Top Ten: September Earphones Award Winners

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Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audiobooks — the listens that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. BookTrib, thanks to our new partnership with AudioFile, offers this month’s picks of the newest do-not-miss titles – memoirs and bios first, some fiction, and a history book that reads like the best thriller. Don’t forget your earbuds.

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THE ANGRY CHEF’S GUIDE TO SPOTTING BULLSH*T IN THE WORLD OF FOOD

(Tantor Audio) By Anthony Warner, read by Jonathan Cowley

This is like having a great evening in a British pub with a very smart, wickedly funny, story-telling health-scientist. The one who cannot abide fools and wants us to think straight about gluten, paleo, coconut oil, and all other manner of food fads and diet quirks.  Jonathan Cowley’s reading will keep you ordering ‘one more’ until the delicious end.

OKAY FINE WHATEVER

(Hachette Audio) By Courtenay Hameister, read by Courtenay Hameister

Excellently read by the author, this account of Hameister’s efforts to treat her anxiety by exposing herself to ever more uncomfortable situations, from online dating to having a Brazilian wax, is engaging, insightful, and often hilarious.

EVA’S STORY

(Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) By Eva Schloss, Evelyn Julia Kent, read by Ann Richardson

Ann Richardson channels the emotions and accents of Anne Frank’s stepsister Eva as she leaves her home in Amsterdam for a cattle car to Auschwitz.  Told from the viewpoints of Eva and her mother, this is a fierce and moving story that helps us imagine what Anne Frank experienced after the famous diary’s end, and comforts us with the knowledge that some strong and lucky people, such as Eva, did survive.

THE PRISON LETTERS OF NELSON MANDELA

 

(Recorded Books) By Nelson Mandela, Sahm Venter [Ed.], read by Atandwa Kani

Kani’s performance of Mandala’s letters, many never delivered and all presented for the first time, embraces Mandela’s moral authority, compassion, intellect, and wry humor.  His voice is as warm as Mandela’s, and as he reads the chronologically organized letters, it’s as if we’re in the presence of the great man himself.

HARBOR ME

(Listening Library) By Jacqueline Woodson, read by N’Jameh Camara, Toshi Widoff-Woodson, Jacqueline Woodson, Jose Carrera, Dean Flanagan, Angel Romero, Mikelle Wright-Matos

In middle-grade fiction with the validity and sound of non-fiction, six classmates chill together only to discover their how much their individual stories intertwine with each other’s, and with issues of race, identity, and immigration.  The seven narrators, including the author, ace the read, making this short listen utterly compulsive.

SOUTHERNMOST

(HighBridge, Recorded Books) By Silas House, read by Charlie Thurston

Charlie Thurston deftly voices the good, bad, and in-between in this powerful novel about evangelical pastor Asher Sharp, who goes on the run after losing everything following his act of kindness to a gay couple.

THE SHEPHERD’S HUT

(Recorded Books) By Tim Winton, read by Kat Mulvany

Australia’s most celebrated novelist has done it again with this gritty tale about foul-mouthed teenage Jaxie, who discovers unlikely friendship and self-discovery while on the run in Western Australia’s tough wilderness.

PLANETSIDE

(HarperAudio) By Michael Mammay, read by R.C. Bray

R.C. Bray’s impeccable timing and cadence keep listeners hooked on this wonderful debut sci-fi novel a retired war hero who is summoned to another planet to investigate the disappearance of a VIP’s son.  Of course, he’s not being told the whole story, but we are.

THE CHILDREN’S GAME

(BrillianceAudio) By Max Karpov, read by Todd McLaren

Todd McLaren’s narration complements Karpov’s well-defined characters and intricate dialogue in this timely spy thriller about a Russian who masterminds a plot to undermine democracy by faking the death of Vladimir Putin at the hands of American operatives.  Whoa.  Best to stop reading the headline while listening.

A BROTHERHOOD OF SPIES

(Random House Audio) By Monte Reel, read by Paul Michael

Monte Reel’s superb behind-the-scenes chronicle of the history of the CIA, the U-2 spy plane, and the saga of Francis Gary Powers reads like a thriller.  It’s made even better by narrator  Paul Michael’s vocal dexterity – everything from staccato newsreel style for the history bits to the beautifully defined voice of the founder of Polaroid, on whom the CIA depended.  Perfect for history and thriller buffs, which covers a lot of folks.

www.audiofilemagazine.com The magazine for discovering more about audiobooks, it reviews and recommends the best listening, most interesting performances, and what audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks a week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters, and a blog. And podcasts daily recommendations on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

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