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.
Even if you've never listened to the podcast on which this gripping production is based, fear not: Fink's audiobook is so effectively scary that it's easy to binge-listen to on its own. Throughout, Jasika Nicole's narration is effectively subtle. Keisha is searching for her wife, Alice, who is presumed dead. Her search requires scouring a landscape of dark highways, empty... Read More
Diana Luke narrates a sweet romance full of heart and memorable characters. Olivia Gale has come to Sugar Lake to help out her aunt, only to be surprised by a second chance at happily ever after with her childhood sweetheart, Clayton Morris. While the relationship between Olivia and Clayton is the main focus, Luke performs the couple's many family members with verve and... Read More
In this rediscovered 1970s horror story, Harlowe, New Hampshire, is a small farming community where life is difficult but safe. Narrator Matt Godfrey skillfully introduces John and Mim Moore, John's Ma, and 4-year-old Hildie, who live on a farm owned by their family for generations. The language and speech patterns of the time add atmosphere, especially as delivered by Godfrey.... Read More
Peter Byrne's Aussie-inflected delivery of this sweeping biography is pitch-perfect. From the spacious Outback to the literary center of Sidney, Byrne provides the lilting sounds of the accents in this detailed life history of the famous writer, editor, and adventurer A.B. "Banjo" Paterson. Byrne's narrative style captures the rollicking spirit of the era and the tenor of the... Read More
Maggie Siff glows in her narration of this contemporary fiction. After Cassie refuses Mark's proposal, they still have to work together as bandmates. Then, Mark moves back in with his parents while Cassie begins a new career in online media. Mark struggles to find a job and eventually gets in a fight with a former teacher, which prompts him to begin an online revolution against... Read More
The distinctive computer voice of the late Stephen Hawking makes several cameos in this audio, which was cobbled together from speeches and notes and completed after his death in 2018. Each of the "big questions" Hawking answers--about the existence of God, the origin of the universe, the probability of alien life, and the risks of artificial intelligence, to name a few--is... Read More
In a voice that fairly swaggers, narrator Corey Allen captures the rhythm of CROWN, an exuberant tale about the transformative power of a fresh haircut. Allen celebrates along with the hero of this story, an African-American boy who revels in the joy and confidence occasioned by a trip to the barbershop. Allen's expert narration dovetails perfectly with the beat of Barnes's... Read More
Gripping from beginning to end, this audiobook is a whodunit with a great story and equally excellent dialogue. Both shine as David Chandler narrates. At its heart, the novel focuses on Cork O'Connor's investigation of the death of a U.S. senator in a plane crash on Desolation Mountain. But because the FBI asserts its jurisdiction, the plane's black box is missing, and some... Read More
Narrator Bahni Turpin moves easily between the accents and emotions, times and places of five linked stories, beginning with that of Kollie Flomo in 2008. The 17-year-old Liberian refugee has undiagnosed PTSD that results in confusion, anger, and eventually his return to reform school in Monrovia. From there, the stories shift abruptly and without apparent reason. In 1926,... Read More
This audiobook demonstrates that history is often more interesting than fiction. Narrator L.J. Ganser tells the true story of a group of Allied prisoners who escaped from a WWI POW camp. Ganser recounts the previously untold details of how this group of men overcame long odds to break out of Holzminden, a German prison camp under the control of an brutal commander. Ganser's... Read More
Narrator Matt Amendt puts his Shakespearean acting roots to good use in this sweeping broadside on the value of business cooperatives. His phrasing, including his deft use of pauses and vocal intensity, draws attention to the ideas that matter and adds a melodic gravitas to the audio that makes listening a joy. Author Nathan Schneider shows how cooperatives like mutual... Read More
Saying that urban dwellers across the globe suffer from "nature deficit disorder," Australian-trained academic Qing Li has created a convincing argument that time in forests is essential for happiness and overall well-being. Narrator Ramon Tikaram brings appealing credibility to the production with his deeply resonant voice, British accent, and colorful phrasing palette. His... Read More
Narrators Corey Allen and Carra Patterson perform this collection of powerful stories, most of which are set in a believable future, although some are speculative or dystopian fiction. Allen narrates the bulk of the pieces, giving the prose a free-verse style and letting the author's words and the characters' emotions rise to the surface. Patterson delivers the final two... Read More
Finally, a hilarious, body-positive look at and inside the female body! With fearlessness and charm, Mara Altman narrates her personal journey of biological exploration, which answers questions many listeners want to know but may be way too uncomfortable to ask without anonymity. Altman's voice is slightly nasal and is pitched high, lending a youthful exuberance to her... Read More
A stellar cast of seven narrators takes turns performing this collection of shorter pieces by science-fiction novelist Jemisin. Each narrator drills down to the core of the story, developing believable accents and highlighting the characters' personalities. Listeners will be impressed with how complete each story feels, almost as if this were a collection of novellas. Jemisin... Read More
Naturalist and bestselling author Sy Montgomery narrates her memoir on animals that have shaped her life and her understanding of the world. She taps the full range of experience: Her stories are engaging and touching, humorous and terribly sad. Montgomery's narration captures her deep sense of wonder and affection for the creatures she studies--from Octavia the octopus to a... Read More
Every Herman Wouk book is like a stand-alone opus, and this audiobook is no different. The story of Israel David Goodkind makes for a touchingly funny novel that benefits from the performance of narrator Peter Berkrot. Written in the first person, the audiobook excels because Berkrot inhabits Goodkind's psyche, skillfully delivering Wouk's words in a manner reminiscent of the... Read More
Narrators Fiona Hardingham and Moira Quirk skillfully deliver the story of two sisters. Evelyn is lost between two worlds: the magical Woodlands, where her heart feels truly at home, and post-WWII England, where her family remains. Older sister Philippa does what she must to find a place again in their current world. With distinct voices and accents for each of the characters,... Read More
Bizarre, peculiar, and humorous stories newly translated into English will captivate listeners. A diverse set of narrators skillfully delivers 11 stories about individuality, relationships, and liberation. Each narrator succeeds in portraying different characters in the collection: a housewife who takes up bodybuilding sees visible changes to her physique yet still goes... Read More
Narrator Amanda Leigh Cobb's dynamic voice delights in the third chapter book adventure featuring the Lumberjanes. Roanoke Cabin member Ripley is bouncing-off-the-walls excited over a nest of massive mysterious eggs--and devastated when the smallest one is stolen. Cobb portrays the enthusiastic Ripley in a youthful, raspy voice, which is often talked over by her busy and... Read More
Complex. Challenging. Enigmatic. While Burns's Man Booker Prize-winning novel earns those labels honestly, this performance adds another adjective: exceptional. Brid Brennan's portrayal of the unnamed "middle sister" is arresting. Her gorgeously accented voice balances honesty and innocence with toughness and stubbornness. This production keeps the listener in the moment while... Read More
Anne T. Donahue has a serious message: Be yourself, find your own path, it's normal to fail, and nobody is judging you nearly as intently as you are judging yourself. But this seriousness of purpose is wrapped up in a hilarious and self-deprecating torrent of words that Donahue delivers with an acerbic bite and energetic pacing. She is both immensely entertaining and... Read More
It's easy to become immersed in this audiobook about a river and its neighbors. At the center of the tale is a young girl who was retrieved from the river, apparently dead. Yet, somehow, she revived and lives, but does not speak. From that beginning, this novel grows into an examination of the lives of the people in the village. Juliet Stevenson is simply an excellent narrator.... Read More
Handing the narration of Stephanie Laurens's Cynster backlist to Simon Prebble ranks as a genius decision. Listeners will undoubtedly agree when they hear THE PERFECT LOVER. Prebble has created an auditory bubble bath for historical romance listeners. His smooth prose evokes Laurens's idyllic English countryside, the aristocratic maneuverings at a house party, and a murder... Read More
The audiobook, as most audiophiles would agree, is an enhancement of the imagining powers of the listener. That's doubly true for histories, which as much as fantasy or science fiction require the evocation of an alternate world whose thinking and social customs are often alien to our own. A case in point is this history of Paris, vividly and eloquently written by one of the... Read More
Erin Bennett's stellar narration enhances this standout mystery, set in Athena, Mississippi, where librarian Charlie Harris, and Diesel, his cat, "work" in the university library. Just days before Christmas, Charlie finds five kittens at his door with a note asking him to care for them or they'll be drowned. Then, neighbor Gerry Albritton collapses and dies at her own holiday... Read More
In this audio adaptation based on Andrew Beahrs' book, the food writer searches for "lost foods of America." The print work was inspired by Mark Twain, who once made a list of the American foods he missed most while traveling at length in Europe. This production pares down Twain's list of favorite foods into a unique eight-course meal that narrator Nick Offerman makes sound... Read More
This audiobook opens with Carl Venable, head of the CIA's terrorism unit, on his deathbed. He asks Jude Brandon, a former CIA agent and his sometimes antagonist, to keep his daughter, Rachel, a doctor, safe from his archenemy, Huber. Huber wants to acquire Rachel's skills with potions and poisons. Narrator Elisabeth Rodgers takes this complex plot and propels it forward with... Read More
Narrator Sisi Aisha Johnson turns on her sweetest Southern drawl for this heartwarming story. Twelve-year-old Della Kelly's angelic tone twists and dips for words like "watermelon" and "momma," while her best friend, Arden, has a barely-there accent. Demonstrating expert narrating skills, Johnson smoothly switches between the girls' voices during their deep heart-to-hearts.... Read More
Feuding brothers Walter and Danny Budwing find a board game in the park and take it home, unaware that Zathura is no ordinary game. The listener hears Danny roll the dice on the board and methodically move his token. As he haltingly reads the first playing card warning him to take evasive action, meteors loudly crash onto the roof of their home, which is now adrift in outer... Read More
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