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August 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.


ARMISTICE
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Mary Robinette Kowal narrates an enthralling historical fantasy about the aftermath of indifference. Much has changed since the fall of Amberlough City: Diplomat Lillian DePaul is feeling vulnerable, cabaret star Aristide Makricosta is in exile, and stripper-turned-revolutionary Cordelia Lehane is tired. Kowal delivers a stunning performance. While the focus is narrower than... Read More

ATTICUS
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

This tearful and joyful story features a young woman named Hazel Roundtree who is almost out of options in her life but who, nonetheless, rescues a puppy from certain death. She names him Atticus, and he changes her life forever. Narrator Bahni Turpin turns this story to pure gold. Her characterizations of Hazel, Oley, Bernard, and, especially, Atticus, who has a voice in this... Read More

BESOTTED WITH THE VISCOUNT
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Nicholas Boulton's stellar performance will make listeners want to listen to this tense historical fiction in one sitting. Lord Gideon Birch, a wounded naval captain, has just moved to the small village of Littleover, where he has fallen hard for the impoverished Theadosia Ridley. But Miss Ridley, wary of the disparity between their social positions, keeps the former... Read More

CHEF ROY CHOI AND THE STREET FOOD REMIX
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Vibrant L.A. will leap into the minds of listeners in this audio homage to Korean-American chef Roy Choi's path to street food stardom. The accompanying picture book's illustrations are eye-popping, and Los Angeles-based graffiti artist Man One's narration has a style all his own, especially his rap delivery of the book's short cooking poems. Co-author and co-narrator June Jo... Read More

CLOCK DANCE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Kimberly Farr delivers a subtle, often wry portrayal of Willa Drake. We experience Willa's child's eye view of her parents' marriage; her own youthful marriage, motherhood, and early widowhood; and her older years as a conciliator who tries to soothe everyone, especially, Peter, husband #2. When her son's ex-girlfriend, a woman she has never met, is shot, Willa insists... Read More

DEATH COMES IN THROUGH THE KITCHEN
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Cynthia Farrell gives a strong portrayal of an American visiting Cuba during its Black Spring of 2003. When Matt arrives in Havana to marry his Cuban girlfriend, he discovers her murdered, a situation that leads to an investigation that uncovers her second life. Farrell effectively channels the many different people who recount their stories of Yarmila, giving them... Read More

DEVILS UNTO DUST
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Guitar chords reverberate as Berquist's gritty postapocalyptic Western opens. An infectious disease ravages post-Civil War Texas, transforming people into ravenous corpses known as shakes and cutting off train access and Northern aid. Narrator Devon Sorvari captures Daisy "Willie" Wilcox's slight drawl and pragmatic tone as she sustains her close-knit siblings in a fortified... Read More

THE EXPLORER
Earphones Award Winner
Children

When their small plane crashes and the pilot dies, four children are stranded alone in the Amazon jungle. Thus begins an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing old-fashioned adventure that comes beautifully, vibrantly alive on audio. Narrator Peter Noble is utterly convincing as Fred, Con, Lila, and, especially, 5-year-old Max. With subtle variations, Noble gives them all... Read More

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Host and executive producer of the award-winning children's series "Reading Rainbow," LeVar Burton has long been sharing worthy stories with expectant audiences. In his narration of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, Burton warmly invites listeners into the life of American icon Fred Rogers, creator and host of the PBS television show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." He also introduces Fred's... Read More

THE HAPPINESS CURVE
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

This important and often personal summary of how age affects happiness is served well by the equanimity and grace of Robert Fass's narration. Whether it's author Rauch's personal journey, his fascinating data, or his sensitive portraits of the experts he interviews, Fass captures all of this author's intensity and colorful writing. In our later years, after the inevitable... Read More

HUSBANDS AND OTHER SHARP OBJECTS
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Listeners are swept away by romantic discovery and melodrama in this outstanding performance by Pamela Almand. Like most of her friends, Marcy wants a new start. She begins to date a man named Jon while planning to divorce her husband, Harvey. When her daughter announces that she's getting married, Marcy is roped into planning her daughter's wedding at the same time that her... Read More

THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Listeners will wonder if this highly entertaining audiobook is truly fiction as they listen to dialogue from both the White House and the Kremlin. Narrator Adam Grupper's deft use of accents and emotions defines author Rosenberg's characters. The audiobook features a Russian leader who wants to return his country to its days of glory by provoking a war, an American president... Read More

THE LAST COWBOYS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

This compelling audiobook grabs the listener's attention and holds it. Narrator John Pruden pivots skillfully from the megawatt excitement of saddle bronc riding to the lonely drudgery of driving long distances between rodeos. His engaged style fits the eight-second adrenaline-soaked life of the rodeo/ranching Wright family from southern Utah. Their cattle business and ranch... Read More

THE LONG-LOST HOME
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Fiona Hardingham narrates the final Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place audiobook with exuberance, charm, and impeccable timing. Hardingham honors the atmosphere created by original series narrator Katherine Kellgren but adds her own unique style. She captures governess Penelope Lumley's despair while trapped in a dreary Russian village and watching over dreadful children,... Read More

THE LOST WORLD
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

What could be better than a dinosaur on a beach? Scott Brick describing the dinosaur, that's what. We're in luck, then, as Brick performs his usual magic with ferocious beasts, mad scientists, and mere mortals in this bestselling sequel to JURASSIC PARK. You've probably guessed that not all the dinosaurs died after running amok in that ill-conceived dinosaur theme park.... Read More

MADNESS FROM THE INCONSTANT MOON
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Urbane, assured, and at ease, narrator Bronson Pinchot sounds like he's sitting on a white leather couch reading this collection of smart short stories and essays in a postmodern penthouse overlooking--well, the universe. With its finely honed eye and ear for scientific realism and thoughtful detail, this collection of ahead-of-their-time gems covers some of Larry Niven's... Read More

MADNESS IS BETTER THAN DEFEAT
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Chaos reigns in Ned Beauman's absurdist comedy, and narrator Eric Meyers delivers an upbeat, nuanced narration--even with his tongue planted firmly in cheek. CIA agent Zonulet narrates his history of the dastardly doings of the agency. In 1938, two rival groups carry out expeditions to the ruins of an ancient temple in the Honduran jungle. One group will use the temple as a... Read More

MEET THE FRUGALWOODS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Ann Marie Gideon warmly delivers author Thames's encouraging call to create a deep sense of fulfillment by living frugally. In this enlightening and entertaining narrative, Thames explains how working the 9-to-5 grind in urban Cambridge, Massachusetts, inspired her to let go of everything that was not deeply important to her and pursue a simpler life. Gideon's... Read More

MIDLIFE
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

Stephen Thorne narrates this lively guide to midlife's dilemmas with the color and verve of an expert storyteller. His seemingly endless range of tonal and phrasing patterns is fun to hear and attuned to every nuance in the author's personable writing. Setiya, a popular MIT philosophy professor, is an optimistic writer. His message, at once wise and youthful, is that while... Read More

MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Four children aged 10 to 23; one widowed mother; and a five-year sojourn on Corfu in straitened circumstances. The result? Slapstick adventures, laughter, and some memorable flashes of psychological insight--all thanks to the wry and witty author, Gerald Durrell, and his ace narrator, Nigel Davenport. Davenport has a warm and attractively gritty narrative voice that perfectly... Read More

MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Julia Whelan lures listeners into the prescription drug-enhanced fog in which the unnamed protagonist of this audiobook seeks temporary refuge. With the help of a pill-dispensing psychiatrist, the young woman hopes a year of sleep will cure her woes. Fueled by a large inheritance and fistfuls of pharmaceuticals, she limits her contacts to a girlfriend, an ex-boyfriend,... Read More

A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Linwood Barclay's spine-tingling thriller is masterfully narrated by George Newbern. Paul Davis is driving on a remote road when he stumbles upon a killer disposing of two bodies. Paul is brutally attacked but survives, and the killer is arrested. Months later, Paul, still in recovery, is taunted by increasingly bizarre sounds and messages in his house, which are connected to... Read More

THE OTHER WOMAN
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Golden Voice George Guidall continues his narration of the Gabriel Allon series. Listeners will be swiftly carried along by Guidall's confident voice and varied accents as he recounts Allon's search for a mole in the highest levels of Western intelligence. Silva has skillfully adapted the true story of Kim Philby, a famous double agent who rose to the heights of Britain's MI6... Read More

OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Julie Dretzin fully expresses Katy Gordon's passion for all things baseball. It's 1957, and though she pitches a curveball no boy can hit, fifth-grader Katy has no chance of playing on her local Little League team. Girls aren't allowed. Dretzin makes Katy's determination to play palpable. This believability gives the story credibility when Katy sets out to disguise... Read More

THE ROAD TO DAWN
Earphones Award Winner
History

The novel UNCLE TOM'S CABIN is widely credited with galvanizing Northern opposition to slavery in the run-up to the Civil War. Critics dismissed it as overly dramatic and exaggerated. Now author Jared Brock tells the even more captivating story of Josiah Henson, the former slave who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her novel. Ryan Vincent Anderson offers a solid... Read More

SPINNING SILVER
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Novik updates the story of Rumpelstiltskin with a wildly original fantasy tale that has all the markings of a future classic. A young woman with a special gift attempts to save her family but is swept up in world of magic and demons. What follows is a dark fantasy focused on three complex women in a morally nuanced world. Lisa Flanagan's steady narration, especially her accents... Read More

THE STARS AT OKTOBER BEND
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Alice, who has a broken brain and an artistic soul, and Manny, who lived unimaginable horrors in his war-torn homeland, are teenagers on the outside of their community. Somehow they find each other, and along the way they find themselves. Beautifully narrated by Candice Moll and Ron Butler, this audiobook leaves the listener cheering for the unlikely couple. Moll's narration... Read More

THE STARS MY DESTINATION
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Marooned in outer space, Gulliver Foyle is a vengeful yet curiously sympathetic everyman in Alfred Bester's 1950s sci-fi classic. While he is badly flawed--he's a rapist, among other problems--as portrayed by Gerard Doyle, he's absolutely mesmerizing. Bester modeled the plot on another classic, Dumas's COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Instead of an island, Foyle is stuck on a dying... Read More

SUNSHINE IS FOREVER
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Cowan's realistic, ultimately hopeful story of teenage mental illness is brought to life by narrator Kirby Heyborne. As the voice of 16-year-old Hunter, a camper at Camp Sunshine, Heyborne expresses pain, desperation, and self-loathing. Expertly letting us into Hunter's head, Heyborne interweaves descriptions of life at camp with an account of the events that got Hunter there.... Read More

THE TALENTED RIBKINS
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Narrator Kevin Kenerly depicts several generations of family members as Johnny Ribkins retrieves money to pay off his mobster boss by digging up caches of it spread throughout Florida. At the first stop, he discovers his brother had a daughter. With the 15-year-old in tow, Ribkins reconnects with different family members, allowing Kenerly, through tone and inflection in... Read More

TOUCAN KEEP A SECRET
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Bernadette Dunne demonstrates her wide range of voice skills in performing the role of Meg, the main character in the Meg Langslow series. Dunne effectively conveys the fear Meg experiences when she sees a light in a church crypt and finds a murdered man there and five cremation niches broken open. Soon the listener catches the contagious enthusiasm of Meg's father as... Read More

WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

One hundred chapters of 100 words each. The central structure of Alison McGhee's book may be lost on listeners, but it is compensated for by Michael Crouch's honest, gentle rendering of 16-year-old Will, who is trying to make sense of his father's suicide. Will spends his free time attempting to replicate his father's "famous" cornbread and walking around town. On his walks he... Read More

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