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February 2023 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.



THE ASTONISHING CHRONICLES OF OSCAR FROM ELSEWHERE

THE ASTONISHING CHRONICLES OF OSCAR FROM ELSEWHERE

Earphones Award Winner

by Jaclyn Moriarty | Read by Dorje Swallow, Rebecca Norfolk

Recorded Books
Children

Dorje Swallow and Rebecca Norfolk alternate narrating duties in this fantasy quest. Six children and an elf search for the pieces of a key that are needed to save an Elven village from destruction. Oscar is a skateboarding teenager who finds himself sucked into this alternative world. In Swallow's hands, Oscar is a laid-back Australian with dashes of wry humor and charm.... Read More

BIRD BY BIRD: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

BIRD BY BIRD: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Earphones Award Winner

by Anne Lamott | Read by Anne Lamott

Random House Audio
Personal Growth

Listening to Anne Lamott deliver her classic treatise on writing, life, and the writing life is akin to enrolling in what turns out to be your favorite college seminar. Twenty-five years after publication, and long after Lamott performed an abridged version, we get to appreciate her take on the complete book. An experienced public speaker, Lamott narrates with precision and... Read More

CON/ARTIST

CON/ARTIST

Earphones Award Winner

by Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi | Read by Richard Ferrone, Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi

Hachette Audio
Biography & Memoir

With his trademark tough-guy growl, Richard Ferrone captures the casual confidence, wobbly moral compass, and street-smart charm of Tony Tetro, an art forger extraordinaire. Showing up in California during the swinging 1970s, the self-taught artist found he had a natural aptitude for imitating almost any painting style--from Picasso to Dali to masters like Caravaggio. Tetro's... Read More

THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY

THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY

Earphones Award Winner

by Edith Wharton | Read by Laurel Lefkow

Naxos AudioBooks
Classics

Laurel Lefkow gives a stellar performance as she introduces Edith Wharton's 1913 characters to a 21st-century audience. The story features one of literature's least likable heroines, Undine Spragg. Lefkow gives her a simpering, cloying, sometimes whiny voice, which is perfectly suited to this shallow, spoiled, and self-absorbed young woman. Undine has four marriages as she... Read More

THE FIREBALLER

THE FIREBALLER

Earphones Award Winner

by Mark Stevens | Read by Shea Taylor

Brilliance Audio
Fiction

Frank Ryder can throw a baseball well over 105 mph. But behind every pitch is an emotional weight that comes from a tragic event that happened years earlier. Ryder takes Major League Baseball by storm, but his past haunts him, and much of the league's ownership turns on him. Shea Taylor is outstanding with every voice. He excels at differentiating men's and women's voices and... Read More

HOLD, PLEASE

HOLD, PLEASE

Earphones Award Winner

by Richard Hester | Read by Richard Hester

Sordelet Audio
Biography & Memoir

There are many reasons to love this long, important audiobook. One big reason is author/narrator Richard Hester's excellent delivery. Another is the memoir's intrinsic value to contemporary American history. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, while we were all in a state of fear and confusion, Hester was taking notes. An observant recorder, the Broadway stage... Read More

MANDELA: THE LOST TAPES

MANDELA: THE LOST TAPES

Earphones Award Winner

by Richard Stengel [Ed.] | Read by Nelson Mandela, Richard Stengel

Audible, Inc.
Biography & Memoir

This work is not a book--it's history. While hearing Nelson Mandela talk about his life and his work to achieve an inclusive South African government is wonderful enough in itself, the additional commentary narrated by the author creates a multidimensional work that will transport listeners. Stengel's bridging narration connects the taped segments of Mandela and adds important... Read More

THE NIGHT TRAVELERS

THE NIGHT TRAVELERS

Earphones Award Winner

by Armando Lucas Correa | Read by Edoardo Ballerini

Simon & Schuster Audio
Historical Fiction

Edoardo Ballerini is in excellent form as he provides a gripping performance that captures the backdrop of historical events. Lilith is born into the omnipresent terror of Nazi Germany. Her mother eventually makes the heartbreaking choice to send her, alone, to Cuba, for the possibility of a better life. Once there, Lilith embarks on a second life, never knowing what happened... Read More

OF SALT AND SHORE

OF SALT AND SHORE

Earphones Award Winner

by Annet Schaap | Read by Tavia Gilbert

Full Cast Audio
Children

Tavia Gilbert single-handedly delivers this production, and is she ever up to the job. She evokes the story's characters--Lampie, the lonely, motherless lighthouse keeper's daughter; Lampie's self-hating, alcoholic father; Edward, the angry, neglected child immured in the Black House, where Lampie is indentured; and more. Gilbert shades her delivery as the third-person close... Read More

ON THE ROOFTOP

ON THE ROOFTOP

Earphones Award Winner

by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton | Read by Robin Miles

Harper Audio
Fiction

Robin Miles transports listeners to 1950s San Francisco to meet mother Vivian, who wants her children to be famous singers, and daughters Ruth, Esther, and Chloe, whose wants differ. Miles fully embodies Vivian as she talks about growing up in Louisiana, negotiates with a music manager, professes her love for the preacher, and reacts to Ruth's becoming pregnant, Esther's... Read More

PESTS

PESTS

Earphones Award Winner

by Bethany Brookshire | Read by Courtney Patterson

Harper Audio
Contemporary Culture

Courtney Patterson is an especially engaging narrator whose pleasingly expressive voice can make almost any topic palpable, including rats, mice, and other common vermin. Pests. In some places they're elephants, or cats. The listener will be surprised to hear how many varieties there are, and how deeply pests are wedded to the human ecosystem and the balance of nature... Read More

RED SAUCE

RED SAUCE

Earphones Award Winner

by Ian MacAllen | Read by Paul Bellantoni

Tantor Media
Contemporary Culture

Voice-over actor Paul Bellantoni has a fine delivery and a rich tone. He ably narrates this witty audiobook. His pace allows the many stories of Italian-American/American-Italian food to stay with the listener. The work is part celebration of the traditional checkered tablecloth spaghetti-and-meatball joints that were common in the U.S. for decades and part revelation of the... Read More

SLEEP NO MORE

SLEEP NO MORE

Earphones Award Winner

by Jayne Ann Krentz | Read by Eva Kaminsky

Recorded Books
Romantic Fiction

Eva Kaminsky provides a dynamic narration of the mysterious situation that author Ambrose Drake and interior designer and podcaster Pallas Llewellyn find themselves in. After the pair have a night they can't remember, they awaken to find that they have enhanced psychic abilities. Ambrose contacted Pallas to help him investigate a murder. Ambrose limits his sleep to catnapping... Read More

SMALL WORLD

SMALL WORLD

Earphones Award Winner

by Laura Zigman | Read by Stacey Glemboski

Harper Audio
Fiction

Narrator Stacey Glemboski gives an extraordinary performance of this immersive family drama. Middle-aged sisters Joyce and Lydia, who are both divorced and childless, decide to live together in Joyce's Cambridge apartment. The story is told from the perspective of Joyce, whose defensive, prickly persona is wonderfully captured by Glemboski. Lydia's social awkwardness is... Read More

THE SORCERER OF PYONGYANG

THE SORCERER OF PYONGYANG

Earphones Award Winner

by Marcel Theroux | Read by Marcel Theroux

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

Author/journalist Marcel Theroux narrates his fascinating story of everyday life in North Korea with graceful aplomb. In 1995, when Cho Jun-Su was 11, he found a smuggled copy of Dungeons and Dragons. A teacher helps him understand the game by translating it for him. The game changes the trajectory of his life forever. Cho Jun-Su lives through a brutally oppressive regime,... Read More

THE SPEAR CUTS THROUGH WATER

THE SPEAR CUTS THROUGH WATER

Earphones Award Winner

by Simon Jimenez | Read by Joel de la Fuente

Random House Audio
Fantasy

Joel de la Fuente skillfully narrates this sweeping historical fantasy audiobook. Keema, a disabled outcast, and Jun, grandson of the emperor, are sent on a mission to rescue the Moon goddess from her three terrible sons to end their tyrannical reign. De la Fuente immerses listeners in this atmospheric story in which each character, from the powerful goddess to a seemingly... Read More

THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET

THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET

Earphones Award Winner

by Jen Ferguson | Read by Julie Lumsden

Harper Audio
Young Adult

Julie Lumsden portrays 18-year-old Lou, a biracial Métis. Lumsden's steady pacing captures the stresses of Lou's continual encounters with racism, violence, financial insecurity, and the repercussions of the lies she's told to survive. Lumsden's performance also reflects Lou's complex feelings about her wealthy white biological father, who raped her mother. As Lou's... Read More

TRESPASSES

TRESPASSES

Earphones Award Winner

by Louise Kennedy | Read by Bird Brennan

Penguin Audio
Fiction

Set near Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles, this audiobook is beautifully written and expertly performed. Bird Brennan's delivery of Kennedy's prose is lovely: Her accent and tone are perfectly matched to each character she voices. Clear-eyed descriptions so carefully wrought come alive in her calmly paced care. In the story, Cushla Lavery is a young Catholic... Read More

WINTERLAND

WINTERLAND

Earphones Award Winner

by Rae Meadows | Read by Daphne Kouma

Macmillan Audio
Fiction

In 1973 Russia, the State chose talented school children to pursue careers in either ballet or gymnastics. Daphne Kouma offers a beautiful performance, meticulously detailing 8-year-old Anya's experiences. After Anya is chosen, we hear about her stresses, hopes, and dreams, as well as the damage to her body and mental state as she moves up the ranks of competitive gymnastics.... Read More

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