatile narrator. Hal reads fortunes on Brighton Pier on the English south coast. Struggling to make ends meet, she receives a letter from a solicitor telling her she is a beneficiary in her late grandmother's will. But Hal's only known grandmother is long dead. Pursued by a ruthless loan shark, she is desperate enough to think she can employ her... Read More

THE ECHO KILLING
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Fifteen years ago Harper McClain discovered her mother naked and dead on her kitchen floor. Her mother's killer was never found. Now Harper is a first-rate crime reporter in Savannah. At a recent murder scene she discovers the same modus operandi used in her mother's killing. Narrator Sophie Amoss creates a menacing dark drama that will grab listeners right away. She enhances... Read More

THE EDEN EXPRESS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

This compelling true story chronicles Vonnegut's experience with mental illness and recovery in the late '60s and early '70s. Pete Cross imbues his narration with plenty of good humor and jaunty warmth, helping the listener to empathize with the author's experience. Young Vonnegut sets forth in his VW with his girlfriend, Virginia, some recreational drugs, and his loyal dog,... Read More

ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES
Earphones Award Winner
Children

This exciting middle grade audiobook, the first in a planned trilogy, is sure to please fans of Amie Kaufman's young adult fantasy oeuvre and to create a new generation of younger fans. In a commendable performance, narrator Johnathan McClain creates distinct voices that make Kaufman's diverse characters come alive. Twins Anders and Rayna have spent their lives, whether in the... Read More

THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning work of journalistic fiction, centered on convicted killer Gary Gilmore, boasts a terrific narration by Maxwell Hamilton. After Gilmore was tried and convicted of the cold- blooded murder of two men, he insisted that he be executed for the crime. However, the state of Utah and the anti-death-penalty ACLU fought to keep him alive,... Read More

THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

A rare condition gives Sam Hill red eyes, an attribute that marks him as a target in his youth but grants some unique life lessons. His family offers devout faith and practical wisdom, and a pair of mismatched friends keep Sam looking for the positive side of life. Author Robert Dugoni narrates Sam's life journey in an earnest and steadfast voice. Hearing the story through the... Read More

FLORIDA
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Groff's Sunshine State features no amusement park. While each story in this collection is richly told, the subject matter is often dark, tense, dangerous. It seems the state itself is safe for no one--not children or their mothers, a father, or man's best friend. That said, Groff's words and performance make this an irresistible listen. She is warm while matter-of-fact and... Read More

FLYING AT NIGHT
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Brown's debut audiobook is well served by this stellar ensemble cast. Cassandra Campbell, Kivlighan de Montebello, and Arthur Morey give believable voices to the three main characters. Campbell, as Piper, has a voice balancing determination, frustration, and guilt as she navigates the challenges of raising her son, Fred, and becomes caretaker for her difficult father, Lance.... Read More

GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS, BOOKS 1-2
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Buy this audiobook for yourself and for the young people in your life. The stories, expertly read by a cast of fantastic performers, are inspiring, moving, and empowering. Each biography is about two minutes long and introduces a rebel woman from ancient history to modern times. Some are household names (Jane Austen); others will be new to listeners (astronomer Wang Zhenyi).... Read More

THE GOOD PILOT PETER WOODHOUSE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Prepare for a most enjoyable trip into the unique world of Alexander McCall Smith. Set far from Scotland Street and farther still from Botswana, this gentle stand-alone tale takes place in England during WWII. David Rintoul's masterful performance has us laughing, aching, weeping, and smiling--rooting for the good guys and hoping for a happy ending. When Val meets an American... Read More

GREEN SUN
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Kevin Stillwell narrates this gritty collection of interconnected crimes and misdemeanors in East Oakland, California, in 1983, bringing the era to life. Hanson, a Vietnam veteran who is now a police officer, lives and works in this blighted part of the city, where he investigates murders, deaths, domestic squabbles, and drugs. He's known for his common-sense solutions,... Read More

HIGHLAND CONQUEST
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Rosalyn Landor's melodic voice and unparalleled ability to make even secondary characters memorable solidifies a strong historical romance with a Scottish setting. Forced to flee her clan while dressed as a boy, desperate Amber McPherson is almost immediately apprehended by an invading Lachlan MacKay, who is bent on avenging his brother's death. But when Lachlan takes... Read More

HUNGER
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Sarah Jane Drummey vividly brings to life the beautiful yet devastated landscape of Ireland during the Great Famine of 1845-49. The soft tones and inflections of her native Irish accent conjure a rich air of authenticity that make the events of the story all too real. Young Lorraine loves her family and friends deeply and will do anything she can to protect them.... Read More

IT HAPPENED IN THE HIGHLANDS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Saskia Maarleveld keeps listener absorbed in this romance story, set in London and the Scottish Highlands. Jo Pennington is shocked to see her former fiancé, Wynne, while searching for information about her parentage. Old feelings reemerge as Wynne tries to win back Jo's heart. She wants his help in finding answers, but will she be able to trust him with her future?... Read More

LUMBERJANES: THE MOON IS UP
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Strap on your boots and get ready for another adventure with the Lumberjanes! Narrator Amanda Leigh Cobb delightfully portrays a wide range of characters, including rambunctious campers and moon mice. Each member of Roanoke cabin is distinctly voiced, and listeners will love hearing their favorite campers come to life. This adventure sticks mostly to the campgrounds and focuses... Read More

NANETTE'S BAGUETTE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread? Certainly not author/narrator Mo Willems, who has had the tantalizing experience of living beside a bakery in France. With enthusiasm and anguished pauses to savor the fragrance, Willems and family members Cher and Trixie detail Nanette's lucky day. This is the day that she has been granted her longstanding wish to purchase a... Read More

PARIS METRO
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Elisabeth Rodgers portrays the complicated life of a journalist in the Middle East with intensity. Like the author, Catherine "Kit" Kitteridge is an American-British reporter covering war in the Middle East from her home in Paris. Kit marries a secretive Iraqi named Ahmed and adopts his son--actions that don't turn out so well. The listener is as much in the dark as... Read More

THE PERFUME BURNED HIS EYES
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Author and narrator Michael Imperioli draws on his acting skills to elevate this coming-of-age drama about a young man and his friendship with rock god Lou Reed. It's New York in the mid-70s, and Matthew is moving with his mother to a posh apartment building in Manhattan. Imperioli lets the grit and grime of the streets infuse his delivery. With a tone of innocence and wonder... Read More

THE RUIN
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Cold case detective Cormac Reilly has moved back to Galway, Ireland, where he grew up. Narrator Aoife McMahon delivers Cormac's low-key, hard-working style of detective work in an easy-listening manner in this multilayered police procedural. Characters such as Jack Blake, the victim; his partner, Aisling Conroy, a surgical resident who believes Jack was murdered; and Jack's... Read More

SECRET SISTERS OF THE SALTY SEA
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Sisters Alix and Jools set off with their parents on a week-long summer vacation at the ocean. Narrator Brittany Pressley captures each sister's personality perfectly. The family rents a house for the week from Mrs. Kerr, who lives upstairs. Alix and Jools have some wonderful adventures, including going to the beach, collecting sea glass, and making new friends. Pressley voices... Read More

THE SOMETIMES SISTERS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Brittany Pressley's sensitive and graceful performance lays bare the emotions and strengths of these sometimes sisters and an honorable old man. Uncle Zed's mission to fulfill Granny Annie's dying wish by reuniting her estranged granddaughters, Dana, Harper, and Tawny, doesn't happen easily. The story is set in a small lakeside resort in Texas, and the sisters all have... Read More

THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Boom! That's the sound of your mind exploding when you listen to this audiobook. Despite his obsessive fascinations, quirky Noah is beloved by his best friends, Val and Alan, and his sister, Penny. Narrator Michael Crouch moves from Noah's mellow, thoughtful musings to a louder, assertive voice on the fateful night that Noah gets drunk and is hypnotized--the night that... Read More

THE TANGLED LANDS
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Consummate narrators Kate Reading and Tim Gerard Reynolds alternate stories in this collection, which pairs a new novella with one originally published in 2010. The country has been overrun with a deadly bramble that continues to spread every time magic is used. To Reynolds falls the primary explication of the structure of the society and the havoc wreaked by the bramble in one... Read More

THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Andrew Eiden's slow pace and soft tone perfectly depict the character of 12-year-old Mason Buttle. The rhythm in Eiden's narration captures Mason's storytelling voice, which is punctuated with the periodic refrain, "I'll tell you what." Listeners will be captivated by Mason's sincerity and gentleness. Eiden's low-key inflections suggest these shining qualities as Mason... Read More

WHO IS VERA KELLY?
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Listeners will be disappointed if they are expecting a tense, fast-paced spy novel. Yes, this is an audiobook about a young, female CIA operative charged with spying on the politicians and revolutionaries who are plotting the military coup in Argentina in the mid-1960s. But it's also a beautifully written novel about a young woman who is looking for the strength to accept and... Read More

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