10 October 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.

WILD FIRE

By Ann Cleeves, read by Kenny Blyth (Macmillan Audio)

Narrator Kenny Blyth’s peat-warm voice lures listeners to northern Scotland as DI Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of a young nanny in Cleeves’ latest Shetland Islands mystery.  Blyth offers excellent characterization and fine control of English and Scottish accents in this fine tale of a village changed by incomers.

WASHINGTON BLACK

By Esi Edugyan, read by Dion Graham (Random House Audio)

Dion Graham wrings a marvelous range of heartfelt emotions from this imaginative, audacious, and entrancing novel about a young slave’s voyage to freedom from the Barbados sugar cane fields to the chilly plains of Canada.  And in between, balloon flights.  Yes, balloon flights.  Prepare to lift off while listening.

THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY

By Mackenzi Lee, read by Moira Quirk (HarperAudio)

Moira Quirk gives crisp, purposeful voice to Felicity Montague, a young Englishwoman in the 1700s with the single-minded ambition to become a doctor in this fun sequel to YA bestseller The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.  It’s as action-packed and fantastical as the first book, which is just what we want as these terrific young women meet life on their own terms.

TRANSCRIPTION

By Kate Atkinson, read by Fenella Woolgar (Hachette Audio)

Fenella Woolgar’s melodious, crisp tones and amazing characterizations make Kate Atkinson’s imaginative WWII-era even more wonderful than it already is.  The plot – Juliet spends her war years transcribing secret recordings of British fascist sympathizers, offering us wry commentary of the quirky, frightening things she overhears.  Ten years later, she encounters figures from those years.  The result?  A gripping novel from one of today’s finest writers.

THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS

By Pat Barker, read by Kristen Atherton and Michael Fox (Random House Audio)

This extraordinary collaboration between the Booker Prize-winning novelist Pat Barker and superb narrators Kristin Atherton and Michael Fox reimagines the passionate, bloody, mythic Trojan War of Homer’s Illiad. Once begun, you will want to abandon everything to spend time with Fox’s “Great” Achilles (aka The Butcher) and Atherton’s Briseis, a Trojan queen who became his bed-slave.

SEAFIRE

By Natalie C. Parker, read by Rebecca Soler (Listening Library)

Rebecca Soler narrates with a driving force that captures the tone of the first in a YA female pirate series. The daughter of a fierce pirate mother, Caledonia is severely wounded and her family killed in battle with a savage warlord.  Once mended, she gathers her forces for revenge.  Hang on for a wild ride.

FRESH INK

Edited by Lamar Giles, read by Guy Lockard, Kim Mai Guest, Bahni Turpin, Dion Graham, Ron Butler, et al. (Listening Library)

The full cast that presents this anthology, published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, does a remarkable job of bringing to life stories by some of today’s best-known YA authors.  Race, sexuality, family, urban and suburban life – it’s all here.  And it’s all riveting.

THE MAN WHO CLIMBS TREES

By James Aldred, read by Samuel Roukin (Recorded Books)

Samuel Roukin expertly runs the gamut of emotions narrating wildlife photographer James Aldred’s memoir of climbing trees, communing with monkeys, building tree houses, surviving bee attacks, and much more.  This is an engaging, adventurous listen guaranteed to take you far, far away.

THE TATOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

By Heather Morris, read by Richard Armitage  (HarperAudio)

Richard Armitage does a superb job with this moving historical novel based on the true story of Ludwig Sokolov, who tattooed numbers onto the prisoners at Auschwitz.  While forced to perform the horrific job, Sokolov also did everything in his power to help the prisoners.  Thankfully, he survived to share his story with Heather Morris and she turned it into a fine book.

TRANS LIKE ME

By C.N. Lester, read by C.N. Lester (Tantor Audio)

This insightful, witty series of essays offer a compelling introduction to many of the common questions surrounding the transgender experience.  Lester reads their own work beautifully in their unique high-low warm voice and with excellent pacing.  The short listen is meant for those who know little and those who know a lot.  Whichever you are, it’s a terrific audio experience.

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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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