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.
Narrator Michael Page's English accent and professorial tone highlight the dry humor in this account of one day in ancient Rome. Each chapter follows one person for one hour. Page delivers dialogue with gusto--as exemplified by the spirited scolding of the tavern keeper who tosses out her unruly customers. Characters include a priestess and a prostitute who rues dropping the... Read More
Narrator Tavia Gilbert's rich, expressive voice conveys the wide range of characters in this sometimes funny yet often heartrending story of rising senior Adelaide Buchwald's summer of discontent. Her family has been torn apart by her younger brother Toby's drug addiction. Now Adelaide lives in Massachusetts with her father at the elite boarding school where he teaches and she... Read More
The focus of this audiobook by a top financial journalist is the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, the Harvard grads who claimed the idea for Facebook was stolen from them by fellow student Mark Zuckerberg. The brothers went on to become wealthy by promoting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Narrating with subtle pitch and phrasing variations, Will Damron connects with every bit... Read More
Narrator Peter Lerman recounts the inevitable demise of Stetson-wearing Johnny Jenkins, former president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. Jenkins, an expert on Texas history and rare books, started out as a successful businessman in Austin. Lerman gives him outsized Texas charm and a good-old-boy accent. Listeners will have an exhilarating ride as he... Read More
In a story spanning generations, Bahni Turpin and Sophie Amoss deliver mesmerizing performances. Turpin portrays Hannie Gossett, born a slave, trying to make a life for herself after "the Freedom." Turpin is outstanding as Hannie, who is determined not to be defeated as she searches for her family--last seen on the auction block. Amoss portrays Benny Silva, a thoughtful,... Read More
Six narrators of Indian descent bring authenticity to this tragic debut fiction about a young Indian woman unjustly charged with terrorism over a Facebook comment. When Muslim Jivan criticizes the Indian government for mishandling a bombing incident, she doesn't think much about the possible consequences. However, her seemingly innocent comment lands her behind bars. With their... Read More
Holly Linneman's narration carries listeners into the whirlwind of 12-year-old Ellie's life. First, Ellie's family is disrupted when the Great Depression forces a move to the Maine woods; then their lives are torn apart when an accident leaves her father in a coma. Linneman defines Ellie's heartbreaking willingness to take responsibility for her family's survival even when it... Read More
Narrator Aoife McMahon is terrific delivering Naoise Dolan's impressive debut novel. Twenty-two-year-old Ava moves from Dublin to Hong Kong to teach English. There she meets Julian, an odd, self-involved banker. They start an unconventional relationship. She moves in. Julian picks up the tab. Eventually, they sleep together. They have great discussions. There are no emotional... Read More
With his seasoned voice and theatrical timing, narrator T. Ryder Smith presents this comprehensive study of the devastating 2018 Northern California fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed more than 14,000 homes. Smith utilizes dramatic pacing--speeding up during the nail-biting personal stories and slowing down when explaining the fire's causes (Pacific Gas & Electric... Read More
Gabrielle de Cuir's luminous narration transports listeners into the turbulent life of acclaimed nineteenth-century French actress Sarah Bernhardt. So many elements of an absorbing historical audiobook are present here--the Parisian settings, multilayered character portrayals, complex family dynamics, romance, and complicated issues concerning religion, war, and personal... Read More
Narrators Andrea Bang and Yuta Takenaka add refreshing vitality to the voices in this eclectic collection of stories showcasing the perspectives of young Asian-Canadians. Bang's spritely tone gives her voice a youthful innocence that creates an interesting contrast when she spits out crisp expletives in a story called "God Damn, How Real Is This?" With precise articulation she... Read More
Popular philosophical writing doesn't get any better than this, especially when it's delivered by British narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies. Infusing every phrase with lighthearted charm and meaning, he gives listeners a satisfying aural experience as he unfolds the author's ideas about goodness. Philosopher Gary Cox has a gift for juxtaposing today's moral dilemmas with the... Read More
Narrator Alison Larkin's mellifluous voice and expressive tone are the perfect accompaniment to this acclaimed bildungsroman about "poor, plain and little" orphaned Jane Eyre and her eternally captivating romance with Edward Rochester. Larkin takes extraordinary care to elicit the full spectrum of emotions at play here, while conveying the gothic elements and psychological... Read More
Narrator Rosalyn Landor is a one-woman full-cast production. Alison Weir turns history into flesh and blood. The combination is extraordinary. The story of Henry VIII's fifth wife reminds us how deadly dangerous he was. Before she even imagines going to live in the court, Katheryn Howard--beautiful, young, willful, and from a prominent family--makes several bad choices in men.... Read More
Australian actor Luke Arnold narrates his debut fantasy novel in which a magical city shudders at the sudden loss of its magic. Fetch Philips takes odd jobs as a detective in Sunder City; his latest task is finding a missing teacher, a vampire whose body is slowly turning to dust without magic. Arnold portrays Fetch with pathos and differentiates the other characters, giving... Read More
Narrator Grover Gardner returns to breathe life into listeners' favorite dog-loving lawyer as Andy Carpenter defends a man declared dead in a boat explosion. Gardner makes listeners root for Andy as he becomes embroiled in the case when the supposedly dead man retrieves his beloved companion from Andy's dog-rescue charity. After the police charge the man with murdering his... Read More
Narrator Carrington McDuffie communicates the revolutionary spirit and intellectual depth behind spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson's most recent audiobook. With McDuffie's mature voice and thoughtful pacing, her sound has the stature needed to deliver this work, which blends the author's lyrical writing with ideas and sensibilities that seem to have come from the ancients.... Read More
James McAvoy leads an all-star cast in narrating this magnificent audio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's iconic graphic novel series, The Sandman. McAvoy, who portrays Morpheus, the King of Dreams, leans hard on his polished English accent, the embodiment of the Brits' determination to keep calm and carry on--no matter what. As listeners are swept up in a saga in which cats talk and... Read More
Shabazz Larkin delivers a lively and joyful audiobook companion to his picture book all about appreciating bees. Larkin narrates with warmth as he describes the important role that bees play in pollinating plants and making a picnic's worth of fruits grow. Legend and Royal add giggles, yelps, and exclamations, while Ashley Larkin's bright voice narrates headings and labels.... Read More
Narrator Soneela Nankani provides a decadent listening experience as she captures a community with a vibrant culture and brings it to life with her richness of tone. After Liya Thakkar receives a hard-won promotion, she discovers that the company she works for is on the brink of bankruptcy. At the same time, her parents are eager to secure an arranged marriage, but she roundly... Read More
This audiobook fills a major gap in the history of war correspondents during WWI, and Bernadette Dunne offers a narration that matches its importance. That's not to say she presents a pompous, overly inflated effort; rather, she matches her tone and pacing to fit the text, keeping the narrative flowing and listeners engaged. For example, her voice is even during much of the... Read More
Narrator Marisa Blake portrays the cruelty and menace of Rey, a gang leader in Guatemala. Blake's depiction of the terror he evokes in three teens who flee him is heartbreaking. The story is told in alternating chapters by Pequena and Pulga. Pequena was raped by Rey and bore a son she can't stand to care for. Her cousin, Pulga, and his best friend, Chico, witnessed Rey murder a... Read More
Humorist Mia Mercado's debut collection of self-deprecating, insightful essays drawn from her personal experiences is a must-listen for anyone wondering if their perceived idiosyncrasies are "normal." Suitable pauses between essays transition listeners through sections dedicated to various modes of being that millennials will find relatable. Mercado's essays combine humor and... Read More
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