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January 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.


ARTEMIS
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Rosario Dawson narrates the story of a young woman on a moon colony who is half-hero, half-something else. You can't call Jasmine Bashara a villain--she cares about people too much. But then again, her desire to be rich makes her happy to become a smuggler. And not just any smuggler--she's the best. Dawson makes Jasmine sound like the lovable rogue she is. As in Weir's previous... Read More

BLADE OF DARKNESS
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Kirsten Potter's narration of Duvall's paranormal series about supercharged fighters who protect unsuspecting humans from vampires is a must-listen on audio. Potter's natural pathos perfectly captures the guilt that immortal Aidan feels when he becomes the prime suspect in a series of kidnappings. After years of arranging chance meetings with women, Aidan finally finds his... Read More

A BOY IN WINTER
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

There is a graceful style to Rachel Seiffert's writing that contrasts with the brutal story that unfolds, set in the Ukraine in 1941, after the German invasion. Remarkably, Seiffert's prose is almost uplifting, even during scenes that highlight the viciousness and evil of the Nazi invaders, including one featuring an SS death squad. Narrator Mark Deakins's superb performance... Read More

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WINTER'S DAUGHTER
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Fans will rejoice in Tim Gerard Reynolds's return to narrate the latest adult fantasy featuring professional thieves Hadrian and Royce. The pairing of Reynolds's narration with Sullivan's multilayered storytelling is outstanding. Reynolds's sense of the heroes' personalities makes the bantering dialogue a joy to hear and enhances the tale's humor and emotional depths. In this... Read More

A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Kate Reading's command of this sexy story instantly grips the listener. For the Duke of Ripley, helping his friend Ashmont with his wedding proves difficult when the drunken bride escapes. While attempting to return her, passion simmers making him wonder if he should keep her for himself? Loretta Chase weaves a witty love story set in nineteenth-century London and... Read More

ECHO ECHO
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Author-narrator Marilyn Singer and narrator Joe Morton transport listeners of all ages into the world of Greek mythology with this collection of reverso poetry--poems that can be read top to bottom or bottom to top. Each work imparts a different meaning depending on the direction of the reading. Ponder whether Pandora or Zeus might be responsible for the release of the contents... Read More

ELMET
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

The dialect of northern England is a defining element in Fiona Mozley's kicker of a first novel, a finalist for this year's Man Booker Prize. Narrator Gareth Bennett-Ryan gives just enough of that sound to draw the listener into her strange and savage landscape. At first, and for what seems like many minutes, we have only that voice--the voice of a boy in an identified place,... Read More

FAR FROM THE TREE
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Narrator Julia Whelan animates the three characters in this engrossing 2017 YA National Book Award winner. Whelan shows teen Grace's torment when she puts her child up for adoption and the heartbreak that motivates her to find out about her own adoption. Soon Grace builds bonds with Maya and Joaquin, siblings who were given up by the same birth mother. Maya has been adopted by... Read More

FASTING AND FEASTING
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Narrator Naomi Frederick's soft British accent and thoughtful timing will entrance listeners from the first minutes of this well-balanced biography of Patience Gray, one of the most important but often overlooked food writers of the late twentieth century. Listeners who are unfamiliar with Gray's groundbreaking cookbook, HONEY FROM A WEED, will be fascinated by her fierce... Read More

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Reimagining the Evil Queen legend, Dao recounts the story of a peasant girl's quest to become empress. Kim Mai Guest's narration emulates not only Xifeng's ruthlessness in trying to fulfill her destiny but also a young woman's determination to keep her morals along the way. Pieces of the story are carried over from the original, including aspects of the notorious villainess.... Read More

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Narrator Kathleen Gati invites listeners to embark on a journey of defiance and bravery alongside protagonist Vasilisa Petrovna. Gati seamlessly brings to life the myriad characters found in Kathleen Arden's second Winternight Trilogy novel. Most of the reappearing "cherti" that aid Vasilisa are characterized by their disconcerted and raspy voices, though some, like the... Read More

GRAND SLAM
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Ever since the night they spent together, Boston baseball hero Travis Kidd has been yearning to make Saylor Blackwell more than his publicist. When he's accused of a crime he didn't commit, she is his alibi--but will she risk losing her career and daughter to help him? Narrators Alastair Haynesbridge and Athena Pappas interpret alternating chapters with compelling precision.... Read More

HARDCORE TWENTY-FOUR
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Zombies? Really? Plum fans know that the series has not thrived on its plots, but on its funny, quirky characters, especially their dialogue. So the best way to experience Evanovich is by having narrator Lorelei King bring to life Stephanie, Lula, Morelli, Ranger, Diesel, Grandma Mazur, and all the other lovable and sometimes despicable secondary characters. King's skill in... Read More

THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF NORTHERN FIRES
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

In a poignant and authentic tone, narrator Robin Miles brings her love of the theater to the fore in the telling of a little-known true chapter of the Civil War. In early 1861, the tiny hamlet of Town Line in upstate New York seceded from the Union--the only northern town to do so. As the Underground Railroad crosses paths with Confederate spies bent on dragging Canada into the... Read More

HOOVER
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Narrator Richard Ferrone adds a steady voice to this provocative biography of the 31st president of the United States. Unwilling to gloss over his deficiencies or elevate his successes to legendary status, the writer and narrator enable the listener to appreciate that timing is everything. Ferrone delivers the tone and pace of the chronicler as Hoover's roller coaster of a life... Read More

A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Naipaul, whose body of writing earned him Nobel laureate status, first came to international attention with this engaging and accessible novel. Narrator Sam Dastor's consistent Trinidadian accent is perfect for its audio performance, making it as fresh and enjoyable as it was to readers when it was published in print nearly 60 years ago. Dastor paces his narration so that it... Read More

THE INNER LIFE OF ANIMALS
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Before hitting the play button on this audio, it would be easy to feel skeptical about the idea that animals have rich emotional lives. But the combination of Wohlleben's deep wisdom and Mike Grady's warm narration will win listeners over within the first hour. The text is translated from the German, but Grady's British accent and avuncular tone recall David Attenborough's... Read More

THE LAST BALLAD
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrators Karen White and Elizabeth Wiley use pacing and tone to bring characters to life in this novel about Ella Mae Wiggins, a forgotten heroine of history. For the bulk of the story White's capable voice projects desperation and hope as Ella Mae struggles to support her family amid deplorable working conditions that lead, finally, to her commitment to strive for fair... Read More

LIVING THE DREAM
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

A dynamite performance by Saskia Maarleveld illuminates this coming- of-age chick lit about an odd, hilarious friendship that millennials will find relatable. Emma aspires to be a writer but is stuck in a mundane office job while dreaming of something better. Her friend, Clem, recently graduated from film school, has returned to London, where she lives with her mother and... Read More

LORD JAMES HARRINGTON AND THE WINTER MYSTERY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator David Thorpe flawlessly delivers this 1950s English country house mystery, the first in a series. Lord James Harrington and his American wife, Beth, graciously open their estate to villagers for many events. Thorpe gives each character distinction. Lord Harrington is down-to-earth, with friends from all classes. Beth's accent is believable, while the stammering vicar... Read More

THE MOTHER OF BLACK HOLLYWOOD
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Jenifer Lewis, star of the TV show "Black-ish," holds nothing back in delivering her audacious, outrageous memoir. Dubbed "The Mother of Black Hollywood" by her cohorts, Lewis recalls navigating her way through Broadway and Hollywood as a young actor while dealing with the perils faced by a woman, particularly a black woman, head-on and making a name for herself in show... Read More

NEW YORK 2140
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Nine voices weave a complex tapestry of horror and hope in an all-too-believable dystopian future. All the different narrators are somewhat confusing at first. However, they soon hit their stride and become an unparalleled cast. By 2140, sea levels have risen 50 feet. New York is still a vibrant city with horribly uneven income distribution, and all the angst that goes with it.... Read More

OUR TURN
Earphones Award Winner
Business & Finance

Laurel Lefkow's beguiling narration is notable for lyrical phrasing that never sounds innocent and never betrays the power of this timely broadside about women's value in today's challenging workplaces. With a performance that sounds both intelligent and beautiful to hear, she is a wonderful choice for this message, which weaves in and out of the author's personal journey from... Read More

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CULTURE
Earphones Award Winner
Philosophy & Religion

Jim Denison narrates this guide to engaging the world with Christian urgency. The work is part apologetic and part field manual, and Denison walks the fine line between reading narrative and calling for action with skill and care. With his smooth pace and strong, even voice, the listener will not become bored at any point as the authors peel back layer upon layer to reveal a... Read More

THE SEAGULL
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Janine Birkett's marvelous narration enhances this riveting mystery, part of the Vera Stanhope series, set on the majestic northeast coast of England. Detective Inspector Stanhope is well rendered, as are the story's secondary characters. Descriptions of the locale are equally appealing. When Stanhope presents a talk at the local prison, she's waylaid by crooked ex-cop John... Read More

THE SECRET OF NIGHTINGALE WOOD
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Author Lucy Strange narrates her debut novel with the sensitivity that comes from having written it. She fully dramatizes the upheavals of 12-year-old Henrietta, whose grief at her older brother's death is multiplied by the cruelties her catatonic mother suffers at the hands of the uncaring Doctor Hardy. Strange animates Henrietta's determination to help her family and her... Read More

TOWN IS BY THE SEA
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Narrator Mark Turetsky lets the story of a young Cape Breton boy speak for itself. His day has familiar scenes--a morning spent watching the sea and swinging, an afternoon walk to the store for his mother and a visit to his grandfather's grave, and an evening that begins with the arrival home of his father, who has spent his day digging for coal under the sea. Turetsky has an... Read More

WHAT UNITES US
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

In this era of hyper-partisanship, it is helpful to review the values that unite us. Veteran newscaster Dan Rather does just that in this audiobook, exploring themes such as community, patriotism, and immigration. At the heart of it all is empathy, which Rather says is clearly lacking in many national leaders. Not surprisingly, given his TV background, Rather offers a smooth,... Read More

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