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Articles by Robin Whitten

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Celebrating New 2021 Golden Voice Narrators

June is Audiobook Month, and this year we welcome three new Golden Voices—Cassandra Campbell, Michael Crouch, and Soneela Nankani. Perhaps they need no introduction and...

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Introducing Audiobook Break, AudioFile’s New Podcast—an Old-New Idea

Charles Dickens’s birthday on February 7 seemed like the perfect day to launch AudioFile’s new podcast, Audiobook Break. Taking the old idea of serializing novels...

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Best Audiobooks 2020

Capping off weeks of planning and indeed a whole year of listening, we're thrilled to announce AudioFile’s 2020 Best Audiobooks. We feature the 51 titles in 9...

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In Conversation with Golden Voice Narrator Julia Whelan
Newly honored Golden Voice narrator Julia Whelan is known to listeners of all ages for her performances in a broad range of subjects. For listeners of young adult audiobooks,...
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Meet Our New Golden Voice Narrators
We are delighted to kick off June as Audiobook Month by honoring five new Golden Voice narrators—JD Jackson, Julia Whelan, Arthur Morey, Emily Woo Zeller, and Ramón de Ocampo....
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New Audiobooks for Listening Now
While we are hunkered down—staying home, trying to get work done, helping kids have productive learning days, and staying healthy—some days seem interminable and others somehow...
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Now's the Time for Listening!

We've got listening time! A silver lining of these turbulent weeks may be that many of us have more time to listen to audiobooks. All of us at AudioFile are working remotely...

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Celebrating the 2020 Audie Awards

The 2020 Audie Awards Gala last week in NYC was a glittery celebration of the APA's annual awards given in 24 categories. Mo Rocca, “CBS Sunday Morning”...

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Audiobooks & ALA Awards

We're in the midst of winter award season with the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars getting a lot of focus. But in our AudioFile world, the American Library Association...

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The Detours of Historical Fiction Audiobooks

In three recent audiobooks of historic fiction, I found myself lured off to research real-life events and details in these stories. Each detour made the audiobooks even richer....

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Conversations with Narrators of the 2019 Best Audiobooks
Would you like to ask Jason Culp, Frankie Corzo, or Rupert Degas what was most memorable about recording one of the 2019 best audiobooks? We did just that for special episodes of...
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8 Audiobooks about Inspiring Lives of Service
Each month, AudioFile editors Jennifer Dowell, Emily Connelly, Francisca Goldsmith, and I decide on topics which we can explore with both new titles and older audiobooks mined...
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Audiobook Casting: Beyond the Single Voice

Audiobook publishers have been trying out new ideas in casting voices for several years. Some recent new releases showcase the creative ways producers are taking audiobooks...

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Talking with George Guidall
Join host Jo Reed as she speaks with one of the greats in the world of audiobooks, George Guidall. Hear what drew him to the world of audiobooks, highlights from his impressive...
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Podcast Anniversary: Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine
We're celebrating here—our one-year anniversary of AudioFile's podcast! Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine has published more than 275 episodes talking about an audiobook or...
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Our Natural World: 14 Audiobooks for the Earth
Sixteen-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg is crossing the Atlantic on a sailboat on her voyage to the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year....
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10 Best New Baseball Audiobooks
Just like listening to a game, the newest crop of baseball audiobooks—biographies, memorable seasons, legendary teams, and baseball trivia—will engage and indulge your love for...
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Listening on a Summer Day
Summer is full of activities for many of us—summer work schedules, family trips and get togethers, travels and adventures, projects that require good weather. For me, summer is...
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Essential Listening: Golden Voice Narrators

Celebrating Audiobook Month in June has given us such a great opportunity to give special attention to the narrator luminaries of the audiobook world. Here at AudioFile, each...

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30 Days of Golden Voice Narrators
AudioFile is aligning the stars this June. If you're reading this, you've probably been seeing that we're going all out this month to celebrate the narrators who have been...
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Authentic Voices: 8 Audiobook Memoirs
Audiobook listeners are fortunate in a number of ways. The recent stream of memoirs AudioFile has reviewed makes me think of a specific benefit of listening: hearing the authentic...
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Mothers & Others: Recent Audiobook Biography and History
With events and awards taking the limelight for the last few months, I haven't had a chance to simply highlight some of the most interesting audiobooks we've recently reviewed. A...
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SYNC Audiobooks for Teens Celebrates its 10th Season
We opened SYNC: Audiobooks for Teens's 10th season this week! The lineup of teen titles this year seems like the best ever, including everything from Shakespeare's OTHELLO to...
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Poets & Audiobooks: The Interestingness of Connections
One of the things I like best about doing my blog posts is the places I go. For the audiobooks I write about here, I follow a wide variety of breadcrumbs and chase bits of...
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Audiobooks for Carolina Low Country: The Prince of Tides and Crawdads
If I mention THE PRINCE OF TIDES, do you think of Barbra Streisand, or do you think of the audiobook by Pat Conroy and narrated by the iconic Frank Muller? If you've been...
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Libro.fm March Audiobook Bestsellers
Independent bookstores have a special place in my heart.  When I travel, finding a local bookstore gem is an extra treat. These days I mostly pack ebooks and audiobooks on my...
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Audie Awards 2019: Audiobook of the Year & More Great Listening

In the pink glow of stage lighting, the 2019 Audie Awards Gala, hosted by Tan France, Queer Eye fashion expert, dazzled a capacity crowd. The AudioFile editorial...

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Thank you, Toni Morrison—Celebrating Black Women Authors
Earlier this month, author Toni Morrison turned 88. On her birthday, a new collection of her essays and speeches, THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD, was published. Twenty years ago I was...
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Pride in Maine Audiobooks . . . Susan Conley, Stephen King, Richard Blanco, and More
Maine. Beautiful. Cold, this time of year. Glorious in the summer. Maine is my home, and AudioFile's, and home to generations of extraordinary writers. Every time we review a new...
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Hello, It's Flavia!— An Interview with Alan Bradley and Jayne Entwistle
Flavia de Luce always makes me smile. Alan Bradley’s 11-year-old sleuth has just solved her tenth mystery, THE GOLDEN TRESSES OF THE DEAD. Flavia lives in the village of  Bishop’s...
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Audie Award Finalists Announced
The 2019 Audie Awards are joining awards season early this year with Audie nominations announced this week and winners to be announced March 4 at the New York Gala. QUEER EYE...
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Love for the ALA Media Awards
For more than 80 years, the awards given by the American Library Association have set a high bar in children's literature. The Caldecott and Newbery medals are the best known among...
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Déjà Vu All Over Again
This humorous redundancy, credited to Yogi Berra, always tickles me. Looking over the new audiobook reviews of the last couple of weeks, I do get the feeling we're heard some of...
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View From the Mountain
Twenty years ago, in February 1999, AudioFile published the review of THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. along with a feature by Maja Thomas, then the director of...
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Listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Audiobooks That Illuminate His Legacy
[caption id="attachment_26625" align="alignright" width="300"] President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meet at the White House,...
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New Earphones Awards for Your Earphones
[one_third][/one_third][one_third][/one_third][one_third_last][/one_third_last] Talking about the Best Audiobooks of the Year can't really be called a distraction, but for the...
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A Feast of Listening for the Holidays
One of my favorite times to listen is while I'm cooking, and during the holidays I'm spending more time with my sleeves rolled up. This is when I wish I had a voice-controlled...
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How Long Do the Best Audiobooks Last?

One of the criteria we think about when picking the Best Audiobooks of the Year is to choose titles that we can continue to recommend as great listening year after year. I can...

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Podcasting the Best Audiobooks
We're in the thick of celebrating the 2018 Best Audiobooks and finding new ways to get the word out. In addition to our own podcasts, this week I was a guest at the HarperAudio...
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Fun with Podcasting—with 2018 Best Audiobooks Episodes
After 26 years of reviewing audiobooks, who knew that recommending audiobooks in a podcast would be so much fun! When we started Behind the Mic in September, we had so much to...
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Grateful to AudioFile's Blog Team
The Editors of this AudioFile blog are a busy lot. Over the last 16 months we have added contributing editors to 8 ongoing categories within the blog. Thanks to master scheduler...
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Maryrose Wood Brings The Incorrigibles Home for the Holidays
Spending time with The Incorrigibles might be the perfect prelude to upcoming family gatherings. If you anticipate the same old jokes from Uncle Otto, and you dread meeting your...
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A Foxhole to Audiobooks on the World War I Centenary
Each week I often "go down the rabbit hole" in pursuit of audiobooks for this blog post. Perhaps this week it's a "foxhole," as my topic is the World War I Centenary—the Great War...
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Great American Listening
PBS has just concluded a national survey and an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels: THE...
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Bestsellers From Libro.fm Audiobooks
How can audiobook listeners help nurture independent bookstores? The next time you visit your favorite indie bookstore, look to see if they are Libro.fm Audiobooks partners. You...
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The Night a Classic Ghost Story Was Born
FRANKENSTEIN was the result of a challenge among a group of friends to come up with a new ghost story. In 1816 on a holiday in Italy with friends, Percy Bysshe Shelley, his...
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What is an Audiobook Bonus?
As I prepared our "bonus" podcast episode for this week—Michael Imperioli's interview with Behind the Mic host, Jo Reed—I delighted in the unexpected tidbits and behind the scenes...
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Justices: Audiobook Profiles of the Supreme Court
With all eyes and ears on the topic of the Supreme Court this week, I thought it would be interesting to see what audiobooks are out there by and about Supreme Court...
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New Voices Join AudioFile's Podcast
As we worked on creating AudioFile's new podcast, Behind the Mic, we planned to have as many "voices" as possible to amplify our audiobook conversations. In our early weeks,...
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Obsessed with Thrillers
How do we choose which audiobooks to feature on the Behind the Mic podcast? We review nearly 50(!) audiobooks each week. Picking for Behind the Mic, we narrow those down to big new...
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Week Two of Our New Podcast
New projects are often both thrilling and terrifying! Our Behind the Mic podcast has given us a little of each as we wrap up week #2. We're delighted that each of the...
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Hear New Things—Try New Things
Trying new things has never been a problem for me.  Remember, I started AudioFile in 1992 when most people had to have the word "audiobook" explained to them. The idea of an...
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Yin and Yang: The End of Summer
[one_half][/one_half][one_half_last][/one_half_last] At this end of summer,  I'm of two minds—thinking I should have done more, and wishing I had done less. Two audiobooks seem...
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Hugo Awards Give N.K. Jemisin a Trifecta
[caption id="attachment_23646" align="alignright" width="240"] N.K. Jemisin[/caption] The 2018 Hugo Awards were this week in San Jose, California. The Hugo is a fan-vote award...
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DOG DAYS: 14 Audiobooks for Dog Lovers
I wanted to collect audiobooks about dogs while we're in the "dog days of summer" . . . only to find out that the original meaning has nothing to do with dogs. The Greeks...
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New Audiobooks Offer Plenty of Contrast
Contrasts—dark or light-hearted, subtle or intense, Russia or North Carolina. Going through our new reviews this week, I am struck by the variety of titles and how the audiobooks...
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Support Your Indie Bookstore with Libro.fm Audiobooks
We have so many summer visitors in Maine, and I often hear how much they enjoy browsing our independent bookstores. Here in Portland, Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops and...
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Audiobook Narrators Come to Maine

Each summer AudioFile celebrates audiobook narrators with a Maine clambake in Boothbay, Maine. Narrators come from across the country, and sometimes we even have an...

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Portraits of Nelson Mandela in 8 Audiobooks
This week marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. With celebrations and tributes happening around the world, I wanted to share 8 audiobooks that offer unique portraits...
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Find the Heart of America with Audiobooks
[caption id="attachment_22557" align="alignnone" width="960"] Endpapers from OUR TOWNS by James and Deborah Fallows[/caption] Two audiobooks we reviewed this week made me think...
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Beat the Heat! 8 Icy Audiobook Listens
[one_half][/one_half][one_half_last][/one_half_last] Ok, I'll admit it—just looking at the covers of these "icy" audiobooks is helping me cool off! Even if air conditioning is...
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Best Audiobook Listening for Independence Day
During the holiday week of America's Independence Day, along with the barbecue, clambake, and fireworks, add in a few audiobooks. Many of us celebrate with our families—and my...
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To Kill a Mockingbird: Beloved in Audio
[one_half][/one_half][one_half_last][/one_half_last] This week we reviewed ATTICUS FINCH, a new biography of Harper Lee's father (and how he informed the character of Atticus...
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7 Top New British Mysteries
Summer is the perfect time to relax with a great audiobook—and for me, I go first to British mysteries. I try to keep up with authors I don't know well—like Ruth Ware or Anthony...
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Celebrating Winners — And Adding More New Listening
[caption id="attachment_21782" align="alignright" width="600"] photo by Steve Kagan[/caption] Everyone in the audiobook world had eyes on the NYC conferences and social events...
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AudioFile at the Audie Awards

Last night we attended the 2018 Audies Gala—AudioFile editor Francisca Goldsmith and I were decked out in our finest at the New-York Historical Society for the Audio...

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Not just Harry Potter—Jim Dale Celebrated for his Magic
https://youtu.be/8oOHiikrJHw Audiobook listeners know Jim Dale—the voice of Harry Potter, of course, with seven audiobooks and a Guinness World Record for the 146 voices in...
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Ride a Magic Carpet with 6 Historical Fiction Audiobooks
Something I love about audiobooks set outside our current time and place is that the historical details make the listening experience so rich. We get a sense of the history of...
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15 Great Jazz Audiobooks
Jazz is on my mind. Just a few weeks ago, I attended the tribute to the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters—Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves—at the John F. Kennedy...
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Celebrate Children's Book Week with Simon Vance on The Download
Narrator Simon Vance is a man of many voices, in both contemporary fiction and classic literature, and he's won dozens of awards for his audiobooks. In our interview on The...
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Barbara Bush Loved Audiobooks
[caption id="attachment_20665" align="aligncenter" width="1161"] Photo © The George Bush Presidential Library/ Chandler Arden-Specialties Photography[/caption] Former First Lady...
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The Poetry of Each Day: Tracy K. Smith & Emily Dickinson
"Poetry lives everywhere," said Tracy K. Smith, teacher and writer and America's Poet Laureate, as she kicked off April's National Poetry Month a few weeks ago. As a listener—to...
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8 Short Collections to Listen to Now
Short stories have often gotten the short straw in audiobooks. With audio publishers producing more titles each season, and podcasts gaining more and more listeners, short story...
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4 Women Who Changed Our World
VISIONARY WOMEN is made up of four mini biographies of women who changed the way we look at our world. As I thought about this interesting group—Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane...
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Why you should pick these children's audiobooks for your next family excursion
How do children's audiobooks catch my attention? Sometimes it's a visual pop from the cover, sometimes it's wanting to hear a narrator I love, and sometimes it's the Earphones...
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5 New Scandi-Crime Audiobooks
We are still in the chill of winter here in Maine, so these new Scandinavian suspense titles seem right in line. Audiobooks are the perfect medium for Scandi-crime for several...
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Robin's Roundup: March 9 New Audiobook Reviews
As you might guess, Women's History is big this month at AudioFile! Each month we brainstorm about audiobook titles that we can recommend  around themes, holidays, or current...
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Robin's Roundup: March 2 New Audiobook Reviews
If you are a listener who loves series, one of the worst moments is when a new episode arrives and the long-time narrator is replaced. It's a little like losing old friends . . ....
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Robin's Roundup: February 23 New Audiobook Reviews
Listeners can celebrate the Lunar New Year with Grace Lin's THE YEAR OF THE DOG. Recently re-released, Lin's debut novel was first published in the previous year of the dog, 2006....
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Robin's Roundup: February 16 New Audiobook Reviews
In the midst of awards season, I'm always looking out for those that specifically celebrate audiobooks, like the Spoken Word Grammy (Carrie Fisher's THE PRINCESS DIARIST) and The...
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Robin's Roundup: February 9 New Audiobook Reviews
This week I noticed an impressive crop of nonfiction audiobooks reviewed. Thoughtful and powerful audiobooks on immigration, politics, abuse, and race give us the chance to listen...
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Robin's Roundup: February 2 New Audiobook Reviews
[gallery type="square" ids="18683,18684,18685"] Each February we're pleased to find a crop of new audiobooks that chronicle Black History  and celebrate lives of African...
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Robin's Roundup: January 26 New Audiobook Reviews
Actor John Lithgow's long career is studded with awards—Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe—for his many roles as  varied as the undercover extraterrestrial professor in "3rd Rock from...
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Robin's Roundup: January 19 New audiobook reviews
Looking at some of the new audiobook reviews this week, I see a theme of personal journeys—some fictional and some biographical. In an original audio adaptation, Susan Trott's THE...
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Robin's Roundup: January 12
My Roundup this week was going to center on children's audiobooks to bring some welcome counterpoint to the weather and news of the last few weeks. Instead, I share the sad news of...
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Robin's Roundup: January 5 New Audiobook Reviews
2018 has roared into Maine with frigid temps and plenty of snow. This is great curl-up-and-read/listen weather. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="18028,18024"] Just what...
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Robin's Roundup: Rounding up 2017
When I meet people for the first time and tell them about AudioFile, they often ask, "Do you listen to all the books yourself?" What a thought! I don't even want to calculate how...
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Robin's Roundup: December 22 Best Audiobooks of the Year #4
Looking this week at our choices for the BEST titles in the Biography & History category, I'm excited that we have the narrators' Behind the Mic videos for so many of these...
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Robin's Roundup: December 15 Best Audiobooks of the Year #3
If you are looking for audiobooks for Kids & Family listening or for a Teen in your life, our 2017 Best lists have great choices. Last week in my picks from the Nonfiction...
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Robin's Roundup: December 8 Best Audiobooks of the Year #2
We continue to celebrate the Best Audiobooks of the year, and we appreciate all the shares & retweets from our narrator and publisher friends & audiophile partners—thank...
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Robin's Roundup: December 1 Best Audiobooks of the Year
Today, we're launching our annual celebration of Best Audiobooks. Choosing among ALL of the audiobooks we've reviewed this year, we selected titles that have special resonance as...
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Robin's Roundup: November 24 New Audiobook Reviews

One of the great traditions of the season is the many live performances that families can attend. The glamour and excitement of dance events are my favorite. Two new audiobooks...

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Robin's Roundup: November 17 New Audiobook Reviews
Chef and restauranteur Barbara Lynch's memoir OUT OF LINE: A Life of Playing With Fire may be just the ticket to inspire your holiday planning while hearing about Lynch's...
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Robin's Roundup: November 10 New Audiobook Reviews
For a little listening to lift our spirits this week, I want to highlight this audio-first anthology of stories, poems, and essays, NEVERTHELESS WE PERSISTED, written and...
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Robin's Roundup: November 3 New Audiobook Reviews
Baseball season may be over with the conclusion of the World Series, but it's not too late to extend the season if you love baseball history. Joe Barrett's snappy narration of...
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Robin's Roundup: October 27 New Audiobook Reviews
Scary listening has been on our minds as we creep closer to Halloween. We're chatting with author Joe Hill and narrator Dennis Boutsikaris in New York this week, and all our...
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Robin's Roundup: October 20 New Audiobook Reviews
Topical essays, historical portraits, and short story collections can all give listeners a useful introduction to an author, but also showcase the variety offered with the audio...
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Robin's Roundup: October 13 New Audiobook Reviews
When the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced last week, it was a great pleasure to find that so many of Kazuo Ishiguro's books are already available on audio. THE...
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Robin's Roundup: October 6 New Audiobook Reviews
One of the great aspects of the National Book Awards is that they often highlight titles that may not be on your radar yet. And as listeners know, audiobooks can be a great way to...
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Robin's Roundup: 5 Iconic Audiobook Series
In celebration of AudioFile's first 25 years, we collected a list of 25 Iconic Audiobooks. We asked our reviewers and editors and heard your nominations on our social platforms for...
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Robin's Roundup: September 22 New Audiobook Reviews
A week for old friends—that's audiobook friends we've heard before, but we're oh so glad to hear from them again. The newest John le Carré novel, A LEGACY OF SPIES, is a perfect...
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Robin's Roundup: September 15 New Audiobook Reviews
My choices from this week's new audiobook reviews seem to have a yin and yang approach. The dark and the light. We have history and biography that stare hard challenges straight in...
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Behind the Mic: The Scribe of Siena
For anyone who loves a historical setting or is infatuated with Italy, listen to how narrator Cassandra Campbell describes THE SCRIBE OF SIENA by Melodie Winawer. Once more...
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Robin's Roundup: September 8 New Audiobook Reviews
Chef memoirs and "foodie" books seem to come in waves . . . we're in the kitchen with Marcus Samuelsson or Ruth Reichl and then the cupboard is bare for months. Happily this week...
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Robin's Roundup: September 1 New Audiobook Reviews
As we wrap up summer with a long weekend, the audiobook reviews this week put me in two minds. I want to extend my random "summer listening" choices just a little longer, but also...
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Robin's Roundup: August 25 New Audiobook Reviews
So many great listening choices this week, I could make a long list! Astronomy, history, education, political activism . . . it looks like nonfiction is catching my eye. For...
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Robin's Roundup: August 18 New Audiobook Reviews
If you're in the mood for a little escapism, this week's audiobook reviews have some great options. The first to catch my eye, and ear, is THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST'S...
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Robin's Roundup: August 11 New Audiobook Reviews
Listeners of mystery series often look forward to the annual event of a new title from their favorite authors. This week’s new reviews will please a lot of listeners. Daniel Silva...
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Robin's Roundup: August 4 New Audiobook Reviews
This week's audiobooks shine a light on an interesting mix of cultural icons—not exactly Beyoncé-type icons, but they reflect their own times nonetheless. I love the prospect of...
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Robin's Roundup: July 28 New Audiobook Reviews
A couple of the audiobooks in this week’s new reviews have European provenance. THE SECRET DIARY OF HENDRIK GROEN:  83 1/4 Years Old  by Hendrik Groen is a Dutch bestseller...
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Robin's Roundup: July 21 New Audiobook Reviews
[caption id="attachment_13661" align="alignright" width="300"] I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool[/caption] This week two new audiobooks that caught my eye, and ear, are...
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Robin's Roundup: July 14 New Audiobook Reviews
In the week when I had eyes on the G-20 meeting of world leaders, I should have listened to BEHAVE, Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky’s audiobook on the science of human...
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Robin's Roundup: July 7 New Audiobook Reviews
It's hard to stay up with the 40 new audiobook reviews we publish each week, so here are a handful of titles that caught my eye, and ear! Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir THE SECRETS OF...
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Behind the Mic: Drunken Fireworks
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Tim Sample. Here in Maine, we know Tim for his special brand of Maine humor. If you want to see what I mean, watch what Tim has to say...
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Behind the Mic: Anything is Possible
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Kimberly Farr to talk about Elizabeth Strout's ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. This collection of stories comes from the world of Lucy Barton, the...
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Behind the Mic: Between Them
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with Christian Baskous about his narration of Richard Ford's narrative memoir, BETWEEN THEM. Chris tells us about his unique preparations for...
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Behind the Mic: Ramon de Ocampo
AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with Ramon de Ocampo about recording Anne Sibley O'Brien's inspiring children's audiobook, I'M NEW HERE. Part of an ensemble cast of voices,...
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Outspoken Women
Celebrating Women's History This March we celebrate audiobooks about the women who inspire us—women who lead, who inspire, who change the world. Since we're in the world of sound,...
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Essential Listening: Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches and sermons
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: THE ESSENTIAL BOX SET by Martin Luther King, Jr., Clayborne Carson, Kris Shepard, Peter Holloran [Eds.], read by Martin Luther King, Jr., Keith David,...
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Solve: Elections
If the 2016 election has created more than enough mystery for you, think about indulging in some audiobook mysteries about elections. Ross Thomas is one of my favorite writers...
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September: Listen to Learn
We listen and learn in pretty much every month of the year, but this September AudioFile is focusing our recommendations and posts on the personal growth, business, and...
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