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