Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION Tops Audies

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

The 2017 Audie Awards were announced last night by the Audio Publishers Association.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, narrated by Mariska Hargitay with the authors (Hachette Audio), took top honors as the Audiobook of the Year.

In giving the prize the judges call it “a must-have insider’s guide to the making of the musical” and write:

“Read by super-fan Mariska Hargitay, the audio takes listeners on a journey from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pool-side reading of Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton to Broadway success and propulsion into the zeitgeist. Fans will especially appreciate Miranda’s reading of his annotations, from the very first revelation that the distinctive three-note intro mimics a squeaky door. Just as the musical has expanded the audience for musical theatre, this audiobook has won new fans to the world of audiobooks, thanks in no small part to Miranda’s devoted social media following.”

The AudioFile review calls the work “fascinating listening for Broadway aficionados and an essential deep dive for HAMILTON fans” and says that “Mariska Hargitay takes on the role of warm documentarian.” Of the footnotes read by Miranda, they write “it’s SO much fun hearing them lift off the page, by turns serious and playful.”

Audiobooks are enjoying a surge in popularity, making the Audies (both winners and nominated titles) a great resource for RA librarians looking for a guide to the best narrators and seeking sure bet suggestions. The lists can also be mined for popular and easy displays. There are plenty of titles to choose from as awards are given out in over two dozen categories.

The full list of winners is online. The ceremony is on YouTube (the video begins at 12:26):

HANDMAID Redux?

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

51a50MavWSL._SL300_Excitement is building over a possible sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986; tie-in ed., PRH/Anchor, 2017; OverDrive Sample).

A sly wink from Atwood as well as some additions she wrote for the newly released audiobook version (Audible only; cover at let) have brought speculation from many quarters, including Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, The Guardian, io9, New York magazine, and the Canadian entertainment site The Loop,

The original print book ends with a symposium set after the book’s event, reflecting on the dystopian period that came before. The final line comes from one of the presenters, a professor who asks, “Are there any questions?”

In the new Audible edition, Atwood has provided those questions, via an exchange between conference attendees and the professor.

One of the questions concerns how much more information the professor has. He responds:

“We have indeed made some fresh discoveries but I am not yet at liberty to share them … I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date … Give us a year or two and I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

The Loop asked Atwood if that meant a sequel was in the works and she replied:

“I am in consultation with the Professor, but he is being very cagey about this. He evidently doesn’t want to make any promises before he has finished authenticating his new discoveries.”

So … maybe more will be forthcoming. In the meantime, Atwood has been promoting the audio, saying in a release “I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over thirty years ago come alive on new platforms every year. The roots of my original book are in audio — Offred’s story was recorded, not written, and even the ‘Historical Notes’ are a voice — so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard. … The Handmaid’s Tale is alive, it seems — and like all living things, it grows and multiplies!

It is set to multiply in yet another format, on April 26 when the TV adaptation begins streaming on Hulu.

George Saunders on Audio

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

9780812995343_73f0aThe literary world is eagerly awaiting the debut novel from George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Feb. 14).

Audiobook fans should start the countdown as well.

Time magazine reports it will be an event, an audiobook with 166 narrators, each reading a single character. So many readers will contribute, in fact, that Time says Penguin Random House Audio is applying for a Guinness World Record.

The cast for the production looks like a Hollywood red carpet. Nick Offerman, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, and Don Cheadle all have parts. So do Jeffrey Tambor, Bradley Whitford, and Megan Mullally.

Authors David Sedaris, Mary Karr, and Miranda July narrate, as does Saunders himself. Award-winning professional narrators Kirby Heyborne and Cassandra Campbell participate as well.

Saunders tells Time, “This was a really gratifying artistic venture … I love the way that the variety of contemporary American voices mimics and underscores the feeling I tried to evoke in the book: a sort of American chorale.”

Readers and listeners might want to keep the concept of a chorale in mind. Early reviews point out the complexity of the reading. As Booklist puts it the “surreal action … resembles a play, or a prose variation on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology (1915), as [the multiple characters] tell their stories.”

A clip of the recording gives a taste of the mix of voices:

And The Grammy Nominees Are …

Friday, December 9th, 2016

The Grammy Awards announced their finalists in the Best Spoken Word category this Tuesday. Spanning poetry, audiobooks, and storytelling, the category has a rich history of winners, including Jimmy Carter, Stephen Colbert, President Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Maya Angelou.

This year’s nominees are:

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer (Simon & Schuster Audio). Also nominated for Best Comedy Album.

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox, Carol Burnett (RH Audio/BOT)

M Train, Patti Smith (RH Audio/BOT)


Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk, John Doe with Tom Desavia and various artists (RH Audio/BOT). Review from the L.A. Times.

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, Elvis Costello (RH Audio/BOT)

Pennie Picks Audio

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

costco-connectionCostco’s influential book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello generally picks one title to feature in Costco’s monthly publication, The Costco Connection, but for the July issue, she picks an entire format, audiobooks. It seems she is new to audio, perhaps influenced by Costco’s own sales numbers, or by reports, such as the one by Market Watch in May, that it is the “fastest-growing segment of the book publishing industry … popular enough to outsell some traditional books … sometimes four times as well.”

She highlights two recent titles narrated by Scott Brick as examples:

9780399568893_e87b7  9780735209404_7b1b8

The Job: A Fox and O’Hare Novel by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (PRH/Random House Audio)

The Assassin, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (PRH/Penguin Audio)

In an accompanying interview, Brick says he reads every book before he begins recording, looking for details such as character names, place names, pronunciation issues, and foreign phrases and a researcher makes sure he gets them right. “If you guess how something is pronounced,” he says, “you will be wrong.”

Brick won an Audie this year for his reading of the modern SF classic Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (Brilliance Publishing; Audio Sample).

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Tops Audies

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The 2016 Audies, given by the Audio Publishers Association for “distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment ” were announced last week.

9781611763737_ca689The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher (Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Audio Sample) took top honors, winning Audiobook of the Year.

In giving the prize the judges said:

“A trio of skilled narrators pulls listeners into the psychological suspense of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. The ‘trust no one’ twists and possible unreliability of the three central women compel the listening experience and make this a great choice to recommend to audiobook fans or newcomers to the format. With storytelling this good, it’s clear to see why the audiobook continues to gain fans across a broad market.”

With the increasing demand, the Audies (both winners and nominated titles) are a boon to RA librarians as they offer a running list of narrators to know and sure bet suggestions. The current list, as well as past winners and nominees, also makes a popular and easy display for all those fans seeking new listens and newbies trying to figure out what the fuss is all about. When working with listeners, advisors can also point out that most of the titles on this year’s list have already been a success in print, save for Wild Rover No More, which received scant attention. New listeners in particular might be more willing to try an audio of a book they have already heard of than something totally unfamiliar.

The awards cover over two-dozen categories in fiction, nonfiction, and production, including the following:

9781593166687Katherine Kellgren won Best Female Narrator for Wild Rover No More, L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren (Listen & Live Audio; OverDrive Audio Sample). Granting it an Earphone Award, AudioFile says:

“Katherine Kellgren is astounding, as always, as she narrates the twelfth and final book of this series. With such a nimble narrator, listeners will feel as though they’re hearing an entire cast performing men, women, and children with American, Irish, Scottish, and other British accents.”

9780062320193_52224George Guidall won Best Male Narrator for The English Spy, Daniel Silva, read by George Guidall (HarperAudio; OverDrive Audio Sample). It is another Earphone Award winner from AudioFile:

“Guidall’s warm, lived-in voice brings so much to the experience, somehow always conveying understanding of and sympathy for the human dimension in the most terrible scenes of mayhem, the most morally ambiguous situations. His attention and pace never falter, and he is wonderful at the accents, including several flavors of Irish, along with Russian, Iranian, and an uncanny Israeli.”

51084E1z4iL._SL300_Reflecting interest in all things Jungle Book, the Audio Drama award went to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories, Rudyard Kipling, read by a full cast (Audible Studios; Audible Sample) Note: Currently not available for library purchase. Keep an eye out to see if Brilliance, another Amazon company and therefore the CD publisher of many Audible titles, offers an edition on the strength of the Disney film and the Audie win.

9781427212672_d7a63In the Fiction category, The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah, read by Polly Stone (Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Audio Sample) took the honors. In their starred review Booklist said:

Narrator Stone maintains a stoic, neutral tone for exposition, then seamlessly delivers a small town’s worth of French-accented English, including a Jewish butcher; a cruelly self-important, collaborating gendarme; and a seemingly harmless old man … The voices of British and American pilots, easily discernible, add to Stone’s wide-ranging, stunning performance.”

Ghettoside9780449009734, Jill Leovy, read by Rebecca Lowman (Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Audio Sample) won for Non-Fiction. AudioFile gave it an Earphone Award and said:

“Narrator Rebecca Lowman takes a low-key approach, and it works perfectly; this audiobook is so dramatic and sad that it doesn’t need any amping up.”

f0e4b1df900f08416cfba28312e0af66R.L. Stine’s first picture book, Little Shop of Monsters, R.L. Stine and Marc Brown, read by Jack Black (Hachette Audio; Video Sample) won the Young Listeners category. Booklist says:

“Actor Black brings his comedy chops to this quirky picture book [and] clearly had young listeners in mind as he read; his narration is clear and perfectly paced … [his] intonation reflects the monsters he is describing, sounding as if he’s holding his breath when telling us about a smelly monster and bursting with high-pitched giggles when he catches the giggles from the piggler-gigglers … Black’s silliness is infectious.”

9781501216909_2ec34In a blast from the past, Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick (Brilliance Publishing; Audio Sample) got the nod in Science Fiction (in an edition issued to mark the 25th anniversary of the novel). In another starred review Booklist said:

“There’s something truly frightening about listening to a man tell us, slowly and with vivid imagery, that a character is being stalked by a predatory animal. Like Crichton’s unadorned prose, Brick’s matter-of-fact, this-is-really-happening delivery perfectly suits the fantastic subject matter.”

9781491540169_e676e The Starling Project, Jeffery Deaver, read by Alfred Molina and a full cast (Audible Studios/Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; Audio Sample) took honors for Original Work. Brilliance has released this Audible production, available to libraries. In their review AudioFile gave it an Earphone Award, calling it a “carnival ride for the ears;” continuing:

“With his smooth vocal presence, Alfred Molina … leads an outstanding ensemble of 30 actors playing 80 speaking roles in this high-velocity thriller. With its hypnotic musical score and sound effects of gunshots, squealing tires, and all-too-close explosions, listeners may believe they’re listening to a movie soundtrack.”

The full list of winners is available here.

NYT’s Sunday Book Review Discovers Audio

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

In an audiobook focused 5-page section, the upcoming NYT‘s Sunday Book Review offers a host of reviews for listeners of all interests and ages.

61biobF7paL._SL300_The highlight is Gillian Flynn’s take on The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, read by Emma Thompson (Audible Studios, Mar. 2016). Unfortunately, as an Audible title, it is not available for library purchase. Like many other Audible titles, though, it may be available later from sister Amazon company Brilliance.

The review is a rave. Flynn writes that Thompson “pairs perfectly” with the story’s “queasy terror built on unsettling pieces of information; curious reactions; small, pointed lies.”  She goes on to say that every character Thompson takes on is “beautifully” and “quite stunningly” voiced.

Flynn calls James’s classic “one of the most chilling ghost stories ever, largely because it is so deliciously elusive …something nasty is afoot … and the discomfort is doled out precisely and relentlessly.”

9780147526366_91765In contrast, Laura Miller, who often writes on audio as one of the books columnist for Slate has a dim view of Scarlett Johansson’s reading of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (Brilliance/Audible Studios, June 2016). She also offers mixed praise for Grimm’s Fairy Tales read by superstar narrator Jim Dale, along with actor Alfred Molina and others (Listening Library, May 2016; OverDrive Audio Sample).

In a roundup review of several young readers’ versions of adult titles, including Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition, read by Macleod Andrews (Listening Library, Aug. 2015; OverDrive Audio Sample), reviewer Nina Burleigh writes about listening to them while driving with her 13-year-old son. to “test their YA appeal.”  She warns that listening to Pollan’s 7-hr audiobook in the car has an unexpected consequence; you won’t want to stop for a snack at a fast-food outlet. She advises packing a picnic.

NYT business reporter David Segal is no fan of the titles in the category he reviews, noting that “the veneer of self-congratulation … wafts from nearly every book in the How to Succeed category … somehow easier to see through in audiobook form.”

It is rare for the NYT‘s to devote this much attention to audiobooks. As MarketWatch noted recently, the format is the “fastest-growing segment of the book publishing industry … popular enough to outsell some traditional books … sometimes four times as well,” so perhaps we will see more coverage in upcoming issues.

RUSA/CODES Audiobook Winners

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

ListenListThe titles selected for The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration were announced at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston this past weekend.

The Listen List picks audiobook titles based on the appeal of their narration and offers a juried list of 12 notable suggestions along with listen-alike pairings, a particular boon for RA librarians.

Below are the winners and listen-alikes. Annotations can be found on the RUSA/CODES press release.

y648All Involved by Ryan Gattis. Narrated by Anthony Rey Perez, Marisol Ramirez, Jim Cooper, Adam Lazarre-White, and James Chen (HarperAudio).

Listen-Alikes:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Narrated by Ta-Nehisi Coates. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Tristan Morris, and Bronson Pinchot. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Narrated by Reg Rogers, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Stephen J. Dubner. (HarperAudio).

9781427258090_5f831All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. Narrated by Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly (Macmillan Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

The Dinner by Herman Koch. Narrated by Clive Mantle. (Blackstone Audio).

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

A Perfect Spy by John le Carré. Narrated by Michael Jayston. (Penguin Audio).

1494509091_66a38And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander. Narrated by Kate Reading (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

Listen-Alikes:

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber. Narrated by Heather Wilds. (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King. Narrated by Jenny Sterlin (Recorded Books).

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Narrated by Rita Barrington. (Blackstone Audio).

9780553551624_0259dDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Narrated by Simon Prebble. (Blackstone Audio).

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman. Narrated by John Lee. (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

A Night to Remember: The Classic Account of the Final Hours of the Titanic by Walter Lord. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. (Blackstone Audio).

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker. Narrated by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, and cast (Naxos AudioBooks).

Listen-Alikes:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Narrated by Daniel Philpott, Chris Larkin, Roger May, and Jonathan Oliver. (Naxos AudioBooks).

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Narrated by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. (Blackstone Audio).

bhsj-square-240H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. Narrated by Helen MacDonald (Blackstone Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. Narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Books on Tape/Penguin Audio).

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. Narrated by Sy Montgomery. (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio)

y6481The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Narrated by Davina Porter (HarperAudio).

Listen-Alikes:

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Narrated by Roy Dotrice. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Narrated by Casaundra Freeman. (Brilliance Audio.)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. Narrated by Kate Reading. (Macmillan Audio).

9780553551402The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant. Narrated by Ozzie Rodriguez and David H. Lawrence XVII (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar. Narrated by Henry Leyva.(Recorded Books).

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea. Narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea. (Hachette Audio).

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Narrated by Jonathan Davis. (Brilliance Audio).

9780553551013The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. Narrated by Emma Fielding. (Books on Tape/Penguin Audio).

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Narrated by Amy McFadden. (Dreamscape Media).

9781622316342_fb5adThe Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter. Narrated by Alex Wyndham (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).

Listen-Alikes:

The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. (Recorded Books).

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz. Narrated by Derek Jacobi. (Blackstone Audio/Hachette Audio).

The Perfect Murder by H.R.F. Keating. Narrated by Frederick Davidson. (Blackstone Audio).

1494504766_96d42‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma. Narrated by Ron Butler and Bahni Turpin (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

Listen-Alikes:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh. (Recorded Books).

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique. Narrated by Cherise Boothe, Korey Jackson, Rachel Leslie, and Myra Lucretia Taylor. (Recorded Books).

Unburnable by Marie-Elena John. Narrated by Robin Miles. (Recorded Books).

y6483True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel. Narrated by Rich Orlow (HarperAudio).

Listen-Alikes:

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. Narrated by Peter Berkrot. (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. (Blackstone Audio/HarperAudio).

In Defense of Audiobooks

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Do audiobooks still need defending?

At least one person thinks so. Ten years after the New York Times looked into whether listening to audiobooks was “real” reading, or just “oral CliffsNotes for reading lightweights,” Claire Armistead asks a similar question in the Guardian, “Reading with your ears: do audiobooks harm or help literature?” She quotes American literary critic Harold Bloom, who told the NYT that reading text is superior, “Deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear. You need the whole cognitive process, that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.”

She also quotes Neil Gaiman, a brilliant reader of his own work, who said that same year (via his blog) that Bloom’s comments are,

“just snobbery and foolishness … I don’t believe there are books I’ve never ‘read’ because I have only heard them, or poems I’ve not experienced because I’ve only heard the poets read them. Actually, I believe that if the writer is someone who can communicate well aloud (some writers can’t), you often get much more insight into a story or poem by hearing it.”

The New Yorker jumped into the fray seven years later,  also refuting Bloom.

9781442361539_91a28Armistead explores the issue for herself by comparing the experience of reading and then listening to Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster, (S&S Audio, 2014).  The novel left her flat in print but thrilled her in audio (listen to an excerpt here, read by the brilliant Fiona Shaw, who also talks about reading the book here).

You have to wonder if Bloom, now 85 and at an age when many discover new appreciation for audiobooks, still feels the way he did ten years ago.

Order Alert: Stephen King’s DRUNKEN FIREWORKS

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 9.37.12 AMStephen King will release an audiobook-only title this summer, Drunken Fireworks (Simon & Schuster Audio; CD and DD, OverDrive Sample), about a fireworks rivalry that gets way out of hand.

To be released on June 30th, at the close of audiobook month, it is narrated by Tim Sample, who also read King’s Four Past Midnight: The Sun Dog.

In early November the short story will be released in print as part of a new King collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (S&S/Scribner; Nov 3.; ISBN 9781501111679). The full collection of stories will also be published in audio (no word yet on the narrator).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Drunken Fireworks will stream for free on July 2 as a promotion for CBS’s new web-based podcast platform Play.it. CBS Radio stations in more than 20 markets will run promotions for four days starting June 29.

The Wall Street Journal sees this as a case of corporate synergy, since King is published by the CBS-owned Simon and Schuster.

King is known for his interest in helping promote new technologies. Back in 2000, he brought attention to eBooks by releasing the digital novella Riding the Bullet, causing the NYT‘s critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt to wonder, “is this the wave of the future or just a confluence of unusual circumstances?”

Witherspoon Voices WATCHMAN

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 10.11.26 AMFollowing in the footsteps of actress Sissy Spacek who narrates the 2009 production of To Kill A Mockingbird, Reese Witherspoon has been selected by HarperAudio to narrate Go Set A Watchman.

The audiobook will be released simultaneously with the print and ebook versions on July 14th.

Born in New Orleans, Witherspoon is quoted in USA Today:

As a Southerner, it is an honor and privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired my childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch…I am eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Harper Lee’s gorgeous prose can deliver.

An avid reader, Witherspoon has been associated with a number of book adaptations as both an actress and a producer, including Water for Elephants, Wild, and Gone Girl.  She won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter in Walk the Line, Oddly enough, Mockingbird‘s narrator, Spacek also won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of another singer, Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

This is Witherspoon’s first audiobook.

Patti Smith Narrates Nesbo

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

9780553545975Patti Smith has narrated just one audiobook, her own, Just Kids. Now she adds a second, Jo Nesbo’s Blood on Snow, (RH & BOT Audio; RH/Knopf print; Random House Large Print) a standalone released this week Entertainment Weekly features an audio clip and a book excerpt. According to the story, “Nesbø is a musician and songwriter himself, and the two artists are mutual admirers of each other’s work.”

Smith is set to publish a second memoir this fall, M Train (RH/Knopf; BOT Audio, Oct 6).

Best Spoken Word Grammy to
Joan Rivers

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The 2015 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, presented last night, went to Joan Rivers, for Diary of a Mad Diva (Penguin Audio; BOT Sample).

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers accepts the award, below.

The nominees were:

Actors Anonymous. James Franco, (Brilliance Audio)

A Call To Action, Jimmy Carter,  (S & S Audio)

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America, John Waters, ( Macmillan Audio)

A Fighting Chance, Elizabeth Warren, (Macmillan Audio)

We Will Survive: True Stories Of Encouragement, Inspiration, And The Power Of Song, Gloria Gaynor, (Brilliance Audio)

MARS Ascending

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The Kickstarter-funded movie, Veronica Mars, may not have done well at the box office (or with the NYT critic, or with some of the funders), but the related book (which picks up the story after the movie) The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, released yesterday (RH/Vintage) is currently at #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

In addition, the audio book (BOT download), read by Veronica Mars herself (that is, Kirsten Bell as Veronica) is getting attention. New York magazine’s “Vulture” says Bell’s “mellifluous yet extremely sardonic delivery will really cure what ails you, if what ails you is a disease brought on by a Veronica Mars deficiency” and The Week magazine adds, “Bell voices all the characters in the audiobook version, giving fans the chance to hear her version of characters like Weevil Navarro and Cliff McCormack.”

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line is the first of two planned Veronica Mars novels.

New Audio Sounds

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

On NPR this morning, AudioFile founder and editor Robin Whitten selected several audiobooks from the magazine’s picks of the best of the year to showcase  ways in which producers are “expanding the envelope …with multiple narrators, sound effects and sound design, as well as a single voice just telling you a great story.” Not only books, but comics have made their way to audio (Graphic Audio has released dozens, including AudioFile Best, Marvel’s Civil War)

AudioFie’s “BEST Audiobooks and Best Voices” is available this year in a nifty new format, complete with audio samples.

AudioFile's Year in Audio 2013