Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

Oprah — Audios Better Than Books

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

If you’re searching for ideas for your library blogs, here’s one to steal from, a feature on seven “Audiobooks That Sound Better Than the Printed Versions.” Among the narrators spotlighted are Edoardo Ballerini (Beautiful Ruins, HarperAudio; listen to Ballerini here), Dean Robertson (The Poisonwood Bible, Brilliance; sample here), and, of course, Jim Dale (the Harry Potter series, Listening Library; samples here).

Not much needs to be said about narrator of Graham Greene’s The End of The Affair. The story simply states, “I’m only going to say this once: Colin Firth’s speaking softly, directly into your ear—and he’s talking about love.”

Unfortunately that one is not available to libraries; it’s only on, but we couldn’t resist showing this behind-the-scenes video of Firth in the recording studio:

Get Ready For PARADE’S END

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Parade's EndCalled “Downton Abbey for Grownups” (Laura Miller, Salon) and “The Better Downton Abbey” (The New Yorker), the BBC/HBO mini-series adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s series of four novels, Parade’s End, begins on HBO on February 26. A hit when it aired in the UK last summer, it’s recently been nominated for a number of awards.

In her audio column, “The Listener,” on Salon, Laura Miller notes that “Downton comparisons will abound, though some viewers will be disappointed to find Parade’s End lacks a mansion and wisecracking old ladies — not to mention the complete absence of attention paid to the servant class,” adding, “Although [Benedict] Cumberbatch, cast against type  [in the lead role], delivers an impressive performance … You can only really appreciate what the actor does with this deliberately inexpressive man if you’ve read the books.”

Miller recommends the audio version, to be released next week as a tie-in by S&S Audio (also from Recorded Books as both CD and downloadable) for “Steven Crossley’s sensitive naration.” Miller applauds Crossley for making the many characters distinct and for handling women particularly well; “Not for Crossley the risible practice of adopting an artificially high-pitched, drag-queen voice whenever a woman is speaking.”

Official Series Web Site:


Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Audible has just released their list of the best audios of the year, including their pick of the ONE best, which is Beautiful Ruins by Jesse Walter (HarperAudio). It was also chosen by Salon, which praised narrator Eduardo Ballerini’s “handling of this fantastically complex narration [which] is so accomplished you keep forgetting that it’s a performance.”

The print version has been picked up Best Book picks, from Kirkus, NYT Book Review, Publishers Weekly and the Washington Post.

We first heard about it during HarperCollins Library Marketing’s Buzz session at ALA MidWinter last year (sign up for the upcoming one here). Kayleigh George’s description deserves its own award.

BOSSYPANTS Named Audiobook of the Year

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the winners of the Audies in 30 categories last night. Tina Fey’s recording of her book, Bossypants (Hachette Audio) was named the Audiobook of the Year. The AudioFile list of winners and nominees includes links to reviews and audio clips.

In the category of “Narration by the Author,” Libba Bray won out against tough competition from John Lithgow, Ellen DeGeneres and Tina Fey for her reading of her YA novel, Beauty Queens (Scholastic AudioBooks). The AudioFile reviews says,”As narrator, Bray puts her theatrical background to good use, changing accents, register, and pitch so smoothly and consistently that listeners will forget there’s but a single narrator”


Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

An “exclusive” nine-minute clip from the audio of Fifty Shades of Grey is on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog. We were suspicious, since the post is dated April 2nd (this year’s unofficial alternate to April Fool’s Day, since it was on a Sunday) and no publisher is listed.

Turns out, dear listeners, that it’s true. RH/Books on Tape confirms that they are doing the audio and that it will be available on OverDrive (UPDATE: it is downloadable ONLY).

BOT Library Edition Downloadable only, OverDrive; ISBN: 9780449808177 Price : $95

The book’s reader Becca Battoe, is the narrator of several YA and children’s audios, including Judy Blume’s It’s Not the End of the World. Her voice sounds young, appropriate for the innocent college student, Anastasia Steele. Don’t worry, the clip is very SFW.

Who should play Anastasia in the planned movie? People magazine suggests six actresses, including Emmy Rossum (starring in Showtime’s series Shameless and in the upcoming film version of the YA title, Beautiful Creatures).

The Book I Can’t Stop Talking About

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Hold on to your seats, I am about to recommend a business audio. It is true that I rarely write about books (or audiobooks) for grown-ups, but I can’t stop talking about Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh
Retail Price: $29.98
Audio CD: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio – (2010-06-07)
ISBN : 9781607882305

What is our experience as librarians with the business book category? Do we read them because the Director went to a “who moved my cheese” seminar and found a way to force the staff to read a book not of their choosing? Because the Four Hour Work Week has an appealing title and is on best seller lists? Did a friend recommended Freakanomics?

Business books are a genre I read for fun after a pile of picture books. My first reading of Managing The Non-Profit Organization by Peter Drucker was when I worked as a retail manager for a children’s museum. I was intrigued by the way he laid out organizational structure, interpersonal relationships and above all the difference between a for-profit entity and a non-profit.

I heard the rumors that everyone who worked on Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson quit their job and went to something else, following “their calling.” Within a year of reading it, I, too, quit my job in publishing, enrolled in graduate school and started my career as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. That’s what a thoughtful examination of how we evaluate our work will do… instigate change.

What is about Delivering Happiness? I’m not in a rut at work. I have high expectations of interesting developments, my managers encourage and support new ideas, curriculum and projects (like the recent BookFest@Bank Street). They expect me to stretch and grow, to mentor and teach, to be passionate about our work and to enjoy the daily work of teaching.

So here comes Tony Hsieh examining and sharing what makes a great place to work. He lays out how serendipity, exciting hard work, kindness, generosity, passion and personal growth can all be part of a corporate strategy for success. Hsieh’s presentation jells with my own philosophy of work life. To be passionate, to encourage others, to be of service, to blow off steam in productive but fun ways, to find ways small and big to improve how we do things to serve our students and teachers, and to do more with less, to learn that obstacles or misaligned philosophies are growth opportunities.

Hsieh’s passion for “delivering happiness” is palpable on the audio edition of the book. He sounds almost amazed at where life has taken him, he generously shares his mistakes and errors in judgement as well in a sure-why-don’t-we-try-that attitude. The audio includes the voices of others on his team who grew Zappos with him as well as Jeff Bezos after the Amazon buy-out. (More complicated than that… read the book).

It confirms my own business philosophy and articulates how I can grow within my organization as well as partner with those outside who share our core values.

Needless to say, I’ll be giving it to many friends this holiday.

ROOM Discussion Group

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

To read Emma Donoghue’s Room is to want to talk about it. Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog has initiated a Room discussion group that’s bringing in some fascinating comments; we won’t reveal them here because most of them contain spoilers (don’t link if you plan to read it; on the other hand, the spoilers serve as a great cheat sheet for those who don’t want to be left out of the discussions).

One comment we can reveal; “the audio recording is amazing, and probably works even better than print.”

The book, of course, is shortlisted for the Booker. The winner will be announced on Monday.

Room: A Novel
Emma Donoghue
Retail Price: $29.98
Audio CD: 0 pages
Publisher: Hachette Audio – (2010-09-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1607886278 / 9781607886273


Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

David Sedaris is a master of the audio format, so it’s no wonder that he is also a fan.

On the New Yorker Book Bench blog last week, he writes about his favorite audios, a slim selection of four from all time, that achieve the perfect match of both material and narrator. Among his choices are the entire Harry Potter series, but the British version, featuring Stephen Fry a narrator, rather than the American favorite, Jim Dale. The idea of Elaine Stritch reading Dorothy Parker had us salivating, but, sadly, it is no longer available.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of tasty titles on these best audios of 2009 lists:

Gaiman & Sedaris; Audio Fans

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Audiobook sales have dropped this year. On NPR’s Morning Edition today, Neil Gaiman gave the love to the format, supported by David Sedaris also calls himself a “tapeworm,” a habit fostered by his library, and Martin Jarvis, an audiobook reader as well as producer.

It’s worth listening to just to hear all of those great voices.

Jim Dale Fans Rejoice

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

As part of the launch of the Winnie-the-Pooh sequel, Return to The Hundred Acre Wood, Jim Dale, narrator of the audiobook, entertained a group of children at NYPL.

Ron Hogan at GalleyCat recorded Dale, including this brilliant dressing-down of adults who dare to keep their cell phones on:

Several more videos from the event are available on YouTube:

Jim Dale: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

Jim Dale: Lottie the Otter

Jim Dale: Creating Voices for Winnie the Pooh

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
David Benedictus
Retail Price: $19.95
Audio CD:
Publisher: Penguin Audio – (2009-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 014314507X / 9780143145073

OverDrive Moves to Wireless

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Library customers no longer need to be at their computer to download titles from OverDrive, if they are on the Windows Mobile platform. OverDrive’s new media console allows users to wirelessly download audio, video and music.

OverDrive says in its press release that this is “the first in a series of free mobile applications” and it “sets the stage for future support on additional platforms including iPhone and BlackBerry.”

The full press release is available here.

MAGICIANS Rises Above Mixed Reviews

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Lev Grossman’s novel, The Magicians, about a college student whom USA Today compared to “Holden Caulfield attending Harry Potter’s Hogwarts,” debuts at #77 on USA Today list, and rises to #231 on Amazon. Libraries are showing heavy holds on very light ordering of 3 to 42 copies, even though pre-pub reviews were strong in Booklist, BookPage, Kirkus and Library Journal.

Pervasive review coverage is probably a sign of Grossman’s clout as Time magazine’s book critic, but newspaper reviews have been mixed. USA Today deemed the premise of The Magicians original, but added

It’s like a video game featuring scenarios from classic fantasy writers. And sometimes Grossman can be slyly funny, as when he describes what conversation with a real talking bear would probably be like: dull monologues on honey. But it becomes a chore to slog through this homage to fantasy filtered through an ironic 21st-century sensibility, complete with sex and profanity. Nifty premise aside, Quentin and company never fully grab our attention.

However, the Chicago Tribune wanted “to shake Grossman’s hand and congratulate him for his courage. His book wanders into Harry Potter territory without a backward glance, and that’s gutsy stuff,” and said Grossman’s second novel “blooms with grace and wit and imaginative brio. Grossman has a sense of humor as well as a sense of wonder.”

The Magicians: A Novel
Lev Grossman
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0670020559 / 9780670020553

Also available from Penguin Audiobooks

  • CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780143144397

Books to Watch For Next Week

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Here’s an early jump on some titles going on sale next week that we’re likely to be hearing more about (for more titles, check B&’s Coming Soon section).

Phillippa Gregory returns with The White Queen, about Britain’s wars of the Plantagenets, with a more cinematic jacket look than usual for Gregory (perhaps influenced by huge success of the tie-in to the film of The Other Boleyn Girl). People heralds it this week with 3.5 of a possible 4 stars,

…Gregory’s lush detail and deft storytelling are all in top form here, making The White Queen both mesmerizing and historically rich.

Libraries we checked showed high reserves on orders of up to 56 copies. This is the first of a planned trilogy.

The White Queen: A Novel
Philippa Gregory
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Touchstone – (2009-08-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1416563687 / 9781416563686

Audio available from Simon & Schuster Audio

  • CD: $29.99; ISBN 9780743582292

Large print available from Thorndike

  • $34.95; ISBN 9781410419309

Gail Parkin’s debut novel Baking Cakes in Kigali is an Indie Next pick for September. Set in Rwanda, it features a woman who finds healing after the losses of her two grown children, as we mentioned in an earlier post. Libraries we checked are showing modest reserves and under 10 copies on order. This could be a sleeper.

Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel
Gaile Parkin
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press – (2009-08-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0385343434 / 9780385343435

Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater by New York Times food critic Frank Bruni gets a B+ in Entertainment Weekly. Libraries are showing modest reserves on modest orders. Our guess is that it’s likely to get enough review attention to change that.

Born Round
Frank Bruni
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press Hardcover – (2009-07-21)
ISBN / EAN: 9781594202315/1594202311

Also available on Penguin Audio

  • CD: $39.95: ISBN 9780143145240

NYT Hardcover Fiction – 8/14

Friday, August 14th, 2009

On this week’s New York Times bestseller list, Sherrilyn Kenyon lands in the #1 spot with Bad Moon Rising, her eighth title to achieve that position, according to her website. However, libraries are not so high on her – those we checked have only 12 -48 copies, with holds ranging from 34 to 123.

Bad Moon Rising: A Dark-Hunter Novel (Dark-Hunter Novels)
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0312369492 / 9780312369491

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo rises to #2, helped by intense review coverage and some critical controversy, as we mentioned in an earlier post. Libraries we checked have received their orders (from 29 to 206 copies), and show substantial holds (from 200 to 250).

That Old Cape Magic
Richard Russo
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0375414967 / 9780375414961

Available from Random House Audio

  • CD $40; ISBN 9780739318928

Random House Large Print

  • $26; ISBN 9780739328613

Kathleen Stockett’s debut novel, The Help, rises to #3. We’ve written about the book several times, but libraries we checked still have heavy holds (from 107 to 595) on anywhere from 64 to 129 copies. Given the demand, and the book’s upward trajectory (last week it was at #4) perhaps it’s time to order even more (libraries have been steadily adding copies, but demand continues to outstrip supply). It’s a long wait for the paperback; scheduled for release February 2, 2010.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books – (2009-02-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0399155341 / 9780399155345

Also on audio:

  • Audio CD: $39.95, Unabridged
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio;  (February 10, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0143144189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143144182

Large Type:

  • Hardcover: $32.95; 721 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press (May 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1410415538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410415530

Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice lands at #5, helped by last week’s major reviews, with holds and copies lower than for Russo’s That Old Cape Magic in the libraries we checked (orders ranged from 9- 29 copies, with holds from 17 to 145).

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202249 / 9781594202247

Also available from Penguin Audiobooks

  • CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780143144762

And finally, Winds of Dune appears at #15. Libraries we checked are in good shape, with few reserves on modest orders.

The Winds of Dune
Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Tor Books – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0765322722 / 9780765322722

Also on Macmillan Audio

  • CD: $59.99; ISBN  9781427207630

The Obama Book Club

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

President Obama’s gotten caught reading by the press fairly consistently since May 2008 – though more often during the campaign than during the first six months of his presidency. Rather handily, the Daily Beast has recapped his reading picks, which shows “a predilection for presidential profiles, a weakness for explain-it-all bestsellers, and the occasional hankering for literary fiction.”

There are 12 entries so far – that’s a year’s supply of reading for enterprising book clubs!

What Is the What
Dave Eggers
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback Edition: 560 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2007-11-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0676979491 / 978-0676979497 /

Also available from BBC audio:

  • 17 CDs $39.95; 978-1-60283-262-6

Library editions:

  • 17 CDs $124.95; 9780792748953
  • 2 MP3 CD’s  $74.95; 978-0-7927-4916-5
2 MP3CD Audiobook 20 Hr 31 Min
ISBN: 978-0-7927-4916-2 MP3 CD’s $74.95; 978-0-7927-4916-5
Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries)
Joseph O’Neill
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2009-05-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307388778 / 9780307388773

Also available from Recorded Books

  • CD: #34.99; ISBN 9781436155427
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
Jeffrey D. Sachs
Retail Price: $17.00
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2009-02-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0143114875 / 9780143114871


Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
Fred Kaplan
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2008-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060773340 / 9780060773342

Available from Brilliance Audio

  • CD: $34.99; ISBN 9781423370994
  • MP3 CD: $24.95;  ISBN 9781423371014
The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
Jonathan Alter
Retail Price: $16.00
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2007-05-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0743246012 / 9780743246019

Available from BBC Audiobooks America

  • CD: $19.95; ISBN 9781572705531
Jean Edward Smith
Retail Price: $20.00
Paperback: 880 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks – (2008-05-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0812970497 / 9780812970494

Available from Random House Audio

  • CD: $34.95; ISBN 9780739343449
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
Steve Coll
Retail Price: $18.00
Paperback: 738 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2004-12-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0143034669 / 9780143034667


Collected Poems, 1948-1984
Derek Walcott
Retail Price: $20.00
Paperback: 516 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (1987-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0374520259 / 9780374520250


Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America
Thomas L. Friedman
Retail Price: $16.00
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Picador – (2009-11-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0312428928 / 9780312428921

Also available from BBC Audio:

  • 17 CD’s $124.95; 9780792754756
Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age
Larry M. Bartels
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press – (2008-04-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0691136637 / 9780691136639

Available in large print paperback:

  • $17.99; ISBN 9781594133350

And from MacMillan Audio

  • CD: $59.95: ISBN 9781427204585
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Retail Price: $21.00
Paperback: 944 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2006-09-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0743270754 / 9780743270755

Available from Simon & Schuster Audio

  • CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780743539135
The Post-American World
Fareed Zakaria
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. – (2009-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0393334805 / 9780393334807

Available from Simon & Schuster Audio

  • CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780743576857