Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

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

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:

World War Z, New Trailer

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A new trailer for the film adaptation of Max Brook’s zombie apocalypse novel, World War Z (RH/Crown, 2006), was released today. The movie was originally scheduled to arrive in theaters last December, but was pulled to re-shoot some scenes and is now scheduled for June 21.

The movie tie-ins include an entirely new audio with an enormous cast, featuring Martin Scorsese (yes, the director), Alfred Molina (Spiderman), Frank Darabont (creator of The Walking Dead), the author’s father, Mel Brooks, David Ogden Stiers, and John Turturro. Max Brooks returns as The Interviewer.

The novel is written in the form of first-person stories about the Zombie War. Unlike the movie, which is entirely from the point of view of Brad Pitt’s character, the audio stays true to the original. Many fans, who are already raising concerns about changes from the book, may find this a preferable take.

World War ZWorld War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-In Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War
Max Brooks, RH Audio/BOT, 9780449806951, 0449806952

World War Z (Mass Market Movie Tie-In Edition) : An Oral History of the Zombie War
Max Brooks, RH/Broadway, May 21, 2013, Mass market paperback

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).

Betty White Wins Grammy

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Betty White has another Grammy Award to add to her large trophy case (her first was in 1975 for her supporting role on The Mary Tyler Moore). She won best Spoken Word Album last night for If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t), Penguin Audio.



The other nominees were:

Bossypants, Tina Fey, Hachette Audio

Fab Fan Memories – The Beatles Bond; Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming, Dennis Scott & David Toledo, producers, WannaBeats Records

Hamlet, William Shakespeare; Dan Donohue & Various Artists – Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Blackstone Audio

The Mark Of Zorro, Val Kilmer & Cast, Blackstone Audio

Spoken Word Grammy Nominees

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Tina Fey may add a Grammy to her many awards. Her best selling audio recording of Bossypants (Hachette Audio) was announced as a nominee in the Best Spoken Word category at last night’s Grammy Nomination Concert (full list of nominees here). Winners will be named on Feb. 12.

It has already been selected as one of the year’s best audios by AudioFile magazine. For our money, it’s already won the Most Disturbing Cover of the year.

The other nominees are:

Fab Fan Memories – The Beatles Bond; Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming, Dennis Scott & David Toledo, producers, WannaBeats Records

Hamlet, William Shakespeare; Dan Donohue & Various Artists – Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Blackstone Audio

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)Betty White, Penguin Audio

The Mark Of Zorro, Val Kilmer & Cast, Blackstone Audio


Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The L.A Times calls the movie The King’s Speech, “perhaps the award season’s most extraordinary box-office tale,” overturning conventional Hollywood wisdom about American audiences (for instance, that, in some areas of the country, “James Bond is still considered too much of a foreigner.”)

The tie-in book continues on the NYT Trade Paperback Best Seller List after four weeks. It was released in audio this week from Tantor, narrated by Simon Vance (listen to a sample here). It also includes King George VI’s original speech (listen here).

The King’s Speech
How One Man Saved the British Monarchy
By Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
Narrated by Simon Vance

6 Audio CDs: $23.99

1 Mp3-CD: $15.99

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

ONE DAY Now on Audio

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Libraries are still struggling to fill holds for the summer’s surprise British hit, One Day by David Nicholls.

Random House has just released the audio.

Meanwhile, the Scottish tabloid press reports that Anne Hathaway, on the set of the movie version, currently filming in Edinburgh, is “sporting the bookish look” (i.e., she’s wearing glasses).

One Day
David Nicholls
Retail Price: $35.00
Publisher: Random House Audio – (2010-07-29)
ISBN / EAN: 0307912957 / 9780307912954


Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Many of you heard Marilyn Johnson speak at MidWinter about her book on the importance of librarians in the digital age.

Good news; the book will also be avaiable in audio from Tantor. Link here to a PDF of the sell sheet. Release date is set for 2/22.

Publisher: Tantor
Read by: Hillary Huber
Running Time: 8 hrs – Unabridged
Trade: 9781400116348; 7 CD’s; $34.99
Library: 9781400146345; 7  CD’s; $69.99
MP3: 9781400166343; 1 MP3-CD; $24.99

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
Marilyn Johnson
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061431605 / 9780061431609


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: