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May 2024 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.



3 SHADES OF BLUE

3 SHADES OF BLUE

Earphones Award Winner

by James Kaplan | Read by Dion Graham

Penguin Audio
Biography & Memoir

This absorbing audiobook looks at the lives of three jazz greats--Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans--from their growth as young musicians to when they collaborated on Davis's 1959 album, KIND OF BLUE, and beyond. Their lives were challenging and full of pathos, which narrator Dion Graham captures with the empathy and vocal talent he's known for. His vocal range and... Read More

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

Earphones Award Winner

by Joel H. Morris | Read by Angus King, Ell Potter

Penguin Audio
Historical Fiction

This moving audiobook imagining Lady Macbeth's early life receives extraordinary narrations by Angus King and Ell Potter. Ten years before the events of Shakespeare's play, "The Lady," at 15, is forced to marry the brutish Mormaer of Moray. They have a son, "The Boy," who displeases his sadistic father. Macbeth kills Moray in battle, occupies his castle, then falls in love with... Read More

ALL THE WORLD BESIDE

ALL THE WORLD BESIDE

Earphones Award Winner

by Garrard Conley | Read by Pete Cross, Garrard Conley

Penguin Audio
Historical Fiction

Pete Cross performs this debut novel of a star-crossed love affair between minister Nathaniel Whitfield and physician Arthur Lyman in Puritan New England. As his congregation whispers about his relationship with Arthur and their wives begin to suspect what's going on behind closed doors, Nathaniel prays for an "Awakening" but fears his love for Arthur has brought God's... Read More

A BIG STORM KNOCKED IT OVER

A BIG STORM KNOCKED IT OVER

Earphones Award Winner

by Laurie Colwin | Read by Rebecca Lowman

Harper Audio
Fiction

Rebecca Lowman was born to narrate Laurie Colwin's transcendent novel, published posthumously in 1993. Lowman's extraordinary performance transports listeners to the charming Manhattan enclave where Colwin's characters continue to enchant. There is a lovely continuity to Colwin's stories, and Lowman's pitch-perfect characterizations and witty delivery of dialogue captures this... Read More

A CALAMITY OF SOULS

A CALAMITY OF SOULS

Earphones Award Winner

by David Baldacci | Read by MacLeod Andrews, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Cary Hite, Kiiri Sandy

Hachette Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Powerful, enlightening, and entertaining are some of the superlatives that might come to mind as listeners are transported to the world of trial attorney Jack Lee in Virginia in 1968--brought to life by a uniformly outstanding cast. Narrator MacLeod Andrews uses accent, tone, and pace to masterfully portray Lee and the other white male characters. Lee partners with attorney... Read More

CANTO CONTIGO

CANTO CONTIGO

Earphones Award Winner

by Jonny Garza Villa | Read by Alejandro Antonio Ruiz

Macmillan Audio
Young Adult

Alejandro Antonio Ruiz embodies all of the roiling emotions in this compelling queer teen love story. Rafie's intensity comes through clearly in Ruiz's passionate narration. Rafie learned his love of mariachi from his abuelo. He's devastated when his abuelo dies yet is determined to bring home another first-place trophy from the Mariachi Extravaganza. When his family moves to... Read More

THE CEMETERY OF UNTOLD STORIES

THE CEMETERY OF UNTOLD STORIES

Earphones Award Winner

by Julia Alvarez | Read by Alma Cuervo

Recorded Books
Fiction

Alma Cuervo's warm, rich timbre and measured style suit this captivating audiobook. Her delivery works perfectly as she emulates the author's empathetic tone and wit. This is a vividly imagined story of a novelist whose nom de plume is Scheherazade. She leaves Vermont and returns to her native Dominican Republic to bury her untold (unfinished) works. The plot takes a satisfying... Read More

CITY IN RUINS

CITY IN RUINS

Earphones Award Winner

by Don Winslow | Read by Ari Fliakos

Harper Audio
Mystery & Suspense

In the final book in the Danny Ryan Trilogy, a masterpiece of crime writing, Ari Fliakos delivers an astounding, empathetic performance. Rhode Island Irish mobster Danny Ryan's journey began decades ago when he evolved from a longshoreman to a small-time mobster and then to a multimillionaire Las Vegas hotelier. Winslow based Ryan's journey on the Greek tragedies THE ILIAD, THE... Read More

CLEAR

CLEAR

Earphones Award Winner

by Carys Davies | Read by Russ Bain

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

Russ Bain flawlessly presents Carys Davies's novel featuring three extraordinary, believable characters in 1840s Scotland. Listeners meet awkward Reverend John Ferguson and his kindhearted wife, Mary as he sets sail for a remote island to evict Ivar, who's lived there alone for decades. Bain seamlessly blends Davies's three disparate viewpoints and moving descriptions of Ivar's... Read More

CLOSE TO DEATH

CLOSE TO DEATH

Earphones Award Winner

by Anthony Horowitz | Read by Anthony Horowitz, Rory Kinnear

Harper Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Rory Kinnear's performance of the fifth Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery is "something of a masterclass," says author Anthony Horowitz in a recorded postscript that praises Kinnear's flair and fluency. Indeed, Kinnear's voice--rich and resonant, with precise articulation--is one of the many pleasures in this outing of the comical, ill-matched pair as they investigate which... Read More

A CRANE AMONG WOLVES

A CRANE AMONG WOLVES

Earphones Award Winner

by June Hur | Read by Greg Chun, Michelle H. Lee

Listening Library
Young Adult

Greg Chun and Michelle Lee portray the alliance and the attraction between the two main characters whose alternating chapters tell this 1506 Korean mystery. Lee's narration is suffused with 17-year-old Isuel's desire to free her older sister from cruel King Yeonsan. Lee projects Isuel's willingness to learn sleuthing from Prince Daehyun to achieve her ends. Isuel's hatred of... Read More

THE CRONE OF MIDNIGHT EMBERS

THE CRONE OF MIDNIGHT EMBERS

Earphones Award Winner

by Iris Beaglehole | Read by Bethan Dixon Bate

Podium
Fantasy

Book 1 in the Myrtlewood Crones series gets a near-perfect narration from Bethan Dixon Bate. Bizarre things keep happening to 60-ish Delia Spark. She's attacked by a stranger, her daughter is being secretive, and things around her burst into flame spontaneously--for example, her ex-husband's girlfriend's underwear. To get away, Delia travels to remote Myrtlewood, where she... Read More

THE DEMON OF UNREST

THE DEMON OF UNREST

Earphones Award Winner

by Erik Larson | Read by Will Patton, Erik Larson

Random House Audio
History

This compelling audiobook about the beginning of the Civil War gains resonance from its parallels with today's divisions and drift toward violence. Will Patton's narration fits Larson's authorial voice, which is frank, factual, and artfully judicious in tone. Patton suggests historical voices, but his delivery is nuanced and understated, never showy. Brief chapters track the... Read More

FREAKS CAME OUT TO WRITE

FREAKS CAME OUT TO WRITE

Earphones Award Winner

by Tricia Romano | Read by Johnny Heller, Jo Anna Perrin

Dreamscape
Contemporary Culture

Johnny Heller and Jo Anna Perrin successfully navigate the challenge of narrating an extensive oral history, creating a fascinating journey through the evolution and demise of THE VILLAGE VOICE. Even if listeners have never read the weekly news and culture publication from Greenwich Village, they've definitely felt its influence. Contributing writers embraced the arts and pop... Read More

GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984

GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984

Earphones Award Winner

by George Orwell, Joe White [Adapt.] | Read by Andrew Garfield, Cynthia Erivo, Andrew Scott, Tom Hardy, Chukwudi Iwuji, Romesh Ranganathan, Natasia Demetriou, Francesca Mills, Alex Lawther, Katie Leung

Audible, Inc.
Classics

Big Brother, Thought Police, doublethink, omnipresent surveillance. Portraying rebellious romantics Winston Smith and Julia in this classic dystopian novel, narrators Andrew Garfield and Cynthia Erivo lead a crew of inspired English actors in creating a full-cast, filmlike 21st-century reimagining of one of the twentieth century's most important novels. The production is... Read More

GODDESS OF THE RIVER

GODDESS OF THE RIVER

Earphones Award Winner

by Vaishnavi Patel | Read by Sneha Mathan

Hachette Audio
Historical Fiction

Sneha Mathan gives a dramatic performance of this story about Ganga, the Hindu mythological goddess of the river. Mathan's resonant voice adds emotional depth to her portrayal of Ganga, who experiences mortality before she is transformed back into a goddess who is unable to shed her bonds with the human experience--or the mortal son she has been forced to leave behind. Through... Read More

JUMPNAUTS

JUMPNAUTS

Earphones Award Winner

by Hao Jingfang, Ken Liu [Trans.] | Read by Catherine Ho

Simon & Schuster Audio
Science Fiction

Catherine Ho is an excellent storyteller for this first installment in the Folding Universe series. Set in 2080, this space thriller is steeped in Chinese philosophy. Archaeologist Yun Fan, military researcher Qi Fei, and astronomer Jiang Liu realize an alien race is returning to Earth. The trio join forces to meet the aliens in space before the organized governments of Earth... Read More

JUST FOR THE SUMMER

JUST FOR THE SUMMER

Earphones Award Winner

by Abby Jimenez | Read by Christine Lakin, Zachary Webber

Hachette Audio
Romantic Fiction

Fans of the author will welcome back familiar narrators in this stand-alone rom-com. Every woman Justin dates finds her soulmate immediately after they break up. Emma, who is similarly cursed, messages Justin after reading a Reddit thread about his love troubles. The two decide to "fake date" in the hope that their curses will cancel each other out. Real feelings develop... Read More

A LADY'S GUIDE TO MARVELS AND MISADVENTURE

A LADY'S GUIDE TO MARVELS AND MISADVENTURE

Earphones Award Winner

by Angela Bell | Read by Beverley A. Crick

Recorded Books
Romantic Fiction

Beverley A. Crick gives a spirited performance of this historical adventure. In mid-nineteenth-century Europe, Clara, who is wrongfully accused of being "insane," meets Theodore, her grandfather's new apprentice. Theodore then whisks Clara away on scavenger hunt around Europe to find a flying machine that is coveted by villainous enemies. Crick gives a cheeky flavor to her... Read More

LAKE OF SOULS

LAKE OF SOULS

Earphones Award Winner

by Ann Leckie | Read by Adjoa Andoh

Hachette Audio
Science Fiction

Adjoa Andoh narrates a short story collection by Ann Leckie that includes 18 works set in the worlds of the Imperial Radch and the Raven Tower, as well as several stand-alone pieces. Andoh's stellar skills are on display in every piece, making the stories of gods, humans, and other assorted beings incredibly compelling. Standouts include "The Sad History of the Tearless Onion,"... Read More

THE LAST PHI HUNTER

THE LAST PHI HUNTER

Earphones Award Winner

by Salinee Goldenberg | Read by David Lee Huynh

Dreamscape
Fantasy

David Lee Huynh narrates a wild and entertaining fantasy inspired by Thai mythology. Ex, the youngest member of the illustrious Phi Hunters Order, seeks to prove himself with a near impossible task: slaying the demon of nightmares, Shar-Ala. His plans go awry when he's forced to escort a pregnant runaway through a dangerous forest filled with spirits, demons, and assassins.... Read More

A LONG DAY IN A SHORT LIFE

A LONG DAY IN A SHORT LIFE

Earphones Award Winner

by Albert Maltz | Read by Rupert Degas

Naxos AudioBooks
Classics

Rupert Degas delivers what sounds like a full-cast performance--with every accent, every dialect, every nuance in place. This grim novel is based on writer Albert Maltz's imprisonment after he insulted the red-baiting House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. The 1950s book was originally suppressed for its political message, a plea for prison reform. Degas is completely... Read More

LONG ISLAND

LONG ISLAND

Earphones Award Winner

by Colm Tóibín | Read by Jessie Buckley

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

Jessie Buckley's performance of these characters is so rich that listeners need not worry if they're unfamiliar with BROOKLYN, the first novel in which they appear. Tóibín continues the story of Eilis Lacey, an Irish woman living on Long Island who learns her husband may have fathered a child with another woman back home. Uprooting herself, she returns to Ireland and a... Read More

MANI SEMILLA FINDS HER QUETZAL VOICE

MANI SEMILLA FINDS HER QUETZAL VOICE

Earphones Award Winner

by Anna Lapera | Read by Allison Aguilar

Recorded Books
Children

Allison Aguilar's performance offers this engaging coming-of-age story plenty of heart, spunk, and power. Mani is devastated that her mother has planned a surprise trip to Guatemala that will tear her away from her friends for the entire summer. But when she learns about the disappearances of Guatemalan women, Mani is determined to fight for what's right in her community. Mani... Read More

MEMORY PIECE

MEMORY PIECE

Earphones Award Winner

by Lisa Ko | Read by Eunice Wong

Penguin Audio
Fiction

Multiple Earphones Award winner Eunice Wong performs this novel about a decades-long friendship between three Asian American women. Giselle Chin, Jackie Ong, and Ellen Ng come of age in the '80s and '90s, trying to make their way in the world by creating art, starting a business, and becoming a neighborhood activist, respectively. As the narrative moves into the near future, we... Read More

MIND GAMES

MIND GAMES

Earphones Award Winner

by Nora Roberts | Read by January LaVoy

Macmillan Audio
Mystery & Suspense

January LaVoy provides a multilayered portrayal of Leah Fox and the tragedy that shapes her life. Leah and her younger brother are on vacation at their grandmother's home in Appalachia when her parents are murdered. Gifted with second sight, Thea "witnesses" the crime and is able to put the killer in jail. LaVoy reveals the devastation felt by the family. Years pass, and Leah... Read More

OLIVETTI

OLIVETTI

Earphones Award Winner

by Allie Millington | Read by Christopher Gebauer, Simon Vance

Recorded Books
Children

A charming story and two narrators exuding energy and warmth knock it out of the park. Simon Vance is Olivetti, a typewriter who breaks the "typewriterly" code of silence to spill his tapestry of tales in order to find his missing owner. Vance brings a gentle, snarky tone to Olivetti as he dismisses books as "one-hit wonders" and the laptop as "a show-off," delivering his... Read More

THE PHOENIX BRIDE

THE PHOENIX BRIDE

Earphones Award Winner

by Natasha Siegel | Read by Fiona Hardingham, Matt Haynes

Random House Audio
Romantic Fiction

Fiona Hardingham and Matt Haynes deliver a fantastic performance as two historical characters who come together despite their very different hardships. In 1666, the plague has left Cecilia a widow shortly after her marriage. David, a foreign Jewish doctor, is hoping to treat Cecilia's mental health. Initially, the protagonists have such different backgrounds that they might as... Read More

THE QUEST FOR CORVO

THE QUEST FOR CORVO

Earphones Award Winner

by A.J.A. Symons | Read by Rupert Degas

Naxos AudioBooks
Classics

Narrator Rupert Degas tackles this offbeat "experiment in biography" with conspicuous gusto and the enthusiasm of a man given an assignment he feels born to perform. In 1925, British author Symons was introduced to a previously unknown novel, Frederick Rolfe's HADRIAN THE SEVENTH. This eccentric work led Symons to pursue its even more eccentric author, who styled himself as... Read More

ROSE/HOUSE

ROSE/HOUSE

Earphones Award Winner

by Arkady Martine | Read by Raquel Beattie

Tantor Media
Horror

Raquel Beattie narrates a dystopian horror novella with subtle elements of mystery. Rose House, both architectural marvel and sentient AI, has contacted the China Lake Police regarding a dead body within its walls. Beattie creates a wholly unsettling persona for Rose House, giving just enough menace to the flat AI tone that the unnatural state of its existence is forcefully... Read More

SAYS WHO?

SAYS WHO?

Earphones Award Winner

by Anne Curzan | Read by Anne Curzan

Random House Audio
Contemporary Culture

Anne Curzan's knowledgeable, engaging, and laugh-out-loud funny reflection on grammar usage is for all of us who cringe when a friend comments on seeing "less trees" in the park instead of "fewer trees," and winces when a daughter says "for my sister and I" instead of "and me." Narrating with contagious enthusiasm and attentive pacing, the author, an English professor and... Read More

SHAKESPEARE: THE MAN WHO PAYS THE RENT

SHAKESPEARE: THE MAN WHO PAYS THE RENT

Earphones Award Winner

by Judi Dench, Brendan O'Hea | Read by Barbara Flynn, Brendan O'Hea, Judi Dench

Macmillan Audio
Biography & Memoir

In Q&A format, actor Brendan O'Hea asks intriguing questions of world-famous actor/director Judi Dench. The result is absolutely delicious. O'Hea recorded four years of interviews with Dench, but due to her failing eyesight, the audiobook is co-narrated by Barbara Flynn. In a remarkable performance, Flynn laughs, jokes, and calls O'Hea to task when he's wrong--all sounding very... Read More

THE STARS TURNED INSIDE OUT

THE STARS TURNED INSIDE OUT

Earphones Award Winner

by Nova Jacobs | Read by Lisa Flanagan

Simon & Schuster Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Lisa Flanagan's pleasant voice and skill with characterizations are on fine display in this intriguing new novel by Edgar Award-nominated author Nova Jacobs. Set at the Swiss physics lab CERN, the story--a mix of mystery, science fiction, and romance--starts with the suspicious death of Howard, a brilliant young physicist, in the facility's giant underground particle collider.... Read More

TREE. TABLE. BOOK.

TREE. TABLE. BOOK.

Earphones Award Winner

by Lois Lowry | Read by Hope Newhouse

Harper Audio
Children

This humble and wonderful performance by Hope Newhouse will engage a wide audience. Two Sophies are best friends; one is an elementary school student, and the other is an aging woman who is beginning her struggle with memory loss. When home-care options are weighed, younger Sophie listens to the many memories of elder Sophie. Newhouse's ability to transform her narration to... Read More

THE VOYAGES OF TRUEBLOOD CAY

THE VOYAGES OF TRUEBLOOD CAY

Earphones Award Winner

by Suanne Laqueur | Read by Darren Eliker

Suanne Laqueur
Fantasy

Darren Eliker provides an excellent narration of this complex and highly creative installment of the Venery series. Eliker's delivery allows listeners to become immersed in the adventures of Pelippé Trueblood and Fen il-Kheir, a fantastical kheiron, a creature that can shift between being a man and a horse. Each character and species has a distinguishable sound. The story... Read More

WHALE FALL

WHALE FALL

Earphones Award Winner

by Elizabeth O'Connor | Read by Dyfrig Morris, Gabrielle Glaister, Gwyneth Keyworth, Jot Davies, Nick Griffiths

Random House Audio
Fiction

Gwyneth Keyworth's nuanced portrayal of Manod reveals the 18-year-old's transformative journey in this haunting story, set in 1938. Keyworth smoothly transports listeners to an isolated Welsh island and evokes the poignant interactions between Manod, a local, and the English couple, both ethnologists, who arrive to study the villagers' traditional ways. Dyfrig Morris, Gabrielle... Read More

WITHIN ARM'S REACH

WITHIN ARM'S REACH

Earphones Award Winner

by Ann Napolitano | Read by Ray Porter, Marin Ireland, Gilli Messer, Kimberly Farr, Cassandra Campbell, Brittany Pressley, Ann Napolitano

Random House Audio
Fiction

A star-studded cast masterfully performs Napolitano's debut novel. Her recent success with HELLO BEAUTIFUL has brought this long out-of-print title back. And this stellar audiobook demonstrates its worth. It's hard to limit praise to just a few of the half-dozen sparkling narrations. But Brittany Pressley as Gracie, the lost-soul writer who works as a kind of "Dear Abby," gives... Read More

WOMEN MONEY POWER

WOMEN MONEY POWER

Earphones Award Winner

by Josie Cox | Read by Josie Cox

Recorded Books
History

A business journalist combines flawless narration with intelligent writing to explain how cultural and institutional barriers have blocked U.S. women's access to financial independence and the power that comes with it. Josie Cox's mature-sounding performance and British accent add dignity to her careful research and writing. The stories of pioneers like Betty Friedan, Ruth... Read More

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